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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 caitlinjboyle@gmail.com)

{ 95 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) April 20, 2011, 8:27 am

    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!

    Reply
  • Khushboo April 20, 2011, 8:30 am

    I started reading Skinny Bitch but was really not impressed. I enjoy eating dairy and non-vegetarian foods, yet respect vegans and didnt like the whole ‘only veganism is the way forward’ attitude.
    I recently read Skinny Women Can Eat by Divya Gugnani which I loved. It was as though I was reading one big blog in the form of a book. That being said, i sure am looking forward to reading yous :)!

    Reply
  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday April 20, 2011, 8:37 am

    I LOVED Fast Food Nation. You could tell that it was intelligent and really well researched. It completely turned me off from eating from the big fast food chains.

    The most shocking thing about that book, in my opinion, was learning about the treatment of slaughterhouse workers. I honestly and truly couldn’t believe how risky their job is. I reviewed the book here: http://gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday/2010/05/day-99/

    I liked Eating Animals as well. I found that learning about the treatment of factory farmed chickens and pigs was appalling. I think every person should read it. I reviewed it here:
    http://gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday/2010/10/eating-animals/

    I wasn’t a huge fan of In Defense of Food because I thought it was a bit too simple and not as in depth as what I was hoping for (compared to the other two books I mentioned). I think it’s a good introduction to the food industry for someone who doesn’t know much about it.

    Reply
  • Elizabeth April 20, 2011, 8:41 am

    I TOTALLY agree with your review on Skinny Bitch. While I appreciated reading about where my food is coming from, and I think that everyone who chooses to eat meat should be aware of it, after reading the book I did follow the diet, and yeah. I lost 5 lbs in a week, but I was HUNGRY and I wanted to hurt someone. I am a huge fan of Michael Polan, I watching him on Oprah with Kathy Freston, it was a GREAT ep!

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 10:56 am

      Hahah being hungry and wanting to hurt someone: bad.

      Reply
      • Liz April 20, 2011, 11:23 am

        Seriously!!

        Reply
  • Freya April 20, 2011, 8:43 am

    I’ve read Skinny Bitch and that’s it – I’m with you on it. The diet was ridiculous, but I liked the general point of the book. Don’t eat animals and fake food, eat lots of natural foods!
    I sooo badly want to read The China Study and Eating Animals – they’re on my amazon wishist!

    Reply
  • Holly @ The Runny Egg April 20, 2011, 9:00 am

    The only one I have read is In Defense of Food — but there are many books here that I would love to read. Thanks for the reviews!

    Reply
  • Marci April 20, 2011, 9:01 am

    Thanks for including me! It’s great to hear about more healthy living books that I didn’t know about from people I trust!

    Reply
  • Michelle April 20, 2011, 9:02 am

    LOVED Eating Animals. I loved his writing and the honesty that he displayed in the book. I also appreciated that I never felt like he was trying to convince me, he was just laying out the facts.

    On the flip side I HATE the skinny bitch books. I think they do their message a serious disservice in the way the come across. Who wants to be shamed into eating vegan?

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 10:55 am

      I agree.. plus, shame only works for so long. You’ll fall off the vegan wagon if you were shamed into it in the first place!

      Reply
    • Amber K April 20, 2011, 1:57 pm

      That’s exactly what I got from those books. Very shaming.

      Reply
  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) April 20, 2011, 9:03 am

    I love this series! I’ve read most of them, but I need to grab the others. Obviously, I love reading about food and health. Thanks for posting this.

    Reply
  • Sarah April 20, 2011, 9:07 am

    I definitely want to check out: “In Defense of Food”. I read skinny bitch in high school and was vegan for a whole day and then I craved a cookie. Fail! Clearly, I went a little too strong a little too soon.

    Reply
  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 20, 2011, 9:09 am

    Michael Pollan’s book is certainly at the top of my to-read list. I’ve read summaries of the China Study and found them really interesting. I love food philosophy books because they challenge what we’ve been raised to believe. Thanks so much for letting me know about other ones – going to add them to my list too!

    Reply
  • Felicia {eat for energy} April 20, 2011, 9:10 am

    Thanks for this post! Two of these books are now added to my “to read” list :).

    Reply
  • chloe@ 321delish April 20, 2011, 9:11 am

    This is great! I actually started Skinny Bitch a few days ago and can’t stop laughing! SUCH a great way to give a serious topic more of a lighthearted tone.

    Another interesting book is How to Self Soothe Without Food. Its not only for those who have struggled with Eating Disorders, but addresses the common difficulty of seeing food as fuel.

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 10:54 am

      Great recommendation, Chloe!

      Reply
  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape April 20, 2011, 9:15 am

    I read Skinny Bitch a ways back and was just disgusted by what I read. As a regular meat eater, I couldn’t believe the conditions that my meat was probably coming from. While it has not made me go vegetarian or vegan, it has reduced my meat consumption and made me more conscious of where my meat is from when I do choose to eat it.

    Another thing I didn’t like was the language used. However, I went to a lecture with author Kim Barnouin and she told us how that language and even the title was all a marketing strategy. It was a way to differentiate the book from other similar diet books. Clearly it worked!

    Great post, btw. Loved reading about all these books.

    Reply
  • Ashley (The Vegetable Life) April 20, 2011, 9:15 am

    I enjoyed skinny bitch and thought some of their writing was comical. This is the book that made my become a vegetarian in the first place. I agree tho, the suggested diet is ridiculous!

    I am readying the china study now… so far so good!

    Reply
  • Lauren April 20, 2011, 9:19 am

    I’ve read Michael Pollan’s books and Barbara Kingsolver’s book. I loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and the commitment to local, sustainable food.

    Reply
  • brandi April 20, 2011, 9:21 am

    I LOVE Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I’ve read it over 10 times and am currently reading it again!

    It’s definitely different than the other books on the list, but I love that it really delves into facts about the food system while telling their stories of growing their own food and TRULY eating seasonally and locally. It really makes you think about where your food is coming from, how much gas it takes for those berries in November to get to you, etc. It has made a big impact on how we eat.

    Reply
  • Paige (Running Around Normal) April 20, 2011, 9:27 am

    Loving the book review series – I’ve been wanting to read several of these. And Skinny B!*ch really blew me away, too.

    Reply
  • bonnie April 20, 2011, 9:35 am

    i read skinny bitch. i liked it being so honest, but i was already a veggie before reading it. i’ve been apprehensive to suggest it to meat eating friends/family. i’ve heard amazing things about the china study. i def want to check it out.

    Reply
  • Devon April 20, 2011, 9:35 am

    I LOVE Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It is one of my favorite books, and has totally changed how I look at the food I eat. The way Barbara Kingsolver writes is so intriguing and brings you right in to the story of her family while gently educating you about the problems of big agribusiness. As a result of reading it I am now attempting to eat locally. It makes me happy. :)

    Reply
    • Jennifer April 20, 2011, 10:43 am

      I listened to the audio version of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which was read by the author. So amazing.

      Reply
  • Chase @ The Chase Project April 20, 2011, 9:38 am

    I LOVED Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Barbara Kingsolver is such a gifted writer! I went out and bought a bunch more of her books after I read it. I’ve read most of these as well and I have learned so much from them!

    Reply
  • Marissa C April 20, 2011, 9:38 am

    I LOVE In Defense of Food–I like that he automatically doesn’t go the vegetarian route because it is something I am honestly not interested in.

    I wont read Skinny Bitch because of the title alone.

    The End of Overeating is a great book that pairs well with In Defense of Food. Really good.

    Reply
    • Tia April 20, 2011, 9:46 am

      The end of Overeating is a great book, really opens your eyes to some habits you don’t even realize you have.

      I really enjoyed Skinny Bitch, while I don’t agree with the actual Diet they suggest or the Rah Rah Be Vegan or your stupid attitude, I think the straight forward approach of the book is refreshing and at times very funny. You have to take everything with a grain of salt right. It’s a super easy read, I read the entire thing on a 1.5 hr flight, even though I didn’t find it mind blowing I didn’t feel like it was a waste of time eithter.

      Reply
      • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 10:53 am

        I also read it on a 1.5 hour flight! Weird.

        Reply
  • Amy April 20, 2011, 9:43 am

    ive read Skinny Bitch. I thought it was interesting and actually I found their “tough love” approach to be pretty funny which I enjoyed. I know some may find that insulting so whatever your taste may be!
    I read Eating Animals…also found that interesting. I’m not a vegetarian (or vegan) but I am open to reading all sides of the argument. I found this book to be very one sided. That’s why I appreciate Michael Pollan’s books…I think he’s really good at showing all sides and being fair. I liked his book Omnivore’s Dilemma.
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a good one. It’s pretty inspiring!

    Reply
  • rebecca lustig April 20, 2011, 9:48 am

    I LOVE Eating Animals and Clean Food. Both take a healthy, balanced and mindful approach to eating practices and lifestyles.

    Have been itching to get my hands on In Defense of Food!

    Reply
  • Laura@keepinghealthygettingstylish April 20, 2011, 9:50 am

    I’ve read several of these books and they all have had a massive imapact on my diet and how I now live my life. I’m an almost vegan at the moment and I can say that choice has been influenced at least in part by what these books have opened my eyes to. In defense of food was the first one I read and it changed my whole relationship with food for the better :-) I’m so glad you made the comment re the low calorie intake on skinny bitch, I had been reading it and think wft? do I massively over eat or something!

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 10:53 am

      No, they just totally undereat and must never exercise!

      Reply
  • Lucy April 20, 2011, 9:55 am

    Informing post and well done!
    Personally,I do not like to read any books that promote “skinny”= better and that being skinny will make you happier, prettier, etc. As someone recovering from an eating disorder, I think our society puts way too much emphasis on being skinny and not about settling at our natural weights and eating to fuel our bodies.

    On a lighter note, I did find the China study to be a fantastic read!

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 10:52 am

      I def agree with you re: “Skinny”!

      Reply
  • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing April 20, 2011, 9:58 am

    All these books are on my “to-read” list (well, except for Skinny Bitch — not a fan of the philosophy). I am very intrigued by The China Study. I intend to read it knowing that there were some methodological/research claim issues, though I am certain it still has a ton of great information. I think one can still have a solid conviction about eating a plant-based diet while being transparent about the facts (in fact, I think it’s necessary if you want to convince anyone else ;) ). I keep hearing so much about it — I can’t wait to sit down and chew on it. Eating Animals is another one that I am anxiously awaiting summer to bring to me via the form of free time again! :)

    Reply
  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food April 20, 2011, 9:58 am

    Thanks so much for the reviews, I’ve read the China study and would like to add Jonathan’s book to my to read list! :)

    Reply
  • Sheilah April 20, 2011, 10:07 am

    I have read “Fast Food Nation” – at the time I focused much more on the conditions in the slaughterhouses and that more directly “human” aspect, but in retrospect I think that the book (plus watching “Super-Size Me” shortly thereafter) was probably responsible for the first glimmer of interest I had in healthy eating.

    Although it isn’t exactly a healthy living book, I just finished “The Man Who Ate Everything” by Jeffrey Steingarten, the food critic for Vogue magazine. This is a man who loves food and will spend amazing amounts of time and spare no expense to perfect a recipe! Also, in the pretext of the book he outlines his elimination of all of his food dislikes – when he got the food critic job, he felt it was important for him to be able to assess foods objectively and successfully took it upon himself to be able to tolerate every food. It inspired me to try to do the same – so far I’ve overcome my aversion to olives and now I’m working on kidney beans! Also, he is a fantastic writer – I had some trepidation about reading a “food book” but his tone was such that I was not intimidated and actually found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. Not a healthy living book and not vegetarian-centric, but very well-written and thoroughly dedicated to loving great food.

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 10:51 am

      Very interesting book review. I think I would love to check it out.

      Reply
  • Stephanie April 20, 2011, 10:12 am

    LOVE In Defense of Food, hated Skinny Bitch, and own Fast Food Nation ($1 used at my local library! score!) but have not read it yet. I liked the information in Skinny Bitch but almost felt bullied by it. I like the approach Pollan takes much better.

    Reply
  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good April 20, 2011, 10:19 am

    I absolutely loved In Defense of Food and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle! I haven’t read the others, but I just might. Have you seen the movie Fresh? I haven’t seen Food, Inc., but we saw Fresh, and I enjoyed that. It went into good farm practices. From what I’ve heard, Food, Inc. is everything that’s wrong with our food industry, and Fresh is the optimistic “this is how we can do better” approach. Anyway, I’d recommend it. :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 10:50 am

      I haven’t seen Fresh. I loved Food Inc though!

      Reply
  • Amanda April 20, 2011, 10:19 am

    I love this list. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was one of my all-time favorites. I also recommend Chew On This by Eric Schlosser. It’s the “kid-friendly” version of Fast Food Nation. I feel like it’s a much easier (and convincing) read for those who are skeptical about learning more on the food industry.

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 10:49 am

      Awesome book rec! Thanks. I’ve never heard of Chew on this

      Reply
  • Courtney April 20, 2011, 10:23 am

    The Book Club idea is such a great one! There are a lot of Army Wives that would really learn A LOT from some of these books. I’ve read a few, but would love to read more! Thanks for the list!

    Reply
  • Lizz (leadingthegoodlife) April 20, 2011, 10:29 am

    I loved In Defense of Food! Just picked up The Omnivore’s Dilemma and am excited to jump in.

    Reply
  • Sarah @ See Sarah Graduate April 20, 2011, 10:30 am

    I absolutely loved “Fast Food Nation”! Eric Schlosser (the author) spoke at my college during my freshman year and me and him had a pretty long conversation afterward about the book and his philosophy on food in general and it was fascinating. Now as a senior, I haven’t looked at fast food the same way again. It’s amazing how big of an impact a book can make on your life!

    Reply
  • Natalia - a side of simple April 20, 2011, 10:30 am

    I’m enjoying this “book club review” series so much! There’s probably nothing I like more than going to a book store and lounging for hours just reading away. Well, except if it’s following a good run and brunch is involved. Now THAT would be an ideal day :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 10:48 am

      I’m glad you’re enjoying this series. I love books!

      Reply
  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) April 20, 2011, 10:46 am

    Love how you said, “yes, me again,” lol.

    Reply
  • Tara @ trulysimplebits April 20, 2011, 10:51 am

    Thanks so much for this great post. I have just added 2 more books to my to-read list. These types of books are always my favorite to read. Hope you keep doing book review posts, I love them!!

    Reply
  • Jenny April 20, 2011, 11:05 am

    Loved FFN and looking forward to reading the other books noted here.

    For those looking for further reading on animal rights, check out JM Coetzee’s “The Lives of Animals”. It’s more philosophy based but provides some interesting thoughts about how we as humans view, treat and (dis)respect animals.

    I loved that it doesn’t offer an “answer” but instead gives lots of consideration to multiple viewpoints on the debate around animal rights/cruelty.

    http://press.princeton.edu/titles/6543.html

    Reply
  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels April 20, 2011, 11:08 am

    I’ve read about half of those books, and funny enough the other half – I’ve never heard of, so I best get reading!

    The book that absolutely changed the way I eat is Skinny Bitch, I bought it not knowing it was about being vegan. I couldn’t even read all of it, I skipped the yucky sections because I’m so sensitive :P Although I don’t eat like that now (but I totally agree about your advice that faux meat has a time and a place for vegetarians), I’m happy to report I more natural foods now like beans, lentils, quinoa, instead of meat.

    Reply
  • Annie@stronghealthyfit April 20, 2011, 11:11 am

    Great reviews, Caitlin. I’ve read a couple of those books but was reminded of a few I still want to read!

    Reply
  • Steph @321delish April 20, 2011, 11:11 am

    I loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It pushed me to join a CSA. My first box arrives in a few weeks, and I’m SO excited!

    Reply
  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 20, 2011, 11:12 am

    Another awesome list – thank you so much for sharing!!! I’ve read the Superfoods book and LOVED it. It’s so great to refer to on a regular basis! All the others sound so intriguing too!

    Reply
  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) April 20, 2011, 11:21 am

    I’ve read a few of these and loved them! I want to read all of them now :)

    Reply
  • Ellie@fitforthesoul April 20, 2011, 11:48 am

    some of these sound really good! like the SUPERFOODS HEALTHSTYLE book~

    Reply
  • chelsea April 20, 2011, 11:58 am

    I have always wanted to know about Skinny Bitch! Glad to know it may not be worth purchasing since I cant live on a 1200 calorie a day diet.

    Reply
  • Samantha @ Mama Notes April 20, 2011, 12:00 pm

    I personally did not like Skinny Bitch. I just thought it was too harsh.

    I liked your comment about “no one can live on 1,200 calories” because I know a lot of women/girls are aiming for that or lower while trying to lose weight. I am eating 1,800 calories and LOSING weight! I started at 1,500 and upped my calories and when I started eating more that’s when I started losing.

    We need fuel ladies! :)

    Reply
  • Michelle Collins April 20, 2011, 12:08 pm

    “Fast Food Nation” is such a great (and scary) book. I’m also currently reading “The World According to Monsanto” which is frightening…but a must-read for anyone who eats food.

    Reply
  • McKella April 20, 2011, 12:11 pm

    I’ve read most of those, Skinny Bitch, Fast Food Nation, Eating Animals, In Defense of Food, The China Study, and one of my favorite books of all time, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
    Each of these books has influenced my food choices in some way or another. Several of these encourage veganism or vegetarianism, and even though I’m no longer trying to give up anima products, the lessons I’ve learned from these books have prompted me to slowly upgrade my animal products to more sustainable, responsible varieties.

    Reply
  • Jess@atasteofconfidence April 20, 2011, 12:13 pm

    I loved Fast Food Nation, but it definitely made me not want to eat again!

    Reply
  • Kim April 20, 2011, 12:17 pm

    Ultra Metabolism is a great book. I learned about it at a yoga festival from one of the yoga-lebrities, Sadie Nardini. She said it was simple, enlightening, and life changing. She was right! I pretty much carried it around like a bible for 2 months as I worked through the “prescription”. I’m not following it as closely now, but the general principals are things that I’ll always try to stick to. The title sounds gimmicky, but it’s not at all. It’s full of simple, logical, and sometimes frightening information that will help readers not only want to adopt a clean eating way of life but it gives them the tools to do so and a plan to transition.

    Reply
  • Lee April 20, 2011, 12:19 pm

    I’ve read about half of them. Did anyone else find The China Study boring? I expected to really like it but it was too much like reading a scientific article to keep my attention to be honest.

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 12:30 pm

      I thought it was a snooze fest.

      Reply
      • D April 20, 2011, 5:12 pm

        Haha I get sad every time you say that! How far did you get?

        *Some* of it IS really dry, but I felt like overall, the awesome info I got was worth some of the boring stuff. And who says you need to read it cover to cover? You can definitely pick out sections of that book, too. I think it’s a shame that most people find “Skinny Bitch” to be worthy of their attention than The China Study (even if they don’t like SB) just because it’s flashy/obnoxious/in your face. I totally see where you guys are coming from in that it’s ‘boring’ in a sense, but, the information is awesome!

        Reply
        • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 7:54 pm

          I got like two chapters in and fell asleep. Haven’t picked it up since!

          Reply
  • Caitlin @ TPL April 20, 2011, 12:36 pm

    I love eating animals. I found it a little redundant towards the end especially because I was already a vegetarian when I read it but still an amazing book. You should check out Old McDonalds Factory Farm (in the same vein) and Closing the Food Gap. The second one isn’t so much food philosophy but I think anyone interested in food should read it, it’s a real eye-opener.

    Reply
  • Jessica @ Healthy Dairyland April 20, 2011, 12:57 pm

    I LOVE In Defense of Food. It really got me thinking about what I eat and what’s in our food (even the “healthy” food). For awhile, I gave up boxed cereal, but that was way too hard to maintain.

    Reply
  • Jen April 20, 2011, 1:10 pm

    I’m not sure if this book would really fall under the food philosophy section since it has a very sociological focus, but The McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer is really good! It discusses how the mentality and methods of the fast-food industry have infiltrated other areas of life.

    Reply
  • Monica April 20, 2011, 1:38 pm

    I’ve read In Defence of Food for a class on labour, the environment and consumption. I thought it was really eye-opening. Now, I know this isn’t necessarily a “food” or “fitness” related book, but I was wondering if anyone has read Jillian Michaels new book “Unlimited”? It’s a self-help book, and I’m wondering if it offers anything new for readers.

    Reply
  • Kristen April 20, 2011, 1:53 pm

    I’ve read most of these, but have a few to add, well, really they’ve already been on my list. Skinny Bitch is what actually pushed me into vegetarian territory. Now that I am pregnant, I am currently reading Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven. I’m not very far into it, and it’s not much different than the original book, but having a healthy, vegetarian pregnancy is extremely important to me and this was probably the best book I could find. Loving the book clubs!

    Reply
  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife April 20, 2011, 6:38 pm

    I have read a lot of these- but now I have some new ones to add-thanks :)

    Reply
  • Mrs. Muffins April 20, 2011, 7:28 pm

    I really need to pick up the books I haven’t read yet! I loved Fast Food Nation and I really want to read In Defense of Food. I have to say, I know Skinny Bitch has a crazy “diet” and all.. but Kim Barnouin (one of the coauthors) recently released a new Skinny Bitch cookbook where she focuses a lot more on health rather than skinny. The original book had it’s disclaimer but there definitely was no sense of enjoying your food… it was all about getting skinny. The new cookbook is great though and I noticed that when you go to the SB blog (formerly skinnybitchdaily.com) it redirects you to the new, http://www.healthybitchdaily.com !

    xx

    Reply
  • Maria April 20, 2011, 8:42 pm

    I loved this post, especially your review on Skinny Bitch. I have read it and the diet of only 1,200 calories a day just doesn’t seem healthy. I know from experience that eating that amount will not benefit you! It was an entertaining read though, I must say.
    Your blog is absolutely amazing. I read it every day and I look forward to new posts. I love going back to old posts as well. You are such an inspiring and motivational woman. I suffer with body image problems and I have a hard time finding that healthy balance, figuring out how much my body needs and how to treat my body in the best way possible. I love that you have such a healthy view and body image and your strength and stamina are awesome. I wish I could work out the way you do, as often as you do, and I wish I could come up with great meal and snack ideas like you have. I LOVE your recipes and the pictures of food :) Sorry this is so lengthy but I’ve been meaning to leave a comment to let you know how much I love your blog. Congrats on all your accomplishments. I hope to one day share a similar blog and to one day live a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle. Keep up the awesome work! :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 20, 2011, 8:44 pm

      Oh thank you so much, Maria. This is such a sweet comment. I really appreciate it and wish you the best of luck in your journey.

      Reply
  • BroccoliHut April 20, 2011, 8:58 pm

    I read Animal Vegetable Miracle for a class last year, and it was such a fascinating study in sustainable eating!

    Reply
  • Tammy Root April 20, 2011, 9:41 pm

    Hey Caitlin,
    What a fantastic summary of some really good books! Thanks for that. I plan to read several on your list. On a different note, I was reading your review about “Skinny Bitch” and how the inhumane treatment of farm animals affected you so deeply. Just recently I have been learning more about this and I feel outraged. Truly outraged and disgusted. And, now, every time I see a semi carrying livestock I literally tear up. Just yesterday I saw a truck hauling pigs to be slaughtered. It breaks my heart. I am wondering if you know of any way I can help to end the senseless cruelty to farm animals. Are there any organizations you work with? I have already given up meat (16 years ago) and more recently have eliminated dairy and eggs from my diet. I want to help but do not know how.
    Thanks so much.
    Tammy

    Reply
    • Caitlin April 21, 2011, 9:20 am

      Ugh I feel the same way you do! I don’t know the answer to this question, really. It’s hard to know which groups are legit and which are just fear-mongering. Also, I think the group you get involved in depends on your desired outcome. PETA wants everyone to be vegan, but that’s not realistic or even scientifically possible. I would want better laws protecting the animals, I suppose. I’ll put a call out on Twitter and see what other people say.

      Reply
      • TheKiwiBex April 21, 2011, 9:29 am

        Compassion In World Farming is a charity that does some great work. It’s UK-based, but its website has lots of info and resources on how to make a difference, most of which I’m sure would apply regardless of where you are in the world! http://www.ciwf.org.uk/

        Reply
        • Tammy April 21, 2011, 9:53 am

          Wonderful suggestion! Thanks so much. :)I am going to spend some time exploring this organization and finding ways to help.

          Reply
      • Pam April 21, 2011, 9:42 am

        Caitlin, I don’t get you ‘scientifically possible’ comment – data says there actually IS enough food in the world for everyone to be vegan, so not sure where you’re getting that.

        But anyway, while many people are turned off by PETA, they actually do do some great work, notably their investigations … they’ve done so much to bring information to light.

        But if you’re turned of by a large international non-profit, there are tons of smaller compassionate organizations that reach out nationwide – some that come to mind are Compassion Over Killing (http://www.cok.net/) and Mercy for Animals (http://www.mercyforanimals.org/menu.aspx).

        Reply
        • Tammy April 21, 2011, 9:57 am

          Thank you Pam for those two websites. I will also check them out and see how I can help.

          Please don’t be upset with Caitlin’s comments. :( She is trying to help. Most people will never adopt a vegan lifestyle. It simply won’t happen. So, I believe the next best thing is to enact laws protecting farm animals. Incidentally, I do donate to PETA. Indeed, they are on the extreme end of things, but they do make changes (legal).

          Thanks again for the great websites. :)

          Reply
    • Freya April 21, 2011, 9:27 am

      I’d recommend you adopt an animal from WWF (you can pick the amount you want to pay) or donate to an organisation like The Brooke Hospital for Animals (ie via direct debit). They help equines in poor countries who get terribly mistreated, but they also teach and train the locals, so that future animals are helped too. It’s incredible work.

      Reply
      • Freya April 21, 2011, 9:28 am

        *oh – and by helping the locals, they’re giving the people jobs, so it’s an animal chairty primarily, but the people get help too. WWF is the same I think – animals AND environment, rather than just rescuing animals.

        Reply
        • Freya April 21, 2011, 9:29 am

          *OH – and I just realised you were talking about farm animals…my bad!!

          Reply
        • Tammy April 21, 2011, 9:58 am

          No problem Freya! Thank you for the comments and the suggestions.

          Reply
    • Laurel April 21, 2011, 11:03 am

      Hi, Tammy–

      I know the feeling you’re talking about when you see the livestock trucks– it’s distressing. I second Pam’s Compassion Over Killing recommendation and also suggest taking a look at farmusa.org and some farm animal sanctuaries– FAS.org has a listing. Two in particular that come to mind are Farm Sanctuary (farmsanctuary.org) and Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary (animalsanctuary.org). You may also want to google sanctuaries to see if there’s one in your area (I stumbled on Poplar Springs that way).

      Reply
      • Tammy April 21, 2011, 1:16 pm

        Thanks Laurel! I will check out the websites you mentioned. I’m so thankful for people like you who ca lead me in the right direction. :)

        Reply
  • Alexandra April 21, 2011, 2:37 am

    mmm… not as inspiring as Savor by Thicht Nhat Thanh! :)

    Reply
  • Allison @ Happy Tales April 21, 2011, 10:10 am

    I am loooving all of these recaps on the books! I’ve read many of them already, but now i feel inspired to reread some of them, and pick up the others! Yay for healthy living books!

    Reply
  • Tara April 21, 2011, 12:28 pm

    Thanks for including my review of Terry Walters’ books…and thanks for sharing Mindy’s thoughts on Eating Animals. I have been wanting to read it for quite some time. Bookstore, here I come!

    Reply

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