My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2011


Did you know that the average American reads less than one book a year?

I read a lot. It's reading that gets me inspired and excited to write blog posts. Well, reading and testing recipes, that is.

But reading books is what gives me a passion for life. Because I read every day, my brain is always brimming with interesting facts and new theories to test.

I read a lot of books on my iPhone or iPad, which makes it easy to get a lot more reading in. I love that I can just click and download a book, just like that.

In this post, I share with you the 10 books I enjoyed most in 2011.

I've included links to Amazon so you can click and order the books you're interested in.

If you're on a budget, I'll teach you a trick I use. Save the books you're interested in on an Amazon wishlist. Then you can use that as a handy reference for library books. I save books on my Amazon wishlist and then I open another browser window for the library and order the books I want via interlibrary loan.

Plus, it never hurts to have an Amazon wishlist — then people will know what to buy you for your birthday!

Books About Traditional Food and Nutrition

1. Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Dr. Catherine Shanahan

“Extremely interesting and insightful; written in a brilliant, engaging, and witty style.” – Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions

I loved this book! It totally blew me away. If you loved Dr. Weston Price's book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, you're going to go nuts over Deep Nutrition.

One of my favorite parts was about how gelatin from bone broth can actually prevent and even reverse cellulite.

I also learned that women's bodies are different today than they were 50 years ago. Shanahan says that women have slimmer hips today and don't have the hourglass figures we used to. At the time I was reading the book, I was watching all the reruns of that show, Mad Men, and you can't help but notice all the women on that show with their ample busts and hips. I read Deep Nutrition while I was vacationing in Palm Springs, and couldn't get over the difference — all these women in bikinis had NO hips!

Shanahan says that inadequate nutrition due to the modern low-fat diet during childhood (and in utero) means the body has to make due with the limited resources it has — and women end up with slimmer hips and men end up with more narrow shoulders. Slim hips for women means a more difficult time bearing children, and results in more C-sections.

Books About Vitamins and Minerals

2. The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean

It was this book that sparked my fascination with magnesium. Apparently, the vast majority of us are magnesium deficient.

Magnesium can prevent and reverse all kinds of health problems from diabetes and insulin resistance to chronic pain to hormonal problems like PMS. It also turns out that people who eat a lot of dairy and/or a high fat diet (raises hand) need a LOT more magnesium.

You can read my first post about magnesium here: Are You Suffering From Magnesium Deficiency?

3. Transdermal Magnesium Therapy: A New Modality for the Maintenance of Health by Dr. Mark Sircus

This was the second book I read about magnesium and it is just as good as Dean's book.

According to Sircus, magnesium is best absorbed via the skin. In fact, he says that you can reverse all kinds of hormonal problems with magnesium including PMS and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and irregular periods. Isn't that interesting?

However, he says that you will not get those effects with oral magnesium — it's got to be transdermal (via the skin). Get this book — you won't regret it!

4. Could It Be B12?: An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses by Sally M. Pacholok and Jeffrey J. Stuart

“I defy you to read this book then not get yourself or a loved one tested for B12 deficiency.” — Dr. Eric Norman, developer of the UMMA test for B12 deficiency

A very interesting book about the epidemic of B12 deficiency. It outlines how physicians frequently misdiagnose B12 deficiency as Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, mental retardation, Parkinson's disease, depression, or other mental illnesses.

Just think how many of these diseases could be prevented with a simple test and subsequent supplementation of vitamin B12.

Books About Earthing

5. Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, and Martin Zucker

There is only one book about earthing as far as I know and this is it. I'm fascinated by earthing and I think you will be, too.

Most of us are constantly exposed to EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) and there's ample evidence that it is very bad for us. This book will teach you how you can safely and inexpensively get grounded.

I recommend that everyone read this book.

Books About Hormone Balance

6. The Cortisol Connection Diet: The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight

This book helped me immensely in my efforts to understand my post-baby weight gain, adrenal exhaustion, insomnia, and other issues connected to cortisol. It wasn't until I read this book that I finally got a handle on how I was screwing up my blood sugar by skipping meals and not eating enough when I did eat.

For more about my personal journey with cortisol, read my post: Is It Wheat Belly? Or Cortisol Belly?

7. The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth about Losing Weight, Being Healthy and Feeling Younger by Diana Schwarzbein

There are so many people advocating super low-carb diets for weight loss and health. I just can't get behind that. Schwarzbein recommends a more moderate approach.

According to Schwarzbein, the high-carbohydrate, low-fat, moderate-protein diet that most dieticians and disease-prevention organizations recommend is the culprit that turns people into diabetics, makes them age faster and get degenerative diseases, and keeps them fat and unhealthy. She supports her theory with case studies of people who were sick and miserable on high-carbo, low-fat diets and who sprang to life when they “balanced” their diets with more fat and protein. Schwarzbein recommends avoiding “man-made carbohydrates” — processed carbs — in favor of those you could “pick, gather or milk.”

8. Dr. John Lee's Hormone Balance Made Simple: The Essential How-to Guide to Symptoms, Dosage, Timing, and More by Dr. John Lee

This was the first book I read by Dr. Lee. It really explains a lot about how our hormones get screwed up and what we can do about it. He really stresses that we need to increase progesterone, and this is what got me started back on maca and using a progesterone cream.

In fact, I was on the fence about progesterone cream until I read this book. Now I realize that so many of us can benefit from using progesterone cream (yes, I will be writing a blog post about this soon!).

9. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM): Premenopause: Balance Your Hormones and Your Life from Thirty to Fifty by Dr. John Lee

This is the second book I got from Dr. Lee — and I'm still reading it. I'm not sure which one is better because each contains different information, so I recommend getting both.

Just because you're not menopausal yet does not mean you shouldn't start learning about how to prepare yourself for a healthy menopause. According to Dr. Lee, premenopause starts at 30. And there is a lot you can learn from this book if you are younger than that.

Whether you have PMS, irregular periods, infertility, fibroids, PCOS, or other hormonal problems, this book is full of great information.

Books About Homeschooling

10. Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto

This is a fascinating book. And as deeply intellectual as it is, it's a very fast read. It's dense and concentrated, like poetry.

If you are on the fence about whether or not to homeschool, get this book. It will convince you!

If you've already raised your children or haven't had any, you'll still love this book. It will inspire you to become a reader and a doer, an independent and critical thinker, and someone who approaches life as an adventure. All good things!

What About You?

What books did you LOVE in 2011? Please share in the comments!

Photo credit: Reading by paulbence, on Flickr

Find Me Online

Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

42 thoughts on “My Top 10 Favorite Books of 2011

  1. “Did you know that the average American reads less than one book a year?”

    This is the one which always kills me. How is that even possible? Then again I have the degree I do in part for love of books. Incidentally, last year was a “slow” reading year for me and I still managed about 60 books. And I love seeing what other people read. Definitely going to pick up the hormone related books at some point, it’s what I need right now.

  2. I love John Taylor Gatto’s work. His Underground History of American Education really confirmed the serious misgivings I had after working in public and private education at k-12 through com. college and university levels.

    1. “Dumbing Us Down” was one of a few books that were very influential in my decision to quit college and NOT become a public schoolteacher 20 years ago. John Taylor Gatto, John Holt, A.S. Neill, and Samuel Blumenfeld, but especially Gatto. I kept saying, “My gosh, he’s right! This IS what they’re doing!”

    1. I am going to put that on my list. Haven’t read it yet! I loved Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal.

      I think you were the one who told me about Deep Nutrition!

      1. Read Joel’s book STAT!! It is so good you will hardly be able to stand it! Its in my top 5 of all time….

  3. I can’t wait to read your post on progesterone cream. I’ve been using the cream for awhile now and feel like it’s essential for females w/ adrenal fatigue or burnout. There are so many essential hormones that can be made from this raw material. I’m not anywhere near menopause but I use it to help my cycle- usually for about 14-17days per month. Anyways, will be curious to hear your thoughts on this!

    Great list of books BTW!

  4. I am reading through the Earthing book every time I visit my doctor. He keeps up with the latest!

    I need a dose of fiction as well to get me through the year. So much “scope for the imagination.” I re-read the Anne of Green Gables series. (Could you guess? hehe…) I was pleasantly surprised at all the real foods/traditional preparation that I kept coming across in the description of the PEI daily life (time period early 20th century.) Refreshing!

    P.S. I was educated at home and am now home-schooling my children. I have not read Gatto’s book but thanks so much for the recommendation. It is now on my amazon wishlist. (I do the same thing as you: making it a library search reference.) 😀

    1. Oh, I loved Anne of Green Gables! I will need to read it again! I love the idea of reading about the traditional foods. I loved Little House in the Big Woods for the same reason. Looking forward to reading these to my daughter.

      You will love Dumbing Us Down!

  5. I have read a ton of books. I read daily while doing a not too stressful exercise bike ride. I loved :
    1. Dancing with Max, about Chuck Colson’s autistic grandson, Max.
    2. Nutritional Balancing (about adrenal health and mineral balance) by L. Wilson
    3. Various C. S. Lewis titles. I missed these in my childhood and have really enjoyed reading them now.

    There are more, but that’s a great start. :).

  6. I have read a few of those, too! The Schwartzbein Principle is one of my ALL TIME favorites! It changed my life!

    I want to read Dumbing Us Down…. putting it on my Goodreads list now!

  7. I spend a lot of time previewing books for homeschooling – which is a bit daunting when they’re in high school! I’ve really been enjoying revisiting the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer and the Greek tragedies the last few months as well as A Christmas Carol (can you believe I never read Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol??) and the original Sherlock Holmes.

    I’ve checked out a ton of chicken books and just checked out Salatin’s Everything I want to do is Illegal. If only you could see my coffee table… philosphy, Texas History, Richard the Lionhearted, Hercules, Dr. Amen, Little House… gee, sort of like my brain!

  8. Loved Dumbing Us Down! It was amazing, and I have been trying to convince the hubby that unschooling is the way to go. I also read Primal Blueprint, Callous Disregard, What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child, Sonrise: The Miracle Continues, Everyday Paleo, Nora Gedgaudas’ book, and I have read parts of other books on thyroid function, cookbooks, and Autism Treatments. I tend to check out WAYYYYYY too many books and they all come in at one time. Oh another one is Amalgam Illness by Andy Cutler.

  9. The ‘Schwarzbein Principle’ was one of the books that persuaded me to concentrate less on low carb foods and more on natural foods, though my body still can’t tolerate too many carbs before I start packing on the weight. The other one was ‘Real Food: What To Eat and Why’ by Nina Planck — another book majoring on natural vs. processed or factory food. I highly recommend it. I sent it to my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas (I’m looking for another grandchild, and she’s a vegetarian–too thin and probably not very healthy…wish me luck!) This year I’ve got ‘Deep Nutrition’ on my reading list…after ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma.’

    By the way, thanks for your great recipes! I tried this week’s Butternut Squash soup with some killer chicken-broth I’d just made earlier in the week, but all I had was an acorn squash– just so you know, it was fabulous (I had to modify quantities a little since it’s just me and hubby).

  10. I’m looking into the hormone issue and am reading Natural Hormone Balance for Women by Uzzi Reiss, M.D./O.B. GYN. I’m thinking of seeing a specialist about natural hormones but am nervous. My SIL just died last year from kidney failure on hormone replacement (synthetic) I’ll add your books to my list. Thanks for the list.

  11. I must ask, how do you find the time to read these books along with being a mother and making all of your food from scratch etc? I just am not able to find the time to sit down with a book. I do spend about 30 minutes on email and blog posts like this though! Thanks for the recs. would love to read these someday!

    1. I understand this question. I am in that situation myself lately! I read a few earlier this year, but now that I am doing all of this cooking from scratch, and with only about an hour to myself at the end of the night to do all that I need to, I can hardly get to the reading.

      1. I have a housekeeper and just hired a full-time nanny/personal assistant. And I have a full-time virtual assistant as well.

        I do always look for books on Audible first because then I can listen to them while doing other things.

        Otherwise I get them on my iPhone and read instead of watching TV. I read pretty fast.

  12. Hi
    nice reading here.
    Some time ago I wrote similiar post on one of my blogs (I have three), but your is much more interesting… I should learn from you 🙂

  13. I recommend 2 short books: “Nutrition for Women” and “From PMS to Menopause” both authored by Raymond Peat, PhD. For additional articles see

    Dr. Peat was mentioned in Dr. John R. Lee, MD’s book “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause”. Be forwarned: Dr. Peat’s articles are quite scientific and can take a while to read and, hopefully, comprehend.

    Dr. Peat has formulated a progesterone product, which he claims is the most effective and easily assimilated: Progest-E Complex. I use this daily, applying a small drop to my gums. Read the articles on Dr. Peat’s website and he will explain why this formula is so very effective.

    I very much enjoy your website & informative postings. My aunt was a patient of Dr. Frances Pottenger’s and exposed me to “Pottenger’s Cats” and “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” when I was 20. I’ve loosely followed their dietary advise for the past 40 yrs (straying more times than was wise). It’s so much easier to make healthy choices with all the resources and sharing via the Internet. Thanks so much for continuing to educate us all.


  14. i just started reading your 10th book on my kindle, and i’m highlighting stuff on almost every page, reading aloud to my husband. PHENOMENAL! I read everything you say anyway, but you have been cranked up a notch on my list of awesome people!!

  15. Here are my favourites for 2011 :
    1. FOLKS THIS AIN’T NORMAL by Joel Salatin – OUTSTANDING book !!
    2. SEEDS OF DECEPTION by Jeffrey Smith
    3. THE VEGETARIAN MYTH by Lierre Keith
    4. FATEFUL HARVEST by Duff Wilson (still reading)
    5. THE LAST AMERICAN MAN by Elizabeth Gilbert

  16. AnnMarie, I’m so pleased that you know about John Taylor Gatto. I’ve been meaning to write to you about him since I learned you were planning on homeschooling. I actually haven’t read any of his books, but I have listened to several speeches and podcast interviews by him, and David read part of one of his books to me. He has really changed the way I look at a lot of things. Peace Revolution Podcast has some extensive podcasts with speeches by him, and commentary interspersed. A related podcast is the School Sucks podcast. Gatto has also been on Red Ice Radio podcasts. You’re probably all over these already… I do read books but I learn a lot more from podcasts these days.

    I have Deep Nutrition but haven’t read it yet. I’m glad you recommend it!
    I love hearing about favorite books!

    1. @Jeanmarie I was just over at a friend’s house last night and I was talking to her and her mom about Red Ice Radio, David Icke, Dr. Judy Wood, etc. We could have talked all night.

      She is my new friend who started a homeschooling group here in Las Vegas. Someday you will have to come visit. We can have a dinner party with all of our “out there” independent thinker conspiracy type friends. 😉

      Just subscribed to

      Thank you! I was looking for another new podcast!

      1. You’re welcome and you’re on! I just read what you wrote to David, and he responded, “Food people tend to be like farmers: independent thinkers and practical.”

  17. I want to read Deep Nutrition, but I have to say that the whole “women have c-sections because we have defective hips” thing is a bit silly on the author’s part. We may in fact have slimmer hips (or on Mad Men, they chose to hire only women with those stats for the show), but our c-section rate is caused by a medical profession gone haywire. Now if birth was dealt with in a very hands off manner and women STILL needed to have c-sections, I’d say this situation supported her theory. However our medical profession actively manages birth, so the c-section rate is crazy. not to mention that the World Health Organization only recommends a section rate of only about 7-10% of all births.
    Now in all fairness, she could be right about our hips being smaller. It’s just that she can’t use the section rate as supporting evidence of this.

    1. I was rushing to get this post up and I’m sure it was my fault in how I wrote the post.

      I agree that the medical profession has gone haywire but that is not the ONLY reason that so many women are having C-sections today.

  18. I just finished The Call To Brilliance by Resa Steindel Brown which was an awesome testatment to the brilliance inside our children that is there if we would just get out of their way and support them in thier journey to discovering that brilliance. It was inspiring! It definitely propelled me to pursue some things that I have been too afraid to even try (or forgot that I once loved). Oh the wonderful things that our children can teach us!!!

  19. Its sad that the average american doesnt read more. I have like 7 books going right now! I am going to check out some of your recomendations- specifically the Magnesium Miracle and Deep Nutrition. I also just recieved 5 new books from Half Price Books online(which I LOVE!!) some herbal books 2 by Rosemary Gladstar and 2 by Susun Weed and another kitcheny book!! Im so excited- I cant wait to devour them!!

  20. How about this book on a new and fascinating approach to thyroid health, testing and treatment, called (it’s along title):
    Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal: A Revolutionary Breakthrough In Understanding Hashimoto’s Disease and Hypothyroidism:

    also on Amazon:

  21. Wow, I cannot wait to get so many of these books you recommend. I have 7 written down as must haves asap. I just love your blog and info. I am so happy that you are planning on homeschooling – Gatto’s book was helped convince us too, before we even had children. Alongside that, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s book “For the Children’s Sake” was the book that cemented our decision. I would highly recommend it.

    Someone mentioned needing that dose of fiction and being an English Lit major (no plans to teach, I just loved literature!), I simply have to “get away” and read fiction alongside health books, for pure enjoyment. I read classics, mostly Dickens, my fave. I just read Madame Bovary which I didn’t really like – kinda like a romance novel :P. I am reading Herbal Antibiotics right now, as well as Cancer Step Outside the Box (I have been wanting to read this for YEARS!), and this past year I have read one of Rosemary Gladstars herbal books, The Flouride Deception, Dickens Bleak House and Mystery of Edwin Drood (he died in the middle of writing it, so the mystery was never solved – yeah, real frustrating, ha, but I had to read it b/c it’s….Dickens) and I can’t remember what else I read so much, but also many read alouds to the kids – classics, bios. I am going to check out Progest- E Complex that was mentioned PRONTO b/c I have been using progesterone cream for months and I think I should be seeing some results by now.

    Really love your blog!


  22. Love this post, AnnMarie…fellow bibliophile here, heartbroken over the lack of reading in society today. The Earthing book looks great…I’m wondering how it may dovetail with magnet therapy…I’m planning to add the book to my collection.

    Just a note as a studying midwife…while I absolutely agree with the physical degeneration we suffer from malnutrition, the c-section rate really isn’t related to slimmer hips…that doesn’t determine pelvic outlet. My midwife friends say that factor doesn’t bear out in their practice…even “big hipped” ladies can have trouble with pelvic outlets…though that’s rare. The real reason c-sections are outrageously high is the criminal technocratic “birth machine” in this country. I’m passionate about real birth and wanted to chime in here….

    Great encouragement to everyone to keep reading and thinking. Cheers!

    1. Hi, Gabi,

      I’m wondering about the connection with magnets too. I’m going to be starting up my podcast again in the coming weeks. I’ll see if I can get one of the earthing guys on and I’ll ask them.

      I agree with you about the “birth machine” causing more medicalized births however I do think many young women today have abnormally narrow hips and they have more narrow pelvic openings and I think this makes it harder to easily birth babies.

      You can read about it here:

      “As an aside, the same thing happens with the pelvis. When the diet is poor during the formative period, the pelvic opening will be oval rather than round, creating the possibility of birthing problems.”

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