Quick-fix diet books remain popular among consumers, with multiple detox plans and cleanse programs promising results in as few as 10 days. But a significant number of titles focus on broader lifestyle changes and a holistic approach encompassing healthy eating, exercise, and mental wellness. These books draw on everything from ancient traditions to the newest trends in scientific research, and focus on increasing well-being, not just shrinking waistlines.
One example of this approach is The Mindful Diet by clinical health psychologist Ruth Wolever and nutritionist Beth Reardon (Scribner, Apr. 2015), both of whom are associated with Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, N.C., a university-affiliated practice that combines alternative and evidence-based medicine. As editor Shannon Welch explains, “The Mindful Diet is about addressing the root of unhealthy behavior and showing readers how to make lifestyle changes so they can achieve sustainable results. I think we’re seeing a movement away from a rigid diet toward an orientation toward whole foods.”
A number of forthcoming titles are up-front about putting the “diet” idea on the back burner. In December, Shambhala will publish the U.S. edition of an Australian book, The Weight Escape: How to Stop Dieting and Start Living by Ann Bailey, Joseph Ciarrochi, and Russ Harris. The three authors are ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) trainers, and offer a plan that marketing communications manager Steven M. Pomije describes as a “close cousin” to mindfulness. Harris is also the author of The Happiness Trap, which, Pomije says, has sold 100,000 e-book copies since its 2008 publication.
In December’s What the Fork Are You Eating: An Action Plan for Your Pantry and Plate (Tarcher), Stefanie Sacks, a chef and nutritionist, examines the ingredients in foods commonly considered to be healthy, scoping out chemical preservatives, sweeteners, pesticides, and colorings. The Forks over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet by physicians Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman (Touchstone, Sept.), an offshoot of the 2011 documentary Forks over Knives, is another title more concerned with eating for optimum health than with stepping on the scale. Nava Atlas has been extolling the virtues of a vegetarian diet since 1984’s Vegetariana; her latest cookbook, Plant Power (Harper One, Sept.), collects more than 150 vegan recipes.
Rodale titles address weight loss and wellness from a number of angles. The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey (Dec.) is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur’s take on how to boost energy and lose weight on an anti-inflammatory, high-fat plan. Says Jennifer Levesque, trade editorial director, “A lot of new research is emerging showing that fat is not as bad for our diets as we previously thought. In fact, healthy fats play a key role in losing weight and keeping it off long term. We’ve seen many proposals in recent months that reflect this thinking, and several of our upcoming titles support this.”
As fat redeems its reputation in some quarters, gluten is losing ground. Wheat Belly Total Health by William Davis (Rodale, Sept.) follows up 2011’s Wheat Belly, which according to Nielsen BookScan figures has sold close to 600,000 copies. At Viva Editions, publisher Brenda Knight sees noticeable movement toward “plant-based publishing.” Vegan and gluten-free cookbooks are the single largest trend in books on healthy eating, she says, but some consumers have “over-corrected,” ending up with “some surprises, like loss of bone density and dental issues,” topics addressed in Veganish by chef Mielle Chenier-Cowan Rose (Oct.). Happy Foods: A Guide to the Gluten-Free Good Life (Viva Editions, Jan. 2015) by chef/nutritionist/cooking instructor Karen Wang Diggs includes more than 100 gluten-free recipes and draws on the author’s experiences growing up in mainland China and working as a chef at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong.
In Love Your Body: Eat Smart, Get Healthy, Find Your Ideal Weight, and Feel Beautiful Inside & Out! (Rodale, Sept.), Talia Fuhrman, the daughter of Eat to Live author Joel Fuhrman, goes beyond advocating a plant-based lifestyle to include tips on everything from avoiding toxic relationships to promoting the health of the planet. March 2015 will see the release of Rodale’s The Campbell Plan by Thomas Campbell, coauthor (with his father, T. Colin Campbell) of The China Study, which examined lifestyle and nutrition in rural China and has sold more than 630,000 copies since its 2004 publication, according to Nielsen BookScan. The physician’s new book addresses health, weight loss, and the science behind his recommendation of a plant-based diet.
LeBootcamp Diet by French fitness trainer Valerie Orsoni (Berkley, Apr. 2015) endorses healthy eating, moderate exercise, motivation, and stress and sleep management. Denise Silvestro, executive editor at Berkley Publishing Group, notes an emerging trend: “We’ve seen health and fitness readers become firmly entrenched in their food lifestyle plan of choice—paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, pescatarian, and more,” she says. “However, I think we’re going to start to see diet and health books that offer programs enabling readers to follow their preferred food lifestyle, so that the plan could be used by those who don’t eat animal products, as well as those who stay away from grains.” Also in this vein, Sunrise River Press will offer Discover Your Own Nutritional Style by holistic health coach Holli Thompson (Sept.), and HarperWave is releasing The Rockstar Remedy: A Rock & Roll Doctor’s Prescription for Living a Long, Healthy Life by Gabrielle Francis (Dec.), which suggests ways for readers to repair and rejuvenate even if they occasionally over-indulge.
Holding Back the Years
Youthfulness, inside and out, remains the goal of many health-oriented books. You: Staying Young by Mehmet C. Oz and Michael F. Roizen (Scribner, Feb. 2015) updates the 2007 title of the same name, which has sold more than 1.1 million copies since its publication, according to Nielsen BookScan. The forthcoming edition, says editor Shannon Welch, will contain new information on telomeres, compounds at the end of chromosomes that affect the rate at which we age.
In Aging Backwards (HarperWave, Nov.), Miranda Esmonde-White of the PBS show Classical Stretch shares her fitness and wellness tips, with the goal of reversing the effects of aging. 20 Pounds Younger (Rodale, Dec.) by Women’s Health editor-in-chief Michele Promaulayko offers a “total body makeover” that includes nutritional and fitness info as well as natural beauty strategies. On the skin-care front, Adina Grigore, the founder of organic skin-care line S.W. Basics, offers Clean Beauty (HarperWave, Feb. 2015), which examines how cosmetics may undermine skin health and includes recipes for face washes, moisturizer, and other skin-care products with inexpensive household ingredients including coconut oil, sea salt, and vinegar. Homemade Beauty by makeup artist Annie Strole (Perigee Trade, Nov.) also focuses on DIY skin-care and other treatments, among them a blueberry mask and lemongrass bug repellent.
SuperLife: The Five Forces That Will Make You Healthy, Fit, and Eternally Awesome by “exotic superfood hunter” and nutritionist Darin Olien (HarperWave, Feb. 2015) proposes five foundations for healthy living. In Your Health Destiny: How to Unlock Your Natural Ability to Overcome Illness, Feel Better, and Live Longer (HarperOne, Apr. 2015), physician Eva Selhub, who is also trained in Eastern medicine, recommends listening to the body’s signals. And The Color Cure (HarperOne, Apr.), the newest title by David Wolfe (2009’s Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future), posits that richly pigmented foods boost the immune system and nourish and detoxify the body.
For Medicinal Purposes
Health books continue to sell well for Da Capo, says v-p and senior director of publicity Lissa Warren, with readers seeking solutions to “chronic ailments from pain and fatigue to stress. However, the growing concern regarding over-medication—and, in the most severe cases, the threat of prescription-drug dependency—has led to an increased demand for drug-free solutions and treatments.” In April 2015, Da Capo will publish The Pain Antidote: Stop Suffering from Chronic Pain, Avoid Addiction to Painkillers—and Reclaim Your Life by physician Mel Pohl, and The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness by Amit Sood, which draws on neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and spirituality.
Also linking the old and the new are Happy Healthy Sexy by Katie Silcox (Atria, Jan. 2015), which discusses ways in which the centuries-old Hindu tradition of Ayurveda can help contemporary women, and the The Hot Belly Diet by Suhas Kshiragar (Atria, Aug.), which calls upon Ayurveda to manage digestion and metabolism.
Square One’s Macrobiotic Home Remedies by Michio Kushi (Oct.), who helped introduce the macrobiotic regimen to the U.S. in the 1950s, will, according to the publisher, include hundreds of natural methods that heal without drugs or invasive treatments. Also on Square One’s list is The Doctor’s Kidney Diet by Mandip Kang (Mar. 2015), promoting kidney health through nutritional management and lifestyle changes.
Shambhala will offer several titles for mind/body/spirit health. Says Shambhala’s Steven M. Pomije, “We continue to focus on publishing practical health and wellness titles by experts in the field who have been influenced by Eastern practices, whether they be yoga, meditation, or mindfulness. These topics continue to make headlines, and more people are looking for ways to incorporate them into their busy lives.” Shambhala will publish two new pocket books this fall: Jan Chozen Bays’s Mindfulness on the Go (Dec.) and Lodro Rinzler’s Sit like a Buddha: A Pocket Guide to Meditation (Dec).
They’ll Drink to That
Cleansing and juicing programs, whose aim is to detoxify the body and promote health, remain of interest to wellness seekers. To the Fullest: Clean Up Your Act and Be the Best You Can Be by actress Lorraine Bracco (Rodale, Apr. 2015) aims to help women over age 40 look and feel younger by eliminating gluten, sugar, eggs, and dairy. The Green Smoothie Prescription by Victoria Boutenko (HarperOne, Oct.), the founder of RawFamily.com, includes recipes and nutritional advice. And Smoothies for Kidney Health by mother-daughter team Victoria L. Hulett and Jennifer L. Waybright (Square One, Feb. 2015) provides targeted recipes said to benefit renal function.
Ulysses Press has an extensive collection scheduled for fall and beyond, including Metabolism-Boost Cleanse (Aug.) and The Master Cleanse Made Easy (Jan. 2015), both by Robyn Westen; Paleo Cleanse by Camilla Carboni and Melissa Van Dover (Dec.), and Cold Press Juice Bible by Lisa Sussman (Dec.). “People are more and more aware of what they’re putting in their bodies,” acquisitions editor Kelly Reed says. “[So] we’ll continue to look at diet, cleanse, and fitness trends that are of growing interest.” Part of the company’s success with the smoothies subgenre, she says, has been due to stores such as Sam’s Club and Walmart that have placed “huge orders” for the books, which they plan to display alongside their stocks of blenders.
Working It Out
Embracing exercise remains a vital component in most healthy-lifestyle plans. Mind Your Body by personal trainer Joel Harper, with a foreword by Dr. Oz (HarperOne, Feb. 2015), teaches readers how to use mindful techniques in combination with effective workouts to lose weight. Dr. Oz’s personal trainer, Donovan Green, shares tips No Excuses Fitness (Hachette Books, Apr. 2015). V-p and executive editor Stacy Creamer says, “His program is really solid; there’s no crazy miracle. It’s doing it the good old-fashioned way through exercise, diet, and attitude.”
Two titles specifically geared toward woman are Strong Is the New Skinny, a fitness and lifestyle guide by Jennifer Cohen and Stacey Colino (Harmony, Sept), and Weapons of Fitness by Avital Zeisler (Avery, Mar. 2015), which combines Krav Maga and other self-defense techniques.
In Embrace the Suck: What I Learned at the Box About Hard Work, (Very) Sore Muscles, and Burpees Before Sunrise (HarperWave, Dec.), Stephen Madden, the former editor-in-chief of Bicycling magazine, shares his CrossFit training experiences. From St. Martin’s Griffin, Insane Training by professional strongman Matt Kroczaleski (Sept.) highlights workouts that “appeal to people who want to move large amounts of mass,” says editor Michael Homler, who brought out 8 Weeks to Sealfit by Mark Divine in April 2014. “The days of fitness books for the general public are over. Now it’s all about specific programs.” Both books, Homler notes, “point out how nutrition, not dieting, is every bit as important as the workouts.
Several forthcoming titles explore the link between lifestyle and cancer prevention and outcome. You Can Say No to Chemo by U.K. journalist Laura Bond (Conari Press, Jan. 2015) reflects associate publisher Caroline Pincus’s interest in seeking “work that gets you to change seats and shift your perspective,” she says. “This book gives people the space to take a breath and consider other possibilities when they’re in one of the most vulnerable places imaginable.” The DaVinci Series: Cancer Survival Guide by Charlotte Libov (Humanix, Oct.) provides information on cancer symptoms, causes, prevention, and treatment centers, as well as on conventional and alternative treatments. And The Anti-Cancer Diet by David Khayat (Norton, Apr. 2015) explores the impact of nutrition and lifestyle on the disease. The author is a physician who, according to the publisher, has been a leader in French cancer research and advocacy for 30 years.
All in Your Head?
As baby boomers begin to make the transition into their senior years, brain health is an issue of growing concern. The Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Diet by physicians Richard S. Isaacson and Christopher N. Ochner (Square One, Feb. 2015) presents a research-based approach to nutritional supplements. In The Brain’s Way of Healing (Viking, Jan.), physician Norman Doidge examines the wonders of neuroplasticity, and in Retrain Your Anxious Brain (Harlequin, Oct.), therapist John Tsilimparis, with Daylle Deanna Scwhartz, provides tools to combat anxiety.
But readers needn’t wait until they’re facing retirement to address neurological health. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Before 25) by Jesse Payne (Harlequin, Aug.) adapts Daniel Amen’s 1999 book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, which sold 850,000-plus copies, for a younger audience, showing that it’s never too soon to start thinking about mind-body wellness—or too late for publishers to try a new spin on a tried-and-true title.
Kathryn E. Livingston is the author of Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman’s Quest for Balance, Strength & Inner Peace (Open Road Media).
Check out our full fall announcements listing of health and fitness titles here.