Food for Thought: Chef, Medical Experts, and Team-Recommended Books

12/28/23, Reneta Jenik

As we usher in a new year, the promise of self-improvement and personal growth takes center stage in our aspirations. Our community of chefs, doctors, dieticians, and dedicated team members have come together to curate a diverse collection of recommended books and reads spanning the realms of food, nutrition, health, medicine, personal growth, fiction, and more.

These carefully chosen literary gems serve not only as sources of inspiration but also as invaluable tools for nurturing our minds. In a world where constant stimulation is the norm, taking the time to read is akin to providing a nourishing gym session for the brain. In the pursuit of a more vibrant and fulfilling life, what better companions can we find than the wisdom distilled within the pages of a good book?

Join us on this literary journey as we present a selection of fun and thought-provoking books to kickstart the new year on a strong note and sustain that momentum throughout the months ahead.

1. Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty

Recommended by Dr. David Lubarsky, MD, UC Davis health CEO: “There’s a lot of wisdom in there about how to be more intentional, how to be more appreciative, how to understand what is in your power and what is not. It was just most beneficial, compared to other books, because it actually had exercises to do in order to realize the goals of the chapter. I thought that was excellent. I like homework.”

2. How to Know a Person by David Brooks

Recommended by Mayumi Tavalero, Foodom’s customer care, chef success and everything culinary expert: “I am looking forward to reading this book after seeing an interview with the author.  I think it would be helpful both personally and in work-related situations.  Improving how we interact with others is vital to a peaceful existence, so I have added this to the top of my 2024 reading list!”. This is also one of Fidji Simo’s, Instacart CEO, favorite books.

3. The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess

Also recommended by Mayumi: “This book was introduced to me about 10 years ago and it’s been life changing for me. Everything we were taught about lifting weights, specifically for women has been all wrong!”

4. Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn

Recommended by chef David Avalos, Foodom’s chefs operations: “A book I love so much I often give it to new friends as an Introduction to me. It provides a very unique perspective, from a very unlikely teacher on the sentience of nature and the ignored wisdom that comes from it, with some clues on how to address the damage caused by humanity.”

5. The Invisible Kingdom, by Meghan Q’rourke

Recommended by Fidji Simo, Instacart CEO and chair: “The book addresses the rise of complex chronic illnesses (especially autoimmune and post-infectious ones) through the lens of the author’s personal story, as well as the failures of our healthcare system in tackling these diseases. Well worth a read. .”

6. The Way We Eat Now, by Bee Wilson

Recommended by Mike DoehlaStronger U founder, the food dad and one of Foodom very first loyal supporters: ” I love the book! It paints a very clear picture of how we got to such an unhealthy place through no fault of our own. It shows the history of food, how it changed for better or worse, and what caused so many challenges for people.”

7. Eat a Peach, by David Chang

Recommended by Rick Spencer, managing partner at the Growth Factory Ventures: “It’s a great story on a chef’s life, entrepreneurship and a vulnerable look into the mental journey experienced as part of being “successful”. Great for those thinking about 2024 goals.”

8. The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe

Christina Sonnenberg, RDN, IFNCP, a registered dietitian, Foodom and Marshall Medical Center: “This is my top book recommendation. In my opinion, everyone should be required to read this book. It teaches critical thinking, a deeper understanding of how our mind works, including its shortcomings and how to find the signal in such a noisy informational landscape, especially with health information.”

9. The Baron

Chef Deborah Wagner, from the Foodom community: The Baron was  the most influential philanthropist of the 19th Century. He made his fortune developing the first  railroad that linked Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire.  So many interesting facts about his life. Friends with Andrew Carnegie.”

10. The Secret by Rhonda Bryne

Recommended by Chef Jen Stone from the Foodom community: One of my favorites! This book is a game changer of the mind. It helps with  receiving prosperity in all aspects of life.”


11. The Alaska from Scratch, by Maya Wilson

This is Chef Maya Wilson’s from the Foodom community cookbook! It features seasonal, family-friendly recipes inspired by Alaska’s bounty. From summer’s wild berries to comforting winter soups, her creations, like balsamic chicken, coffee chocolate chip banana bread, and Kenai cheeseburgers, cater to busy families. With a nod to Alaska’s seafood, enjoy halibut in Thai curry, a salmon superfood salad, and local specialties like reindeer sausage and moose shepherd’s pie.

12. Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne

Chef Thaddeus Paulk from the Foodom community: “It captivated me with its portrayal of the Comanche tribe’s history and the legendary figure Quanah Parker. The Native American culture clashed with the early settlers of America. The narrative unfolds like an epic movie, drawing you into the harsh realities of the Texas frontier. It is quite honestly the most honest account of life in the 1800’s you will ever read!”

13. The Untethered Soul

Dr. Sharon Chang, MD, Kaiser Permanente, Innovative breast surgery leader: This is a deceptively simple book that leads one through inner work to examine the thoughts, beliefs, and habits that trap us in maladaptive patterns. It then gives a picture of what one’s life/existence could look like, full of peace and acceptance, free of those limiting factors. I have read this book only once, but plan to read it again in 2024 to unlock deeper layers of meaning, and work through more of my own thoughts and emotions.”

14. If I Betray These Words

Another book recommended by Dr. Chang: This book examines physician moral injury in the modern American healthcare system through a series of stories about physicians working in practices throughout the United States. I found it both eye-opening and heartbreaking; working in the Kaiser system, I have been almost completely sheltered from the practice of medical care that prioritizes profit over patient outcomes. This book was an urgent call to arms, both to reform healthcare delivery in the United States and also to support the many physicians who have suffered moral injury and are either struggling or have left medicine altogether.

15. Unconventional Medicine

Jenny Fowler, Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant: “Join the revolution to reinvent healthcare & reverse chronic disease. This book looks at the paradigm shift needed for the future of true healthcare. Great read for those living with chronic disease as well as those interested in becoming functional medicine practitioners.”

16. Nutrient Power: Heal your biochemistry and heal your brain

Another book recommendation from Jenny Fowler: “As we collectively start to make mental health more of a priority, this book takes a deep dive into nutrient therapy for mental health and specifically looks at four different kinds of depression.”

17. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

And one more special recommendation from Jenny: “It’s a life-changing favorite of mine. For those interested in learning more about natural childbirth, Ina May shares practical information as well as empowering birth stories to take the fear out of childbirth by restoring women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth naturally.”

18. Homo Deus

A book recommended by Reneta Jenik, Foodom founder and CEO: “Harari’s futuristic predictions, especially on AI’s potential impact in all aspects of our life, are fascinating, especially with the recent developments. The idea of “super humans” with life expectancy over 200 years is thought-provoking. His insights into how this could reshape relationships, parenthood, and careers are intriguing. Harari’s exploration not only forecasts the future but raises critical questions about ethics and responsibility. I highly recommend it for anyone intrigued by the intersection of technology and humanity!”

19. Ratio

Recommended by David Long, a Foodie, and an avid Foodom supporter: “Absolutely love the Ratio book – my cooking bible! It simplifies everything to essential cooking rules, ensuring consistent success. No more second-guessing with online recipes; I can always fact-check and get it just right. It works every single time.

19. The Obesity Code

Recommended by Dr. Andy Luckett, our medical advisor and a functional medicine doctor at One Community Health: “The book details in a very accessible way the underpinnings of obesity, including debunking the simple theory that if you eat fewer calories you will lose weight. It explains how obesity is a complex hormonal and metabolic disease that can be reversed by changing what we eat. In the age of Wegovy and Ozempic, this book explains how to change your food choices and eating habits to naturally mimic what those medicines are doing in your body.”

19. The Wisdom of Sundays, By Oprah Winfrey

Recommended by Tarrah Palomino, Clutch’s COO, a foodie, and a wonderful Foodom supporter: “Wisdom of Sundays is just good for the soul. Oprah interviews participants of past Super Soul Sundays episodes and dives deeper into their interpretations of the challenges, joys and “mysteries” of life.”

19. East of Eden, by Steinbeck

Another book recommended by Tarrah: “East of Eden is so beautifully written. Steinbeck brings nature and relationships to life.


Chef-Powered Meal Prep for Mindful Living

Now, we get it. Time’s a precious commodity, and if the idea of diving into a book feels like a stretch, we’ve got your back. Why stress over pages when you could be enjoying life?

Revel in all the free time you’ll have to enjoy by hiring a chef from Foodom to manage your kitchen duties at home. All at a cost that won’t break the bank—more affordable than traditional house cleaning services. Invest in a well-fed mind!

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