Recommended Readings: Books on Alternative Health

As a follow-up to her cancer story, my Mom wanted to share a list of the books she read that helped her to understand illness and healing. She has grouped the books into four sections. Here are the sections with her descriptions:

SECTION I: Research-Based Nutrition Information

SECTION II: Critiques of Western Lifestyle by Health Care Professionals

SECTION III: Critiques of Western Lifestyle by Various Authors

SECTION IV: Alternative Science

After each title, she includes a quick summary about how the book was helpful, and what to expect from reading it. If you know someone who was just diagnosed with a serious illness, or you are interested in learning about alternative medicines, there are some wonderful books in this list that can help you get started. I have linked the books to Amazon just for convenience. Here is my Mom’s alternative health book list:


SECTION I: Research-Based Nutrition Information

These titles do not assume the reader has a background in microbiology, etc.  Some authors get deep into the science behind their advice, but their presentations simplify information that might otherwise be difficult to follow. I actually found most of these books to be quite entertaining. Though they are about science and nutrition, some read more like novels with a bit of suspense and humor. These authors are passionate about their topics and well-qualified. And most books contain recipes.

Note:  I would caution readers against the use of red wine or green tea, two products that some authors recommend.  While these drinks may contain some beneficial components their detrimental effects outweigh any benefits. 

beating ancer with nutrition

Beating Cancer with Nutrition (2005)

By Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, CNS and Noreen Quillin

The printed copy of the book with with audiobook summery for those too ill to read a book. This is an excellent book choice for someone just diagnosed with cancer. The authors have written this book to provide a quick but thorough overview of how cancer develops, how current conventional treatments attack it, and how nutrition can attack it. The authors provide numerous visual diagrams to explain the technical concepts and provide very concrete advice on how to change your diet.

foods to fight cancer

Foods to Fight Cancer (2007)

By Richard Beliveau, PhD and Dennis Gingras, PhD

A colorful book with many diagrams and photographs. Both authors are experienced research microbiologists and write specifically about a dozen or so fruits and vegetables that have demonstrated an ability to attack cancer. Their presentation is very technical but fascinating and easy to follow.


What to Eat if You Have Cancer: Healing Foods that Boost Your Immune System (2006)

By Maureen Keane, MS and Danilella Chance, MS

The authors begin with an overview of how the various organ systems in our body function. I found this to be very helpful. The authors then discuss various nutrients in how they support the immune system. A large section of the book provides nutritional advice to counter the side effects of conventional cancer treatments. I did not read this part.


The Cancer Lifeline Cookbook (2010)

By Kimberly Mathai, MS, RD and Ginny Smith

The authors briefly discuss ten “superfoods” and various nutrients that fight cancer. They then offer specific advice on how to switch your diet. The remaining three quarters of the book is filled with simple recipes.


Superfoods (2006)

By Steven G. Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Matthews

The authors begin with a description of how the western diet is harmful and how the roles of micronutrients in supporting our immune system. Next, the authors detail the benefits of fourteen “superfoods” and include recipes and shopping resources.

the ph miracle

The pH Miracle (2010)

By Robert O. Young, PhD And Shelley Redford Young

Robert Young is a microbiologist who has developed some strong opinions from his own research. This book presents his findings. He is not alone in his opinions, there are other scientists who agree with his concepts, but Dr. Young offers more extreme advice than any other author I am familiar with. His diet suggestions are very specific and regimented. I believe his information is accurate and worthy of implementing, but it requires the reader to be especially committed to a new lifestyle. The book explains common causes of poor health and how proper nutrition can reverse the progress of disease and restore health. Almost half the book is written by Dr. Young’s wife, Shelley and it includes shopping and cooking information as well as recipes.


Wheatgrass Nature’s Finest Medicine: The Complete Guide to Using Grasses to Revitalize Your Health (2006)

By Steve Meyerowitz

The author is a well-known and respected authority on wheatgrass. The book presents the long history of wheatgrass and its use in restoring health, then details how to grow wheatgrass. The author offers fascinating and compelling information in a very practical format.


Critiques of Western Lifestyle by Health Care Professionals

The following books are in-depth critiques of western medicine. The authors are medical doctors and speak from the trenches in their own very personal experience.


Health and Nutrition Secrets that can save your life (2006)

By Russell L. Blaylock, MD

This is an essential book that I have found to be extremely informative and useful. Dr. Blaylock was a practicing neurosurgeon when he began to study nutrition. He became frustrated with the medical establishment and corporate politics when his findings were ignored. He saw patients loose their lives because of poor nutrition. He left his practice and began a new career as a nutrition consultant. This book is fascinating, detailed, and comprehensive. Dr. Blaylock first discusses the results of poor nutrition and the effects of good nutrition, then tells the stories of various environmental toxins, their history, and how to avoid them. He also discusses the vaccine controversy and food additives. The second section of the book discusses some common western health problems associated with aging and how to avoid these issues with proper nutrition.


Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life (2009)

By David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., PhD

This book is very unique, it was written by a psychiatrist with a PhD. In neuroscience. While the author was doing research for his PhD, he accidently discovered that he had brain cancer. This book is a story of his journey to healing and includes a disturbing but fascinating description of the problems with conventional cancer research and treatments. The author includes specific information on anti-cancer foods. Included in this book is a story on the research work done by one of the authors of Foods to Fight Cancer (see description of this book above).

Power Healing: Use the new integrated medicine to cure yourself (1998)

By Leo Gallan, M.D.

Dr. Gallan began to see the failings of western medicine while still a resident being trained in hospital settings. He soon focused his career on family practice and treating his patients with a holistic approach. This book is filled with storied of his patients and provides a healing protocol to lead readers to restored health.  The author also includes appendixes with more specific information relating to toxins and healing.


Spontaneous Healing (2000)

By Andrew Weill, M.D.

Just after finishing his clinical training, Dr. Weill began searching out alternative and ancient approaches to healing. He traveled to observe a shaman (medicine man in a tribal culture) in the amazon rainforest and searched out and learned from many other alternative practitioners around the world. This book begins by telling numerous patient stories which Dr. Weill learned from then goes into the components of a healing diet. The third section outlines what to do if you get sick and how to evaluate your treatment options.

The Scalpel and the Soul (2009)

By Allan J. Hamilton, M.D.

This is an especially unique book written by a neurosurgeon with a holistic mindset. In this book, Dr. Hamilton tells the stories of about sixteen patients and the spiritual experiences he learned from while caring for them.

Critiques of Western Lifestyle by Various Authors

The following books are accounts of western medicine, environmental toxins, and/or nutrition written by authors without a background in medicine or science (such as journalists).

omnivores dilemma

Omnivore’s Dilemma (2009)

By Michael Polan

An informative and entertaining account of how our food is produced.


Deadly Spin (2011)

By Wendell Potter

The author spent years as a public relations executive in the healthcare field. He became disturbed by practices he witnessed and was a part of and, consequently, left his career. He wrote this book to inform the public.

poisoned profits

Poisoned Profits: The toxic assault on our children (2008)

By Philip Shabecoff and Alicie Shabecoff

This husband and wife team spent careers as very successful family and environmental journalists. They wrote this book as grandparents with a passion to revile to the public the negative effects corporate choices are having on our children’s health. This book is very well researched, interesting, and informative.


The Ripple Effect: the fate of fresh water in the 21st Century (2011)

By Alex Prud’honne

A very comprehensive account of the water system in the United States. The author tells numerous stories that illustrate problems with our current water supply system. The book is entertaining and informative and raises a serious voice of warning.

Diet for a Poisoned Planet: How to choose safe foods for you and your family (1990)

By David Steinmen

This book is older, but very comprehensive. The author outlines safety issues with various foods in a detailed and informative way.

SECTION IV: Alternative Science

These books are very unusual. The authors have written about cellular science from a very spiritual perspective. Their observations are not conventional, and yet make tremendous sense. The authors present evidence to support the reality of their observations, so I feel their perspectives are worthy of serious consideration.

biology of belief

The Biology of Belief (2007)

By Bruce H. Lipton

This book was written by a mainstream medical doctor who abruptly quit his job in frustration one day. After a few years of playing in a band he returned to the field of medicine by accepting a teaching position at a small medical school that allowed him time to teach and research. The book is very deep and thought-provoking but still “digestible”, and I highly recommend reading it. The author presents a radically different perspective on health and wellness.


Cellular Awakening: How your body holds and creates light (2010)

By Barbara Wren

The author had studied nutrition and healing for thirty years before writing this book.  She draws connections between how our bodies operate and natural occurrences in our environment and addresses how to use these natural laws to improve our health.  I do NOT embrace all of the concepts she presents but much of it seems valid and worthy of consideration.

The True Power of Water (2003) & The Secret Life of Water (2003)

By Masaru Emoto

The author, a curious Japanese businessman, discovered that water is very affected by music and even written words. This sounds absurd but it also makes quite a bit of sense. There are unseen forces for good in our world and unseen forces for evil. Emoto offers evidence that these forces are felt by all of us in a very physical way. Emoto lacks academic credentials but his concepts make sense and are thought – provoking.


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