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!


100 Days of Real Food Fast & Fabulous Cookbook Cover100 days of real food on a budget cookbook cover
meal planner cover
Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers



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

99 thoughts on “Recommended Reading and Cookbooks”

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  1. 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

  2. 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). :)

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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!

  6. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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: Also, check out Lisa’s 100 Days on a budget: 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

  12. 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!!


  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

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

  17. 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

  18. 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)

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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