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I get a lot of questions about what books I recommend, what authors I like, where do I find real food information and recipes, etc. I figured it was time to put together my recommend reading list and what better time than now? One of my personal goals for 2012 is to read more, so I figure I’ll challenge you to join me! A book a month is a reasonable goal, right? OK, let’s get started! 🙂

The 12 Books I Recommend Reading in 2012

Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD) — This is the book that fundamentally changed the way I looked at food. Not because what Sally and Mary present, but because it made me feel like what I grew up believing wasn’t wrong after all. Butter is good, grass-fed meat and game is healthy, eggs are superfoods! This continues to be a go-to reference book in my kitchen, even now, years after I initially bought it.



Real Food: What to Eat and Why
(Nina Planck) — Nina has been highly influential in my thinking. Her book Real Food is the primer that I recommend everyone read. If she can’t change your mind about real food, then no one can. It is written from such a personal stance that by the end of it, you feel like you know her.



Real Food for Mothers and Babies
 (Nina Planck) — Nina’s followup book to Real Food. Many (most?) women in today’s world have no clue what true nutrition is, let along what to eat before, during, and after pregnancy to ensure healthy, strong babies. She outlines everything you need and presents it in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-implement fashion. If you or someone you know has kids, is pregnant, or is planning on getting pregnant, then please buy them this book!



Everything I Want to Do is Illegal (Joel Salatin) — I love Joel Salatin! Who doesn’t? Well, there are people who don’t, but those people wouldn’t be reading this blog post! Joel presents the issues facing real food today. He shows the absolute nonsensical behavior of those in the bureaucracies that control our food systems. He’ll take you on a journey through the things he’s experienced and by the end, you’ll be ready to start advocating for food freedom!



Good Calories, Bad Calories
(Gary Taubes) — Gary takes a look at the low-fat diet fad and tries to show just how silly it really is. His premise is that it’s not necessarily the number of calories you consume, it’s the quality of the calories you consume. Refined foods are typically high in carbohydrates and lead to weight gain. Because he is an excellent researcher, he is able to show that there are serious flaws in the theories that we all hold as truths. He is also able to tie in the genetic and hormonal aspects of weight gain.



Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It (Gary Taubes) — This is the follow up to Gary’s Good Calories, Bad Calories. I think he’s a great author with some important information to share. He reiterates what myself, and many real/traditional food bloggers, constantly say. Fat does not make you fat, simple carbohydrates make you fat.




Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge (Gordon Edgar) — This book really has nothing to do with diets and nutrition per se, but it was an entertaining read that takes you through the journey of how Gordon Edgar became a cheesemonger at San Fran’s Rainbow Grocery Co-op, without knowing anything about cheese. I lived vicariously through Gordon as he explored cheeses from all of the world. This book gave me a new appreciation for cheese and those who deal in it.



Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating (Jeffery Smith) — Most of us are probably familiar with Jeffery Smith. He is the leading expert on GMOs and he has done a great job communicating what those in power do not want us to know about GMOs and the business surrounding them. While you’re reading it, you’ll probably shake your head in disbelief and wonder how it can really be true.



The Omnivore’s Dellima: A Natural History of Four Meals (Michael Pollan) — Michael Pollan is another author who has been highly influential in my thinking about food and food politics. What should we have for dinner? We all know that age old question. Yet, that question has taken on a whole new set of issues in today’s modern world. Now we are bombarded with all these choices. Food should be simple. But, it’s not. This book will most likely change the way you view food and the issues surround it.



In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (Michael Pollan) — Another Michael Pollan book, In Defense of Food discusses how we can make simple changes in our eating habits that will have profound effects on our lives. This book features the quote that he’s probably most known for: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”




Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol (Mary Enig, PhD) — My dad always used to say “the fat is where it’s at” and oh how true that is. Fat has become a four letter word (I guess that would make it fatt) in the last 40 years. Even though I think times are changing, most people still shy away from fat and cringe if you suggest drinking whole milk or eating butter. We need to understand which fats are good for you (butter, coconut oil, ghee, tallow, etc.) and which are bad (canola oil, corn oil, margarine  etc.). Mary Enig is a nutritionist and biochemist and she has done world renowned work on the nutrition of oils and fats. This is a great book to read and then keep on hand for future reference.



Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (Weston A. Price) — I have not read this book in its entirety, but what I have read has been highly enlightening. Dr. Weston A. Price, has been called the Charles Darwin of nutrition. The book can be hard to find sometimes. Amazon.com doesn’t always have it in stock it seems. I’ve been reading it online, courtesy of the Project Gutenberg of Australia. You can find everything in this book here.



Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting (R.J. Ruppenthal) — I encourage everyone to grow their on food, no matter how small or how large their space is. You would be amazed what you can grow in a tiny little area with a little planning and creativity. This book is great for people who have limited space, but desire to grow their own food.



Jessica’s Reading List for 2012

I have a bunch of books on my list for this year. Here are the top 12 (OK, top 16) that I want to get through in 2012:

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef,  by Gabrielle Hamilton

Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land, by Kurt Timmermeister

Holy Cows And Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer’s Guide To Farm Friendly Food, by Joel Salatin

And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road, by Margaret Roach

The Whole Soy Story, by Kaayla T. Daniel

Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World, by Joel Salatin

Frugavore, by Arabella Forge

The Raw Milk Revolution, by David E. Gumpert

The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture,  by Wendell Berry

Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America’s Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans,  by Darryl Estrine, Kelly Kochendorfer and Alice Waters

Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health, Revised and Expanded Edition, by Marion Nestle

The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability, by Lierre Keith

Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, by Catherine Shanahan and Luke Shanahan

Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit, by Barry Estabrok

Rebuild From Depression, A Nutrient Guide, by Amanda Rose


What Say You? 

What’s on your reading list for 2012? What books do you recommend I read? I’m always open to ideas — they can be food related or not. Leave me a comment below and tell me what I should be reading!


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