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5 Game-changing Health Books to Add to Your Reading List


Did you finish all those hot beach reads from this summer?! Good for you, little bookworm. Luckily, we've compiled our favorite health and wellness related reads for you to dig into! The irony of this post is that I don't even really like books (20 people from my small town private college just cried a silent tear, and swore me off as a friend, but whatever). However, these books are SO GOOD that they made this non-reader become a full on, can't put it down, always have a book in my purse, READER (...and audiobook listener). These reads have not only shaped the way I live my life, but completely changed how I see patients as a physician. Here's what's hot!

1. Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin

I could tell you this book was ok... but I'd be lying. It's AMAZING. It's the only book I've read twice this year (that's a lot to ask from me). Dr. Rankin followed in her father's footsteps to become medical doctor. In Mind Over Medicine she explores the power that your mind holds over your health. This isn't some voodoo-find your spirit-wishy washy-guru book. Ever heard of the placebo effect? Dr. Rankin looks at research on the placebo effect (think: sugar pills), which is literally the power that your mind has over your health outcomes. Do you know someone who despite all the garbage they eat, booze they drink, or cigarettes they smoke, is still pretty healthy? I have family members that I look at and think "how are you not dead yet?" (nice of me, I'm aware). But as Dr. Rankin explains, their reason for good health could be a healthy mind, and mindset. It may finally answer the question: why can french people get away with eating bread all day? One of the most memorable examples of "mind over medicine" (and this book is FULL of them), is this scenario of a person with multiple personality disorder: A woman in her mid thirties who has multiple personalities (clinically diagnosed for several years) has routine blood work performed. When she is person #1 she has normal blood sugar levels, and passes her glucose test with flying colors. When she is person #2, she declares that she is a diabetic, and it's true. When she is person #2, her blood sugar levels are off the charts! WHAT?! Read (or listen on audible) to this book, and it will change how you think about your own health and could be as drastic of a change for you as it was for me. 

2. Sweetening the Pill by Holly Grigg-Spall

You might have read our rants, or listened to this podcast on birth control. If you learned anything from those, you'll completely dig this book. And if you haven't learned the ins and outs of hormonal birth control yet, you should. Whether you're a female on the pill yourself, formerly on the pill in the past, or have a daughter/friend/mother/sister that COULD BE or has been on the pill - this info is essential! In this book you learn not only why birth control pills came around in the first place (hint: not actually created by ladies, or with ladies in mind), but also how they've been marketed, and eventually exploded to the point where 80% of all women take hormonal birth control at some point in their lives. You'll also learn common side effects that you might have blamed yourself for in the past (i.e. weight gain, paranoia, depression, irritability, low sex drive). If you're drawn to any of the following topics: business, marketing, sociology, gender roles, feminism, or health care - you'll feel smarter after reading this. Guys... Men... did I mention this book could explain the mysteries of your lady friends, or be KEY in raising a teenage daughter? It's true, there's a little menstruation talk in here, but none of it's gross or detailed so you'll make it through if you man up a bit... ;) 

3. A Mind of Your Own by Kelly Brogan

Are you the kind of person who hears studies on the news and is immediately swayed? For instance: "You're twice as likely to die if (fill in the blank)", or "Taking this pill cuts your risk of this in half!" Welp, reality check. Kelly Brogan (an MIT and Cornell educated medical doctor) explains how and why the research and health news is swayed by the companies with the most money. Unfortunately you can't believe everything that says "research" or "study" around it, because alas, there are some real shady people in the world. It's also why you won't see her book publicized by large bookstores (cue grassroots movement)! On this same topic, I highly suggest finding her podcast episode with Sean Croxton where she delves into realistic research a little deeper.

Also in A Mind of Your Own, Dr. Brogan explains why drugs might not be the best answer to depression. She's got LEGITIMATE studies to prove why changing your diet, improving your gut health, and other natural remedies are actually more effective than popping pills. This book is basically one massive toolbox to help you take charge of your physical and mental health. If you've ever needed a kickstart to start your own health revolution, this is it. Let the empowerment begin!

4. The 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

 Don't be fooled by this book's long title: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, a Toltec Wisdom Book. Lil' wordy, eh? The book itself is less than 150 pages, but HOLY COW does it pack a lot of knowledge in a small space. Ruiz discusses why we do what we do. Starting from childhood, all of us are born playful, loving, and genuine, but somewhere along the way the standards of behavior change. Throughout our life we start to develop some unconscious, and irrational, behaviors that limit our potential for health, success, and life. Sound deep? It is. This is one of those "read 4 pages, then walk away and think" books. This book offers a radical but deep intimate relationship with the world around you. Your mind will be blown with the secret to personal freedom. The Four Agreements is a look into how and why your perception of "right" or "wrong" may actually be wrong...or right? Like I said, it's a thinker... It dissects the guilt you feel when you've wronged someone, or when someone has wronged you. All of us are searching for truth, justice, and beauty in a crazy world of hurt and chaos, and often neglect looking within ourselves first to find the truth. We've all got some dirty laundry (theoretically, and actually), and emotional skeletons in our closets. The 4 Agreements will help you dig deep and shed yourself of a painful past to have a clearer, more fulfilling future.

    5. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

    Have you heard of Miss Brown? If not, buckle up, because you've got some grade A enlightening to go through. She's basically a rock star, as far as authors (and humans) go. You might have seen her Ted Talk on vulnerability, or heard her interviewed for her endless expertise on why people act like... well... people. Her book The Gifts of Imperfection  is a true page turner. This badass book crushes the #parentguilt, #womanguilt, and #bullshit galore that exists everywhere around us. Do you want to be super confident in who you are (full of flaws and imperfection) and stop your own ignorant bitchy judgement of others? This book is reassurance that even when you're epic failing right and left - it's OK. Brown helps you embrace what you aren't great at, and gives a much needed reminder that it'll all work out. At any stage in your life (post age 25ish)... this book f****** nails it. Love yourself, love others, feel your awesome personality glow with self improvement and self reinvention courtesy of Brene Brown.

    Got any other amazing reading recommendations? Send them our way, by contacting us here.

    Hannah Anderson
    Hannah Anderson