Saturday, June 28, 2008

25 Invigorating New Low-Carb Diet & Health Books You Should Take A Second Look At

Finding a book about diet and health these days isn't difficult at all. Just go to Barnes & Noble or Amazon and you'll see title after title after title of people trying to tell you what you need to do to lose the pounds and get the body you've always dreamed of! Lemme tell you, no such book exists that can deliver on that, so you better not expect it from any book you ever read. You'll be in for a great disappointment.

But one thing books can help you do is look at your own personal weight problem and overall health to see if there are principles that can help you along in your own journey. I honestly believe most authors of these diet and health books truly feel they have some kind of positive message to share with their readers or they wouldn't have bothered spending months or even years of their life writing them.

When I wrote my debut book Livin' La Vida Low-Carb: My Journey From Flabby Fat To Sensationally Skinny In One Year in 2005, my intention wasn't to try to come up with some grand new diet that nobody had ever heard of yet to bring earth-shattering revelations to the public. As if! Nope, I simply wanted to share my low-carb success story in a fun, engaging, and entertaining as well as educating way that would give people the hope they needed to have so that they too could change their life forever like I did.

For the nearly 10,000 people who have purchased my first book so far, my goal was to leave them with a clear uplifting and encouraging message. It will ALWAYS be my aim when I write a book (and I'm working on one right now with a couple of more ideas for future books germinating in my head!) to motivate, encourage, educate and inspire all those who read it. That's what a GOOD diet and health book SHOULD be all about.

I've blogged about new diet and health books that I've read before and now I've got a collection of 25 more invigorating ones to share with you today. I thought you'd like to see what I thought about each of these books that have something to do with food, diet, health, low-carb, or cooking in some form or fashion. I liked most of these books and I think you should take a second look at them for yourself! ENJOY!

1. BBQ Bash: The Be-All, End-All Party Guide, from Barefoot to Black Tie by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig

You gotta love the BBQ Queens Karen Adler and Judith Fertig! I first met Karen at the 2007 HPBA Expo in Reno, NV where I interviewed her for my podcast show and then I saw her again earlier this year at the 2008 HPBA Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. In that YouTube video I shot from this year's conference, she told me about this new book that was coming out and now it's here. If you like BBQ (and what low-carber DOESN'T?!), then you will enjoy this very colorful and loaded cookbook. Yes, there are a bunch of recipes (not all low-carb, but all super delicious!), but there are also tips about adding just a little something extra special to whatever party event you are having around the grill. If you wanna BBQ right, then you gotta trust the BBQ Queens. :D

2. Genocide: How Your Doctor's Dietary Ignorance Will Kill You!!!! by James E. Carlson

When you want to get somebody's attention, sometimes that means using language that underscores the severity of a problem. That's precisely what Dr. James E. Carlson has done with his new book. Regardless of your stance about low-carb diets, you owe it to yourself to read this book and learn from a doctor who has seen unbelievable improvements in ALL of his patients who have implemented the low-carb lifestyle into their health routine. The more unhealthy and obese that you are, the better you'll feel when you are livin' la vida low-carb. Whether you have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, PCOS, or any of hundreds of other health ailments, low-carb could be the answer you've been looking for and Dr. Carlson shares why in this masterful book. If you want to know the truth about why the dietary ignorance of your doctor is leading you on a direct path to the grave, then READ THIS BOOK! You'll be glad you did.

3. Confessions of a Carb Queen: A Memoir by Susan Blech with Caroline Bock

Meet Susan Blech, a former 468-pound woman who backed on the pounds despite being healthy and fit as a kid and then a bodybuilding in young adulthood. But, as she says in her book, LIFE happened and the rest was history. Thankfully, at the age of 38, Susan took back her life and lost 250 pounds. But it wasn't before some rather humiliating circumstances in her life woke her up to this grave problem that she had been trying to deal with since the weight came pouring on. Anyone who has ever been obese will relate to these stories because they hit home. Susan moved to Durham, North Carolina to lose the did that go? This little square book reads like a riveting suspense novel and will entertain, educate, and motivate you to start doing some confessing of your own.

4. Why Your Last Diet Failed You and How This Book Won't Help You on Your Next One by Charlie Hills

When you've been on diet after diet after diet in your life, you become somewhat of an expert on the subject. And they always say to write what you know and that's exactly what Charlie Hills did with this humorously-titled book. Struggling to lose weight and then gaining it all back got frustrating and Charlie finally figured out that he needed to find what worked best for him (which turns out to be a healthy low-carb diet, by the way!). He hopes by sharing about his ups and downs over the years that other people can finally find that plan that will give them the final answer to this lifelong problem. And he's kinda funny talking about it, too. :D

5. The Farmer and the Grill: A Guide to Grilling, Barbecuing and Spit-Roasting Grassfed Meat...and for saving the planet one bite at a time by Shannon Hayes

If you are one of the many who are flocking to grass-fed meats and wanna know how to cook them properly (yes, it's different than the grocery store meats you buy!), then you're gonna want to get a copy of this book. Shannon Hayes grew up on a farm and explains in great detail exactly why you should be eating grass-fed beef, lamb, pork and poultry, how to perfectly cook up those delectable cuts of meat so you can maintain all the wonderful nutrients in them, and shares some wonderful carnivorous recipes for your healthy low-carb lifestyle. What a gal!

6. Fat: It's Not What You Think by Connie Leas

This is one of the most intriguing books you'll ever read in your entire life. In just over 150 pages of text along with another 75 pages of references and charts, the author arms you with powerful evidence that dietary fat is not responsible for fat on the bodies and that healthy individuals need to be consuming higher amounts of fat than they currently are to stay that way. It's counterintuitive to our fat-fearing culture that hasn't got the first clue about what fats are healthy for them and which are not. This book should be your new go-to resource for anyone who still doesn't understand why fat is healthy. Get a copy for yourself and purchase extras to give away to your doctor, friends, family and anyone else who is stuck on fat being bad. Connie Leas clearly explains why it is not.

7. The Hot Latin Diet: The Fast Track Plan to a Bombshell Body by Dr. Manny Alvarez

With the sudden influx of the Latin culture in the United States over the past couple of decades, this has produced a heavy influence on the kinds of foods that have entered into the category of healthy. Things like avocados, cinnamon, and garlic are now widely considered superfoods because of their positive benefits to our health and these came into prevalence because of Latinos. Noted Fox News health correspondent and OB/GYN Dr. Manny Alvarez introduces many of these foods to the American people with this book and uses it as a springboard for sharing his beliefs about various other diets, including Atkins, South Beach, and The Zone, among other low-carb ones. It shouldn't be too surprising to learn he's not very fond of the low-carb lifestyle on the grounds that the jury is still out about the long-term impact of this way of eating along with the supposed health side effects, high consumption of saturated fats, and the restrictive nature of the diet. Ho-hum--we've heard all this before, Dr. Alvarez. And yet those of us who are livin' la vida low-carb are still here going strong. Even still, mixing in these seven Latin powerfoods into your diet (ironically, most of which are VERY low in carbs, by the way) could be the change you need to get your diet moving in the right direction.

8. Cracking the Metabolic Code by Dr. Jim LaValle

When I interviewed the author of this book for my podcast show recently, I was pleased to hear that he understands the critical importance of implementing a low-carb strategy for people who are dealing with obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and the like because it is the only way to "crack the code" to restore your body to maximum health. Far too often the medical community would rather choose to put someone with these conditions on a risky and oftentimes dangerous prescription pill rather than implementing a natural dietary routine to bring the condition under control. Thankfully, Dr. LaValle is NOT the kind of physician who thinks this way and instead uses specific supplements and low-carb foods to produce the necessary changes in health that patients are desperately seeking. There's no more fighting with your body to get it well when you unlock these keys to optimal health that Dr. LaValle shares.

9. Splendid Low-Carbing by Jennifer Eloff

This national bestselling book from longtime low-carber Jennifer Eloff contains over 350 deliciously low-carb recipes with 10g of carbs or less per serving. No matter how boring you think livin' la vida low-carb is, this book will prove to you that it only takes a little imagination to get those creative juices flowing to come up with some low-carb magic in the kitchen.

10. More Splendid Low-Carbing by Jennifer Eloff

If you loved Splendid Low-Carbing, then this book simply continues on with that theme with even more recipes for your healthy low-carb lifestyle. Included in this book are specific recipes for Dr. Atkins' fat fast for those who are especially resistant to a standard low-carb plan. You get soups, salads, meats, and desserts galore all designed to help you stay on your low-carb lifestyle for good!

11. Splendid Low-Carb Desserts by Jennifer Eloff

If you like making Splenda-sweetened desserts that contain just 10g carbs or less, then this is the book for you! This is the third in the "Splendid Low-Carb" series and Jennifer saved the best for last with these delectable desserts that will surely add a little something sweet to your low-carb lifestyle. Whether you like pies, cakes, cheesecakes, muffins, or cookies, then this cookbook has a little something special for whatever low-carb dessert you get a hankering for!

12. Are You Ready!: To Take Charge, Lose Weight, Get in Shape, and Change Your Life Forever by Bob Harper

Who doesn't like Bob Harper from the hit NBC-TV weight loss reality show "The Biggest Loser?" That man has shown himself time and time again to have a heart of gold for average, everyday people who just need a little guidance to take off the weight they spent a lifetime putting on. When I interviewed Bob Harper nearly three years ago, he ended it by saying "You want to change, you need to change....let's get started. There is a whole life out there waiting for you.....GRAB IT!!!" With this new book, Bob continues that theme by asking "are you ready" to make those changes happen? If so, then he's ready to get you into shape like he does those contestants on television. First, he examines how and why you got to be overweight or obese in the first place and seeks to correct those issues before any diet or exercise is even introduced. Second, you get a low-calorie and lower-carb nutritional plan to follow designed to help you start shedding the pounds. Finally, Bob himself shows you in pictures the kind of exercises you can and should be doing to get your body into tip-top shape. If you ever wanted to know what "The Blue Team" has been through training under Bob Harper on "The Biggest Loser," then this is probably as close as you'll ever get to it!

13. The SuperFoods Rx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients by Wendy Brazilian, DrPH, MA, RD, Steven Pratt, MD, and Kathy Matthews

One of the freshest new words to appear in the vernacular of diet and health over the past few years is the term "superfoods." This describes those foods that are very powerful for your body because of their superior nutritional content. Things like blueberries, walnuts, strawberries, and tomatoes have been elevated to a new level because of the high amounts of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. This book seeks to use these superfoods in combination to help with weight loss and improving health. Not all of these superfoods are necessarily low-carb, but you can pick and choose the ones that work best within your chosen nutritional plan.

14. Women's Health Perfect Body Diet: The Ultimate Weight Loss and Workout Plan to Drop Stubborn Pounds and Get Fit for Life by Cassandra Forsythe, MS

If you have read The TNT Diet by Dr. Jeff Volek and Adam Campbell and wished there was a female version of that book, then this is it! In fact, the author Cassandra Forsythe works with Dr. Volek, a world-renowned low-carb diet researcher from The University of Connecticut, and has her name appearing on many of the latest low-carb research studies over the past few years. She believes in low-carb nutrition and was asked by Women's Health magazine to write a book about weight loss and fitness. Some have been critical of this book because they claim it focuses too much on low-fat and not enough on low-carb. But I think it does a good job of having people avoid the culprit carbs that pack on the pounds which is most important when you are looking for a diet plan that will actually work. The "secret weapon" behind this program is the glucomannan fiber that you sprinkle on your foods to make you fuller faster, take away your hunger, and to slow down the absorption of the food into your body. Again, critics say this is gimmicky, but it could be just what is needed to help someone struggling with their weight to get their body into shape. Forsythe is an avid weight trainer and provides specific exercises for women to get that "perfect body" they desire.

15. Lifetime Physique: 16 Weeks to A Better Body, A Better Life--A Better You by Stuart Schaefer

Have you struggled with wanting to change the way your body looks but not really knowing where to start? You are exactly the kind of person Stuart Schaefer was thinking of when he wrote this book. Helping you understand what needs to be done is only part of the process. First you must convince yourself that you CAN do this and that you WILL succeed. Until that happens, all the information about training your body and getting into shape is useless. Stuart helps you with this by offering mental focus that guides you to the point where you need to be so you'll be receptive to the message. When you get to the actual heart of Stuart's diet plan, I was disappointed to see some glorification of carbohydrates (supposedly the good kind) while saturated fat was vilified as the "bad" kind. This does not take into account the latest research that has come out in recent years and I'm surprised Schaefer chose to ignore this. In the section on the actual workout regimen, I was pleased to see he recommends working out LESS to achieve better results. Step-by-step pictorial instructions about what you do and when you do it are included so you're not left wandering on your own without having a clue about what you are doing (this is important for newbies to resistance training). It's not a bad book and the author seems like a nice enough guy. But some of his dietary advice is too caught up in the conventional wisdom that we now are learning isn't exactly right.

16. Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner by Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass

One of the hallmarks of the healthy low-carb lifestyle is avoiding not just refined carbohydrates like sugars, but also choosing to avoid those so-called healthy whole grains as well. For some people who have celiac disease, they don't have the luxury of choosing whether they eat grains or not--they cannot or they might die. Consuming gluten-free foods is invaluable for the health of people with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and celiac disease. This recipe book is not explicitly low-carb in nature, although there are many recipes included that are entirely appropriate for livin' la vida low-carb. The main thing you'll get is an education about why it is important to eat specific kinds of carbs, an explanation about why eating fat is good for you, and stocking your cabinets with the key ingredients necessary to make these delicious recipes. Bon appetit!

17. The Diet Selector: From Atkins to The Zone, More Than 50 Ways to Help You Find the Best Diet for You by Judith C. Rodriguez, PhD, RD, FADA

You know my adage by now if you've been paying any attention to the basic philosophy I espouse for people wanting to lose weight and get healthy--find the proven plan that will work for you (and that you'll enjoy!), follow that plan exactly as prescribed by the author (and don't try to figure it out on your own), and then KEEP doing that plan for the rest of your long and healthy life (with only minor variations to fit your individual needs). That's it! And that is what I was hoping this book did for people who are unsure about which plan they should choose. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. I will give them credit--if the diet exists out there, then it appears in this book in some form or fashion. But to see how reliable the information provided was, I decided to turn to the page about the Atkins diet since that is the plan that I ultimately chose to help me lose 180 pounds in 2004. I couldn't believe this registered dietitian author, an active member of the American Dietetic Association, made such a major blunder right off the bat when she claimed the title of Dr. Atkins' original diet book in 1972 was called The Atkins No Carbohydrate Diet. Ummmm, not exactly, Dr. Rodriguez. Actually, it was called Atkins' Diet Revolution. It makes you look like you didn't really do your research with such an obvious faux pas as this. Add to that under the list of "Resources" for people to get further information about the Atkins diet, she lists a well-known ANTI-Atkins web site run by the radical low-fat vegetarian PETA front group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). That's not exactly an unbiased web site sharing information about the Atkins diet. As if those two strikes against the reliability of the information in this book in regards to the Atkins diet weren't enough, strike three came when I looked at the "Sample Menu" of a typical Atkins diet meal plan. Is she joking here?! Apple juice? Grapefruit salad? Pork and peach salad? Carrots? Peaches? Corn tortilla? White beans? Is it just me or do you get the feeling that Dr. Rodriguez hasn't got the slightest idea what the heck she's talking about regarding the Atkins low-carb lifestyle? That leaves me with no other conclusion but that you simply cannot rely on her to provide reliable, unbiased information about the various diet plans. FYI--the low-fat plans like Ornish and Weight Watchers are given GLOWING reviews without the use of any ANTI-low-fat propaganda web sites. Hmmmmm.

18. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan

One of the most brilliant diet and health writers of our day has got to be Michael Pollan. As a worthy follow-up to his instant classic The Omnivore's Dilemma, this book comes strongly to the defense of REAL food as opposed to the heavy reliance on packaged creations that dominates the typical American family dinner table. What if most of the diseases we are dealing with have more to do with the diet we are consuming in the fast-paced lifestyle of the 21st century and less to do with whatever the latest nutritional flavor of the day advice is out there? It's a rather thought-provoking exercise that is worth reading every glorious one of these 230-something pages of text. Pollan is on to something HUGE her and I can't wait to see what else he comes up with if he keeps writing about diet in the future.

19. The Prairie Table Cookbook by Bill Kurtis and Michelle M. Martin

Do you remember the classic television show Little House on the Prairie? What a great show that was and there were huge meals around the table to feed all the kids and adults in the household. Don't you know many of the meals that were served back in those days were much healthier compared to modern-day America? A big reason for that was the meticulous attention to detail that our American western ancestors paid to things like raising cattle properly by feeding them grass instead of grain. Grass-fed beef is a lost art these days despite the fact it is nutritionally superior to the mass-market beef you can buy in supermarkets. This book gives you some of the history behind where grass-fed beef came from, why it is so healthy for your body to consume, and over 100 mouthwatering recipes that are sure to please your low-carb palate.

20. The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size by Julia Cameron

If only it was as easy as writing your way to weight loss (typing does burn calories, right?!), then everybody would become a William Shakespeare overnight. But alas parting with that myth is such sweet sorrow. However, there is merit to the idea of getting your mind off of eating when you really don't need to by putting your thoughts down on paper. Gee, imagine that! The concept behind this book is a good one because it forces you to share thoughts with yourself that you may not even realize were there before. Being honest with yourself about how you choose to live your life, including the foods you stuff in your mouth, will open your eyes to a reflection of YOU that may have never manifested itself before. This book reaffirmed for me one of the major reasons I enjoy blogging so much--it's a creative release that allows me the chance to lay it all out there while taking my mind off of idle things that could drive me to eating that high-carb junk again. So maybe writing is a great way to weight loss after all!

21. Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution: Turn Off the Genes That Are Killing You--And Your Waistline--And Drop the Weight for Good by Steven R. Gundry, MD, FACS, FACC

What is about cardiologists that make them understand the importance of livin' la vida low-carb when hardly anyone else in the medical community has an inkling of a clue. Like Dr. Atkins and Dr. Agatston (from South Beach diet fame), Dr. Steven Gundry is a heart surgeon who realizes why people get fat--it ain't the calories, it ain't because you lack willpower, it ain't because you eat too much dietary fat! You might be pleasantly surprised to hear him say whole grain carbs may not be as good for you as we've been told, why the KIND of fruits and vegetables that you choose are vitally important to your weight and health, and how eating a diet lower in carbs and higher in fat while getting moderate amounts of protein can and will help you get healthy simply through nutritional changes. It's the evolution of the low-carb revolution and Dr. Gundry is leading the charge! WAY TO GO!!!

22. Sleep to be Sexy, Smart, and Slim: Get The Best Sleep of Your Life Tonight and Every Night by Ellen Michaud and Julie Bain

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz! Er, uh, what? Sorry, I was catching a quick nap there before writing this review because we all know about the importance of getting in a good quality night's worth of sleep to our weight and health, don't we? DON'T WE?! Well, if you haven't heard about it before, then lemme tell you--if you want to lose weight, then you really do have to commit yourself to rest. Otherwise, all sorts of biochemical reactions with hormones and stuff like that will wreak havoc on your system until you can't go any more. The body will get what it needs one way or another and it's up to you to do your part with sleep. You'll reap the benefits of that, as the authors from Reader's Digest magazine state, including looking and feeling better and healthier than you ever thought possible. Included in this book are ways to get to sleep (interestingly, when it comes to recommended foods for sleep virtually ALL of them are high-carb--IMAGINE THAT!).

23. Ten Years Thinner: Six Weeks to a Leaner, Younger-Looking You by Christine Lydon, MD

When you look as good as the author of this book does, it's difficult to argue with the results. She's a perfect example of how her program can do exactly what the title of her book suggests. And I LOVE Dr. Lydon's emphasis on the fact that this isn't about going on a diet--it really is about changing your life through simple changes in your current habits. This is the only way to achieve a permanent lifelong solution to your weight and health issues. The best part is she understands the importance of eating like our early ancestors making sure we get adequate protein in our diet to aid muscle growth which leads to the burning of stored fat and she articulates beautifully why consuming fat will have a "slimming effect" that most people have no idea about because they are scared witless about eating any. Unfortunately, when it comes to carbs she's not quite on the same page as most low-carbers are and describes a low-carb ketogenic diet as "a recipe for disaster." That's too bad, but you might be interested in reading this book to see her reasons WHY she believes that as an intellectual exercise in challenging what you believe. Although she wasn't very flattering towards low-carb diets, Dr. Lydon does show how you can give your body a good workout without lifting a single weight or going to the gym (using your own body weight instead). It's not a bad book overall, so you might want to check it out.

24. Easy Living Low-Carb Cooking: Over 150 Induction-Friendly Recipes by Theresa Sloan and Tracy Westbrook

If you are just starting off on the low-carb lifestyle and following Induction, then you may need some guidance about how you can cook up simple, easy-to-follow recipes that are low enough in carbohydrates for those early days of your brand new lifestyle change. For some of us, we have to stay pretty low with our carb intake ALL THE TIME, so having a cookbook full of recipes that contain no more than 6g carbs each is a real lifesaver. And these aren't boring recipes either--you get to make fried cheese sticks, low-carb fajitas, breaded pork chops, homemade vanilla ice cream, Bavarian cream pudding. The list goes on and on with delicious and nutritious foods that will keep you livin' la vida low-carb without the worry of eating too many carbohydrates. This is DEFINITELY a book that every new and old low-carber should have on hand when you need a creative shot in the arm for your low-carb lifestyle.

25. Healthiest Meals on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What Meals to Eat and Why by Dr. Jonny Bowden

If you haven't been following this series of books from Fair Winds Press by Dr. Jonny Bowden the past couple of years, then you don't know what you've been missing. It all started with The 150 Healthiest Foods On Earth early last year followed by The Most Effective Natural Cures On Earth just a few months back. Now this new book incorporates many of the foods from those two books to provide some yummy to your tummy recipes that both taste good and are good for you. For those of you who are new to Jonny's books, you have to know that he wrote Living The Low-Carb Life--the book I believe is THE must-have book for every low-carber to own because it clearly outlines what this way of eating is all about. In these newer books, Jonny's fervor for healthy low-carb living has not diminished one bit. GET THESE BOOKS and tell everyone you know about them because they are heads and tails above what most nutrition "experts" are sharing nowadays. I can't wait for people to meet Dr. Jonny Bowden in person on the January 2009 low-carb cruise.

Got a new diet or health book that you think I should know about? Feel free to bring it to my attention by e-mailing me at I will try my best to read it, review it, and then share about it here. Keep your eyes open for later this year when there will be a TON of new books about livin' la vida low-carb coming out. I CAN'T WAIT! :)

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Blogger JD said...

Interesting on how many NEW books there are that emphasize low carb WOE. Low carb is definitely NOT dead. Thanks for the list.

6/30/2008 11:54 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

THANK you! I appreciate the plug for my cookbooks.

7/02/2008 12:31 PM  

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