Below are links to some resources and information about food, nutrition and psycho-emotional health. A lot of conversation about the effect of food on our emotional and cognitive states, sometimes called ‘food and mood’ can feel very reductive, i.e. eating x y and z eases depression, but food can be a huge contributing factor to how we experience life. Staying well hydrated and eating as well and nutritiously as possible, can be one way to tend to our foundations and influences how we inhabit ourselves and our experiences. Keeping a journal of what, when and how we eat can be useful to identify any food intolerances, and the more subtle effects of food day to day. Understanding the way fluctuation and drops in blood sugar levels, and how refined sugar can affect us etc. can be revealed and tended to. Finding gentle and compassionate understandings about our relationship to food, and transforming (internalised) oppression around dieting and body image can be essential and empowering dialogue to exchange as we explore and build solidarity around radical health and well being.
Some food and nutrition online resources and books have been listed below in three sections looking at Bodypositivity, Anti-dieting, Health At Every Size (HAES), critiques of HAES, and Intuitive Eating; then Nutrition and psycho-emotional health including links to specific foods and nutritional benefits, information about supplementation, fasting, gut biomes and fermentation; and Food Politics.
Bodypositivity, Anti-dieting, Health At Every Size (HAES) and critiques of HAES, and Intuitive Eating
The Body Is Not An Apology ‘Radical self love for everybody and every body’, a movement committed to cultivating global radical self-love and bodily empowerment. The website hosts a good range of articles, for example 4 Things Everyone Should Know About Eating Disorders in Marginalized Communities by Gloria Lucas. Also see the book The Body is not an Apology, by founder Sonya Renee Taylor, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, new edition 2021.
Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation, by Dalia Kinsey, Benbella 2021. Registered dietitian and nutritionist Dalia Kinsey will help readers to improve their health without restriction, eliminate stress around food and eating, and turn food into a source of pleasure instead of shame. A road map to body acceptance and self-care for queer people of color, Decolonizing Wellness is filled with practical eating practices, journal prompts, affirmations, and mindfulness tools. Ultimately, decolonizing nutrition is essential not only to our personal well-being but to our community’s well-being and to the possibility of greater social transformation. This is a body positivity and food freedom book for marginalized folks. It’s a guide to throwing out food rules in exchange for internal cues and adopting a self-love-based approach to eating. It’s about learning to trust our bodies and turning mealtime into a time for celebration and healing.
Body Respect, by Lindo Bacon and Lucy Aphramor, BenBella Books 2014. An updated book debunking common myths around weight, and the journey to cultivating body respect. You can access the introduction here: Body Respect Introduction
Health at Every Size author Lindo Bacon’s website that features a selection of resources and articles mostly around body positvity and challenging the weight loss paradigm.
NB: Critiques of Health at Every Size: Eight Signs of White Supremacy in HAES (Health at Every Size) and Ideas for Action. And critique of the Health at Every Size paradigm: Hey! Are You One the 401k Readers Misled by Our HAES Theory? by former advocate Lucy Aphramor (see website below).
Lucy Aphramor. A UK based radical dietitician and spoken word poet, author of the HAES critques linked to above. Lucy’s website features details of their health justice approach Well Now, a link to publications, and a great glossary.
Fat Activism by Charlotte Cooper. A book that charts fat feminist histories, discusses current critical concerns within the movement, such as consumerism and racism, and how queer fat feminism might offer more useful ways of doing and thinking about fat activism as well as social change more broadly.
Dieting Detox. Within a site dedicated to body positive resources, here is a collection of personal stories of moving away from the dieting mentality.
Food Confidence podcast Podcast about approachable health and imperfect food. Empowering parents and caregivers to raise food and body confident kids through conversations with game-changers.
Do No Harm podcast A podcast interviewing Deb Burgard, a psychologist and activist specialising in concerns around body image, weight stigma and relationships as well as how to make the world a more compassionate place.
Food Psych podcast. Food Psych is a podcast about intuitive eating, positive body image, and eating disorder recovery, with Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor Christy Harrison.
Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift, Nutrition Journal Vol. 10:9 (2011) by Lindo Bacon and Lucy Aphramor. A classic well argued, concise and thoroughly researched introduction to the flaws in current weight science.
Against Healthisms: Challenging the Paradigm of “Eating Right” Special issue of the Journal Of Critical Dietetics, ‘Against Healthisms: Challenging the idea of ‘Eating Right’’. As they describe: “We, as scholars of Critical Dietetics, heed the call to trouble and contest the concept of “health”, while at the same time we recognize that profound social inequities exist around the pursuit and delivery of health and wellbeing. The persistence of these inequities demand that we take a critical stance against health, healthisms, and normative framings of “eating right”.
10 Principles of Intuitive Eating. Intuitive eating is a similar approach to mindful eating; this lays out its 10 main principles. Also see the new edition of the excellent book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach, by Tribole and Resch, St martin’s Essentials 2020, or the equivalent workbook.
Road to Recovered A personal blog sharing journal entries and in depth thoughts around the author’s recovery from disordered eating.
Nutrition and psycho-emotional health
The Doctor’s Kitchen This is a go to website for thoughtful, accessible, evidence based and holistically minded nutrition information. With online resources, an excellent podcast and books, Dr Rupy Aujla advocates for better habits without dogma.The podcast is especially recommended, with hour long interviews with experts in different fields, such as anti-inflammatory diets, the benefits of Fasting, about Supplementation, and the concerns about the effect of eating Sugar.
Understanding Living Nutrition is a great website for an intuitive eating clinic carrying many articles like this brief introduction that discusses the importance of fibre and this podcast about things we can do to help our gut health.
How to obtain Omega 3 fats without fish, a concise overview on a US-based vegan dietician with a compassionate HAES approach. This website also features a blog, links to various resources, and an online introductory course to gentle, anti-fear-mongering vegan nutrition which is a bit pricy but offers some scholarship spots.
An extensive database of science research and nutrition information compiled by scientists with no explicit affiliation or bias. A good place to start if you are looking for the evidence base for any nutrition issues, especially supplementation.
Old Ways project honouring traditional and cutural food traditions. Resources, related health information and recipes.
The Vegan Society’s resources pages offer lots of well researched, despite an obvious bias, information.
Below are two mainstream ‘mental health’ resources about food and psycho-emotional health. They are reductive and biomedical but also hold useful information to consider and distil out. MIND: Food and Mood document gives information about food and nutrition and suggestions for approaches to food and food diaries. A website called Food for the Brain, which is very biodmedical and problematic in the reductive way it speaks about ‘mental health’, again holds information about food and nutrition that can be filtered out and useful to consider/ integrate.
The Food and Mood Handbook, by Amanda Geary, Thorsons 2001. Although old, slightly outdated and upholding a biomedical, this book commisioned by the charity Mind is an overview of links between food and psycho-emotional health.
‘The most potent medicine for mental health might be in your pantry‘ In an excerpt from her book This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods That Fight Depression, Anxiety, Ptsd, Ocd, Adhd, and More, Harvard-trained psychiatrist and nutrition expert Dr. Uma Naidoo explains the connection between eating well and well-being.
Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, New Trends Publishing 2009. The subtitle “The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats” gives you an idea of the tone of this book that has influenced many critics of the health industry; while much of it is propaganda it also holds some important information and encouragement for the value of proper whole foods.
Eat like it matters, Active Distribution 2017. A booklet discussing food choice within a capitalist food system, demystifying nutrition concepts and providing some recipes and plant based cookery tips throughout.
Diet and inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel issues affect many people and can impact psycho-emotional health. This website, although fairly medicalised and not particularly supportive of complementary medicine is patient led and has a range of dietary resources.
Wild Fermentation The go to, original website for a new wave of fermentation (which acknowledges how fermentation has been part of most cultures for thousands of years).
On pickles: biological and sociocultural links between fermented foods and the human gut microbiome, Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 2021 – a fascinating write up of the ‘new wave’ of fermentation and its cultural meaning which also offers a good overview of the benefits of fermented food on the gut.
Marions Nestle’s website Food Politics. With a wealth of information on her website, the critical and vocal nutritionist Marion Nestle challenges the food industry and distills reliable nutrition information. The short article looks at what farmers are actually paid and how this affects food quality. Her books are also much recommended, e.g. What to Eat, by Marion Nestle, North Point Press 2007.
Food Is Power A vegan food justice project founded by women of colour, encouraging healthy food choices that reflect a more compassionate society by spotlighting the abuse of animals on farms, the depletion of natural resources, unfair working conditions for produce workers, and the unavailability of healthy foods in low-income areas. The US-based website provides resources and articles on a wide range of issues.
Formerly known as food, by Kristen Lawless, a ‘survey of the dangers of the industrial food system’ comes with a bit of fearmongering, but what makes this still a good read is the author’s awareness of privilege and critique of the paternalism of nutrition.
Sanctuary Publishers. A small US-based publishing house with a mission to support what they term consistent anti-oppression, and providing resources for vegans of colour. Including titles like Food Justice by Saryta Rodriguez.
Dismantling Racism in the Food System. A Food First! primer on dismantling racism in the food system, by Eric Holt-Gimenez and Breeze Harper, US focused but a good introduction to some important issues.
Black Vegans Rock Veganism can seem very white centred but there’s a growing movement of POC presenting vital perspectives on plant based eating and cooking. Check out this website founded by Aph Ko profiling lots of interesting black vegans and their projects.
Bryant Terry. Bryant Terry is an inspiring African-American vegan chef, cookbook author and food justice activist.