4 books that will change how you think about food

We all have certain philosophies when it comes to food. We can choose to buy all local and organic foods, source meat from a local farmer, eat out as often as we can, or find the most economical ways to feed the family. But, how do we make conscious decisions to choose our philosophies? Traditions, our environment, our budget and our community certainly play a part in that process.

In my own journey on the road to living a healthy life, a number of books have played a role in shaping my own beliefs. The research and real-life experiences have influenced how I look at my diet, our culture and my responsibility to create a healthier planet.

Below are the books that have been most helpful for me in my journey:

  1. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan. Michael Pollan was the first to challenge how I thought about my food, where it comes from and why I should care. This is an in- depth look at the origins of our food supply. And when I say in-depth, I mean you will be amazed how much you learn about a kernel of corn. If you’d like a lighter version, Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” gets the main points across without so much (awesome) detail.
  2. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser. If you are trying to kick your McDonald’s french fry or chicken nugget habit, read this book immediately. Eric Schlosser’s investigation into the fast food industry not only guaranteed I’d never walk into a fast food joint again, but also dug deep on how the industry has changed our entire culture. “Fast Food Nation” just celebrated its 10th anniversary and Schlosser wrote a sad yet hopeful afterward that is worth a read.
  3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. This exceptional tale by Barbara Kingsolver reads more like a novel than a non-fiction investigation. Kingsolver and her family go on a yearlong adventure of only eating locally grown food. I learned so much about the local food concept, how I can personally be involved, and what to do with a bumper zucchini crop. (Of course I opted for the chocolate zucchini cookies). The book also has great recipes at the end of each chapter.
  4. The China Study by Thomas M. Campbell and T. Colin Campbell. I will admit, I was scared to read this book because I knew it would have an affect on my diet. I wasn’t sure I was ready for more changes in how I look at food. I’m so glad I dove in and went for it. “The China Study” examines the link between nutrition and illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  This book evoked so many “Oh. My. God.” moments for me that my husband was seriously worried. Yet it was the catalyst for my transition to a plant -based diet, which has resulted in plummeting cholesterol levels and an abundance of energy. Go me!

What about you? Do you have a food philosophy? Have you read any of these books? What other books have you come across that have affected your food philosophy?

About Jen Hjelle

Jen Hjelle is passionate about health. She firmly believes leading a healthy lifestyle is different for everyone. For Jen it involves cooking tasty dishes, staying fit through biking, running and yoga, and connecting with awesome friends over good wine. You can also find Jen on her blog, Jen and Company.

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