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Odyssa Rivera Abille

Books on health and the importance of rereading


The last 2 years brought the world to its knees. We took comfort in food deliveries, Zoom calls, loungewear, and…old books.

I didn’t understand how and why people reread books. There are millions of new materials waiting to get noticed. I used to wonder why people waste hours on a book they have read before.

After trying it myself, here's what I found - familiarity brings comfort.

Great books age like fine wine. No matter how old they get, their lessons remain true. At times, we have to reach a certain age to finally get the message.

Or we just love how the book was written.

When you read a good book through the second time, you don’t see something you didn’t see before, you see something in yourself that wasn’t there before. -Bob Proctor

While the entire planet was ravaged by a deadly virus, health industries churned articles and videos on how we can best take care of our health and boost our immunity.

While the world turned to the news and vlogs, these books became worth reading again.

Veganist by Kathy Freston

This is a great book to start with if you are interested in leaning into a plant-based diet. There are loads of information here — medical information, interviews, stories of recoveries, and researches — so read it slowly.

The best thing about this book is how it doesn't tell you to go vegan. It only enumerates the benefits of 'leaning in' to eating a plant-based diet.

Sometimes, leaning in is the best way to satisfy our curiosity, instead of changing an aspect of our lives completely, in one day, by going cold turkey. In this context, it's making an abrupt decision to stop eating meat.

This book suggests making small steps into a healthier way of living.

How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger

This is the book for those who want to know more about what kills us — cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, and how to prevent these diseases from doing just that.

It’s 550+ pages packed with life-changing information about diseases that no one wants to have now or later on in life.

If you aren’t a reader, check Dr. Greger’s videos here. Dr. Greger developed an app called The Daily Dozen which reminds you to add nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, oats, herbs, and vitamin B12 into your daily diet.

Here’s a fact — plant foods contain 64x more antioxidants than animal foods.

Dying is part of life. But this book tells us that while we are still alive, we want to make this life one that lets us appreciate its beauty by being healthy with the senses intact, the mind functioning as it should be, and our relationships with our loved ones thriving until we are old and grey.

The Kind Life by Alicia Silverstone

Like Veganist, this book is great for those who are considering moving toward a plant-based diet. Silverstone calls this ‘flirting’.

There are chapters dedicated to the environmental impact of our food choices, caring for animals, and plant-based recipes.

It’s also a story of how a celebrity uses her voice to advocate for animal rights and demand accountability from consumers.

When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need. -Ancient Ayurvedic Proverb

Not everybody who reads The Kind Diet may choose to go vegan (I didn't) but it's good to have the information about the effects of factory farming on our planet and what we can do as earth's citizens to protect it.

We are here on this earth for a short time. The best thing we can do for the planet and ourselves is, in our own little way, try to be kinder through the small but important choices we make every day and that includes what we eat.

Ryan Holiday is a big fan of re-reading books. He believes that the more you engage with a material, the more you will come away with it. He’s read Seneca over 100 times.

Books have codes to be cracked. When you’re 20, they’re invisible to you. When you’re 35, they become clear as daylight.

When you re-read, you see words, characters, and stories differently. Our accumulated experiences as adults help define these. When you re-read, it feels like meeting friends from the past. You wonder how they’ve been. You spend some time with them just like in the good old days.

Remember Heraclitus’ words: You don’t cross the same river twice.

What’s YOUR favorite reread?

Odyssa is the author of two poetry collections on love and travel. This article was first published in Medium.

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