Cape Community Newspapers editor Chantel Erfort Manuel
My colleague wrote on his Facebook timeline this week: “What would you like to do this year that you did not do last year?”

I replied with a cliché: Read more books. I could also have said listen to more audiobooks, or simply, learn more. Because that is my aim this year.

Experiencing the tremendous impact better nutrition and regular exercise have had on my body, mind and quality of life, has inspired me to move beyond the anecdotal and gain a better scientific understanding of what has happened to me since I changed my diet, and the theories around why so many people have benefited from diets which exclude, in particular, sugar, grains and high carbohydrate consumption.

I believe if this column is to continue being valuable to readers, I need to equip myself with new, deeper knowledge.

So, in addition to taking on more physical challenges, I’m going to exercise my brain a bit more this year. Top of my agenda in this regard is enrolling in a basic nutrition course, as well as participating in a physical training course, that focuses on getting fit through primal, functional movement, without the use of gym equipment.

This, of course, in addition to running. Then there’s the pile of books I’ll be making my way through, and which I will review in full on my blog.

Paleo Principles - Dr Sarah Ballantyne: While I bought this tome just after it was released last year, I’ve yet to read a page.

Honestly, I’m intimidated by the size and scope of this book and could probably build my biceps significantly if I simply used it as a weight. However, if you’re serious about understanding the Paleo template, this is a good place to start.

It includes sections that explain the exclusion of particular food groupings, as well as meal plans and Paleo recipes. Dr Ballantyne says through this book, she aims to “legitimise the Paleo movement with scientific evidence”.

The Big Fat Surprise: Why butter, meat and cheese belong in a healthy diet - Nina Teicholz: This book will appeal to the proponents of the Banting diet more so than those who are steadfastly Paleo, but as a journalist, my brain is trained to explore many sides of a story, so I’ve added it to my list at the recommendation of a doctor I recently consulted.

Written by a science journalist, this book was named a 2014, best book by The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Mother Jones and Library Journal, and praised for its unbiased approach and scale of research. Based on research done over a period of nine years, Teicholz delves into the misinformation about saturated fats and high carbohydrate.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the food giants hooked us - Michael Moss: While the research for this book was conducted in the US, many of the products produced by the companies Moss puts under the spotlight are available here, so there’s no arguing the relevance for South African consumers. According to the synopsis, Salt, Sugar, Fat explores the science behind how food manufacturers use salt, sugar - and marketing - to get us hooked on over-processed foods.

Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation - Norman E Rosenthal: Here’s another book I’ve had for a while, but haven’t touched. Since I started practising Transcendental Meditation (TM) nearly four years ago, it’s become an integral part of my life.

While I have gained significant benefits from my daily practice, I’ve enjoyed not understanding - in a cerebral sense - the impact of TM on my life, and I’ve probably avoided reading this book to maintain the magic thereof. This year I’m ready to understand. In the spirit of the month of resolutions, why don’t you tell me yours? You can email me or join the conversation by following @editedeating on social media.

Weekend Argus