If you’re looking for a summer read, may I offer a few ideas that go beyond the genre known informally as “romance novel to read while sitting on the beach?”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that genre! If that’s what you enjoy and what you need right now to decompress, go for it. And in that case, bookmark this for later when you’re wanting something else.
But if you’re ready for something meatier, something that may boost your health this summer, I have some ideas. Here are 5 books that I found recently to be interesting reads that I could use immediately. And later this year, I plan to re-read each one, which is something that I don’t often do.
Note: These are not affiliate links.; most of them connect to my local, independent bookstore. I encourage you to find an independent bookstore near you or utilize your public library whenever possible.
Here we go:
5 Books to Help Boost Your Health this Summer
1. Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? by Mark Hyman, M.D.
Chances are good that even your doctor is confused nowadays about what foods make up a healthy diet. Eggs were bad; now they’re good. Canola oil is “heart healthy” (but it’s terrible for you.) What can we believe?
Functional medicine doctor and author Mark Hyman sorts out the latest nutrition science and explains the role of food as medicine, capable of reversing chronic disease.
This is a guide to what we should eat, and what we shouldn’t – broken down by food group and served up with a buffet of general information we need to know about food. This summer, I plan to try some of the healthy recipes included in the book. And I’m keeping it, a field guide to healthful eating, in or near my kitchen as ready-reference.
2. A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives, by Kelly Brogan, M.D.
A coaching client told me about this book after seeing an interview with the author, cognitive neuroscientist and holistic women’s health psychiatrist Kelly Brogan. Her lifestyle and nutritional recommendations aligned with others I’d heard in recent years (and some of my own experience), but she focuses on mental health specifically.
Brogan doesn’t mince words. She believes that “depression is a grossly misdiagnosed and mistreated condition today, especially among women – one in seven of whom is being medicated.”
Depression, she says, is a sure sign that something is off-balance in the body and needs to be remedied. But too often, no one goes searching for what is off-balance, she says. You wind up on an anti-depressant.
Brogan offers a 30-day plan of action toward “a natural high,” and recipes to get you started.
3. Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers a brief guide for helping us find silence – and explaining how our avoidance of it can interfere with a full life. “Most of the time, our head is so full of thoughts that we have no space to listen to ourselves or anyone else,” he writes.
“Silence allows for deep listening and mindful response, the keys to full and honest communication.”
4. Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility, by Ellen J. Langer
In this book, which is nearly a decade old but new to me, social psychologist Ellen J. Langer suggests that our beliefs and expectations impact our health as much as doctors and diets do. This book on the “psychology of possibility” can help change the way you think.
“Mindful health is not about how we should eat right, exercise, or follow medical recommendations, nor is it about abandoning these things,” says Langer. “It is not about New Age medicine nor traditional understandings of illness. It is about the need to free ourselves from constricting mindsets and the limits they place on our health and well-being, and to appreciate the importance of becoming the guardians of our own health.”
As one who believes that we’re each our own best health advocate, I found Langer’s book interesting and affirming.
5. Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor
After reading this book, I wanted to read everything that Barbara Brown Taylor – writer, speaker, and spiritual contrarian – ever has written. I’m still working on that goal, and I’ll probably re-read this book before I get through all of her other books.
In this one, she asks us to put aside our fears and anxieties about the darkness. By exploring all that God has to teach us “in the dark,” we find courage. And we come to understand the world in new ways and feel God’s presence guiding us.
So, those are five books I’ve really enjoyed reading lately. What are you reading this summer?
I’m Amy Hoogervorst, an integrative health coach offering grace and space for a healthier you. Thanks for reading! I also send a weekly email, the Weekly Well Check. It includes links and information that might be useful on your path to optimal health and well-being. If you’d like to receive it, please CLICK HERE to subscribe.