Best Renegade Health Reads of 2012 : Best of Health 2012

Saturday Jan 5 | BY |
| Comments (56)


I love to read.

Sometimes it’s my downfall. I’ll have dozens of things to do, but then I’ll get caught up in a great book and nothing gets done.

To explain how my love of books might even be an obsession, I love to collect books to read in the future — the evidence is in the dozens of boxes of books up in the attic at Annmarie’s sister’s home (Sorry Lisa and Ken, we eventually will have enough space for them in our own house!) Some I’ve read, some I haven’t. Many times, I have to stop myself from walking into a book store because I know I have such a compulsion.

Good news is now that I have a Kindle, I feel much better about the environment — since the books I accumulate are only in pixels and don’t directly require trees to be cut down, or extra homes and shelves to be built to house them.

This year, I have to admit though, I read fewer books on health than I have in the past. I went on a business, personal development kick and rode it almost all the way through 2012.

But, I still did read and review some good and useful health books, so I want to highlight them here (I also want to highlight a few others, plus share two that are on my list for 2013)…

2012 Runner Up: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (Published 2009, but I read it in 2012)

I know this was published a few years earlier, but I didn’t get my hands on it until 2012.

This book is a great story about running (more specifically trail running) — one of my favorite things to do. I’ve run 4 marathons and a handful of half marathons in the last 10 years. My favorites have always been the trail races. The one I enjoyed the most was the Mt. Greylock trail marathon, but it looks like they only do a half these days (here.)

Anyway, this book is compelling, interesting, and instructive. If you’ve always thought you can’t run or that it’s bad for you, you have to at least give this story a fair shake.

The book, which was and still is wildly popular, is also somewhat responsible for the explosion of barefoot running shoes and the chia shortages across the globe.

Great follow up books are Why We Run by Bernd Heinrich and ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer.

On a sad note, Micah True (or Caballo Blanco) one of the runners featured in the book died while running this year.

2012 Top Dog: Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr with Chef Chad Sarno

As you know, Annmarie and I love Kris.

Her most recent vegan cook book with the amazing Chad Sarno is an awesome addition to your kitchen library.

Look, most health recipe books are either bland or too complicated (don’t even get me started on raw recipe books!) Kris and Chad have mastered how to make healthy plant based foods easy.

This book, while not necessary a “read” is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to eat more plants for their health — and waistline.

This book was a New York Times bestseller, so I’m not the only one who thinks it’s pretty great.

Honorable Mention: The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr. Mark Hyman hit the national bestsellers list again with his Blood Sugar Solution book release. I’ve followed Dr. Hyman ever since UltraPrevention which he wrote with Dr. Mark Liponis.

While his books have focused more on mainstream health, Dr. Hyman is one of the leading advocates of Functional Medicine in the U.S. and beyond. He’s bringing tested natural health remedies and protocols to the masses without being nutso about it.

2012 Reads Non-Health Reads: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

I started this book in 2011, but finished it a few months later in 2012.

It is a monstrous book. In 2011, I quickly read about 25% of it, then put it down. In the spring of 2012, Ann and I spent some more time at a local park and I picked it up again.

While you can argue what type of person you think Steve Jobs was, what you can’t argue is the value of his attention to detail and what it did for Apple and Pixar.

While I was reading the book, I was inspired to review many of the things we do at Renegade Health. It was a harsh wake up call for me and I set out to revamp just about everything — including the website.

We had developed something that we thought was fantastic with all the bells and whistles of a modern, hip website– but after reading the Jobs book, I realized how complicated everything had become.

So I totally scrapped what we had. I decided, as I thought Jobs would, to simplify it to the most basic needs of our readers — you.

So I asked the question, what does someone want to do on the site?

The answers…

They want to find relevant health articles about issues they’re facing.

They want to easily search to find what they’re looking for.

They want to share with friends if they like it.

They want to join the discussion if there’s something to add.

(Yes, you probably want our opinion on things as well, this is a given!)

Based on these answers, we rebuilt everything from the ground up. Now, what you’re seeing now, is the end result — thanks to Jobs, in some weird, disconnected way.

The Steve Jobs book also totally influenced the quality and the ease of use for the Complete Blood Test Blueprint program — which I feel is one of the best stand alone products we’ve ever created.

2012 Non-Health Reads: Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp

If you have a newborn, you… must. have. this. book.

Books on my Kindle, but haven’t read yet…

  • When the Body Says No by Gabor Mate
  • Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs
  • Your Question of the Day: What health book did you read in 2012 that you loved?

    Live Awesome!

    Kevin Gianni

    Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

    Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


    Comments are closed for this post.

    1. MaryJ says:

      Love the Crazy Sexy FOOD Book, will have to take a look at these other books that you have given the hi five to.
      Any thoughts on the Happy Herbivore cook books?

    2. Tanya Rudd says:

      In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
      by Gabor Mate M.D. (Author)

      This was a truly amazing book. It opened my eyes to a lot of things. I would recommend this book to anyone battling with addictions, or looking to delve deeper into understanding addictions.

    3. “Bet the Farm” by Frederick Kaufman investigates how Wall Street influences the price of food by trading it as a commodity on the exchange. Speculators can drive the price up during short term shortages, like wheat during the drought a few years ago in the Soviet Union.

      • Kuru says:

        I don’t know if Kauffman covers it, but there is substantial evidence that HAARP is involved with Wall Street, manipulating drought and floods as needed for profit. It’s revealed in the movie “Why in the World are they Spraying?” which gives clear evidence about chem trails and their mission.

    4. Evergreen says:


      Never be ashamed of your love for books! It’s a beautiful thing to be passionate about your own intellectual development. I would say Denise Linn’s fabulous look in “The Mystic Cookbook” has inspired me for 2012. Also, if you liked “Born to Run” you might also like “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll.

      Kind regards.

    5. rina says:

      on running, Haruki Murakami, famous Japanese writer; What I talk About When I Talk About Running.
      He took the title from the poet Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.
      Read both and love the title. I recently started categorizing stories in these defining ways. Also love
      ‘live awsome’.!!

    6. Loretta Van says:

      Tanya Harter Pierce’s Outsmart Your Cancer was the most outstanding book I read in 2012. It’s an important read for those who do not have cancer but who want the assurance that there are alternative people and methods out there that can help them should they ever be diagnosed with the disease. And of course it has to be a lifeline to those who are afflicted. The book is well written and gives detailed contact information.

      Also outstanding reads were The New Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford, The One-Earth Herbal Sourcebook by Alan Keith Tillotson et all, and the above mentioned The Blood Sugar Solultion by Mark Hyman.

      Only the Hyman book was published in 2012.

    7. David Gaydos says:

      What health book didn’t I read?! My wife was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer a little over a year ago and since then it was run run run read read read!? Some of the books I’m glad I read in the past year:

      The China Study Campbell
      Cancer is not a disease, it’s a survival mechanism Moritz (RIP)
      The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Cleanse Moritz
      Raw and Beyond Boutenko
      Green for Life Boutenko
      The Hippocrates Diet Wigmore
      Lots of stuff by Brian Clement
      Conscious Eating Cousens
      Superfoods Wolfe
      Knockout Somers
      Crazy Sexy Cancer Carr

      And thanks to the amazing online Cancer Summit by Kevin Gianni, we’re off to see Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez on January 8 and 10. Thanks, Kevin, for a great round of interviews!


    8. Linda says:

      Nice picks Kevin. I’d argue “Happiest Baby on the Block” IS a health book, if not overtly so. Emotional health is arguably just as important, some might say more important, and profoundly affects physical health. It’s a nice guide for parents (grandparents too!) in nurturing emotional, and by extension, physical health in their babies. It came in very handy last year with the births of identical twin granddaughters. My daughter loved this book. Cheers!

    9. jerome says:

      SELFHOOD by D.r. Terry Lynch A key to the Recovery of Emotional Wellbeing, Mental Health and the Prevention of Mental Health Problems
      Great read for anyone looking for alternative healing approach to Mental Health or Addiction Issues.

    10. Jay Bunker says:

      One of my favorites of the year was “Sunlight” by Dr. Zane Kime. It was actually published in 1980 and is out of print (but available used on Amazon, etc.), but it is an inspiring and easy read that summarizes research in a very readable way on the many aspects of sun as it relates to health. With vitamin D levels at all time lows, the reputation the sun has of being dangerous is in great need of revision – and this is the best book I have seen to arm you with the knowledge and insight to get into proper balance with this life giving source.

    11. Melissa says:

      Thanks for making me aware that A.J.Jacobs wrote another book. “The Year of Living Biblically” was hilarious, so i’m looking forward to this new read: “Drop Dead Healthy” … JAcobs is a really entertaining writer, a very uplifting storyteller; able to poke fun at both the mystical realms and the literal understanding of the subjects he writes about. i’ll have a look, too. Keep up the personal reading and remember to share age-appropriate stories with your son — even storytelling at his age can be a riot!! Cheers, M.

    12. Kathleen says:

      Kevin – love you guys, your articles, and Annmarie’s products.
      One thing however, drives me crazy and it is the improper use of I and me – an easy way to remember is if you would use me in the singular you should also use it in the plural. An example from your recent email “But don’t just listen to Annmarie or I, here’s what New York Times Bestselling author Kris Carr says about them…: I am sure you would never say – Don’t just listen to I-

      Sorry – one of my pet peeves.

      Again – I think you guys are great, and I don’t mean to be nasty or mean. However, I am sure I will likely get some comments telling me that I have been just that.

    13. Linda Wojcik says:

      Dear Kevin:

      Joshua’s Lessons – Raising a Healthy Child in a Toxic World is my personal account of the ordeals that come with raising a sensitive child in a world where toxins have become a way of life. Anger turned to rage, skin rashes, headaches, fear and learning problems plagued Joshua until we were able to connect his imbalances back to chemical poisoning. When it came to choosing between Joshua’s education and toxins on his school fields, the toxins one. This story will teach by example the way to healing one step at a time beginning with organic food, pure water and a chemical free environment.

    14. Patty Foley says:

      Minerals for the Genetic Code by Dr. Richard Olree. DO

    15. Gale says:

      My best books this year are different. Norm Shealy’s Medical Intuition, Carolyn Myss’s Archetypes, Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine for Women, and a few more that are packed up for a house move.

      All the best in 2013… now that the world has ended, we can do what we want, but here in Canada, all the angel wings were pulverized on entry and we have had to shovel it since… LOL

    16. Leni Pratte says:

      I wholeheartedly recommend “Yes, No, Maybe, Chronobiotic Nutrition,” by my friend and mentor, Atom Bergstrom. This book focuses on the Solar Nutrition lifestyle, that is, eating whole foods in the right time so that you calibrate with the sun and your organs’ receptivity to nutrition. I have been a raw foodist, vegan, vegetarian in the past and only Solar Nutrition has catapulted my level of health to optimal.

      With over 50 years experience in health and nutrition, Atom has been counseling people with various diseases and ailments since the 70’s. His expertise is on nutrition, chronobiology, reflexology, slit-lamp iridology, meditation, Sufi, and I Ching and other holistic modalities. He graduated from Adano Ley’s Texas Institute of Reflex Sciences in 1979.

      Atom’s main teacher was Adano C. Ley or Swami Nityananda Saraswati (aka Swami “Nitty Gritty”) and from whom Atom learned the science of Solar Nutrition, Reflexology and Body/Organ Language and other wholistic modalities of healing. Adano Ley’s guru was Parmahansa Yogananda, author of The Autobiography of a Yogi, who talked about yogis living on sun energy.

      He has authored 20 or so e-books and continues to further the spiritual work of Adano Ley, Master Chen (Yun Xiang Tseng), and Adnan Sarhan, as well as promoting the health research of Emanuel Revici, John Beard, Helen Flanders Dunbar, Josef Deck, Matthew Luckiesh, and A.J. Pacini.

      Listen to Atom’s interviews as he is featured monthly at: and Atom’s blog can be viewed at: His E-books and manuscripts are available for sale at Join our Facebook community page: Atom’s School of Self-Healing at

    17. Do you know what killed Michah True (Caballo Blanco) ? … I have not read
      the book you mentioned (about running) but you did add at the bottom of
      your commentary that he had died. I have heard of other runners who
      have dropped dead (during a run) and wondered how old True was and
      what was the cause of death. I understand that although the arteries
      are completely clear, the CRP was very elevated in the 5 marathoners who
      had unexpectedly dropped dead during a run. And then there was Jim
      Fixx who dropped dead of a heart attack at 52 … but he did have
      serious occlusion in his arteries … Have you researched all this? Would
      like to know what the cause of death was of True … Thanks for your

    18. Hans Joustra says:

      The top five books I read recently are in alphabetical order since they are all equally important and I don’t want to rank them as first, second, etc.. They are:

      the Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife, CN, ND
      Diet Wise by Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby, MB, ChB, MD, PhD
      the Healing Power of Sound by Mitchell L. Gaynor, MD
      Outsmart Your Cancer by Tanya Harter-Pierce, MA, MFCC
      Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD

      I’ve learned a lot from them.

      With best regards,
      Hans Joustra

    19. The Moral Molecule by Paul Zak and Gayle’s books. I reread “Grain Damage” by Doug Graham, and “Milk, the Deadly Poison” by Robert Cohen. And, I keep reading and rereading “Be Your Own doctor, Why Suffer” by Dr. Ann Wigmore, my mentor for over 22 years.

    20. Michele says:

      No More Dirty Looks and The Beauty Detox Solution have both been life-changing books for me this year.

    21. Laraine says:

      I love Patrick Holfords books. As you like Mark Hyman you may like Patrick. He is the English version of Mark. Check out his website … Cheers

    22. Ira Edwards says:

      Two books that will make the difference between disability and health for many people:
      NIACIN: The Real Story. By Abram Hoffer; completed by Andrew Saul after Hoffer’s death at age 91.
      The STATIN DAMAGE CRISiS by Duane Graveline adds much to knowlege of statin drug side effects, including the global amnesia that Graveline suffered several years ago, and ALS-like neuropathy that caused Gravelines present disability.
      A third vital 2012 book: VITAMIN K2 and the CALCIUM PARADOX by Kate Rheaume-Bleue.
      These are the best of medical science, though ignored by arrogant establishment.
      Be sure to read IGNORE THE AWKWARD by Uffe Ravnskov, which explains why we don’t hear more about these other books, and his classic The CHOLESTEROL MYTHS.
      Ira Edwards author of HONEST NUTRITION

    23. If you like to read books about history, I am reading now The complete works
      by Josephus, Flavius., the book written by the author who lived during the Roman Empire times, fought the Romans, predicted a new Ceaser, witnessed and wrote about destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.

    24. Ira Edwards says:

      The STEVE JOBS book is also a heatlh book, if you read about his misdirected attempts to eat for good health. If Steve Jobs can’t get it right, who can? It is likely that his cancer was caused by his diets. It’s not a bad guess that WAPF or paleo natural foods could have saved him. Kaayla Daniel posted an article on this on Dec. 27, 2011.

      • Marilyn says:

        Dr. John McDougall also wrote an opinion about the reason for Steve Jobs’ demise after reading the biography. By the time Steve Jobs was diagnozed in 2004, if I recall, the cancer had metastasized. Dr. McDougall calculated the length of time it takes for this kind of cancer to progress to terminal stage. Please read Dr. McDougall’s website for accuracy, but he believed Steve contracted his cancer early on when he and Steve Wozniak were tinkering in the garage on the first computers. As you know, there are a lot of toxic substances used in assembling the computer. Dr. McDougall believes his plant-based diet has kept him alive longer than a person who ate the standard American diet.

        • Ira Edwards says:

          Dr. McDougall is free to believe that, but I find it highly speculative. The very high fructose diet is more likely a problem. better supported by science as a potential cause of beta-cell cancer.
          An all-time vital book is the 1929 NUTRITION AND PHYSICAL DEGENERATION by Dentist Weston A. Price. Nothing newer does so well to provide a foundation for understanding nutrition — and physical degeneratio.

        • Ira Edwards says:

          Dr. McDougall believes that, of course. I find it highly speculative. The high fructose diet is a much more science-supported potential cause of beta-cell cancer.

    25. Lee says:

      I loved the book Bombshell by Sussane Summers. This is a lot about the new technology for anti aging. ( Makes you really start thinking about if you really want to do that). The important take-away I had was that virtually none of these products and/or protocols could be introduced to someone who wasn’t already in great health. The book is a series of interviews with the ‘new’ doctor of the future. A whole lot of health info is in this book.

    26. Glad you mentioned Born To Run by Christopher McDougall. Did you see where I was interviewed and my story which started on page 210? I think I may be the only vegan mentioned, but at least I got a good plug in for leafy greens for breakfast! I’d also love for you to read my books, especially Senior Fitness which covers the top ten killers of people and the drugs they usually don’t need to take! (It’s not just for “seniors”, either!)

    27. Sandy says:

      There is a Cure for Diabetes by Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Thanks to him and that book I brought my A1c anf Fasting Blood Sugar low to the point that my Dr. doesn’t see the need to continue prescribing diabetes meds and strips/lancets.

    28. Daisyrose says:

      I recommend ‘Wheat Belly’ by William Davis MD. I think every one should read this book.
      Very informative and not difficult to read.
      Available as an eBook, paper and hardback. I read a library book but wanted to highlight so much.

    29. Chuck B says:

      My favorite books are in this order:
      The Healing Code
      Killing Kennedy
      Killing Lincoln

    30. Mary says:

      Congrats on your baby! Judging from your pics both of you never looked so good……as to be expected!
      Thanks for the inspiration, I need all that I can get……Blessings

    31. isabelle says:

      “Dr. Mom’s Healthy Living” by Sandra K. Livingston Ellis M.H.

      “Earthing” by Clinton Ober, Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Martin Zucker

      I LOVE simple solutions to complicated problems! These two books offer great information

      Sandra Ellis is a magician with herbs and has helped me heal myself many a time…and thanks to Earthing, I am sleeping grounded and walking barefoot in my garden everyday of the year….I LOVE it!!

      All the best and happy reading

    32. Kym says:

      Yes, I also really liked CS Kitchen by Kris Carr and Born to Run, as well.

      My top pick as far as positive impact on what I do would be Leo Babauta’s The Power of Less. It was published a couple of years ago and isn’t a health book per se but my overall wellness has improved significantly after implementing a few of the deceptively simple ideas it includes. Highly recommended.

    33. “Running With the Mind of Meditation,” by Sakyong Mipham…and the Sleep lady book which really helped with our toddler’s sleep habits! Peace in the new year to you all!

    34. I highly recommend We Want To Live by Aajonus Vonderplanitz. I also recommend Vascular Repair: The Key to Skipping Heart Disease by Robert Burkhalter (me).

    35. bonnie says:

      books that i loved.. were, Earthing, by Ober,Sinatra,Zucker. Energy Medicine by Donna Eden, Cancer is not a disease by Andreas Moritz. The Sinatra Solution by Stephen Sinatra.

    36. bonnie says:

      oh one more really powerful book to read that i did not mention..Power vs. Force by David Hawkins..

    37. bonnie says:

      forgot to mention a wonderful, very amazing book to my list of must reads, it is Power vs. Force by David Hawkins

    38. pat says:

      I have read many many health books, this is an older one but I read it in 2012, and maybe the VERY best one I ever read its by Harvey Diamond Fit for life, A New beggining, the ultimate diet and health plan.

      VERY GOOD!!! worth checking it out!

    39. Dear Kevin,
      Thank you very much for the Holy Basil products.
      I love it!
      My book pick for the year was To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal MD
      Nevermind any fiscal cliff its our spiritual cliff thats more important and needs the focus.
      When you have your spiritual life in focus everything else seems light.
      In my opinion that is where optimal health begins.
      Thank you for everything.

    40. Christine says:

      Never Fear Cancer Again. Was a great one for me…also loved The Blood Sugar Solution.

    41. Lori says:

      Another GREAT book for 2013 is, “The Thought That Changed My Life Forever”, by Christian Guenette, Gillian Laura Roberts and Dr. Bernie M. Siegel. This book has something for everyone in the way of inspiraton and motivation, and how to positively approach and get through some of life’s trials, errors or health-related problems. There are 52 chapters each written by individuals who have experience and shared their most inner thoughts that changed their lives. It is on Amazon and can also be obtained through Kindle.
      Best Regards!! Keep reading with Passion!

    42. W. says:

      The two books that I read this year, and highly recommend, are;
      Gut and Psychology Syndrom by Natasha Campbell-McBride and Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price.
      I am hoping to read Toxic Relief by Don Colbert this year as well as The Backyard Homestead.

      Happy Reading in 2013 for all! 🙂

      • JT says:

        I read Toxic Relief a number of years ago, before I was fairly educated in the health arena and even then, thought it was not accurate. He even recommends aspartame. I would not recommend spending time on Toxic Relief by Colbert.

    43. Patti says:

      High Raw!!! By Kevin Gianni!! I was inspired to get a personal trainer and ramp up my weight training, because I need to make my health my priority. 🙂

    44. IH says:

      Paul Coelho: “The alchemist”

    45. Cara says:

      a good friend forwarded your link and i am so happy she did – i am like you – i love bookstores and having treasures on my bookshelf waiting to be read – how wonderful that this forum allows such a richness in sharing – i can’t wait to dig into some of the intriguing titles you and others have shared

      i’ve read Steve Jobs’ book and i agree with you – one cannot deny the contribution he made and the inspiration he was for his team – the ones that stuck – very interesting perspective on leadership which made me examine some of my own experiences in a new light

      was very fortunate to contribute to a book that Amazon is releasing this month – the Thought that Changed My Life Forever…actually very much looking forward to reading it, myself, as i am discovering that my cocontributors – 52 amazing authors – have been on some remarkable health & healing journeys, themselves

      will look forward to hearing what you and the group thinks of the book once it’s released

      thanks for creating a wonderful space for sharing

    46. The Ringing Cedars series by Vladimir Megre! All nine books : )

    47. Cherie says:

      Sugar Blues by William Duffy, ouch….

    48. JT says:

      Vitamin D Revolution by Soram Khalsa (a very good researcher, easy to read and he has a good bibliography and practical advice), The Miraculous Results of Extreme Vitamin D by Jeff T. Bowles (riveting experimentation), The Pleasure Trap by Douglas J. Lisle

      Kevin, thanks for allowing others to give book suggestions. I found this a wonderful way of sharing. Thanks.

    49. Rob says:

      4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
      4-Hour Chef
      Primal Blueprint by Marc Sisson
      The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain
      Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs
      One fiction book: The Graveyard Book

        Comments are closed for this post.