Even if you don’t have an extended break coming up, there is something about summer that practically demands you take advantage of the longer day and read at least a little. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial than a romance novel (did I mention that I saw Fabio a few weeks ago? He’s still around apparently!) these books are great. None of them are traditional diet or exercise instruction books, but they really made me think about health and fitness in a different way. Not to mention they were all great reads, academic coma-inducing text need not apply!
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barabara Kingsolver
Novelist Barabara Kingsolver recounts the year she and her family lived as locovores: consuming only things they could grow themselves or obtain from local farmers. The book also discusses industrial agriculture, the environment, and even includes some menus and recipes from the family’s year of local eating.
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink
The average person will make over 200 food-related decisions everyday and not really think about most of them. Wansink examines how certain cues, such as portion size, brand name, price, and even lighting and color schemes affect your ability to regulate how much and what you eat. Learning about these “tricks” can allow up to set up eating situations in which you can automatically and mindlessly make the decisions you really want to make.
Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John S. Ratey
Brains and brawn are not mutually exclusive. Through several fascinating case studies Ratey argues that exercise actually remodels how the brain functions and may be the cure for ailments as diverse as ADD, Alzheimer’s, and addiction.
Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics by Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim
This book just came out last month and is next on my list. Here’s what the publisher has to say:
“Calories—too few or too many—are the source of health problems affecting billions of people in today’s globalized world. Although calories are essential to human health and survival, they cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. They are also hard to understand. In Why Calories Count, Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim explain in clear and accessible language what calories are and how they work, both biologically and politically.”
Any suggestions on other great books to add?