How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

Authors: Michael Greger, M.D., Gene Stone

I’m way too busy (or lazy) to verify the quality of the myriad scientific papers and studies referenced throughout this book. I haven’t counted them either, but there are surely hundreds of them. So, instead I’ll just assume that at least half of what I read in this book can be discarded as flimsy. That still leaves the unignorable other half, which is a lot.

My take-away from the book is that a plant-based diet is shown repeatedly in research to improve the quality of human health. In general, I am convinced of this. At the same time, I recognize that there’s an asterisk on much of this because of the challenges inherent in nutrition research.

Personally, since I am a big fan of fruits and veggies, it’s not too hard to make them the bulk of my diet!

If you’re interested in nutrition, I think this book is worth reading. The author definitely unearths some obscure research about different foods and diseases. If you read it and happen to take the time to fact-check his sources, please let me know!

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Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Author: Matthew Walker PhD

We all have a relationship with sleep. We tend to understand that sleep is important, but I think many don’t give it enough credit. This book hit me early with a profound fact: “Without exception, every animal species studied to date sleeps, or engages in something remarkably like it.”

The author of this book, Matthew Walker, is a sleep researcher. He doesn’t think his profession has done a good enough job communicating the science of sleep nor the implications of not sleeping enough. So he wrote this book. I, as a reader, am thoroughly convinced.

Walker references dozens of studies that all highlight aspects of the same core conclusion – sleep is critical to high physical and mental performance, and there’s no way to cheat it.  If you are sleep deprived at all (even 60 minutes matters), you aren’t functioning at your best. Moreover, if you’re sleep deprived you are opening the door to all sorts of diseases because your immune system isn’t operating at 100%.

I think this book is applicable to everybody – whether you’re already a good sleeper or not – for the insight that it brings around how to improve sleep quality.

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I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

Author: Ed Yong

What an eye-opener this book is! Microbes like bacteria and archaea are everywhere. They live on pretty much every species and surface. And, their lives impact ours in myriad complex ways.

Our species has co-evolved with many of the bacteria we live with today. So much so that if we were born in sterile environments, we’d turn out abnormal!

We still know arguably very little about the myriad species of bacteria that live in and among us, but scientists have started realizing their importance and digging in to learn more.

New techniques for DNA sequencing have opened the door to better classification of the microbe species. This book offers a great introduction to the world of microbes. If you’re into health, biology, or science in general – this one is for you.

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How bad science helps shape food ‘facts.’ 

You may have heard one of my rants about the lack of good research on diet and nutrition. The lack of good research makes it easy for bad research to get noticed. Things like statistical “p-hacking” are a real threat to those of us who want to learn truths while avoiding misinformation. learn more