Reading List – Health


Writing this post somewhat makes me feel like the pot calling the kettle black, given the sorry state of my diet as of late.  But before I went off the rails this past weekend, I have been good.  Oh, so good.

Eating at least one salad a day, snacking on vegetables instead of my beloved tortilla chips and queso, restricting meat-containing meals to a few times a week (versus daily)…I honestly couldn’t tell you who I had become.  Me, the girl who used to live on pizza and wings, Taco Bell and Dunkin Donuts.

Lately, I’ve been devouring (in addition to copious amounts of green juice) impeccably researched, well-written tomes on the sorry state of the S.A.D (Standard American Diet).  Naturally, these books would frighten anyone into a plant-rich diet – but what’s shocking that after eating so clean for a while, you really can’t handle the bad-but-so-good foods you once craved.  These days, my taste buds salivate over a spicy qunoa and vegetable salad, cold buckwheat noodles tossed with tamari and filled with a rainbow of bell peppers, and chia seed pudding made with almond milk, raw cacao, and stevia.

Hell, I’m even making my own sushi.

This isn’t to say that I’m going to say goodbye to my beloved indulgent foods.  But they’ll be consumed more like a treat (and not a regular meal).  And while I first balked at the thought of saying goodbye to my weekly pad thai delivery, I quickly began to crave my own healthy take on it.

I’ve read stacks of books focused on bad foods and new ways to eat healthfully, but here are my favorites:


Obsessed – I’ve been a Mike Brzezinski fan for a number of years – I love her on Morning Joe, love her books (Knowing Your Worth is a must read), and love her open and to-the-point personality.  Obsessed is an incredible book that presents not only the sorry state of the S.A.D (standard American diet), but Mika’s own struggles with food.  A book that reads half-science feature, half-memoir, I could not put it down.  I recommend reading it first to dip a toe in the “state of our food industry and health”conversation.

Vegan Before 6 – Like Mika, Mark Bittman is one journalist whose articles I read every week, without fail.  A NYTimes food columnist, he’s been a vocal advocate for the whole flexatarian movement.  VB6, as he calls it, encourages the consumption of a plant-based diet for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.  Dinner, by contrast, is whatever you want.  I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now and have noticed a major difference in my energy levels and skin.  Also, the better I eat during the day, the less likely I’m prone to eat a “bad dinner”.  Last night was the exception – dinner, if you could call it that, was Haribo gummy bears, leftover queso and chips, and stuffed grape leaves.  #singlegirldinner

Salt Sugar Fat – By far the most academic of these books, it’s also the most enlightening / terrifying when you see what goes into our food.  The book uncovers how packaged foods are “formulated” to deliver maximum cravings, and how our food industry is profiting over keeping us unhealthy.  It reads like a novel – which I often wish it were, given how frightening the content is.  For real, the next season of American Horror Story should be in an industrial food factory.

Beauty Detox Foods – I totally judged Kimberly’s first book by the cover – hands down, if eating food her way would help me look like her, I’m game.  While the diet she practices is too extreme for me (raw, gluten-free, vegan), I’ve definitely adopted her practice of starting my day with hot lemon water and a Green Goddess Smoothie, and eating my food in her recommended order.  Beauty Detox Foods is Kimberly’s second book, more recipe-focused, and I’m totally obsessed.  Her Raw Taco Gorilla Wraps make a regular appearance on our lunch table.

A vain perk of this new diet of mine?  Bikini season is up ahead, and my shorts / dresses / bathing suits are thanking me for the change in my food preferences and my new addiction to Flywheel.

image 1 via

I’d love to know – how’s your diet?  Are you on a healthy food kick for health purposes, or to look good in summer clothes (either answer is okay – it’s a decided BOTH for me).  And any healthy food recipes you have, be sure to POST them!  Sharing is caring, y’all.

  • I love your reading lists! I’ve tried to make healthier food choices in general but still struggle with a serious sweet tooth and occasional refined carb cravings! The Beauty Detox Foods is already on my reading list along with Michael Pollan’s latest book, Cooked.

    • hithaonthego

      Aww thank you – I wonder if people actually like these posts. I’ve found sipping the “dessert teas” from DAVIDsTEA has help curb most sugar cravings – I highly recommend them.

      Cooked is queued up on my Kindle. I’m glad that Beauty Detox Foods is on your list!

  • Kelly

    I work as a Registered Dietitian, and am getting my Masters in Gastronomy and Food Policy. While health is on my mind year round (thanks, job!) there is something about impending swimsuit season that makes me want to step up my game this time of year. I blog on nutrition and food policy issues, and also post the occasional healthy recipe. Hope this helps!

    • hithaonthego

      Thanks for sharing your blog, Kelly! I’ll definitely be checking it out.

  • Samara

    LOVE these reading lists, Hitha. I’m adding Salt Sugar Fat to my Amazon wish list right now. PS — I hugely recommend It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig:

    • hithaonthego

      Thank you so much for the recommendation, Samara! I’m also glad you enjoy my Reading List posts – let me know if there are any specific books you’re interested in getting some recs for.

  • Alyssa Kolsky Hertzig

    I’ve been wanting to read Salt Sugar Fat and you convinced me! Just ordered for my Kindle…

    • hithaonthego

      So glad you downloaded it! Side note – how amazing is the Kindle? I can’t live without mine.