Good-Health Reads: Dana Ellis Hunnes

With so many health-transforming books being released, WholeFoods wanted to know what the experts are reading. Here, Dana Ellis Hunnes, author of Recipe For Survival: What you can do to live a healthier and more environmentally friend life, shares two favorites.

I am someone who enjoys living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle by eating a whole foods, plant-based, sustainable diet. I am also someone who works with individuals every day, helping them live their healthiest and most sustainable lifestyle as a Registered Dietitian at a major medical center in Los Angeles.   

As someone who loves to read books, learn all I can, and write, I am always invigorated by books that are motivating, well-researched, based in science, and are written with journalistic integrity. Those were the goals and mission I had in writing my own book, Recipe For Survival: What you can do to live a healthier and more environmentally friendly lifeout this January. 

As a writer, author, environmentalist, and health-care professional, I educate and motivate others towards a healthier way of life—for themselves and the planet—through what they eat. The books below have educated me and inspired me to do better and be better for my own health and the environment. 

Kiss The Ground by Josh Tickell (Atria/Enliven Books)  

Josh Tickell is a wonderful storyteller. In this groundbreaking (pun intended) book, he addresses one of the most industrious, yet little-known ways that we can reverse climate change in its tracks, simply by changing the way we treat the ground, the soil, and the Earth. This book describes the ways conventional farming methods contribute to climate change, soil loss, and decreased nutrient levels in the foods we eat. Kiss The Ground also describes the amazing positive feedback loop that takes place when we treat our soils better, when we treat them as living organisms—which they are; and give them the opportunity to flourish. I learned more than I ever thought possible about sustainability and regenerative farming techniques which rebuild soil health, the soil itself, and the amount of carbon and water that can be stored in the soil, making it more fertile, more nutritious, and more productive, while simultaneously reversing climate change, all accomplished at a fraction of the price of conventional farming. To understand the need for regenerative-farming techniques and how they contribute to our own health and the environment, I strongly recommend this book.  

The Secret Life of Grocery Stores by Benjamin Lorr (Avery Books)

If you have ever wondered about the backstory of how foods make it into your grocery store, this is the book for you. This book exposes the supermarket industry; demonstrating its glory and successes, but also some of its tragedies. Lorr goes undercover at Whole Foods, travels with a trucker, follows industry insiders, and meets with slave-workers of the seafood industry; all of which have a role in getting foods into the grocery stores that we all visit. From a human-rights perspective, this book may be just what the Doctor ordered to help you consider or reconsider some of your own purchasing and eating habits. This book is lush in details, describing issues that surprise even me, someone who has worked in nutrition for many years; another MUST READ. 

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Dana Ellis Hunnes is the author of the upcoming book with Cambridge University Press Recipe For Survival: What you can do to live a healthier and more environmentally friend life. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and is a Senior Dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She earned her BS in nutrition and human biology from Cornell University, her RD at Emory University Hospitals, and her Masters of Public Health (MPH) and PhD in Public Health from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Dana teaches courses on nutrition, chronic disease, and the environment. Her research examines the relationships among climate change, food choices, and food security. She is frequently cited in the media: She has been interviewed by NBC Nightly News, WBAI radio, Spectrum 1 TV. She has written guest articles for Huffington Post and Self Magazine, and has been quoted by the Associated Press, Live Science, Healthline, Consumer Reports, Women's Health Magazine, Well + Good, HuffPost, Self Magazine, Health magazine, Cosmopolitan, Men's Journal, Insider, the Los Angeles Times, and other news and media outlets.