Academic, Culture & Community

EarthxReads: Healthy Living

Below are 5 books that we recommend for creating better dietary habits, becoming more aware of the toxic and unethical food practices occurring in our world today, and increasing your overall health!

Food, Inc. by Peter Pringle

 “For most people, the global war over genetically modified foods is a distant and confusing one. The battles are conducted in the mystifying language of genetics. The companies claim to be leading a new agricultural revolution that will save the world with crops modified to survive frost, drought, pests, and plague. The greens warn that “playing God” with plant genes is dangerous. It could create new allergies, upset ecosystems, destroy biodiversity, and produce uncontrollable mutations. Worst of all, the antibiotech forces say, a single food conglomerate could end up telling us what to eat. In Food, Inc., acclaimed journalist Peter Pringle shows how both sides in this overheated conflict have made false promises, engaged in propaganda science, and indulged in fear-mongering. In this urgent dispatch, he suggests that a fertile partnership between consumers, corporations, scientists, and farmers could still allow the biotech harvest to reach its full potential in helping to overcome the problem of world hunger, providing nutritious food and keeping the environment healthy.”

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How to Be a Healthy Vegetarian by Nancy Addison

“Studies show that a plant-based diet is the healing diet, and whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, paleo eater, raw foodist, or someone who just wants to be healthier, when you add more plant based foods (fruits and vegetables) to your diet, your health will benefit. Many have called this book the quintessential encyclopedia of health because it is filled with well-researched nutritional information that benefits everyone. Much more than just a recipe-filled cookbook, this nutrition guide includes shopping information, nontoxic homemade cleaning and body care information, natural remedies for healthy hair, foods to help alleviate stress and increase your libido, over 110 simple gourmet recipes, and other incredible resources!”

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Caffeinated by Murray Carpenter

“Journalist Murray Carpenter has been under the influence of a drug for nearly three decades. And he’s in good company, because chances are you’re hooked, too. Humans have used caffeine for thousands of years. A bitter white powder in its most essential form, a tablespoon of it would kill even the most habituated user. This addictive, largely unregulated substance is everywhere—in places you’d expect (like coffee and chocolate) and places you wouldn’t (like chewing gum and fruit juice), and Carpenter reveals its impact on soldiers, athletes, and even children. It can make you stronger, faster, and more alert, but it’s not perfect, and its role in health concerns like obesity and anxiety will surprise you. Making stops at the coffee farms of central Guatemala, a synthetic caffeine factory in China, and an energy shot bottler in New Jersey, among numerous other locales around the globe, Caffeinated exposes the high-stakes but murky world of caffeine, drawing on cutting-edge science and larger-than-life characters to offer an unprecedented understanding of America’s favorite drug.”

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Pesticides, a Love Story by Michelle Mart

“Why—in the face of dire warnings, rising expense, and declining effectiveness—do we cling to our chemicals? Michelle Mart wondered. Her book, a cultural history of pesticide use in postwar America, offers an answer. Pesticides, a Love Story recounts the campaign against DDT that famously ensued; but the book also shows how, in spite of a ban on DDT, farm use of pesticides in the United States has more than doubled since then. As a cultural survey of popular and political attitudes toward pesticides, Pesticides, a Love Story tries to make sense of this seeming paradox. At heart, it is an exploration of the story we tell ourselves about the costs and benefits of pesticides—and how corporations, government officials, ordinary citizens, and the press shape that story to reflect our ideals, interests, and emotions.”

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Meatonomics by David Robinson Simon

“Few consumers are aware of the economic forces behind the production of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Yet omnivore and herbivore alike, the forces of meatonomics affect us in many ways. Written in a clear and accessible style, Meatonomics provides vital insight into how the economics of animal food production influence our spending, eating, health, prosperity, and longevity. Meatonomics is the first book to add up the huge “externalized” costs that the animal food system imposes on taxpayers, animals and the environment, and it finds these costs total about $414 billion yearly. With yearly retail sales of around $250 billion, that means that for every $1 of product they sell, meat and dairy producers impose almost $2 in hidden costs on the rest of us.  But if producers were forced to internalize these costs, a $4 Big Mac would cost about $11. Find out why, how these things affect you, and how you can reap the benefits of saying no to the animal foods industry.”

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