There are plenty full of research and wisdom that will really help you get there, and there are lots focused on crazy claims that will never work.
We sorted through 2014’s new healthy food books to bring you a few of the first group—from revamping your food philosophy to learning about a super healthy ingredient you may need more of. (The bogus diet ones that promised to make you skinny in 13 days while eating pizza and not working out at all? Those went in the recycling.)
Here are six new healthy food books that aren’t about fads diets (listed in alphabetical order). —Lisa Elaine Held
By Vicki Robin
Who’s it for: Aspiring locavores
This memoir-guidebook combo outlines author Robin’s experiment to eat foods sourced from within 10 miles of her home (on an island in the Pacific Northwest) for one month.
“There is no special virtue in a 10-mile diet,” she says in the introduction. “Or a 50-mile or 100-mile diet. The miles are simply markers for something else: bringing our eating closer to home.”
Rubin uses the pages to tell the story of her experience and its challenges while offering insights into how to create a new kind of relationship with the food you eat, to become what she calls a “relational eater.” From how you feel after a meal, to why you overeat, to getting to know your farmer, to recipes for kale chips and squash bisque, the book is a mixed bag of wisdom and tools for health and happiness at the table.
By Jonathan Bailor
Who’s it for: Frequent fad dieters and obsessive calorie counters
Former personal trainer and Microsoft program manager Jonathan Bailor presents the findings of his personal quest to figure out why the weight loss and maintenance programs being fed to the masses aren’t working. His conclusion? Stop counting calories; start eating quality foods.
Bailor talks you through the evidence he found, focusing on the idea that everyone has a “set point weight” that your body will hover around naturally if you hormones are properly regulated, which will only happen if you eat right.
After he brings you through the reasoning, he sets you up with a clear plan to eat more “SANE” foods (i.e., whole vegetables and proteins) and ditch “inSANE” ones (i.e., processed foods and sugar), while also touching on related topics like more effective exercise.
By Esther Blum, RD
Who’s it for: The Paleo curious urban woman
Blum’s tome is this year’s Paleoista, a book dedicated to bringing the Paleo diet to chic women who are intimidated by the CrossFit boxes and macho image the lifestyle often invokes. (Just try to get past the cheesy cover, which is heavily reminiscent of Skinny Bitch in a loin cloth.)
It goes through the basics behind eating Paleo—from evolution to why fat doesn’t make you fat—and then applies the principles to the busy city girl’s life. Think “dining out like a cavewoman” and pre- and post-workout class meal suggestions.
And despite the title’s emphasis on weight loss, Blum’s plan might just influence all aspects of your long-term health, from getting more sleep to avoiding environmental toxins.
By Bruce Fife
Who’s it for: The healthy foodie looking for the next big thing
You make green smoothies for breakfast. You eat the rainbow. You’re pretty damn healthy…but do you know what coconut oil can do for you?
Fife is the super ingredient’s biggest proponent, and in this fifth edition release of his bestselling guide, he adds the most current research and discoveries related to coconut oil’s many possible benefits, from weight loss and heart disease prevention to pretty skin and hair.
And he tells you how to start using it stat, with 50 recipes—from smoothies to curried shrimp salad.
By David Perlmutter, MD
Who’s it for: Nutrition science geeks and carb/sugar over-loaders
Functional medicine-inclined physicians like Frank Lipman, MD, and Wheat Belly author William Davis, MD, have been sounding the alarm against gluten and sugar for a while, linking them to all manner of health issues and diseases.
In Grain Brain, Dr. Perlmutter adds a new note to the chorus, focusing on how the two foods wreak havoc on the human brain, leading to dementia, ADHD, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, and more.
The book is heavy on scientific arguments but also includes a four-week plan of action to revamp your diet with healthy, happy-making foods.
By Lauren Slayton, RD
Who’s it for: Busy women who find it hard to fit healthy know-how into their schedules
Its name may suggest an obsession with getting thin (strong is the new skinny!), but don’t let the title fool you. Popular nutritionists and Foodtrainers founder Lauren Slayton’s first book is full of tips that will help you fit healthy eating into your lifestyle.
Slayton divides the book into solutions to common “Diet Dilemmas,” situations that mess with the healthy choices you’d normally make. Think office pizza parties, family-style restaurants, and coming home to an empty fridge at 8:00 p.m. after a 10-hour workday.
Her tips are relevant, actionable, and easy to implement and she delivers tools to help you use them, like checklists, recipes, and side notes on “how to boil the perfect egg.” (It’s hard, right??)