As a self-professed foodie and health nut, food has always been a passion for me.
I started my company, Icon Foods, in 1999 to help manufacturers bring clean, healthy foods and beverages to the global market. We work with growers around the world to source natural ingredients, especially sweeteners, with options that are organic, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, allergen-free and Kosher.
I’ve also learned a lot through my personal journey with wellness. I struggled with maintaining good habits and a healthy weight before adopting a ketogenic lifestyle. In my book, Guy Gone Keto, I share my story of how a high-fat, low-carb diet enabled me to drop five waist sizes in one year, as well as tips and a wellness plan for readers to “go keto.”
I spend a lot of time thinking about what we eat: how we grow our food, how we prepare it and how we can enjoy great-tasting food and beverages while also supporting our physical health — as well as that of the planet. I aim to share my knowledge to help people eat healthier, avoid harmful sugars and maintain diet and exercise habits that defeat metabolic disease.
Of everything I’ve read related to health and wellness over the years, these are two of my favorite books.
Both altered my trajectory when it comes to the notions of health and longevity in my own life, and I recommend them highly to anyone who’s looking at how changes in what they eat can have a positive effect on their whole life.
The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health by Emeran Mayer (Harper Wave)
Dr. Emeran Mayer is the executive director of the Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience and co-director of the Digestive Diseases Research Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, my alma mater. There are 50 trillion sentient bacteria in your gut, all advocating for the health of one person—you! The gut makes up 75% of our immune system and 80% of our serotonin production. This book helped me fall in love with that colony that lives inside me and bolstered my commitment to a healthy symbiotic relationship with the little bugs. This book made the complex very accessible, and it taught me how the gut is our second brain—although after reading the book I feel the gut might be our first brain.
Lifespan: Why We Age — and Why We Don't Have To by David Sinclair and Matthew D. LaPlante (Atria Books).
Professor David Sinclair also is very approachable, as well as being one of the most influential scientists in the field of controlling the aging process. He is a tenured professor at Harvard Medical School, and TIME magazine named him “one of the 100 most influential people in the world” (2014) and among the “Top 50 People in Health Care” (2018). This book helped me reframe what aging is. While time and its passing are outside of our control, how we approach aging—as a disease—can be controlled by and large by our behaviors and habits. Healthy aging and quality of life are choices.