Books to Kick-Start a Healthy New Year

Keep your health and wellness resolutions or make new ones with help from the following titles.

The Rockstar Remedy (HarperCollins). Author Gabrielle Francis got a taste of working in the music industry soon after becoming a massage therapist 30 years ago. Decades later, her practice includes some of the most famous folks on stage, although mums the word on a list of who’s who for patient-client confidentiality, of course. Longevity is the key for these luminaries, whether over a long tour or over a long career – her longest standing patient is an actively touring 74-year-old drummer, no less. Francis uses her multi-disciplinary skills as a naturopath, chiropractor, acupuncturist and massage therapist for a regimen to keep her clients rockin’ and who of us couldn’t use a little of that stardust?

If your diet needs a makeover, put down the holiday treats and pick up Un-Junk Your Diet (Thomas Allen & Son) by registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen. She takes readers from swapping the bad for the good at the grocery store to cooking to reduce inflammation while leaving room for chocolate. Phew! From the doctors behind the 2011 documentary Forks over Knives comes a companion book The Forks over Knives Plan (Simon and Schuster) to tackle Western diet dependency on meat. Drs. Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman’s four-week plan helps readers transition to a whole-food, plant-based diet they believe to be the answer to alleviating chronic disease. If you haven’t got a palate for greens, Jessica Nadel can help you hide everything from kale to kelp in everything from smoothies to strudel. Writer of the blog Cupcakes and Kale, Nadel’s cookbook Greens 24/7 (Thomas Allen & Son) has more than 100 recipes to make sure you eat your greens, even if you don’t like them.

If you write it, they will cook. Cardiologist-turned-author Dr. William Davis created, tested and perfected 400 recipes for Wheat Belly Total Health, his follow-up to the bestselling Wheat Belly. He noticed marked improvement in his patients’ health when they removed wheat, rye and barley from their diet – from lowering blood sugar to alleviating anxiety. In addition to delicious grain alternative recipes, Big Food conspiracists will eat up (pun intended) his investigation into grains, including the modification made to wheat since the 1970s that he reasons is behind the current gluten-intolerance trend. Along the same grain (pun also intended) is Dr. David Perlmutter’s The Grain Brain Cookbook (Little, Brown and Company). Perlmutter’s own New York Times bestseller Grain Brain examined the adverse effects of wheat, sugar and carbs on our brain. He takes the reader from stocking the pantry with brain-friendly foods, including avocado oil and almond milk, to preparing three square meals a day with snacks and dessert! Then, there’s chronic inflammation, believed to be both a marker and a symptom of chronic disease and what holistic nutritionist Lyn-Genet Recitas believes can be both caused and controlled by diet. We interviewed Recitas about her anti-inflammatory nutrition regime, the Plan, for our October 2013 issue and, according to her experience, all good food isn’t universally good for everyone, and things as simple as food combinations – chicken with rice, for example – can trigger our immune system’s inflammatory response. But she’s got a Plan and now The Plan Cookbook (Grand Central Publishing) to help you discover your own food triggers and develop your own food regime.

And if you’re looking for a holistic approach, The New Health Rules (Thomas Allen & Son) by Dr. Frank Lipman and Danielle Claro has no less than 175 tips for taking care of your body, mind and spirit. From which foods to prevent Alzheimer’s disease to what colours improve your mood, it’s a complete guide to start the New Year right.