Recommended Reading

When it comes to health, much has been written, and little of it good. This page lists the best. It contains health and nutrition references that are written for the layman, but generally contain clear explanations and references to the scientific literature. The few exceptions that do not contain references are noted.

by Eric Armstrong


"Must Read" Index

Short and Sweet:

Scientific and Informative:

Longer, But Highly Readable:

Complete and Authoritative:

Books on nutrition and agriculture Free!

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Nutritional Health

Well-written books of general interest to everyone. These books tell you what you need to know to stay healthy.


Colgan, Michael. Optimal Sports Nutrition: Your Competitive Edge.
Advanced Research Press, New York, 1993.
A must for any serious athlete. The definitive guide to sports nutrition from a trainer of champions in sports as diverse as body-building and marathon running. Very readable. Very scientific.

Erdmann, Robert, Ph.D. Fats That Can Save Your Life. Progressive Health Publishing, Encinitas CA.
A well-written, enlightening synopsis of the mechanisms responsible for the powerful effects of both good and bad fats and oils. Excellent description of CIS and TRANS fatty acids, and an eye-opening description of the way even “Extra Virgin” Olive Oil is processed. Read this, and you’ll never touch anything partially hydrogenated again. (Out of print, most unfortunately.)

Fife, Bruce. Detox. Healthwise, 2001.
The best discussion I've seen of the techniques and methods for removing the poisons that have accumulated in the body, sprinkled with inspiring stories of people who have overcome major health problems like cancer and heart disease by changing their diet and cleaning their insides.

Fife, Bruce. Eat Fat, Look Thin. HealthWise, 2002.
A nicely written book that tells how to get thin happily, with nourishing, satisfying foods that taste good. But it has a wealth of other information besides, including the truth about cholesterol and a history of how natural fats came to be replaced by petroleum derivatives, as well as valuable information on coconut oil that didn't make it into his book, The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil.

Fife, Bruce. The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil. Piccadilly Books, 2003.
Like Coconut Oil for Health and Beauty, this slim volume contains a wealth of information on coconut oil and how it works to keep you thin, energetic, healthy, and good looking.

Finnegan, John, The Facts About Fats. Celestial Arts, Berkeley, 1993.
Another review of the importance of EFAs with several new and interesting insights. Especially valuable for its detailed review of Johanna Budwig's dietary regimen.

Fuhrman, Joel, MD. Eat to Live. Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 2003.
Superb book on the power of natural green foods to promote health.

Fuhrman, Joel, MD. Fasting and Eating for Health. St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1995.
By a devotee of Herbert Shelton who became an MD. This is the first book to present a strong scientific case for the process and benefits of fasting. It shows how many diseases of modern civilization are caused, and how they can be cured through fasting.

Gittleman, Ann Louise. Eat Fat, Lose Weight : The Right Fats Can Make You Thin for Life. Keats Publishing, Lincolnwood, Ill. 1999.
A good book that emphasizes the health and obesity relationship of fatty acids. Very quotable prose and a good summary of the literature. Doesn't go into as much depth as some, but a good read.

Holzapfel, Cynthia and Laura. Coconut Oil for Health and Beauty. Healthy Living Publications, 2003.
A short, quick read that includes a wonderful introduction to the science of fats and explains the health benefits of coconut oil.

Murray, Michael T. and Beutler, Jade. Understanding Fats & Oils : Your Guide to Healing With Essential Fatty Acids. Progressive Health Publishing, Encinitas, CA. 1996
A slim volume that provides a splendid introduction to the science of essential fatty acids, complete with diagrams. It also outlines their effects on the human body.

Specific Health Conditions

These books focus on specific health conditions.

Nolfi, Kristine, M.D. Raw Food Treatment of Cancer. TEACH Services, Brushton NY, 1995.
A very small job that does a wonderful job of explaining how a raw food can be such an incredibly effective treatment for cancer, as well as diabetes, heart conditions, skin conditions, and many other conditions.

Yoga, Exercise, and Healthy Living

Kime, Zane R. Sunlight. World Health Publications, Penryn CA, 1980.
An astonishingly well-written book with a wealth of nutritional information and how it relates to sunlight. A must read. The only flaw in this otherwise fine book is that it frequently confuses polyunsaturated fats with the trans fats and other adulterated fats that come from heat processing. At times, the distinction is clear. But at other times, the author refers to "polyunsaturates" when he means "refined oils". But with that one exception, this is a fine, fine book. Related reading: Johanna Budwig's book Flax Oil (to understand the quantum physical effects of sunlight on fatty acids) and Erdmann's quick read, Fats That Can Save Your Life, to be clear on the huge difference between healthy polyunsaturates and the metabolic poisons that result from heat treating them.

Lidell, Lucy, The Sivananda Companion to Yoga. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1983.
Beautiful illustrations and explanations of Yoga's effect on the human body and the human spirit.

Rama, Swami, and Hymes, Alan. Science of Breath: A Practical Guide.
Himalayan Institute Press, Honesdale, PA, 1988
Yogi Ramacharaka, Science of Breath, Yoga Publication Society, ___, 1940.
A great distillation of the physiological processes that underlie good breathing. Good science, as well as practical.

Yogi Vithaldas. Yoga System of Health and Relief from Tension. Cornerstone Library; 1981.
The first book I ever read on Yoga, and still my favorite. Short, but with a great set of exercises. The only thing it misses is stretches for the inner-legs, so I add the sitting straddle (legs apart, bend forward) and butterfly stretch (sit with soles of feet together, bend forward) after the forward-bending poses in the book.

Nutritional Science

Asimov, Issacc. The Chemicals of Life. New American Library, New York, 1954.
A classic volume that readily explains proteins, enzymes, and vitamins for the interested layman. Concise and easy to read, but sadly out of print. Can be found in used book stores, though.

Budwig, Dr. Johanna. Flax Oil as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer, and Other Diseases. Apple Publishing, Vancouver, BC, CAN.
A real eye opener by a 7-time nominee for a Nobel prize. She’s spent a lifetime studying the quantum physics of lipids (fats & oils) and how they combine with sulfur-containing proteins. Poorly translated and difficult to follow (paragraph breaks would help). But shows how fats work with proteins to combine with oxygen, absorb photon energy from the sun, and serve as miniature molecular “batteries” for the cells. Also out of print, unfortunately.
See also: The Facts About Fats

Enig, Dr. Mary. Know Your Fats. Bethesda Press, 2000.
An essential introduction to the science of fatty acids. A readable reference guide that describes the types of fats, their sources, and their metabolism.

Erasmus, Udo. Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill. Alive Books, Burnaby, BC, CAN.
A well-written, easy-to-read description of fats & oils that shows how vital the good ones are, how deadly the bad ones are, and how “modern” refining methods turn good oils into bad ones. For more information, see

Guyton and Hall. Textbook of Medical Physiology. W B Saunders, 10th edition 2000.
A large, expensive, but wonderfully readable textbook that explains how your body works.

Memmler, et al, Memmler's Structure and Function of the Human Body. Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1996.
Great textbook on human physiology.
See also:The Human Body in Health and Disease

Pauling, Linus. How to Live Longer and Feel Better. W.H. Freeman and Company, New York, 1986.
A classic introduction to nutritional biochemistry by a two-time Nobel Prize winner. Strong emphasis on Vitamin C metabolism, by the pioneer in Vitamin C research.

Shrodinger, Erwin. What is Life? Cambridge University Press, New York, 1967.
This wonderful little book explains the quantum processes that produce entirely new compounds when sufficient heat, pressure, or radioactive bombardment exceeds the "threshold energy" required to destabilize a molecule. (pp. 53..55)

Thibodeau and Patton, The Human Body in Health and Disease. Mosby, St. Louis, 1997.
Another great textbook on human physiology that also discusses the effects of many disease conditions.
See also: Structure and Function of the Human Body

"Alternative" Nutrition

These titles are more esoteric and more focused on alternatives, but they will be interesting to some readers.

Colgan, Michael. Hormonal Health, Apple Pub Co Ltd, Vancouver, BC, 1996.
Well written, with a lot of useful information about growth hormone, testosterone, and estrogen.

Diamond, Harvey & Marilyn. Fit For Life. Warner Books, New York NY, 1985.
A comprehensive introduction to a natural diet system. A lot of unsubstantiated material on food-combining, but an absolutely scathing indictment of dairy products.

Diamond, Harvey & Marilyn. Fit For Life II. Warner Books, New York NY, 1989.
An even more thorough and comprehensive follow-up to their first book, with an even more detailed rebuttal on the use of pasteurized dairy products. Note: Even though food combining is discredited (it works mainly because you eat healthy foods), the information content is first rate.

Diamond, Marilyn & Schell, Dr. Donald. Fitonics. Avon Books, New York NY, 1996.
A toned-down, sensible version of the food-combining philosophy, along with a lot of other useful information in a really good book with a really bad title.

Ehret, Arnold. The Mucusless Diet Healing System.
A classic on the subject of fasting and the effects of a natural diet.

Faigin, Rob. Natural Hormonal Enhancement, Extique Publishing, Cedar Mountain, NC. (
A difficult read with a lot of scientific references and a lot of technical information, but very valuable for the same reasons.

Graham, Judy. Evening Primrose Oil. Healing Arts Press, Rochester, VT, 1989.
A summary of the studies done with Evening Primrose Oil and of the biochemical mechanisms by which it works.

Howell, Dr. Edward. Enzyme Nutrition: The Food Enzyme Concept.
Avery Publishing Group, Wayne NJ, 1985.
A valuable introduction to the importance of enzymes in foods.

Scott, Cyril. Cider Vinegar. Benedict Lust Publications, New York, NY, 1984
Not a single reference that would provide more information, but contains some useful tidbits of information.

Unknown. The Miracle of Garlic and Vinegar, Globe Communications Corp, Boca Raton, FL, 1992.
A small volume from a supermarket checkout stand. No references, but more useful tidbits.

Wolfe, David. Sunfood Diet Success System. Maul Brothers Publishing, San Diego, CA, 1999
A really superb book on the importance of raw foods, with tips on how to transition into a mostly-raw diet. A lot of spiritual content as well, which is at times delightful and at other times excessive. It accounts for half the book, which can make the awesome nutritional content harder to find. A great read nonetheless, either in spite of or because of that material, depending on your mind set. The author's major contribution to the raw food movement is the identification of the "magical three": greens (=protein & minerals), sugar/fruits (=carbohydrates & energy), fatty foods (avocados, nuts, durians). In addition, he makes the brilliant assertion that the desire for animal foods comes from the need for fat, not protein. That single fact makes a vegetarian diet accessible!

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