I often peruse the health & fitness and cookbook sections of Chapters to see what information is available (it’s often ridiculous, redundant, or laugh-out-loud funny). There are some really great books & DVDs that can help you on your wellness journey. For example, there are several amazing books about how to cook, grill, and pair flavours with food. Ever wonder how to use cardamom or tumeric? Perhaps you want to learn how to make healthy cookies or bake bread. There is a book for almost everything!
What about the internet? Yes, there are some fantastic recipes and YouTube videos on the web. You can learn a lot but the downside is that there isn’t much of a peer review process aside from reviews by random people. That being said, there are also some crappy books (especially fad diet & exercise plans!!) that are not based on any scientific or expert knowledge what-so-ever. On the up side, books are reviewed by editors and fact-checkers to ensure product quality. Recipes in cookbooks are tested and revised and tested again before they are published. This is a huge advantage over internet recipe sites.
Not all books are worth the paper they are printed on, let alone their sticker price at the bookshop. Checking out a book from your local library is like a free trial that lets you see if the book is worth adding to your collection before you invest your hard-earned cash into something that adds no value to your life. If you have access to a university library, I highly recommend going in and checking it out. While they often charge a fee to non-students, anyone can sit inside the library and read a book, so you don’t necessarily have to pay for borrowing privileges. Universities value learning and education (obviously) so they have way more books, journals, magazines, and even DVDs than the public libraries.
Speaking of DVDs, if you like to work out at home using workout videos, consider getting them from the library to try out before you fork out your cash. In London you can take a DVD home for 7 days which is ample time to do a couple workouts and see if you like it.
Looking for a few basic cookbooks to get started? Here are a few of my favorites:
- The Tassajara Bread Book (How to make bread from scratch)
- The Moosewood Cookbook (Vegetarian, natural foods)
- The Eat-Clean Cookbook for Men (Healthy eating, natural foods, has some great recipes for pulled pork and chicken wings)
- The Joy of Cooking (classic)
- Gourmet Nutrition by Precision Nutrition (delicious, nutritious, high-protein meals)
Books to avoid? Fad diet books, books about exercise and nutrition written by celebrities (generally they do not have the expert or scientific knowledge to write about it!), cookbooks about one type of food (unless it is your favorite and you will actually get lots of use out of it), calorie counting books (unless you want to drive yourself crazy), and magazines (I know this isn’t technically a book but they are a waste of money as you are paying to be advertised to!).
Happy library “shopping”!