A few of my favorite things | Books

Last week’s post on the podcasts I recommend generated quite a few replies, one of the more common being, “But what if I don’t listen to podcasts?”

I don’t find much time to read except for 10–15 minutes in the morning over a cup of coffee before anyone else is up—and I still find that I can make it through quite a few books if I am really intentional about treating that reading time as a non-negotiable part of my daily self-care routine.

To be completely honest, I often prefer a good novel—anything by Jodi Picoult is high on the list just now. Okay, if I’m going to be 100% transparent, I should admit that I’m about half way through the eighth volume of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series just now. Don’t judge me, please.

What about work-related books? I’m afraid I’m a perennial student and could spend a lot of money on books about nutrition, women’s health, and holistic health and well-being. Luckily, the local library is excellent, so I tend to borrow a book and decide later on whether I really can’t live without it.

There are so many to recommend, it’s hard to know where to begin, so I’m going to again give just three—they are probably the top three recommendations I currently give friends and clients. Click on the title to learn more about each one.

White Hot Truth by Danielle LaPorte

Okay, make that anything by Danielle LaPorte. Each book she writes replaces the previous one as my favorite, so if you are so inclined, check out The Fire Starter Sessions and The Desire Map as well.

I often observe that most of us just want to be given answers: what diet to eat, what exercise routines to do, how to meditate, etc. The somewhat hard truth is that the answers to our questions lie deep inside ourselves and must be sought, not given to us by those who style themselves as gurus.

LaPorte’s latest book is subtitled Clarity for keeping it real on your spiritual path—from one seeker to another, and in it, she takes on tour obsession with spiritual teachers, suggesting that when we try to adhere to another’s prescription for spirituality, our self-help all too often devolves into self-criticism.

I love her suggestion that self-compassion might actually be the highest form of self-care.

How to Life a Good Life by Jonathan Fields

As a health coach, I approach nourishment on two levels: secondary food (that which you put in your mouth) and primary food (everything else in your life that nourishes you…or doesn’t). Primary foods include spiritual practice, relationships, career, stress management, physical activity, etc.

Jonathan Fields (of the Good Life Project podcast I mentioned last week) has a similar philosophy with a different framework: he thinks about a life as being made up of three buckets (vitality, connection, and contribution) that must be filled on a regular basis for us to be healthy and whole.

His book is full of the wisdom of hundreds of interviews with today’s thought leaders in all sorts of fields, and like Northrup, he always has manageable suggestions for how to implement sustainable changes.

The Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup, MD

I had to laugh guiltily and look secretively around my kitchen for a hidden camera when I started to read this book. Surely the good doctor had been spying on me the day before when I had totally lost it over a sink full of dirty dishes when I got home from work?

A vital read for any woman who finds herself suddenly unable to handle what she finds on her plate after years of feeling like she’s been doing all the right things and doing them quite well.

A lot of reassurance that you’re not going insane, enough science to explain what’s happening to your body and mind but not so much you want to stop reading, and most importantly, a lot of manageable steps to take to no just survive but thrive in your fourth and fifth decades and beyond.

Drop a comment and let me know: what are your favorite “health reads” that you recommend to others?