Okay, I know the world is full of summer reading lists: Great novels to take you away from your boring existence and transport you somewhere more interesting than you currently are. And those lists are awesome. I love good novels, too…but that’s not what this short list is about. I’ve read a couple good books lately and thought I’d pass them along to you. Neither are gripping novels to help you forget your every day life. But both are destined to be game changers in your life and health. And that’s way more long-lasting than reading a good novel any day.
The first book on our reading list, Food & Behavior: A Natural Connection by Barbara Reed Stitt details the role nutrition plays in her job working with convicted felons. (She’s a probation officer). Barbara began questioning the diet of the people assigned to her as part of their probation and saw some alarming things in common. So, she tried a radical approach and pulled them all off drugs, alcohol, sugar, dairy and refined foods. The results were so amazing that the judges would assign felons to probation with Barbara and require them to follow her diet as part of their probation. Only twenty percent of the people assigned to probation with Barbara would re-offend. Without exception those re-committing crimes stopped eating the way they were instructed. The 80% that stayed on the diet, never got in trouble with the law again.
Now, you might be thinking, “Interesting, but I’m not a convicted felon.” True. I’m not either. But do you feel sluggish? Do you have kids that are ADD or ADHD? Do you have a hard time falling asleep at night? Do you have problems remembering or learning things? What about allergies or asthma? This book gives compelling evidence to look at the food you eat and how it affects your (and you family’s) brain, behaviors, diagnoses, moods, learning abilities, allergies, sleeping patterns and the like. Many ‘problem behaviors’ can be corrected with diet alone and this book points you in the right direction and backs it up with research and success stories.
The second book on our reading list is called Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition Revised Edition by Fuhrman, Joel published by Little, Brown and Company (2011) Paperback, by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. This book actually goes very well with the above book about food and behavior. Dr. Fuhrman cites tons of research and examples (in a non-boring way) that pretty much shatters what we’ve all grown up learning. For example, did you know that 200 calories of broccoli has 11g of protein and 200 calories of steak only has 5g?
Although the title of the book talks about weight loss, it’s more than that as far as I’m concerned: It’s enlightening about nutrition and what is good to eat for optimal health. The weight loss is just a fringe benefit. The first 2/3 of the book states Dr. Fuhrman’s case as to why he believes we should all eat this way. Then, there’s a section of recipes to help get you thinking about what that way of eating actually looks like. (And for those of you really into research, the last 1/4 of the book is footnotes backing up what he says in the front.)
He also suggests a 6-week plan to eat the way he details in the book. Since there are so many life stories of health turn-around sprinkled throughout the book, I decided to try it out and see what would happen. In the process of talking to friends about it, there is now a group of us that I’m calling the ‘beta test group’ that just started this 6-week journey last Monday. I will keep you posted about our progress (And we’ll lead you guys through it too, when we’re done, so read the book now and get a head start!)
Summer is a great time to eat healthy and start better-for-you lifestyle changes. Fresh, local fruits and vegetables grow in abundance. Just for a little teaser, I’m going to give you a recipe for a yummy breakfast from Eat to Live. I’ve been eating it a lot this summer and loving it.
PS The book says to stir and then microwave the above ingredients for 3 minutes. I personally think it tastes better just eating it cold and uncooked (no, really, try it! If you don’t like it that way, you can always cook it after the first bite!) and I also add a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon on top.
Hope you enjoy our summer reading list!