three great books for healthy holidays

Yes, I’m a book geek. It’s how I was raised.

So it’s no surprise that when it comes to gift suggestions for the holidays (or any time of year), books are a go-to recommendation.

I think they’re especially apt gifts during the December holiday season.


First, reading is a great inward activity during an inward time of year. The weather outside is sometimes frightful, and cozying up with a book can be delightful.

Also, if you choose the right books, they can be a great counterbalance to the unhealthy traditions that are so hard to avoid at this time of year.

For both of those reasons, consider these three book recommendations for the reader, the eater and the nature-needer on your list.

Where to find the books mentioned in this video:

One of the first books I insist patients look at is Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson. It lives in my consultation room so patients can read bits of it while I’m preparing their prescriptions. Robinson shares great tips about maximizing the benefits you get from vegetables and fruits, and even gives you shopping lists of the most nutritious varieties of each.

For instance: Did you know that olive oil is seven times more effective at pulling nutrients out of lettuce than soybean oil is? (If you watched the video then your answer is “yes.”) Or that cooking carrots whole in some form of fat is the healthiest? Or that frescos of beets adorned the walls of ancient brothels? The book is filled with fascinating and useful facts like those. This book is great for food geeks and newbies alike.

Nutrition advice is confusing, but eating right can be simple. The bottom line: eat whole foods. My colleagues Dr. Julie Briley and Dr. Courtney Jackson took their 12-week cooking and nutrition class and made it into a book — one that answers many questions folks have, and some they didn’t know to ask. Get Food As Medicine Everyday here.

Nature is literally curative — it’s empirically shown to reduce stress, improve mood, lower inflammation and even boost joy. Curious about the science of this? Read all about it in Florence Williams’ excellent book, The Nature Fix.

This is another book that lives on my consultation room desk, and I recommend it to many of my patients. Williams is a journalist in the best storytelling sense, making the book a very readable adventure that makes the science accessible. This book bolsters a nature lover’s passion and might spur the less enthusiastic to give Vitamin N a try. 

Looking for still more healthy holiday gift ideas? Check out this post for more.


—Dr. Orna

P.S. Don’t forget to get a gift for yourself, for instance an appointment with me! Click the button below to schedule.



Header photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.