When I initially went vegan back in 2010, I found myself devouring book after book about plant-based living. Some were better than others and there is plenty of “pseudo-science” out there which can be kind of frustrating. But as I dove deeper into various topics, I found a few books to be a huge motivator in eating a plant-based diet.
Today, I’m a vegetarian which means I still eat things like dairy and eggs, but I’ve found myself gravitating more towards plant-forward meals. I’m trying to rely less on things like cheese (which can easily become the backbone of every vegetarian meal) and I’m trying to put more plants into the spotlight.
Whether you’re looking for a boost of motivation to eat your veggies or you’re curious about a plant-based lifestyle in general, these are some of the books that I’ve found to be the most helpful on my own journey. P.S. This post contains affiliate links.
In Defense of Food
Michael Pollan’s book was one of the first books I read that talked about “healthy” eating in a new light. He touches on specific challenges in our society and how we’ve completely overcomplicated things. In some ways, this book might offer a solution that seems overly simplistic. But in a world where food choices can feel so complicated, it might be a welcome relief. This is a great book to start with if you’re spending more time thinking about what goes into the foods we eat.
The China Study
This book is a collection of nutrition research by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. It has been called “The most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted.” Flip through the pages and you’ll see why. This book reads more like a research paper than a novel. It might not be the best one to start with if you’re just dipping your toes in, but if you’re really curious about the long term effects of meat and dairy, this book does an amazing job of showing study after study that reinforce the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.
Whole is sort of a follow up to The China Study and although it was written later, I’d recommend starting with this one first. It’s written in a more digestible format and it speaks to why dietary recommendations are so complicated. It covers the reasons why our society faces the problems it does and why the traditional research methods that study one variable at a time can make it difficult to understand the bigger picture. I’d recommend reading this first and then digging into The China Study.
Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health
Food Politics is less about specific nutrition principles and more about the policies that got us where we are today. This book got me fired up. While I knew things like school lunches were often missing the mark, I had no idea how corrupt the whole food system has become. Learning about various marketing tactics and political lobbying that happens in the food industry opened my eyes to why we eat what we eat.
The Dorito Effect
I found The Dorito Effect to be a fascinating (and less scientifically dense) read. It digs deep into the impacts of industrialized food production. I know that might sound kind of boring, but it looks at how we’ve engineered certain flavors and why certain crops like tomatoes have started to taste differently over the years. This was a pretty entertaining read and it even made me think more about eating seasonal produce.
I’m always looking for more books to read about food and nutrition so if you have any recommendations for me, leave a comment below and let me know!