Books Are Good For Your Health and Happiness—What We’re Reading Now

By Lindsey O'Connell

 One of our favorite quotes is by children’s book author, Dr. Seuss. He says, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” And there is actually science behind that. The simple act of reading has been proven to increase empathy, help with memory, connectivity, sleep, stress and could even lower blood pressure. Sitting down with a good book for only six minutes can reduce heart rate and ease muscle tension. 

Everyone at Nutritious Life loves a good book. And not just one type—fiction, non-fiction, health, self-help and cookbooks, of course. We’re sharing our faves with you, so set aside some time today to curl up with a good read.  We promise it’ll be time well spent. 




Half Baked Harvest Super Simple Cookbook by Tieghan Gerard

This should be everyone’s go-to cookbook. The images are beautiful, the recipes and ingredients are simple (hence the name), and it boasts more than 125 recipes. My favorite part is that the introduction features a list of must-have pantry and fridge items to help the reader stock up on essential ingredients. There’s a recipe in this book for every occasion!

—Emily, Community Coordinator

Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck by Thug Kitchen

I’d rather clean a bathroom than cook a meal, so cookbooks aren’t my thing. Even though I’m totally into healthy eating and I have a high appreciation for the magic that chefs create, cooking totally stresses me out! However, I make a pretty great sous chef when needed and I’m really good at loading a dishwasher, so there’s that… So, my fave cookbook is literally any cookbook that someone else is using to cook for me. But if I had to flip through the pages of one while drinking a glass of wine, then Thug Kitchen wins for the laughs.  

—Karen, Chief Operating Officer

The Good Housekeeping Cookbook: 1,275 Recipes from America’s Favorite Test Kitchen by Susan Westmoreland and the editors of Good Housekeeping

Craving something, this cookbook will answer that! There are over a thousand recipes in this cookbook. And even better, it has tips from the GH Test Kitchen chefs. Not going to lie, I basically had no idea how to cook in my early 20s and this helped me so much. The meals look so impressive, but they don’t have a million ingredients and the directions are straightforward. It’s an awesome gift too! They even have a bride edition (yes, I have that one too!). 

—Lindsey, Editorial Director

IT’S ALL GOOD: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great by  Gwenyeth Paltrow

This book is not only filled with the most inspiring pictures of GP, every recipe is simple, clean, and turns out exactly how she says it will.  I haven’t had one mess up to date. 

—Cassie Piasecki, Nutritious Life Studio alumni and creator of @SmartyCassie

Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton

I don’t eat vegan anymore, but I learned to love my veggies using this cookbook. My copy is falling apart, held together with binder clips.

—Jodi Thom NLC, CHC, Nutritious Life Studio alumni and Certified Health Coach

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

The importance of seasonal food and the integrity of ingredients is the main reason for loving this cookbook. Food is simply delicious when you make the right flavor combination. This book supports my approach to cooking by letting the ingredients shine. 

Mercedes Vargas, Nutritious Life Studio alumni

Coconut Lagoon: Recipes from a South Indian Kitchen by Joe Thottungal

I don’t usually buy cookbooks since everything is so accessible online, but I recently visited a restaurant in Downtown Ottawa called Thali and the owner wrote a cookbook called Coconut Lagoon. It’s  about South Indian Cuisine. Since it’s similar to my homeland Sri Lanka’s cuisine, I got it. There are some great recipes showcased with a modern twist. 

Anoli Fernando, Nutritious Life Studio alumni  and creator of @amplitude_fitness 


The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer

This is my favorite of all self-help books because it pushed me hard—and I had to read it multiple times. It ultimately helped me to control my racing mind, which many of us are struggling with especially now. 

Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, founder 

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay, PhD

As a 20-something year old millennial myself, I read this book fresh out of college (in one sitting) and still recommend it to my now 25/26 year old colleagues and friends. If you’re in your 20s or just want an inspirational, relatable read, read. this. book. I enjoyed that the book was from the perspective of the author’s clients (she’s a psychologist), so I think there is something for everyone to relate to in it, no matter your age or gender.

—Emily, Community Coordinator

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story by Dan Harris

10% Happier taught me that I probably need meditation in my life, and that one day maybe I really will be able to sit still for more than 5 minutes and view that time as productive. But as of now, I’m still a meditation failure experiment…and after reading the book I’m totally fine with it.

—Karen, Chief Operating Officer

Add More Ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness by Gabrielle Bernstein

There was a time in my late 20s where I was feeling pretty beat up by New York City. I had a great job (but worked too much). I had a boyfriend that I loved (who cheated on me), and I had a great social life (but my health was suffering). I had a panic attack that left me scared and in need of a change. I found this book randomly on a shelf at work. I picked it up on a whim and was so glad I did. It helped me to look at my current situation differently. To prioritize what really mattered and to remember to take a minute to just breathe. It’s something I often go back to when I’m in need of a little “ing.” 

—Lindsey, Editorial Director

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay 

My favorite part of this book is the charts where you can look up a particular body part or illness and understand what part of your life might be causing you trouble.  There is also a mantra that corresponds with each ailment that can help you to heal.  I know…it sounds a little “woo woo” but it is enlightening! 

—Cassie Piasecki, Nutritious Life Studio alumni and creator of @SmartyCassie

The Power Source:  The Hidden key to Ignite Your Core, Empower Your Body, Release Stress and Realign Your Life by Lauren Roxburgh

Much like Lauren’s full body of work hahaha no pun intended, it’s so complete in its approach to addressing wellness holistically, with the understanding that healing ourselves mind, body and soul ultimately results in truly transforming our lives as well.  Additionally, her approach challenges the status quo that can often make fitness/wellness come across like punishment or something to “survive” or “grind through” if you will and provides a complete practice that feels more like self-care and love and oh by the way…you get an amazing body that not only looks good but feels magnificent! 

Lorien Talmadge, Founder, RebelSol and Nutritious Life Studio alumni

Eat Fat, Get Fit by Mark Hyman, MD

This book dispels the myth that   “fat makes you fat.” It leads the reader into a healthier perspective on nourishment. Highly recommended! Good recipes, too. 

—Jodi Thom NLC, CHC, Nutritious Life Studio alumni and Certified Health Coach

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

I love a book that feels like an easy read, but is full of great, researched-backed information. Daring Greatly helps you to really think about life and how you see yourself.

Alex Balgood, Nutritious Life Studio student

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

As someone who straddles the line of “Type A” and “Creative”, this book helped me welcome both sides of myself into my daily work and personal life. I realized that I didn’t have to choose one or another, I am both equally and I can explore them individually without having to fear losing the other.

—Ashleigh Kluck, Social Media Manager 




Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This book is a pure feel-good book — but warning it will give you the travel bug! It combines some of my favorite things – mindfulness/yoga, food, and traveling! It’s also a movie featuring the amazing Julia Roberts for anyone who likes to read a book first before seeing a movie. Highly recommend both.

—Emily, Community Coordinator

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

My fave book of all time is Shantaram. About 15 years ago, I quit my job, sold my house and belongings, and backpacked solo around the world for over a year, and I read that book while traveling. Not only is it an incredible story (I mean, you can’t make that stuff up…) but it brings back memories of a time in my life when I was a nomad and had no idea what adventures the day would bring. 

—Karen, Chief Operating Officer

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll 

I love all things thriller. I can sit down and devour a great suspense novel. Luckiest Girl Alive had me at page one. Her story of reinvention was one that many can relate to, but it was the twists and turns that really hooked me. Gives you something to think about—does anyone really have it all? 

—Lindsey, Editorial Director

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez 

The story is about the Mirabel sisters in Dominican revolution. I was always inspired by how the sisters stood up for themselves and others during Trujillo’s dictatorship.  My family lived through this time in Dominican Republic and always heard stories when I was younger from grandparents and great aunts. 

Mercedes Vargas, Nutritious Life Studio alumni

(Images: Getty, Shutterstock)

About Lindsey O'Connell
Former Editorial Director, Nutritious Life

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