Book Recommendations for Low Process Lifestyle

 in Lifestyle

Above and beyond my childhood was defined and created through the books I read.  I was often asked the questions “how do you know that,” and inevitable the answer was always “I read it in a book.”  I learned how to be brave, how to imagine, how to go on adventures and build things. I expanded my knowledge in religions, philosophy and most of all how to survive and thrive in the real world.  It’s an education I would never want to give back, and childhood hours I know I spent well.

My local library sits on a corner, next to the post office under old tall trees.  It’s one block from main street and two blocks from the Methodist church where I spent summer morning helping my grandmother vacuum, dust, arrange and otherwise tidy.  When the weather was nice I could walk to the library, up the grey stairs flaked with white stones to my second home in the children’s section, where I spent most of my time until I entered jr high and high school.  

I grew up progressively reading my way through the children’s book section, even when I was a young adult and I could read through the novels on the main level or even in the non-fiction section of the basement,  I would still return to say hello to the children’s librarians upstairs. Their friendliness shaped my childhood, my esteme, my style and my understanding of who I was.  Their gentle nudges pushed me towards topics in history and poetry I would never have found or considered on my own.  I still sought out the knowledge and encouragement of libraries well into my university studies to find deeper understanding or a push outside of my comfortable thought box.

I carry a bag because I always want somewhere to keep my book safe and dry.  For me, reading is like water, breathing or sleep. It is a natural part of my rhythm and life.  To no surprise, in college I became conscious of eating, growing and living.  I was already Buddhist and Vegetarian when the books I was reading started to push me even deeper into my culinary choices.  

It’s obvious that being a reader has shaped my life significantly.

Today I would like to pay homage to the books that shaped me and helped me learn to eat healthier and less processed food as an entire lifestyle.

With that welcome to Nik of Thyme’s first book suggestions I hope they help you grow and learn more about your food choices and the system of growing and eating currently in place in the United States.

The first book to challenge my food decision making was, Food Matters by Mark Bitman.  This is a manifesto in sustainability and carbon curbing. Using data and hard science Bitman makes an irrefutable case for curbing or eliminating animal sources in your diet.  He doesn’t outwardly force or push the vegan agenda but leaves choice up to the reader. Inevitably this is how I choose to live my activist lifestyle, I can not make any decisions for my peers and family but I hope to give them the tools and knowledge to make the choice themselves.  After reading, this book no longer allowed me to passively make decisions and was the reason I started to buy and eat locally on top of my other lifestyle choices.


Next comes the irrefutable must read second book from Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food.  Today he is a household name, but in 2008 it was groundbreaking and revolutionary to talk about food the way Pollen was and does.  I was just starting my second year of college when I read this book, and it was the first time I looked at how packaged food was being sold in my country.  I hadn’t considered the culture and nostalgia built around the food system until I read this book, but I walked away with the bitter taste of advertising in my mouth.  After reading this book I doubled down on learn how to make bread and removing myself from the pre-packaged food machine. His mission is for people to eat more food instead of food like products, and that mission is something I continue today.  The more homemade, the better. This is a book to read when you want power and knowledge to put behind your own food mission.


The last break in my low process life came when I read Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble.  I was young, broke and just out of college when I finally put together the pieces of how my DIY lifestyle could be applied to food.  Luckily for me, at the time I was living in the food rich Asheville, North Carolina and I was able to learn to love the process of making everything in the sustainable focused mountain community.  I along with Kimble started to live in a way that reshaped the remainder of my 20’s.  Since reading the book I no longer eat anything unless I know I can also make it myself.  DIY food is my own personal manifesto and the reason I started this blog.  From pasta to coconut oil, I have tried so many at home DIY recipes in my own struggle to decide where the line of unprocessed vegan food starts and ends.

An important note, none of the books listed are explicitly vegan, but all go a long way in helping people understand how to live, act and eat more conscious and sustainability.  I choose to look at all these themes with vegan eyes, even if the authors don’t specifically do so.


This week’s recipe was an obvious choice, my peanut butter cookies call for applesauce and if I am suggesting you read a bunch of books about being low process, I’d better teach you how to make an ingredient I love to use and snack on.  Applesauce is high in fiber, vitamins A and C, great for all ages, super helpful with you are sick to your stomach and even a good egg replacer.


Recipe notes:
I only use gala apples and no added sugar when I make applesauce.
If I was going to use green apples, I would add some sugar to cut their bitterness.

600 g (about 5) gala apples
600 g water
5-10 g fresh lime juice.

Roughly chop the apples into cubes, cover in water and a squeeze of lime.
Boil until very soft, about 15 minutes.  
Allow to cool, puree in a blender adding water by the spoonful if needed.

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