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Our Five Favorite Books – A Sprout Reading List

Friends and customers are always asking me for suggestions of books to read if they want to learn more about the a healthy environment for their families and what they should be looking out for. Also, I am often quoting from some of my favorite books unsolicited when I get excited about a topic or trying to make a point. My sister told me, “I was trying to relay to a friend some of what you were telling me, but I couldn’t remember the name of the book you had mentioned. You should publish a list of your favorites that people can refer to.” So here goes, I hope you enjoy these and that they mean as much to you as much as they have to me.

1.  Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care, by Dr. Alan R. Greene.

In this illustrated and easy-to-use guide, noted pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, a leading voice of the green baby movement, advises parents how to make healthy green choices for pregnancy, childbirth, and baby care—from feeding your baby the best food available to using medicines wisely. We recommend this book to anyone who wants a good overview of what to look for in products when preparing for a new baby. It certainly played a large role in advising us on what to carry at Sprout.

2. Our Stolen Future, by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers.

Reading this book is what motivated me to add a blog to our site. The title conveys the book’s underlying message that the hormones in our environment will continue to wreak havoc on our reproductive systems, making it harder for us to conceive healthy offspring, endangering the future of the species. Reading it, I kept learning new facts that made me think, “Everybody needs to know this!” For example, there is a shocking story about a group of scientists who discovered that the plastic in their test tubes was making the breast cancer cells that they were studying multiply like crazy! Read a brief summary of that anecdote here.

3. Anti Cancer: A New Way of Life, by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber.

I read this wonderful book written by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, a neuroscientist who recovered from brain cancer and then sought to find proven ways that changing his life and his environment could help to prevent a relapse. One of the MANY very interesting things I learned from this book is that there is a real benefit to our health to eating organic grass fed animals. I put a list on my fridge at home of the other foods that have been proven to help prevent cancer, such as green tea. I also learned about the scientifically proven benefits of exercise and a positive state of mind in preventing cancer. I honestly think about things I learned from this book every single day.

4. Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power, by Mark Shapiro.

This was one of the most influential books in my research for the creation of Sprout. It shockingly exposed how Europe, and increasingly the rest of the world is better protected, from environmental toxins than are the citizens of the United States. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with Schapiro at his office in Berkeley, where he is Senior Correspondent at the Center for Investigative Reporting, a non-profit that supports and sustains the long-term investigative journalistic process. Read about our interview here.

5. Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Healthier Home, by Christopher Gavigan.

Inside this book, you’ll find practical, inexpensive, and easy lifestyle advice for every stage of parenting including:

  • Advice on preparing a non-toxic nursery
  • What every expectant mom needs to do to have a safer pregnancy
  • Which plastics and baby products to avoid and the healthier solutions
  • Tips to take to the grocery store, including the most and least pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables and the best healthy kid-approved snacks
  • Which beauty care products pose the biggest risk to health
  • Recipes for healthy snacks, DIY cleaners, and non-toxic art supplies
  • How to easily minimize allergens, dust, and lead
  • Advice for a greener garden, yard, and outdoor spaces
  • Tips to keep your pets healthy, and the unwanted pests out naturally
  • Renovation ideas, naturally fresher indoor air, and safer sleeping options
  • A 27-page extensive shopper’s guide to most trusted and best products every home needs

It’s also packed with over 40 featured contributions from renowned doctors, environmental scientists, and public-health experts like Dr Philip Landrigan, Dr. Harvey Karp, and William McDonough, as well as many celebrity parents like Gwyneth Paltrow, Tobey Maguire, Sheryl Crow, Erin Brockovich, and Tom Hanks. There’s even a special featured contribution from First Lady Michelle Obama on her best ways of coping with her daughter’s asthma.