Nutrition Books

Originally written 9/6/18 as a recommendation of nutrition books to a colleague on improving overall health and wellness

Here are some of my favorite nutrition books:

Nutrition Books I recommend: Genius Foods
  • Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life by Max Lugavere:
    • I place this one at the top of the nutrition books that I recommend.
      • This one hit home because, like 25% of people, I carry the APOE4 gene which is considered a predisposition to Alzheimer’s. It’s interesting to note that other populations that don’t eat Corn Flakes and Cheerio’s for breakfast don’t experience any correlation to Alzheimer’s. So I’ve tried to construct the diet that allows me to think/perform at my best, which in turn helps me to feel more clear minded and motivated each day. While protective against cognitive decline in the long-term, his diet tips have a host of benefits in the short-term which will lead to maintaining a healthy weight and allow you to more easily meet your fitness goals.
    • Type of diet: This is not a ketogenic diet, but utilizes the power of ketones to fuel the brain. Most “diets”, whether they be keto or paleo or anything else understand the power of healthy fats and the issues behind the “7 World Study” by Dr. Ansel Keyes in the 1960’s that turned everyone fatphobic. Max considers the current western-diet to be “ketone-deficient”.
    • 10 Genius Foods: Avocados, Dark leafy greens, Eggs, Grass-fed beef, Extra-virgin olive oil, Blueberries, Wild salmon, Cruciferous vegetables, Dark chocolate, Nuts
      • Eat those almost without constraint. Just beware of where your meat/EVOO is sourced, go organic for the blueberries, preferably go Alaskan for the salmon and 80%+ dark chocolate. Nuts have a higher omega 6 (inflammatory) content but a handful a day should be fine, especially if you’re getting omega-3’s (salmon or supplementation) in your diet otherwise.
  • Food: What the Heck Should I Eat by Mark Hyman
    • Type of diet: Don’t worry too much about these “diet” labels, Mark calls this a “Pegan” or Paleo/Vegan diet – but he also wrote a book called “Eat Fat, Get Thin”, which seems very keto. So I wouldn’t worry about the name of the diet, the science is all the same.
    • Calorie Counting? A big focus for him is never spiking blood glucose. To Mark, insulin resistance is what leads to weight gain, not a caloric surplus (he says to not pay attention to calories).
    • Another read on insulin resistance are Obesity Code and Diabetes Code by Dr. Jason Fung. I wrote separately about my takeaways from these nutrition books here.
  • Wired to Eat by Robb Wolfe
    • Type of diet: Paleo book – a few different recommendations but also a good read.
    • Macros tracking: Mentions that if you are insulin resistance, go high-fat, low carb to lose weight. If you are insulin sensitive, go high-carb, low-fat to lose weight. The problem is that under our current American diet, everyone’s insulin resistant – further supporting the low-carb, high-fat diet.
    • Calorie Counting? Robb’s in the camp that both insulin resistance (maintaining blood sugar) and caloric surplus are factors that can lead to weight gain (i.e., calories matter, but aren’t the whole story).
  • Grain Brain or Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter
    • Will also have you re-thinking a high carb intake and its impact on the brain.

My takeaways: Try to get as many of the “Genius Foods” listed into your diet first, then fit in whatever else you want. Get on a routine for timing of your meals, and possibly incorporate some days where you intermittent fast. I lean more towards the camp of keeping blood sugar stable over stringent calorie counting, and have used things like Bitter Melon and Berberine to stabilize blood sugar levels. Stay away from Canola/Soybean/vegetable oils or trans fats. Include monounsaturated fats in your diet (throw extra virgin olive oil on salads). Lack of sleep and stress can offset an otherwise healthy diet.

Fitness:

  • My opinion – Do what you enjoy and can stick with. Some people swear by high-intensity-interval-training, others by steady state cardio. I dabble in both as I like the challenges that both present. They’re two entirely different worlds, but couple whatever you like doing with a healthy diet and you’ll see results. Consistency is key. Whether it’s endurance training or HIIT, I can give you some pointers. Boxing is very anaerobic in the amateurs (3 two-minute rounds), but now I’ve started running marathons and had to change up my program. 

Other tips/resources:

  • Intermittent fasting: If you can work this into your routine, it’s probably one of the best things that you can do. Note that this does not coincide with lower calories. You would consume your calories in a shorter window. Monday – Thursday here I have my shake at 11AM and my meal prep at 3 or 4PM. That’s it. But I load my shake and meals so I still get 3,000+ calories in a day. I can give more tips if needed.

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