Mike Mandel and I have been running an online Wellness Academy for several years While people join our coaching program as a way to get help achieving a lean and strong body and a happy mind, you can make incredible progress on your own.
One major step towards success: Getting educated so you understand what to do.
When it comes to diet and exercise, we have learned from the best in the field. We've both invested thousands of hours in our educations, and we're not stopping anytime soon.
If you want to take charge of your own health so you can get rid of excess body fat and build a strong, lean body - the concepts are quite simple. This list of ten books represents our absolute top recommendation to get started.
Mike prefers to read physical books. I prefer to listen to audiobooks purchased from Audible.com ... but whatever you prefer just get started! Pick something that catches your interest, buy your own copy (or get it at the library) and take ACTION.
Without delay, here is our list of top 10 books along with a quick blurb explaining why we chose it.
Book #1: Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
Without question this book deserves the #1 spot on our list. Gary Taubes is the modern-day father of the low carbohydrate diet. He didn't invent low-carb eating, but his work is responsible for bringing it back into the mainstream.
Taubes presents convincing science to explain how modern day refined carbohydrates are truly responsible for making us sick and fat. You'll learn the scary history of why we've all been (incorrectly) taught to eat a low fat diet and avoid saturated fat. You'll understand the true nature of cholesterol, and why it came to be vilified as something dangerous.
This book is an amazing resource for those who want to dive deep. But if you want something easier to read see the next book on our list ...
Book #2: Always Hungry by David Ludwig, MD.
We recommend Dr. Ludwig's excellent book from two obvious reasons. First of all, it offers perhaps one of best-written explanations on why it's important to reduce refined carbohydrates such as wheat and corn from the diet. Ludwig makes the science super easy to understand. This book is probably THE BEST starting point for anyone just diving into the topic.
If you've been putting on weight over the years this book will revolutionize your idea of "dieting" (aka eating real food and not counting calories).
The second reason we recommend this book is because of the recipes. So many people have told us they understand the concepts of what they should eat, but they don't know how to prepare the meals. Dr. Ludwig's wife, Dawn Ludwig, is a brilliant chef. She collected so many amazing recipes into this book. It's worth owning just for the recipes. The sauces are particularly delicious. Get this book!
Book #3: The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
This books is a perfect starting point if you need diet AND exercise information.
Mark Sisson breaks down exactly why humans have evolved to eat meat and plants, and recommends a low-grain, low-sugar diet backed up by science.
He also does a fabulous job outlining the three ways to get regular exercise so that you look and feel amazing. Those three exercise methods are 1) Move a lot; 2) Lift heavy things once in a while; 3) Sprint for a brief period every week or so.
The Primal Blueprint is all about simplicity.
Book #4: Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes
This book is the ultimate book about how refined carbohydrates and sugar make us fat through the stimulation of the master hormone, insulin. Gary Taubes is among the very best science journalists on the planet when it comes to health and obesity.
This is his second book and a much easier read than his first book, Good Calories Bad Calories (listed above) That said, if you feel like you are up for a much deeper dive into the science then get his first book. If you prefer a stripped down version that is easier to understand and ... just as important ... easier to convince someone else to read when you're done ... get this book instead.
Book #5: The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz
Nina Teicholz is another brilliant researcher who spent about a decade digging into the dirty details behind why fat was vilified in the American dietary recommendations. This book goes deep into the history of why saturated fat was considered unhealthy and how it led to the disaster that was hydrogenated oils.
You'll learn why so-called "vegetable oils" are something you might want to stay very far away from because of all the processing that is done to them without any evidence of it on the food label. Hint: It might be even worse than hydrogenation, which has already been proven to cause cancer.
Nina Teicholz is up there with Gary Taubes in terms of her importance on the health scene. She's only written this one book, but it is exceptionally well researched an absolutely MUST be read.
Book #6: Body By Science by Doug McGuff, M.D.
Don't read this book unless you're prepared for the truth to hurt. Muscle mass is absolutely critical to long term health. As we age we typically lose muscle and become more prone to injury, disease, and other health problems.
The good news is that it's actually really easy to build muscle and maintain the energy of a young person well into old age. The other part of the good news is that doing all of this takes maybe 12-15 minutes per week in the gym.
The bad news? It's going to require real work. That 12 minutes in the gym will be the most intense 12 minutes of your week and most people simply don't have the willpower to do this work. But if you do ... you'll build an amazing physique and be incredibly strong at any age.
Author Doug McGuff, M.D., and his co-author John Little are incredibly well-educated on the topic of muscle building for the purpose of long term health. This is NOT a bodybuilding book. We like to look good, but our primary goals are health-related.
Before McGuff's material I did not understand the value of muscle when it comes to longevity and health span. Thankfully, I now DO understand this stuff and I want you to understand it too.
Book #7: Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis
Dr. William Davis is a preventative cardiologist who discovered that his "healthy whole grain" diet was leading him straight towards Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Davis does a wonderful job of explaining exactly how wheat has become the most commonly abused refined carbohydrate of the modern diet. This book is a very easy read and is also full of excellent recipes that will help you get wheat out of your diet with ease.
Book #8: The Obesity Code by Jason Fung, MD
Dr. Jason Fung is a wonderful doctor, speaker and author. In The Obesity Code, Fung beautifully explains how almost everything you ever learned about weight loss is wrong. He uses fantastic metaphors to help you really understand the truth behind obesity and weight loss.
This book also does a great job of explaining the key role of various hormones in the human body when it comes to body fat and body composition.
Jason Fung, MD, has become one of Mike and Chris' absolute favourite authors on the subject of diet and wellness. This book is a true gem.
Book #9: Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter
Dr. Perlmutter is a neurologist, so the way our diet affects the brain is an intense interest for him. He makes a very strong case for avoiding almost all grains, almost all of the time. He convincingly tells of many patients who showed sensitivities to certain protein structures in grains (gluten), who gave up wheat and fully recovered.
Perlmutter says grains are "a terrorist group that bullies our most precious organ, the brain." Not only do high grain diets cause the brain to shrink, but they change the way we feel about ourselves, emotionally.
While it's obvious that giving up grains can result in tremendous weight loss, this book is focused more on health and wellness in general, not just weight loss. It's well written and easy to read.
One aspect of this book that should NOT be missed is the importance of cholesterol in the human body. There is so much fear mongering around cholesterol and so many doctors just don't understand it at all. Perlmutter sets the record straight. Read this book!
Book #10: Undoctored by Dr. William Davis
We've included a second book from Dr. William Davis because this one is quite a bit different from all the others. The core focus of this book is on educating yourself so that you're smarter than your own doctor when it comes to so many aspects of wellness.
Let's face it - Doctors are wonderful when it comes to diagnosing diseases, prescribing necessary drugs and handling surgeries. But when it comes to pro-actively addressing health issues and avoiding drugs ... most doctors aren't very useful because it isn't their area of expertise. Even worse, the financial compensation system is setup to encourage the use of pharmaceutical interventions rather than fixing the root cause of the problem to begin with.
You might need to fire your family doctor. Dr. Davis' book, "Undoctored" will help you know if you should, and how to take charge of your own health whether or not your doctor is on board.
Do This Next:
We've put together several awesome bite-sized videos on wellness.