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Updated: Sep 17, 2023

Hi, my name is Samantha, co-owner of Nature IS Health. I wanted to share a little peak into our library of books, textbooks and virtual learning. I have gathered this information through education, experience and years of interest.

Samantha's Education:

  • Bachelors: Brock University- St. Catharines, Ontario (Bachelors in Physical & Health Education)

  • Certificate: Institute of Holistic Nutrition- Toronto, Ontario (Certified Nutritional Practitioner)

Brian's Education:

  • Diploma: St. Lawrence College (Culinary Management)

  • Certificate: Durham College (HVAC)

Below are some of my favourite books. I reference these indirectly via the infomation shared in our blog and social media.

Fats the Heal and Fats that Kill by Udo Erasmus

  • A fantastic and revolutionary book, but not a light read. I enjoyed it, and he explains the molecular structure of fat in a very simplistic way-plus there are great scientific studies. He takes a controversial topic and dissects it, no doubt- but without an intense motivation to learn this book could blow someone away.

  • This book is somewhat famous in the health world- I was introduced to it because it was a course textbook at my nutrition school.

  • Topics include the commercialization of our food industry, labelling laws and the power big companies have over the information released to the public. It explains side effects impacting society since mass-produced vegetable oils. This book relates degenerative disease, chronic imbalance, and many extreme states with long-term rancid fat intake + deficiency in essential fatty acids.

Ayurveda: the science of self-healing by Dr. Vasant Lad

  • This book one of the two by the same authors in this picture.

  • This book is a read-through, compared to a textbook-style. It focuses on the traditional healing practices of Ayurveda, where and when they originated, a break-down on the tastes, craving distinctions and then goes on-to to speak of the doshas and how to balance them. It includes specific/common conditions with solutions.

  • This books is very educational and a smooth read. I love it, and reference it still today.

Healing the Planet: one patient at a time by Jozef J. Krop, MD, FAAEM

  • This book introduces the healing practices of environmental medicine- it raises awareness about pesticides, common moulds, commercial toxins, Candida, heavy metal toxicities, food additives, hormone disrupters in our foods and other environmental hazards we are exposed to in our daily life

  • It is a super cool read, very simple, and great motivation towards living a natural life. It shows us how our choices impact our health, trickle down our genetic line, and directly impact our surrounding environment, and set the stage for generations to come.

The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc.

  • This was my very first Ayurvedic book, I bought it in Kensington Market, Toronto.

  • What attracted me to this book was the straight-forward and simple solutions for every condition, ailment, concern, cut and bruise imaginable. It has a great index and is organized somewhat alphabetically.

  • It introduces the concept of Ayurvedic healing, how to determine a person's constitution and includes lists of foods, oils, herbs, routines, exercises and holistic practices for each particular dosha.

  • I really love this book- it inspired me to enrol in holistic nutrition school, a fantastic buy!!

Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes by Monique Ryan (1962)

  • This book fell into my lap while exploring a second-hand bookstore. At the time I was beginning to train for my first half-marathon, so it seemed like a logical buy.

  • This book is a very simple read. It doesn't go into too much detail of biology/chemistry of why things are being recommended, and is largely based off of a food guide model. This book was published during the commercialization of the food industry and the beginning of our colourful grocery stores. It is largely based off of recommending common grocery store foods.

  • I do enjoy reading this book because it sets a foundation model for athletic performance- the importance of carbohydrates for endurance athletes and the basic needs for recovery. It also gives some nice examples of how to build sample training programs etc.

  • I am sure there have been more productive or updated books published since.

The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D. (1980)

  • This was my very first pocket herbal book that I bought while travelling out in British Columbia my first season tree planting. This book is extremely well-written!! It is organized and contains a broad spectrum of plant knowledge. I love this book very much and still bring it with me whenever I travel.

  • The first 7chapters introduce the concept of balancing with plants, collecting plants, specific types of therapies, applications, and types of treatment plans. It even touches on a gentle and balancing diet for optimal herbal action within the body.

  • Herbs are broken down by their active constituents, actions within the body, by region and similar/synergistic herbs.

  • This is one of my favourite books of all time and it makes me so happy it is relatively pocket size!

Staying Healthy with Nutrition : The complete guide to diet and nutritional medicine by Elson M. Haas, MD with Buck Levin, PhD, RD. (updated 2006 edition)

  • This textbook touches on pretty much every aspect of nutrition you could think of. There are blurbs/chapters on each vitamin, mineral, food, herb, common ailments and many simple recommendations.

  • This book is well written. When I first started out this website I referenced it frequently just to organize my thoughts.

  • Although I reference this book, I do not feel fully comfortable with many of the suggestions. This book is heavy into supplementation and less to do with rebalancing with food and routine, it is also bias towards American products, brands and data. That being said, I would be momentarily heart broken if I were to lose or ruin it, since it is like 'google-in-print' for nutrition.

The Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford.

  • This book is simple. It touches on some heavy aspects of nutrition and explains it well. There isn't too much detail, but a great reference to further confirm information.

Advanced Sport Nutrition by Dan Benardot.

  • I got this book when I was in my sport nutrition class in nutrition school. It is a simple run-through of pre, during, and post-activity care for the body. It includes top nutrients, activities and foods best to fuel the athlete body. I like to read this book come spring when it's time to ramp-up the fitness game!

The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Murray & Pizzorno.

  • This book is great. It is easy to use and touches on many aspects of health. It gives vitamins, minerals, herbs and homeopathic solutions to imbalance- plus top foods and activities. It is among the crew that I often reference to double-check facts, and a book I truly am grateful for.

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies by C. Norman Shealy MD, PhD

  • This is almost my favourite book! It is colourful, simple and literally nails everything right-on. It gives a completely holistic perspective.

  • There are DIY home remedies, natural tinctures, infused oils, infused honey and herbal solutions. There is a section on specific conditions, each vitamin and mineral + what they do for our body, and what foods to find them in high concentration.

  • I LOVE THIS BOOK :) I would highly recommend it for anyone!

Digestive Wellness 4th Editon by Elizabeth Lipski, PhD., CCN, CHN

  • This book is an amazing breakdown of the digestive system. It goes through every organ and gland involved beginning in the brain, mouth, all the way to the finale. It breaks-down what an efficient system does and compares it to what can go wrong, or become imbalanced and why. It then brings simple solutions and recommendations that are very practical!

  • There are checklists, questionnaires and common medications.

The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush by Andreas Moritz

  • This book is nuts (in a good way)! It gives an alternative to gallbladder surgery. It explains the process of flushing gallstones, liver stones and kidney stones at home. It explains the importance of flushing once or twice a year due to the environment and food we eat. It explains (with pictures) everything that happens throughout the experience and why. It also provides a simple diet plan plus encouraging words.

  • This flush is not something that I was jumping off the bed ready to try. . it is invasive and requires a strong mindset. Stay tuned, I will be completing my first flush this spring.

Edible and Medicinal Plants CANADA by Andy Mackinnon, Linda Kershaw, John Arnason

  • I bought this pocket book when I was exploring little islands off the west coast of Canada. The greenery out there is like a rainforest! Plants thrive, they are huge and there is so much life to identify. Driving alongside the road there are berry bushes, edible fruit trees and giant slugs! This book is great. It includes pictures, location and an explanation of each plant, includes active properties, taste, colour and what time of year to expect what.

Human Anatomy Volume 1 & Volume 2 by Frederic H. Martini, PhD, Micheal Timmons, MS, Robert B. Tallitsch, PhD etc.

  • These two are textbooks I have kept since university. I believe I used these during my first and second years studying physical education. These books are amazing. Since they are large, the diagrams are big and super easy to understand. These books include a break-down on the entire human body, they include every muscle and organ + their specific cells and nutrients needed to fuel function. I appreciate these books very much.

Prescription for Drug ALTERNATIVES by James F. Balch, MD, Mark Stengler, ND, Robin Young Balch, ND.

  • I found this book at a thrift store. This book is pretty unique in that is goes into detail about all the most popular prescription medications in North America. It writes about studies related to the medications, and it also talks about some simple solutions. I like it because it classifies medications into categories and is easy to understand.

Human Physiology: From Cells to Systems by Lauralee Sherwood & Robert Kell

  • This is another one of my textbooks from studying physical education in university. This book breaks down the body into systems (For example: urinary, circulatory, endocrine etc.). It runs through each system, the organs involved, their functions and how that relates to our movement and ability to perform daily tasks.

  • I love this book because it highlights the inter-connectiveness of our body. Everything impacts itself- our body is constantly feed-backing, triggering the next reaction and recovering from the last. This book is a nice tool for identifying a missing loop, enzyme, transmitter, etc.

Digestion- Inner Pathway to Health by David W. Rowland

  • A simple book, like a toilet-read (haha). It is quick and concise. It talks about the importance of digestion for truly living a bountiful life.

The Nutritional By-pass by David W. Rowland

  • This book is a book that I have since nutrition school, however when I noticed supplement companies providing it to store owners as a way to educate their customers of the importance of certain nutrients for heart health. This book talks about the dangers of heart medications (like cholesterol and blood pressure etc.) for long-term healing. It talks about an alternative route- and that is where is gets the title: the nutritional by-pass, versus surgery.

  • A very educational book, and an easy read for someone who is not familiar with biology or chemistry.

Dr. Jenson's Guide to Better Bowel Care by Dr. Bernard Jenson

  • This book is a hoot! It shows pictures of poop and deciphers what each of them mean. It talks about specific diets to change pH in the intestines, the heal leaky gut and how to bounce-back after colon cancer or reverse an early diagnosis. A very educational read!

The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton

  • My dad gave me this book in high school and I didn't read it (to my own disadvantage) until after university. Perhaps if I had read it I would be swimming in dough made from investments. This book is a cute story of how to make money on a modest income. It talks about the different types of investments and where best to allocate funds depending on the end-game.

Walden by David Henry Thoreau

  • This novel opened my mind to a different perspective of life. Besides all the talk about it being exaggerated or written when Thoreau wasn't that far outside of society is so besides the point. I loved the nothingness of the book. The idea of just wandering into a forest to sit on a stump to watch and absorb the patterns of animals, insects and plants.

  • The year I read this book I began hiking, running and taking nature photography. Relaxing a lens, I never knew I had. It allowed me to accept the divine simplicity of life. I love it, treasure it- it marks the beginning of a beautiful transformation in my life.

Plant Spirit Shamanism by Ross Heaven and Howard G. Charing

  • I found this book at a cool hippy shop in Pickering Village called The Odyssey. This book is all about the power of plant medicine, and in particular in plants found in the amazon. A shaman gets in touch with healing by living in the wild and speaking to the energy given from plants and animals. I find this concept fascinating! A very interesting and awakening read.

The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana by (translated by) Sir Richard F. Burton

  • I found this book in a second-hand book shop in Alberta- it is a print from the Classic Library. It is pretty cool, plus fully illustrated. It talks about the history of kama sutra- how to achieve ultimate connectives. It shows enhanced physical positions that energetically bring two body's energy circuits to become one.

One's Food is Another's Poison by David W. Rowland

  • A short book that discusses food intolerances, allergies, genetic imbalances and certain diets to adhere to minimize symptoms.

Spontaneous Healing by Andrew Weil, Md.

  • If you google this book it is classified as "revolutionary". The author speaks about how to heal the body through the interconnectedness with the mind and energy that surrounds us. He speaks about our systems, natural treatments, traditional remedies and how to become the master of your own being.

Animals and Men by David Katz

  • This book is super cool! It is a psychology book about the behaviour in animals, and how this can be applied to humans. The book is a series of experiments.

Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron

  • I really enjoyed this book when I was unsure about what path to take my career. I was having troubles sleeping at night and was worrying about the future and the past.

  • This book is a compilation of teachings from Buddha and various religions throughout history. It is about becoming comfortable with the things we are unsure about- and rather how to accept, love and pursue NOW. It is a book that you can pick up and put down, read here and there for inspiration.

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy PhD

  • One of the top sellers in the self-help genre. It speaks about the power we have when we shift our perspective, and identify patterns that are holding us back or repeating themselves. A main topic in the book is about the Law of Attraction and how we can use this to accomplish our goals and bring light to the people around us. I love this book!

The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley

  • I gathered this book in a very psychedelic time in my life, and have held onto it because of its tremendous depiction of the unmapped areas of human consciousness. The book follows the experimentation into mind-altering plants (and now drugs), such as LSD and focused on in this book was mescaline (from a peyote cactus).

  • The drug trips are recorded and explained from a phycology perspective, and connected with cases of schizophrenia and other brain imbalances that are deemed as 'crazy' and prescribed medication.

  • This takes a mind willing to explore confusion and what occurs when we remove created constructs like time and space. I bought this book because one of my favourite band is The Doors, and this book influenced Jim Morrison in his music and naming of the band.

Awakening Intuition by Mona Lisa Shulz

  • What an awesome book! It inspires power of cellular memories, the importance of letting go of routine, expectation and absorbing the energy in the present moment. As we peel back, we become more aware of an unspoken response from our environment that is in-tuned with our own body. This energy leads us to where we intend to go, where to leave and what to do. Our minds are so powerful they can dominate our intuition, and this book helps to re-identify that innate power.

The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton

  • This book talks about how genes and DNA do not control our biology; instead, DNA is controlled by the energetic messages from our positive and negative thoughts. It talks about the power of re-routing our automatic thoughts to better benefit our goals and intentions. It talks about identifying thought patterns that are unconsciously holding us back.

Biocentrism by Robert Lanza

  • A very smart and well-respected book, and despite looking tattered in the image above, I had read only parts of it. This book takes true will and concentration. There is a lot of information, topics like quantum theory, how the universe began and continues. The author is a genius, and I looking forward to the day when I give it another try.

Trees by Rutherford Platt

  • One of the first books I bought second-hand during university. I love it! It is cute, pocket-sized and well written. The author has a quirky style and includes hand-written drawings. The book was written in the United States so identification is a little tricky sometimes, but this book definitely helped me get a base-line of all my favourite trees and when they are going to go into bloom.

  • A short book that discusses food intolerances, allergies, genetic imbalances and certain diets to adhere to minimize symptoms.

Build a Better Vegetable Garden by Joyce Russell

  • We bought this book when we were building our veggie garden, when I first moved to Hamilton. This book was informational, inspiring and we still look forward to completing some of the projects in the future. The book includes a step-by-step guide of how to build raised beds, with exact measurements, supplies needed and why certain projects are advantageous compared to others.

The Cannabis Spa At Home by Sandra Hinchliffe

  • I found this book very insightful when I began to make homemade skincare products. This book has very basic infused oil recipes, salves, balm, bath teas and more. I am thankful for this book and the author's story, her articles and blogs, her success creating a natural product line gave me confidence to create Nature IS Health Products.

Yoga - The Trainers Guide to Your Workout by Goldie Karpel Oren

  • A diagram-based book of basic yoga poses and at-home exercises. I like this book and helped me verbalism my instruction towards Brian as I began to teach him my yoga & stretching routines.

  • I think a book like this can be very educational for a person who still needed to understand the importance of balance and flexibility to reduce stress, pain and inflammation.

Simple Matters by Erin Boyle

  • The first book I ever got on minimalism. This book is clear, clean-cut and definitely very inspiring because it brings simplicity to the idea of letting go. The importance of less, is more, the feeling of peace and relief when there is less clutter. The lack of purpose to those random items laying around. I would highly recommend a read like this to especially anyone feeling overwhelmed in their space, moving into a smaller space and to people attempting to revamp their space to become more eco-friendly and sustainable.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPh

  • This is a pretty cool book. For someone who did not enjoy the side effects of birth control and IUD's and felt trapped with no other options for many years, this book has been a treasure. I believe the information in this book is transformational, and that all women deserve to learn about and understand. To feel more in touch with the natural rhythms of my body is a great feeling, enlightening really and I thank this book very much, highly recommend!

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

  • A superior vibe book. Simple, inspiring and practical. I loved reading this book, discovering some cool new ideas and also affirming that there are other people out there that are passionate about living a low waste, homemade lifestyle like us!

The Carnivore Code by Paul Saladino, M.D.

  • A revolutionary read! I love this guy, follow his Instagram, podcast and we buy his supplement line and absolutely love it. I actually wrote a full review of this book in this blog post here, it includes some of the top information he gathered in his research studies about the essential nutrients found in animal foods, and the disadvantage of focusing on diets completely centered around plant foods.

  • This book and his podcasts challenge mainstream medicine and are focused around the premise that new medical research is crucial for the evolution of our population to be strong, versus what is currently happening now.. His team is currently working on new research on healthy cholesterol levels, glucose balance, ketosis, etc. however using healthy individuals living paleolithic/carnivore/nose-to-tail diets, outdoor, active lifestyles, compared to the research that today's allopathic medicine framework is based off of, which is done largely researched on 'sick'/imbalanced populations with some sort of glucose intolerance, thyroid imbalance, weight imbalance, low muscle tone, etc.

Wild Flowers by Francis Rose

  • A simple read for identifying wild flowers, via season, location etc. I Like to bring this when I travel and explore nature.

House Plants by Peter McHoy

  • A great read for an avid plant person! This goes through the dos and don'ts of taking care of indoor plants. Has some simple tips and ideas of the best plants to suit certain parts of the house and why.

Backyard Farming, Make your Home a Homestead- COMPOSTING by Kim Pezza

  • I use this book every year and has been a great asset to our homemade backyard composting. When I first moved into our home, I just put my compost into a big hole in the backyard. Since then, we have built a frame and layer with leaves and woodchips. This book has been inspirational and I believe we will use it in our next house to create multiple composting bins. The book gives exact guidelines on how to build your own bin via multiple methods and using various tools and supplies.

The Massage Book by George Downing

  • This is one of my favourite styles of books. Super handmade, simple and vintage-style. This book shows great diagrams and reads well. A very informational book to learn simple massage techniques that really work!

Power Foods by Editor's of Whole Living Magazine

  • A colourful and flashy ideal- type of book. Similar to a magazine layout, it has giant pictures, lot's of bright and fun information. It is educational, but basic, so a great book for a person who is just getting into the power of foods, nutrition and how to eat for better health.

Pretty Fun by Kate Hudson

  • I was obsessed with Kate Hudson's fabulous-ness for a bit, and this book was a great sneak peak into a lavish celebrity life, with awesome recipes for hosting parties, girls nights and spoiling yourself on weekends. The book is still practical and I like the recipes/have made some of them successfully.

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

  • This book changed my life and was a textbook in nutrition school. It has a fabulous breakdown at the start of the importance of healthy fats, wholesome carbohydrates and digestible proteins.

  • This book teaches how to make homesteaders foods. How to ferment wholegrain flour to make it digestible, how to create your own sourdough culture, a yogurt culture, how to make simple batch meals to feed hardworking people with real butter, grains, vegetables, a variety of animal proteins, sprouted nuts, sprouted legumes and pickled foods. I love this book very much and would recommend it to anyone as a staple cookbook for a healthy lifestyle.

The Escoffier by Auguste Escoffier

  • This was one of Brian's textbooks in culinary school, he describes it as his cooking bible. It discusses basic techniques of traditional cooking, written by the man who enhanced the reputation of French cuisine.

Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni

  • This is one of my newest additions to our cookbook shelf and I absolutely love it! It is simple and cuts right to the point. There aren't pictures, but I don't even mind because it reminds me of a handwritten notebook of all the essentials.

  • This book contains recipes and cultural history, which I love.

The Art Of Happiness by Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler

  • An easy read, expanding. It is simple and almost distant, but philosophical. Sometimes a bit confusing, like these esoteric books are, you just have to roll with it and enjoy the mood that washes over you when you let go into the realm it creates.

My New Roots by Sarah Britton

  • The author of this book attended my nutrition school, and I bought this book when she came to meet with our class for a book signing and inspirational chat. I think this book is beautifully made, same with Sarah's social media account that follow, and I enjoy her traditional mindset towards food. She is fully plant-based so that can be overwhelming for me sometimes, but I enjoy her cashew-based dessert recipes and her colourful photography.

The Gentle Art of Preserving by Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi

  • This book is a gem in my kitchen. I use it all the time when making homemade creations in the kitchen and for our product line, such great techniques explained!

  • This book awesome recipes, flavour ideas, how to make homemade jams, fermented drinks, sauces and a great breakdown of the traditional fundamentals of process of preserving, like understanding the need for sugar, salt, acid, etc.

Balanced Cookbook by Laura Lea

  • This was given to me as a gift and I immediately loved it for it's practically. The author uses real ingredients and the recipes are crowd pleasers. I love that there are healthy spins on all my favourite meals and it's super kid friendly and versatile to change the ingredients you have at home.

The Flavour Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg

  • Another one of Brian's textbooks from culinary school. The author here mixes and matches flavours, ingredients and food groups with lists of the best pairs to balance palette. This book is especially useful when creating recipes at home. Like for instance you can look up an ingredient in the index and it will have a page of other ingredients and flavour ideas to mix it with to create a unique dish.

Traditional Maltese Cooking by Julian Sammut

  • We got this book to attempt some of Brian's family's traditional cooking. The recipes are delicious and it has us looking forward to a trip to Malta!

Sam's Top Podcasts:

  • Ben Greenfield Fitness

  • Fundamental Health with Paul Saladino

  • Rewild Yourself with Daniel Vitalis

  • Selective guests on the Joe Rogan Experience

Thanks for reading,



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