I love to read a wide variety of books, really. Anything from non-fiction, fiction, mystery/thriller, crime, to – of course – books related to personal health and wellness.

Perhaps what fascinates me about books in this subject matter is that they offer a resource for the continuous development of our own understanding of what it means to be “well”. No one has discovered ALL the answers or the perfect “formula” for living well. And, we likely never will. But what we do know are distinct facts about what contributes to health and what detracts from health.

What “Independent” Books Offer

Like any topic ever researched and published, books on living well exist by the millions. Each author with a different philosophy or contrasting view as the next. Every book with a unique set of “well-living rules” and suggestions. I guarantee if I were to write a book, my slant would differ considerably from other works. Why? Because many of these books, the non-scienc-y collections, are written from the perspective of the author and include what worked for them and the methods they chose to employ to better their lives.

Although I am a die-hard-true-to-my-nature science nerd who loves research discoveries and scientific facts, I tend to be drawn towards these works. Why? I’m attracted to these types of books because science doesn’t know everything and it likely never will. After all, everyone believed the world was flat until it was proven otherwise. Same thing here. It is entirely possible for someone – the average Joe or Jane – to stumble upon a secret for living well that only adds to the body of literature already in existence. These types of works can make even the brightest and most accomplished scientist ask deeper questions and explore the “what ifs”. It can also make the consumer think differently about his or her daily habits and behaviors.

Yes, there are specific facts we know about what being “healthy” means. For instance, we know an excess of saturated fat contributes to heart disease and a diet high in refined and processed sugars compromises the body’s ability to regulate insulin. We also know a lack of sleep and too much stress negatively affect the metabolic rate. We also know specific vitamins and minerals can ward off disease and bring the body back into balance. The most obvious fact – exercise is good for us. But what about the rest of it?

What about the long list of other possibilities we don’t yet know about because we simply haven’t invested research dollars toward an investigation or it’s not a priority. These – and many other reasons – are why I am drawn to such “independent works” and I’d like to share the top 5 I would recommend every person acquire. It’s not important that you agree with what the author writes – what is important is that the words and theories make you question what you are doing (or not doing) in your life that may be helping or hindering the achievement of your best life.

Top 5 Books to Read in 2017

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

We tend to think about being healthy as only involving what we eat and how much activity we get. A large component of being healthy is related to happiness and the ways in which we act to attract or repel good energy. Ms. Rubin takes you on a journey through her year-long project and the methods she used to make useful and positive changes in her life to feel more fulfilled and, you guessed it, happy. It’s a quick read and has many laugh-out-loud moments partnered with practical advice.

Chakra Foods for Optimum Health by Deanna Minich

This book is a wildly fascinating read. It takes “food is medicine” to a new and more sophisticated level of understanding. Dr. Minich provides us insight into the body’s energy and chakra needs while presenting foods that both activate and heal whatever is broken within the energy field. It’s a perfect mix of spiritual and scientific.

From Junk Food to Joy Food by Joy Bauer

Love this cookbook! Joy is an RD and a creative chef. This book has recipes to please every eater – from the most adventurous to the most skeptical. Joy remakes old favorites and uses creative and delicious ways to improve the nutrient profile of those foods.

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

One of the biggest reasons, in my opinion, as to why the nation faces the chronic diseases it does is because we’ve lost our ability to listen to intuition. We live distracted, we work constantly, we worry more and relax less. Life is a mess – a hot one at that! I love the approach Evelyn and Elyse present throughout this book. Consider it a compass to helping you rediscover a connection with your intuition.

Mindless Eating by Brian Wanskink

I was fortunate to hear Dr. Wanskink speak at a conference in Jackson, Wyoming years ago and I was completely moved and inspired by what he had to say about consumer psychology. While he is a well-known professor at Cornell’s Food and Brand laboratory, he writes this book in such a way that it speaks directly to the reader. It’s almost as if you are having a conversation with him in person about your own consumer habits. His work offers tremendous insight into what makes the human mind think and act the way it does when it comes to eating habits. Example – people tend to eat more in dimly lit environments than in brightly lit ones. What!? Yes, folks, it’s a great read.

I encourage you to check out one or all of these books. Build your knowledge, inspire new habits, and grow from what you discover about yourself. Here’s to living well in 2o17.


Categories: Lifestyle

Erin Nitschke

Passionate wife, mother, college educator, writer, blogger, and health and fitness professional.


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