Did you catch Part I of the HTP Book Club Series? 7 Inspiring Non-Fiction Fitness Books
Review of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
Megan from Born Again Athlete wrote, “I loved Fast Food Nation! I actually had to read it in high school for my journalism class and it totally turned my stomach. I had never really thought about what went into the food I ate and was just blown away by everything I read. I ate fast food somewhat frequently in high school and I couldn’t believe what I was putting into my body every time I went to a fast food restaurant. What made it worse was that I had absolutely no clue! Fast Food Nation really was the gateway book in terms of getting me interested in the food industry in the US, something I am so passionate about these days. The effects of me reading this book weren’t immediate – at first, I just stopped eating fast food, but now, over 5 years later, I am a vegetarian and haven’t looked back because of this book.”
Review of The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health
Tara from Truly Simple Bits wrote, “I was really interested in reading The China Study after hearing about it on several other blogs. I would say I ate about 80% vegetarian before I read the book. The book really opened my eyes to how much meat we, as a nation, consume. It laid out many studies showing that populations with a plant-based diet statistically have less incidents of cancers, heart disease and other illness. It went into a lot of scientific detail about why this happens. The statistics all supported a plant-based diet. The thing that really changed my way of thinking from this book was that it made me look at food in the long term rather than just today. For example, instead of thinking about how much food I ate today, how many calories, etc., I look at the BIG PICTURE, and consider how much meat I would consume and how that will effect my body 5, 10 years from now. Instead of thinking about those last 5 pounds, I thought about how I can decrease my chance of heart disease and cancer for the rest of my life. Reading this book reinforced the reasons why a plant-based diet is the way to go. Since reading this book I have drastically cut the amount of meat I eat and have been transitioning to a vegetarian, plant-based diet.”
Marcy from (Don’t Be) Too Timid and Squeamish also enjoyed the book. She wrote, “I found the book caused a shift in my thinking. Rather than think of the so-called Western diseases as bad luck, I started to think more about how our daily eating choices have an impact on our long-term health. Both of my parents died young of lifestyle-related diseases, so I am very eager to learn ways to best protect my health. There was some scientific criticism of some of the conclusions that he draws in the book, while other scientists said that it offers well-documented, valuable information. While the author may have a vegan bias that comes through, he also shares surprising information about the bias of much of the medical establishment and government, which makes recommendations for our health based more on politics and economics than on science.”
Review of Ultra Metabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss
Danielle wrote, “I bought this book because of a recommendation that was made on a fitness podcast and I am so glad that I did. The cover states that it is ‘the simple plan for Automatic weight loss’ but it is more than this. Its not gimmicky nor does it encourage any ‘fad’ diets, it uses a strong evidence base to demystify the concept of metabolism and how to work with your bodies natural chemical processes sending the right messages to your body and promoting weight loss. Even if you are not looking to lose weight, this book is still worth a read as it discusses the effects that all the processed junk, toxins and chemicals we consume on daily basis can have on our body. The book concludes with a large chapter of recipes (that look delicious!) and also resources to access for further information.”
Review of Eating Animals
Mindy from Just a One Girl Revolution wrote, “Eating Animals is essentially a manifesto against factory farming and for vegetarianism. He worked on the story, visiting farms (and occasionally sneaking onto them) to learn about factory farming first hand. I appreciate that Foer shared stories from a range of perspectives including a vegan who designs slaughterhouses. He visited family (sustainable) farms that attempt to give animals the best kind of life. Throughout, he presents a variety of facts and statistics about the factory farming industry, how it is detrimental to the environment, public health, human rights, and so on. At the end of the book, Foer offers sixty pages of footnotes supporting the arguments he made throughout the book. I appreciate that he provides the data to support his view, although, it is true that people cherry-pick statistics to make whatever argument they want. For the most part, I was not surprised by much in the book. I was aware of the realities of factory farming, yet the stories presented made me that much more aware. Overall, I though it was an easy read in terms of comprehension, but difficult in terms of the reality. Such stories are never easy. Foer presented arguments that continued to support my desire to live a vegetarian lifestyle. For anyone considering going veg, I highly recommend you read the book.”
Review of SuperFoods HealthStyle: Simple Changes to Get the Most Out of Life for the Rest of Your Life
Kath from Kath Eats wrote, “Giving a shout out to Superfoods HealthStyle by Dr. Steven Pratt. This book was a turning point in my weight loss, and changed the way I think about food. It’s packed with information and research on WHY we should fill up our plates with the healthiest food on earth. It helped me realize that healthy eating isn’t about what you can’t have, but what you can. And why your body needs all the delicious healthy foods and their sidekicks.”
Review of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
CaitlinHTP (yes, me) wrote, “In Summer 2008 (at the start of my blog), I went to Barnes and Noble and picked up In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I had read a review of the book on a food blog and was intrigued. Pollan’s conclusion in the Introduction – “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – hit me like a ton of bricks. You mean eating doesn’t have to be insanely complicated? You mean I should stop looking at bread as “carbs” and meat as “protein”? Whoa. Everything Pollan wrote made a ton of sense to me, and I started to clean up my diet, eliminating many processed foods that I still relied on. If you have not read this book yet, you must!”
Review of Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: A Year of Food Life
Emily wrote, “I’ve loved Barbara Kingsolver’s work for a long time (if you haven’t read Prodigal Summer, go pick it up right now!). As much as I love her fiction, though, it was her non-fiction Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that made a huge difference in the way I thought about food and healthy eating. This book is not about being vegetarian (which I was when I read it) or vegan (which I am trying to be now), it’s about caring for ourselves by caring for our planet, and, by extension, caring about where our food comes from. Kingsolver chronicles her family’s attempt to eat only what they grew themselves or could purchase from local producers for an entire year. The impact the book had on me was profound not because everyone in the family lost weight. Weight loss isn’t even mentioned that much. Instead, my eyes were opened to the fact that food is an instrument of communal sharing and cultural inheritance, not an enemy I needed to fight against!”
Review of Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You
Marci from Marci Gilbert wrote, “It happens to be a vegetarian cookbook, but not because she is opposed to eating meat. She spends the beginning of the book explaining ways to eat cleaner and talks a lot about beans, nuts, and different kinds of vegetables. It also talks about being more in tune with how foods make you feel and taking time to think about what you’re eating and where it’s from. It’s not a diet book, just a clean eating cookbook. I liked that the book is divided by seasons instead of meals because it focuses on eating locally and seasonally, and many recipes can be combined to make a meal + side, or served lighter for lunch or heavier for dinner. I did not like that there were no pictures of recipes, and I wish that the calorie counts were on each recipe. However, I did earmark a few dozen recipes to try, and have enjoyed almost everything we’ve made so far. Even my meat-loving husband has been a fan.”
Tara from A Daily Dose of Fit also loved Clean Food. She said, “I can’t even begin to explain how beautiful Clean Food and it’s sister book, Clean Start, are. The pages are hefty, the colors are wonderful. Clean Start is filled with gorgeous images that make you drool—no images in Clean Food, which is a bummer, but the recipes certainly make up for it. You can just imagine what the finished product looks like. And the information within—this might have been the first cookbook I actually sat down to read. I couldn’t help myself.”
Review of Skinny Bitch
CaitlinHTP (me again!) wrote, “The honest portrayal of the farm factories of cows, pigs, and chicken and their ridiculously inhumane slaughter really affected me. I couldn’t even read some of the descriptions. I was FLOORED to read that the United States doesn’t even have adequate laws to protect the animals. This really, really upset me. For some reason, I can watch the PETA videos on the farm houses and experience a sort of detachment, but I found it difficult to ignore it in written form. However, there are many things I did not like about this vegan-manifesto-pretending-to-be-a-diet-book. The suggested diet in the back of the book is RIDICULOUS! I would chew off my arm if I ate the suggested diet. I would be a seriously skinny bitch (emphasis on the bitch) if I followed their regime for two days. I’m guessing each day contains about 1,200 calories. No one can live on that!” You can read my complete review of Skinny Bitch here.
Book Club Time! Have you read any of these books, too? What did you think of them? (PS – If you’re got a review of a self-esteem boosting book, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org)
LOVED In Defense of Food. Awesome.
Skinny Bitch was OK- entertaining but callous.
I borrowed The China Study from the library and had to return it before I got around to reading it, but heard great things, so I’ll be picking it up again!
Love book suggestions 🙂
I’m now interested in Ultra Metabolism!