Recommended Reading and Cookbooks

This is our list of recommended “real food” books, documentaries, and cookbooks. Some of the cookbooks do require recipe substitutions (like whole-wheat flour instead of all purpose flour) in order to not break the “real food” rules. …scroll down for cookbooks!

Books

Pandora's Lunchbox by Melanie Warner
Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss The Honest Life by Jessica Alba

Documentaries

Cookbooks

Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers

99 thoughts on “Recommended Reading and Cookbooks”

  1. Hi! I was wondering if your cookbook is college budget friendly! I am huge into clean eating and eating organic foods and I am trying to find a cook book with recipes in my budget!

      1. I have found, Katerina, that it costs about the same for me to eat real food rather than processed stuff. The money that I save by not buying sugar, white flour, yogurts, breads, and other processed stuff is quickly made up for by the fruits and vegatables you end up buying more of. If you’re doung fine with processed foods now, it should be just about the same price to switch over to real foods. :)

  2. Stephen Gewirtz

    For those who like to bake their own breads by hand or using a stand mixer, I can recommend the book Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads. Most of the recipes have two pre-ferments that are prepared the day before the bread is baked. For the simplest breads, one of those will be flour, salt and water or milk left at room temperature, and the other will be flour, water and a tiny amount of yeast put in the refrigerator until about 2 hours before the dough is mixed. The pre-ferments make for much better flavor. On baking day, the pre-ferments generally are combined with the other ingredients including more flour, and the dough is set to rise. Following that first rise, the loaf is shaped and left to rise again, then is baked.

    I have baked several of the breads, and they were quite tasty. I look forward to trying others.

  3. Hi, love your cookbook.. I just purchased it and find it so helpful as I make changes to better my family’s health. I’m wondering if you can recommend a cookbook for baby food. I have a 5 mos old who will start solids soon. I checked out the link to the rice cereal recipe but I prefer to have a cookbook in hand instead of looking at the computer screen. Do the weelicious cookbook offer more baby food recipes?

    Thanks for your time

    1. I love LePetite Apetite by Lisa Barnes for baby food, toddler recipes, and recipes for the whole family. It had become a staple in my house with whole food eating for my growing family!

  4. can you recommend any real food bread machine recipes besides the 2 on your website? is there a cookbook or website that you would recommend?
    Thanks!!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Kate. It is very difficult to find bread machine recipes that are 100% whole grain and that do not add wheat gluten, refined flour, or other ingredients that do not fit our real food rules. Sorry that I can’t be more helpful here.

    2. Stephen Gewirtz

      It is ages since I have used a bread machine since I generally like to make bread by hand and with a stand mixer. I have found that you generally can get much better tasting bread by starting the bread a day or two before you finish it. In the past, my breads used refined flour mostly, but since I have started planning my 10 days of real food, I have started baking real bread, and I have learned about baking with sprouted whole wheat flour — wheat berries are sprouted, and just as they start to sprout, they are dried and milled. This seems to me to be totally consistent with the philosophy of real food, although the flour (which is available from King Arthur and other sources) is more expensive than conventional whole wheat flour. At the same time, the process of sprouting releases enzymes that eliminate the advantage of starting the bread a day or two in advance. I tried this recipe from the King Arthur Flour web site: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/peter-reinharts-super-sprout-bread-recipe The bread was really good, and I plan to bake more of it as part of my 10 days of real food and afterwards. I will note too that the bread has just 4 ingredients — flour, yeast, salt and water. The sweetness of the bread comes from the action of the enzymes in breaking off sugar molecules from starch molecules in the flour (which is what happens with conventional flour when you stretch out the time between the first mixing and the eventual baking).

      The recipe on the King Arthur web site is very similar to one in the book Bread Revolution by Peter Reinhart One comment about the recipe on the King Arthur web site is that the bread will rise a bit more if one increases the water a bit as is in the recipe in the book, and I plan to try that.

      Since this recipe can be carried out in just a few hours, it seems to me that you should be able to set your bread machine to do what I would do by hand and with a stand mixer. You may have to experiment a bit, but I urge you to try it and to tell about your results here. I think that you will get a far better tasting bread than you would get using conventional flour with your bread machine.

  5. I love your cookbook! I love how well organized it is and how it helps consumers understand why it is important to eat “real” food. It’s not just a bunch of recipes (which I also love) but a lesson in how we should eat. Thanks so much for all you do and I look forward to all the positive changes in my family’s nutrition and health!

  6. I am so glad I bought Lisa’s book. I have been on a journey toward healthier food for a while. I have been reading her book and was so pleased when she shared that she had made “mistakes” in the name of eating healthy and then exposed some of those fallacies. I was making some of them and really appreciate her help. I have tried some of the recipes and got my hubby to eat them. We are not quite at the point of doing the total pledge, but we have started on the mini pledges and my hubby is on board with them-yeah!!! Thank you so much!
    I am wondering, has anyone got some resources for finding non-stick baking pans. I am looking specifically for bread pans and muffins pans. Thanks so much.

    1. Stephen Gewirtz

      I too am pleased at having read Lisa’s book after having read several books by Michael Pollan. It incentivized me to try switching more to real food and to do 10 days of real food starting soon.

      As to non-stick baking pans, I have used the Goldtouch non-stick bread pans from Williams-Sonoma. They have similar muffin pans, but I have not tried non-stick there since we always use muffin papers.

  7. I am a little confused about rice. I read in your cookbook that of course you should stick with brown rice over white rice. But it says to steer clear of Basmati and Jasmine rice…but I buy brown Basmati rice. Is that okay? I thought it still retains the bran…

  8. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Wendy. There are so many great cookbooks out there! We love Jamie Oliver, too. :) His Ted Talk is one of my favorite resources for getting families thinking about what we feed our kids. ~Amy

  9. Do you have any recommendations for children’s books that encourage them to eat local, wholesome foods? I read “French kids eat everything” it really opened my eyes to a lot. She mentions reading to your children about food but quite a few of the children’s books about food talk about how it is shipped from all over the world, doesn’t really help teach our kids to eat fresh and support our local farmers.
    Love your blog by the way! Our family has made some major change over the past year with your help :)

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi. Depending on ages, Eat Healthy-Feel Great is a good book for younger elementary aged kids. It doesn’t really go into local eating. I think the very best education is found at local farmer’s markets. Then go to a grocery store and investigate the label origins of the produce there. Sometimes my kids and I see who can find the produce that traveled the furthest. :) ~Amy

  10. does the 100 days of real food book contain all the weekly meal plans that go with recipes? I work full time and my biggest challenge is eating healthy and working efficiently in the kitchen so that I can spend my precious time I have with my kiddos rather than laboring in the kitchen if I can! :-)

  11. I have a one year old and am looking for easy simple meal/snack ideas to get her used to eating a variety of foods. I have run out of ideas. She loves hummus, pasta, pouches and cheese. Another ideas or blogs are helpful
    Thank you
    Momma to a one year old

  12. I just read “In Defense of Food” this past week as part of our family’s 10 day pledge. It is a meaty book, full of those bits of wisdom we all already know deep down. But maybe we get a little overwhelmed at the thought of all the “diet” or “nutrition” guidance out there. Well, this book is not that! It’s full of really good reinforcing reasons to eat real food! And this site is such a nice, balanced resource to keep us headed in the right direction. Thank you, 100DaysofFood, for such a great website!

  13. Tried and true popular favorites condensed into a super user friendly format — especially great for cooking together or if you’re new to preparing food from scratch http://www.WowLookWhosCooking.com

    I honestly think you’ll enjoy the way this collection walks you thru the steps of making real food. The meals are familiar enough to enjoy and because they’re essentially “pattern” recipes they make a great foundation to build a repertoire of recipes you’ll make for the rest of your life!

    Enjoy!!

  14. Hello, I am 25, single and live alone. I work full time and have a busy schedule. Does anyone have any recommendations on whole food eating cookbooks for single people with little time on their hands? Thanks so much in advance for any advice.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello Kayla. I think any of the books above are great for just about anyone. What you might find most helpful is not scaling down on the recipe sizes and freezing leftovers to pull from your freezer as needed. You can also keep items in the fridge handy to use throughout the week like cut up fruits and veggies, a big batch of brown rice or quinoa that you can just add sauteed veggies to, etc. If you do a Google search on “quick and easy whole food meals or recipes”, you will find a lot. Here is a sampling: http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/2012/08/quick-and-simple-whole-food-recipes/, http://simplywholefoods.com/, http://www.whfoods.com/recipestoc.php, and http://thefoodadvocate.net/easycookingforone/. Hope that helps. ~Amy

    2. Hi Kayla Cooking for one is challenging in so many ways. Even if cooking was really fun and you discovered ways to make it easy, these days we have to multi task everything right? I’ve been cooking with kids & teens and for large groups with volunteers for a long time. What I discovered during all of this is that its way more fun to cook together! We don’t need to be Iron Chefs we just need to find ways to make it enjoyable and that will make it sustainable. Its like having an exercise buddy, you get your cardio in while catching up with your best friend and getting out in nature—cooking together you make super healthy food from scratch so you know what’s going into your body while catching up with your friends. You can share equipment this way and wastes less because it all gets used up when you make a couple of meals at a time.
      I just wrote an article about this if you’d like to know more: “Don’t Try this at Home! Word of Warning to Those Wanting to Eat Healthier” by Barbara Zagata

  15. My husband and I have been getting our veggies May – October from our local farmer’s market through a CSA for the past several years. One of my favorite cookbooks out there is “Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food: A Grocer’s Guide to Shopping, Cooking, and Creating Community Through Food”. Wonderful recipes, and great info on how to find/buy/store quality ingredients in your community, etc. And no — you don’t need to live in SFO near the market. We live in Michigan, and found it completely helpful in our neighborhood, too!

  16. What do you think of gwenyth paltrows cookbook that came out this year? Just wondering if you think this follows most of the real food guidelines.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Alyssa. Gwenyth’s book is real food based but her recipes are more more restrictive, many being based on an elimination diet. You will find not butter, cheese, or cream and barely any gluten. She also uses a few ingredients that Lisa does not, like vegan mayo and a little xylitol. I’ve made a couple of the more simple recipes and many of the the salad dressing. All were really good. :) ~Amy

  17. My 8 year old just wrote out her list to Santa – including a cook book! Any suggestions for kid’s cook books?

    And I LOVE Tamar Adler’s book, an everlasting meal. Really reminded me of how my parents and grandparents were more resourceful and careful with food consumption.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Dona. Many of the books above have simple recipes that kids can totally handle. Beyond that, Chop Chop is a cute and easy to use real food cook book that is made for kids. They also have a magazine! ~Amy

  18. A couple of good books are:
    “UnDiet” by Meghan Telpner
    and
    “Clean Cuisine” by Dr. Andy and Ivy Larson

    Both of these books and their web sites are awesome books.

  19. I love this website and will be referring to it to remember all of these great books. In Defense of Food was the first book that I read in my stack of 10 books after I was diagnosed with gluten-intolerance. After many years of searching, I am grateful to have found that book and to finally “get it”! I have referred this site to many people because I think it is realistic and a great first step for so many families/people who are on this path. I think that is beneficial….even though I have to skip over the wheat parts!!! Thanks for keeping it going and making a difference.

  20. I just wanted to share that I bought the book Fed Up With Lunch at the Dollar Tree! Yes, where everything is a dollar! So if anyone wants to snag a copy they might want to check their before Amazon!

  21. What do you think of the book “Wheat Belly”? Is it a weight loss hype-type book, or is there truth to their premise that wheat is the cause of all evil?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Becky. Sometime soon Lisa is going to do a post addressing Wheat Belly and the like. The Leakes are consumers of 100% whole wheat and other 100% whole grains and believe them to be a wholesome, nourishing part of their diets. No one in the family has had any sensitivity to wheat, wheat products, or gluten. They are aware, however, that there are a growing number of people who are excluding these things from their diet and that it is a hot topic right now. ~Amy

  22. I thought at some point I saw a recommended book on your site for talking to your children about changing to “real food”. I don’t see any book like that on your list – do you have any idea or recommendation for this? Did I just imagine the book? Thanks!

    1. Sandy – Thanks for your interest! I am not sure of your answer to the Mexico question yet, but I am pretty sure there will be an e-reader version available (Harper Collins is publishing it and they usually do one of those). :)

  23. I recommend The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn. It’s a nonfiction account about how the author taught cooking to women who couldn’t or didn’t like to cook. It has a lot of tips for home cooks and has inspired me to get the healthiest food for my money. Although it’s not a cookbook, it does have some recipes.

  24. How about Nourishing Traditions? It’s very informative and has TONS of great real food recipes. I also love love love Jamie Oliver.

  25. Hi!
    I did not read all of the comments so it is possible that someone else recommended this book already. In my opinion it is a MUST READ for anyone interested in health and nutrition. It is Nutrition and Physial Denegeration by Weston A. Price. I am enjoying your site and am looking forward to reading more! Thanks!
    Lydia

  26. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hello Maribel. Lisa has a cookbook due to be released in January! Stay tuned. :) ~Amy

  27. Michael Moss’s “Salt Sugar Fat” is a must read. It gives a history of how each of these processed food additives have become what they are today and their contribution to obesity.

  28. You all should look into Russell Blaylock’s books; both Excitotoxins and the new Health and Nutrition Secrets have a wealth of information on food additives and other toxins. It showed me how MSG does not have to be labeled when it’s less than 99% pure product. I found MSG hiding under some other names in Trader Joe’s products. So much for their no-MSG claim. Both books are very eye-opening! You all are right in that the only way to avoid these toxins is to make your own real food!

  29. I do not see any of Kris Carr’s books on here? I think I found you from her…or it was Hungry for Change? I can’t remember.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Sally. I don’t recall seeing us mentioned on Kris’ site but I could be wrong. I, personally, have 3 of her books including her latest cookbook. She is an inspiration for sure! ~Amy

  30. The documentary King Corn and it’s revelations about beef probably affected me more than any other.

    Fortunately there are TONS of great food documentaries on Netflix.

  31. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Jenna. There is not a particular book on budgeting that I know to recommend. This post will help you when deciding what foods are most important to buy organic and which are not: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/05/02/what-to-buy-organic/. Also, check out Lisa’s 100 Days on a budget: https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/05/02/what-to-buy-organic/ and be sure to delve into the reader comments that follow because there are so many experiences shared there. And, you can find really great articles all over the web with sound budgeting advice. All of the books that we featured in this post have great elements and we obviously think they are all important. Personally, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle changed the way I looked at, valued, and prioritized food and sustainability forever. Good luck. ~Amy

  32. Hello,
    I’m a college student and really want to start eating more organic. What book would you recommend for someone who is on the “go” and has to keep a tight budget?? Thanks for the help!!

    Jenna

  33. Forks over Knives would be a great addition to your list. The documentary was an eye-opener and the cookbook has all sorts of great recipes that use fresh ingredients.

  34. Hi! I have a son that is turning a year soon. Are there any books that you would recommend concerning the amount of food a toddler should be eating and how much of each food group (like meat, veggies/fruit) he should be having in a day?

    He stays with his grandparents some days, and I am afraid they are overfeeding him. I let him tell me when he is full, but now that he’s getting older, I am concerned that we are giving him more than what he needs. Hope this makes sense! Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  35. Love the books recommendations! I would add “Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About” by Kevin Trudeau, that is the book that got me started and that everyone should read!

  36. Just wondering what you or anyone else thinks of Dr. Mark Hyman’s Blood Sugar Solution. It seems to advocate many of your ideas.

  37. Nourishing Traditions is a great starter book :) I first read it last year and it completely changed the way I look at food.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hello JoAnn. There is a cookbook in the works. I believe it is scheduled for release early next year. ~Amy

  38. I saw your recent post about new books and I finally decided to take the time to suggest Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck.

    This author has another one specifically for mom and baby (before and after birth) as well.

    This author does an excellent job explaining the information she presents as well as how to apply this practically when at the grocery or making dinner.(For example, what grass-grazed, cage free, farm raised, etc. actually mean)

  39. Have you read Wheat Belly? I’d be interested to know what you think of that- I’ve been eating mostly paleo for the last 6 months, just following the rules blindly but I finally decided to see why they recommend not eating wheat – since EVERYONE says how good it is and how we need it. Pretty amazing and startling info in there.

  40. Other books recommendations: If It’s Not Food…Don’t Eat It! by Kelly Hayford, Patient Heal Thyself by Jordan Rubin and Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo.

  41. Jamie Oliver’s cookbook “Jamie’s Food Revolution” is definitely our favorite! We are just starting out 100 days today and couldn’t be more excited!

  42. I am what my NP considers pre-diabetic. She wants me to follow a low-glycemic diet. No sugar, no grains, etc. Any suggestions? She suggests readings from The Vital Plan, but they use Quinoa, but she says “No”. HELP!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Erin. You should always follow the recommendation of your doctor, but, changing your eating habits to be more in line with what is discussed on this blog will certainly only help you. Good luck. Jill

  43. May I suggest a few more movies on the topic of Food & Health…FAT, SICK and NEARLY DEAD, FRESH, KING CORN, and FOOD MATTERS along with their newest HUNGRY FOR CHANGE.

    Being new to this site, I was wondering if you write about your relationship with those who grow our food.

  44. Another great book to read is It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. It explains how processed work in your body and cause many of health issues that people have. They promote a paleo approach to eating. Even if you don’t eat paleo or want to eat paleo, it is interesting reading and will open your eyes.

  45. My oldest is now 8 and I didn’t start cooking until she was born. I started with Saving Dinner by Leann Ely. She doesn’t promote herself as a whole food, non-processed food cook. However, she uses real ingredients. It is a great starter book for someone who really doesn’t have a clue how to use that machine with all the knobs in the kitchen. I have to give her book credit for starting me down the whole foods path. She uses a simple concept of making a list for the grocery each week and actually using it! For me, it was novel! After that I moved towards Clean Eating, but I find her recipes have a lot of ingredients and can be more complex (for the novice). Maybe it was a bit more exotic than I was ready for. I like the recipes I have found on this site because they are simple and easy to follow. (Believe me, if it can be messed up, I will find a way!) Thank you!

  46. A book that got me started with Real food or clean eating was the Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno. She is a great resource and her cookbooks are easy to follow. The diet has a couple more rules to it but is generally the same. I’m glad I found this website as another resource into the changes I am making in my life. Thank You

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