10 health and wellness books our readers love

Give the gift of health and mental health this year by wrapping one of these reader-recommended books.

Astrid Van Den Broek 1
woman reading on the couch

Photo: Masterfile

Did you totally get into Tosca Reno this year? Or did you find a health bible that really spoke to you? We asked readers to tell us about their 10 favourite health books of the past year and share why they loved them so much. Whether new or old, we encourage you to give the gift of health this year:

You Can Heal Your Life1. You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay (Hay House, 1999)

What is it about? Widely recognized self-help author Hay has produced dozens of books, but Heal Your Life is an international best-seller for a reason. A proponent of personal responsibility and advocates supporting illnesses and conditions with positive thinking and action that matches the message of this book: “If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed.” Hay helps move past limiting beliefs and expand the quality of your life.

Reader endorsement: Janice Lawrence Pavicic says “It’s more about spiritual health but it’s amazing!”

The Looneyspoons2. The Looneyspoons, Janet and Greta Podleski (Granet Publishing, 2011)
What is it about? For Podleski fans, this latest edition of the sisters yummy recipes is packed with all-time classics from their past editions (such as “Wowie Maui Chicken” and “No Weigh, Jose! Mexican Lasagna”) and tons of new concoctions—think “Honey I Shrunk My Thighs” and “Rolls Royce” recipes. As usual, this book packs healthy recipes with a good dollop of entertainment via fun trivia, puns and more.

Reader endorsement: “These have great healthy recipes and they’re delicious tasting too!,” says Kaitlyn Lecours.

The Eat-Clean Diet, Tosca Reno3. The Eat-Clean Diet, Tosca Reno (Robert Kennedy Publishing, 2006)

What is it about? While Reno has authored many health and fitness books but this is the one where it all starts. Readers learn the definition of what eating clean is, why they should do it and how they should do it. You’ll quickly become a fan of cooking delicious foods that are “clean” a.k.a. generally unprocessed, whole, fresh food. If you’re looking for more specific recipes, Reno has also penned similar books for vegetarians and families.

Reader endorsement: “It’s amazing!,” says fan Kelly Gnola. “It sends such a good message to women that it’s not about being “skinny” but about being healthy, strong and mindful about your daily choices.”

Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis 4. Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis (Collins Canada, 2011)

What is it about?As a cardiologist, Dr. Davis explores in his book the link between wheat elimination and overall greater health and questions…what is actually being sold as “wheat” today? He goes on to explain not only the whys of eliminating wheat, but the hows of actually doing it.

Reader endorsement:  “This is one of my health bibles and it’s made such a difference in reducing pain in my life and educating me on the best foods to balance out my body,” says Tracy Robinson.

America’s Test Kitchen Light & Healthy: The Year’s Best Recipes5.  America’s Test Kitchen Light & Healthy: The Year’s Best Recipes(America’s Test Kitchen, 2012)

What is it about? As the title says, get the year’s best recipes with a lighter touch—think everything from Creamy Lemon-Herb dip to Steamed Chinese Dumplings, this book offers yummy recipes for all courses.

Reader endorsement: “It’s very informative for showing how to cut out extra calories with recipes that work and are tested,” says reader Treena Kelly Nagy Toth.

The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships, Harriet Lerner6. The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships, Harriet Lerner, (Avon, 2005)

What is it about? Understanding the nature of anger and how to turn it into a constructive force, Lerner believes anger is a something women should listen to rather than ignore or silence. This book examines this emotion in various intimate relationships—from partners to mothers—and encourages readers to embrace and work with it, rather than against it.

Reader endorsement: “It changed—and is still changing—my life,” says Marilyn LeLorrain.

Help Yourself: Finding Hope, Courage and Happiness, David Pelzer7. Help Yourself: Finding Hope, Courage and Happiness, David Pelzer (Plume, 2001)

What is it about? Following his 1995 memoir A Child Called “It”, we know that Pelzer has battled serious abuse as a child and learned how to help himself. In turn he has penned this book about overcoming challenges in your past and creating a positive future. Sharing his tragic story and his journey in moving past his history hopes to inspire readers to do the same.

Reader endorsement: Leslie Kim Wilson agrees. “It’s an amazing book about healing the past and moving forward!”

Healthy Starts Here: 140 Recipes That Will Make You Feel Great, Mairlyn Smith 8. Healthy Starts Here: 140 Recipes That Will Make You Feel Great, Mairlyn Smith (Whitecap Books Ltd., 2011)

What is it about?This funny Second City alumnus combines laugher and cooking—a perfect match since she’s also a professional home economist. She not only inspires readers with her yummy recipes, but helps them replace crutches such as salt addictions and gives both shopping, healthful cooking and even storage tips.  

Reader endorsement:“Anything by Canadian Mairlyn Smith is good—her books are amazing and funny!” says One Chick Mom (via Twitter).

Running the Edge: Discovering the Secrets to Better Running and a Better Life, Adam Goucher , Tim Catalano9. Running the Edge: Discovering the Secrets to Better Running and a Better Life, Adam Goucher , Tim Catalano (Greenleaf Books Group, 2011)

What is it about? You know how to run a 10K. You know how to stretch. Ever think about why you run? Not only does this book examine why you run and explore the philosophy of running, but also draws parallels between your running and your life and encourages you to push the boundaries in both areas. In addition, it’s packed with information and tips on how to do it better. Look for insights from elite runners such as Alan Webb, Amy Yoder Begley and Chris Solinsky.

Reader endorsement: “This isn’t your typical running book,” says Jennifer Pinarski. “There are no training plans or nutrition strategies. Instead it asks you to examine your life, attitudes and priorities and how running can help you be a better person. I read a lot of self-help and running books and this is one of my favourites since it combines both genres.”

The Book of Awesome, Neil Pasricha 10. The Book of Awesome, Neil Pasricha (Berkley Trade, 2010)

What is it about: This blog-turned-book has mastered appreciating the smaller things that make life just that much happier such as high fiving babies and smelling bakery air. These are just a few things Pasricha waxes on about in this book about what in life will make you smile and feel good. We bet you’ll be inspired to start your very own list of what makes life awesome.

Reader endorsement: “I liked this book because it simplified little happy thoughts that gave me a chuckle on bleak days,” says Beth Whysall-Fraser.

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