Books change our lives, our minds, our ideas and our futures – for the better. While you might already be considering going organic or being more aware of what food you’re eating and where it comes from, knowledge helps you make better decisions.
Here are seven books that I Say Organic loves and recommends, across the gamut of information, education, and helpful.
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II
What if someone told you that by simply changing your diet, you can completely reverse heart disease, diabetes, and obesity? And then proved it? That’s what The China Study does. There is a lot of research and facts about eating animal products, backed up by studies and that prove that a vegan diet helps us get and stay healthy – as well as myths like vegans not getting enough protein busted. Easy to read and in plain language, the book reiterates that a plant-based diet is our strongest tool against disease and illness.
The 100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating
This book documents an experiment on purposeful local eating by a Canadian couple, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon. Eating only foods sourced within 100 miles of their home for a whole year, Smith and MacKinnon experienced a journey that we would all do well to consider carefully. More about the exploration and celebration of local foods, flavours and culture, The100 Mile Diet also celebrates the spirit of communities. A cultural phenom across the world, this book is especially relevant for India today.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan is something of a celebrity proponent of the sustainable food movement, wielding immense popularity and influence. His signature work, The Omnivore’s Dilemma is said to be a concise investigation into the health of the contemporary U S food system, and has been lauded on best-book lists. Succintly, Pollan writes, “When you can eat just about anything nature has to offer, deciding what you should eat will inevitably stir anxiety.” He makes us see that what we eat affects our bodies, and the planet, putting our hunter-gatherer origins in context.
In Defense of Food, Pollan’s follow-up book, takes a look at who tells us what to eat, and why – in short, how government policy shapes agriculture and food. His iconic summation – “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – is from this book and stresses the importance of eating real, whole food that isn’t processed. With a nutrition angle throughout the book, it’s well worth a read.
Food Security For The Faint Of Heart: Keeping Your Larder Full In Lean Times by Robin Wheeler
A great addition to the conscious eater’s bookshelf, Food Security prepares you for less than ideal circumstances aka apocalypse or Armageddon – whatever form that takes – famine, trikes, earthquakes and more. Wheeler starts off with “10 reasons to be food secure” and goes on to detail the power of preparation, working together and sharing – all with gentle humour and authority. From harvesting wild food to making medicine from garden herbs, Wheeler’s survivalist guide is an enjoyable read that is also informative.
How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
We’ll let you guess what this book is about eh? Hint: It has to do with food preparation. Jokes apart, Bittman’s cookbook gets even the most culinarily-challenged person cooking bread and sauces, with simple instructions. Experienced cooks can find new ideas in the recipes. With segues into ethical sourcing of ingredients and the reasons to go organic, Bittman’s book also comes in a vegetarian version.
India’s Organic Farming Revolution: What it Means for Our Global Food System by Sapna E Thottathil
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about sustainable agriculture, local versus global versus small scale, organic food and more – Sapna Thottathil answers. She examines the politics of organic food by delving into its relevance for those who grow and sell it, their health, the environment and more. Using the state of Kerala as a case study, she talks about the Green Revolution program, rising pesticide use and consequences. In 2010, Kerala took the unprecedented step of requiring all growers to farm organically by 2020. Thottathil examines the effects of this policy across topics and how this kind of agriculture impacts the global food system.
Indian Food: A Historical Companion by K T Achaya
Although not focused on organic produce as such, this book is a fantastic glimpse into India’s vast regional cuisines, materials and dishes – and highly relevant today, when we’re looking to traditional methods of eating like seasonal diets and more to stay health and eat ethically and organically. Using sources like literature, archaeology, epigraphic records, anthropology, philology, and botanical and genetic studies, Indian Food also details the theories of ancient Indian doctors like Charaka and Sushrutha, as well as the gradual shifts in eating habits and cooking techniques.