Seniors & Aging

Three health experts suggest books to help you meet your dietary New Year resolutions

A frequent response to the question “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” is “To lose weight.” Add in “Eat healthier,” “Eat fewer processed foods” and “Make more food at home,” and you’ve got dozens of people with good intentions, but often no plan of attack to see their resolution through the second week of January.

To help, several local dieticians and health coaches offer suggestions on what to read now to help you start those resolutions off right on Jan. 1. They list books that have influenced their own nutrition philosophy, and books they use as a reference for tips and recipes for their clients and themselves.

Jennifer Berdinka

A registered dietician and certified diabetes educator, Berdinka has worked in Central America on nutrition issues with the Peace Corps, at Sea Mar Community Health Center and at St. Joseph hospital for nine years. Her recommendations:

“Food Rules” by Michael Pollan. This slim book can be boiled down to three sentences: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The simplicity of the messages are appealing in this era of complicated and conflicting health information.

“Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being” by Andrew Weil. This book is an invaluable resource that encourage readers to approach aging as a natural process to be met without resistance. Dr. Weil provides realistic, comforting suggestions on such topics as diet, exercise, stress management, emotional resilience and spirituality. It also details the anti-inflammatory diet, a cornerstone to preventing inflammation and reducing the risk of age-related diseases.

“The Clean Plates Cookbook: Sustainable, Delicious and Healthier Eating for Every Body” by Jared Koch and Jill Silverman Hough. This book is much more than a cookbook. It contains a thorough introduction that provides current nutrition information and defines how to eat a well-balanced diet for disease prevention and planetary health. The recipes focus on whole foods made from basic ingredients, and are unanimously delicious. Recipes include huevos rancheros, lavender roasted chicken with roasted yams, and flourless chocolate hazelnut cake. It also includes weekly sample menu plans, and an exhaustive list of nutrition-related books, websites and apps.

Demetree Robinson

Robinson is a certified food and health coach at NuHealth Holistic Wellness in Lynden. A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she offers individual session and group workshops, and co-facilitates a Christian-based healthy living program, “The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life,” which helps people give up processed foods. A senior, Robinson lost 65 pounds at the age of 75. Her recommendations:

“The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet” by Mark Hyman. I tried this 10-day detox and was very pleased. I especially enjoyed the morning protein shake, which sustained me until lunchtime. The menus are easy to follow, with enough food choices to not be boring, and detailed explanations of what you can and cannot eat, as well as recipes. This program helps with weight loss and chronic health complaints, such as type 2 diabetes, joint pain, digestive problems and headaches.

“Power of 14 Nutrition” by Anthony McClanahan. This program helps you get rid of stubborn fat and weight that seems to hang on forever. I lost 65 pounds with my program and kept it off on my own, but the last few pounds just wouldn’t budge. This is the fastest program I have ever tried. McClanahan’s program was exactly what I was looking for because of the healthy food choices without using processed foods. McClanahan is a Bellingham-based sports trainer and fitness instructor.

For cookbooks, Robinson recommends The Daniel Plan Cookbook,” “The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook” and “Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry.”

Karl Mincin

A Mount Vernon-based dietician and nutritionist, Mincin has been in practice for more than 20 years. He offers nutrition counseling and education in person and by phone for people who want to improve their diet, lose weight or are suffering chronic illnesses, including cancer. His recommendations:

“Diet & Nutrition – A Holistic Approach” by Rudolph Ballentine. A simple but thorough textbook for the layperson with complete nutrition basics (vitamins, minerals, protein, carbs, etc.) and special topics (digestion, raw versus cooked food, Ayurvedic nutrition). Useful for both reference and casual reading. Surprisingly current for a text more 30 years old.

“Fit for Life” by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. This book covers proper food combining for optimal weight, digestion and energy. Focus is on timing of what we eat for efficient metabolism. The primary tenants are: 1. Fruit is best eaten alone. 2. Eat only one concentrated food per meal. Everything but produce is a concentrated food, so meat is best eaten with veggies rather than grain. Of all diets I’ve encountered in 30 years of nutrition practice, this approach consistently brings the best results for weight management and digestive disorders. The book is half text (caution: they are unnecessarily strict) and half recipes (which are great even if you’re not interested in proper food combining).

“Prescription for Nutritional Healing” by Phyllis Balch. This A-to-Z reference to drug-free remedies is so comprehensive it can be overwhelming to the average user. As a professional nutritionist, I frequently refer to this well-organized guide to jog my memory and for treating conditions I don’t often see. The food and dietary recommendations are generally safe with consultation, but please exercise caution when considering the vitamin and herb supplement recommendations.

“American Wholefoods Cuisine” by Nikki and David Goldbeck. I liken this complete cookbook to a natural foods’ “Joy of Cooking,” with recipes for both classic and new healthful dishes. This reliable reference has a 30-day meal plan, tips and lists for setting up a wholefoods pantry, and all the usual weights and measures.