Diet Cults, Matt Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald, a sports writer and nutritionist, points out the cultural and historical foundations of food choices and their devolution into ill-considered diet fads, from paleo to gluten-free to Weight Watchers plans. In the end, he weighs everything but totally rejects nothing, even sweets and fried foods (when kept in moderation). No less than Nietzsche had a holistic philosophy toward individual health, but his diet rules were for him alone. His only suggestion was that everyone create his own rules.

Food Babe, Vani Hari 

I haven’t read her book, but the site is cerrazay! Food Babe is a passionate driver of the good and fierce challenger of the bad, based on her personal experience and response. Actually devoted to helping others lose weight and maintain healthy lifestyles. Against processed foods of all stripes — well beyond, say, Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte — to such basics as zucchini, squash and soy for their GMO ingredients. She has a legion of detractors, both scientific and commercial, who are certain she doesn’t know what she is talking about. Recipes are simple and straightforward by design. For some, a $17.99 monthly subscription is expensive – 15 recipes (a week’s worth of meals) to be repeated for four weeks, before the next issue arrives. Helpful if you find food choices “overwhelming” or that cooking time “totally sucks.” Personally, I avoid both, but try to keep up-to-date on her relentless attacks.

Nutritional Grail: Ancestral Wisdom, Breakthrough Science, and the Dawning Nutritional Renaissance, Christopher James Clark

The 20th century was the Dark Ages of Nutrition, when health experts were wrong time and again, and people meekly followed their guidance. Today, ancestral wisdom is returning as mistakes are corrected, but humans (especially Americans) remain burdened by rigid corporations, weak institutions and over-burdened government agencies. Clark’s overall recommendations about wheats, sugar, protein, fat and above all vegetables and fruits are generally consistent with many others, and the science is thorough, though provided by a lay person. His take is that cooking should be fun and enjoyable and pitches his recipes as aids for busy people with limited time for the kitchen. Curious promotions: #8, medicinal mushrooms – “nature’s immune system”; #9, organ meats — “nature’s most nutrient dense foods.” I like the daily recipes on his web site.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Michael Pollan