Health, Fitness, Diet, and Nutrition Book Recommendations
The Paleo Solution, The Original Human Diet, by Robb Wolf
Robb Wolf is one of the leaders of the very successful Paleo Diet movement. He is also one of its most articulate advocates, who popularized this approach to food and living through both The Paleo Solution and his popular podcast, The Paleo Solution Podcast. This book incorporates a lot of science and research, but is written in an effective conversational style. It is like having a conversation with a sarcastic and sort of cool science geek. If you listen to Robb Wolf's podcast, you will hear his voice when you read it. It is clear he didn't have a ghost-writer. The voice is genuine.
The Paleo Solution combines the scientific history of the Paleo diet with current scientific and medical studies on how the body works, then offers practical advice on what to eat. Robb Wolf also acknowledges that understanding what to do isn't sufficient; you have to actually do it. So you offers some advice on the reality of making the Paleo diet work for you.
Perfect Health Diet, by Paul Jaminet and Shoe-Ching Jaminet
This is a solid, well-research book on diet and nutrition that is worth your time. This isn't a book about a fad diet that is in style today and out tomorrow. Instead, the authors, Jaminet and Jaminet, apply capable efforts (with scientific backgrounds outside of nutrition) to examine the actual research on the foods we should and should not eat. Although the book includes scientific discussion, it is still readable and interesting for those without the technical background. This is not a Paleo diet book, but the authors support a diet of real food that has some similarities to a Paleo approach. They do, however, recommend a higher carbohydrate intake than most Paleo diets, though they support more fat and less carbs than the standard American diet that has made most of us sick and weak. Overall, we recommend Perfect Health Diet.
The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson, is a book about living a better, more natural lifestyle. It combines a Paleo (or Primal) approach to diet with recommended lifestyle changes that move closer to our hunter-gatherer than the typical sedendary American lifestyle. Indeed, The Primal Blueprint directly contrasts the modern approach to diet, exercise, and living with the more natural way of life of our ancient ancestors. The idea, which is the foundation of the Paleo diet as well, is that our genes and our bodies evolved to live in a certain way. "We" have very similar genes to what then, but the modern lifestyle, which hasn't been around for very long, relatively speaking, is quite different. Indeed, it cuts against what allows our bodies and minds to excel. This is an outstanding book that incorporates science into a interesting narrative by Mark Sisson, who lives what he describes. The Primal Blueprint is a book that, if you take seriously, can change your life for the better.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari
This enlightening book describes the history of homo sapiens and provides an evolutionary perspective to us as both individuals and members of a larger community. It is one of those books with insight after insight that will drain a highlighter in a chapter. It isn't a book about health, fitness, or diet, but offers an evolutionary perspective that will help you understand the foundation behind Paleo and other Primal approaches to life and diet. There is also an incredible chapter on the Agricultural Revolution, which Harari calls "History's Biggest Fraud." It is wheat that domesticated us. Highly recommended.
Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain - For Life, by David Perlmutter, MD
The next big thing is the microbiome. If you pay attention, you know that "science" is discovering that these previously mostly ignored bugs, that is bacteria, are involved in more and more functions in our body, especially the gut and the brain. Dr. David Perlmutter is a neurologist that focuses on the connection between the gut and the brain. His prior book is called Grain Brain, which attacked the prevalence of grain and sugar in the human diet and explained how this harmed the brain and contributed to brain disorders.
In Brain Maker, Dr. Perlmutter digs deep into the current research on the microbiome, explaining how it affects the brain and what you can do about it. Brain Maker is eye-opening. After you read it, you will find yourself downing prebiotic foods like onion, garlic and probiotic foods like Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Kombucha, and Kefir. Dr. Perlmutter also has a fascinating chapter on recent research on the connection between autism and the microbiome.
The BulletProof Diet, by Dave Asprey
Dave Asprey is building a Bulletproof brand and kingdom. You may have already heard about Bulletproof coffee, which isn't quite mainstream, but has a large group of devotees that swear by it (including celebrities and prominent health-and-fitness leaders). We have ordered and enjoyed many of their products ourselves, including their Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil, which we highly recommend (and suggest you add to your green tea).
The Bulletproof Diet is not just another book touting a Paleo eating style, though, like many others, he agrees that gluten and many other carbs don't help you live a "bulletproof" life. Dave Asprey goes into two additional directions: First, it is obvious that he himself is very sensitive to mold and other impurities in food and drink, so this book is a guide to avoiding and minimizing those problems, which are more than nuisances for many people. Second, the Bulletproof Diet does not limit itself to advocating natural whole foods, but instead goes into more advanced approaches to optimization, including some technology and supplements.