086 // 10 Books for  Autoimmune Health & Hashimoto’s

Health with Hashimoto’s is your free weekly podcast to discover true, simple, and sustainable tips to improve your energy and health.

March is National Reading Month, so here are 10 fantastic books to help you in your health goals. These books can drastically alter the way you perceive health and wellness. Ranging from treating food as a healing mechanism, harnessing the power of breathing techniques, maintaining positivity in challenging times, to coping with Hashimoto’s, each book offers strategies for your health. With 10 remarkable book recommendations at your disposal, your health objectives are just a step away.

You will find this episode below in audio format and a written summary because I know not everyone is an audio learner. Some links may be affiliate links that will support me without increasing your price.

Each episode of Health with Hashimoto’s is for informational and educational purposes. Please discuss any questions or concerns with your trusted healthcare professional.

Listen to the Podcast

Subscribe so you don’t miss out

Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsPodbeanAudibleiHeartRadioPlayer.fmAmazon AlexaYouTube
Esther holding a pile of the 10 best books for autoimmune disease

Watch via YouTube

Top 10 Books for Autoimmune Health

When you have a chronic health probelm, you become an informal researcher. You start digging into info and learning all you can to help yourself.

In this post, I’ve got some of my favorite book recommendations for you about health in general and about Hashimoto’s specifically. I love to read. I read a ton. Some of the books I read are just to zone out, to wind down, to relax. But about 25% of what I read are nonfiction books to help me in life, health, business, parenting, etc.

Here are my 10 best books for autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s, and for your overall health. These are going to be in random order because I really could not put them in a top 10. I tried, but they’re all so good.

These all got four and five ratings from me. I am stingy with my five-star ratings. I reserve five-star ratings for books that will change my life, that I want to recommend to people, or that I’m going to read over and over.

I’m not going to be including the books I did a standalone bonus episode about. For example, “The Underactive Thyroid” by Dr. Sarah Myhill and Craig Robinson will not be on this list.

I also did a podcast episode about another book that will not be on this list. It got 🚩 instead of ⭐️ when I reviewed it. The self-proclaimed expert and “medical medium” Anthony William’s book was highly recommended, but I gave it red flags instead of stars from me.

Obviously, shopping at an independent bookstore or from the author is the best. Since my podcast is worldwide, I will give you the Amazon links to each of these ten books for autoimmune health.

Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands

Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands

The first book for you is Refresh by Shona and David Murray. I loved it. This has so many Post-it sticky notes in it, little flags, and highlights.

Description from the back cover:

Do you race from one thing to the next, unable to keep up with all the demands of your ever-growing to-do list? Are you overcommitted and overstretched, but don’t know how to slow down when the world just says to speed up? Is there any hope for rest in a world of never-ending demands?

Many women don’t realize they’re running at an unsustainable pace until it hurts them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Drawing on many years of counseling and their own experiences of burnout, wife and husband team Shona and David Murray want to help you slow down to a more grace-paced life―enabling you to avoid the pitfall of burnout, cultivate sustainable habits for the future, and experience the rest of body and soul that God intends for you.

You are a whole person: body, mind, spirit, diet, environment. I loved this book so much because it does such a good job of incorporating the whole you. Chapters include how to relax, how to rest, how to reduce stuff, how to refuel. The refuel chapter is about nutrition. There’s so much holistic goodness in this book.

The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction

The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction

Book number two is actually two books. The Common Rule & Habits of the Household by Justin Whitmel Earley.

Description from the back cover:

Habits form us more than we form them. The modern world is a machine of invisible habits, forming us into anxious, busy people. We yearn for the freedom of the gospel but remain shackled by our screens and exhausted by our routines.

The answer is a rule of life that aligns our habits to our beliefs. The Common Rule’s four daily and four weekly habits transform frazzled days into lives of love for God and neighbor. Justin Earley provides doable, life-giving practices to find freedom and rest for your soul. This expanded edition now includes study guide questions for individual reflection and group discussion.

When I looked at the title, “The Common Rule,” I was like, wait, what? Why do I need more rules in my life? But this book really is about creating habits of purpose.

The “rule” is used in its original root sense, which is similar to the term used for a trellis. It’s akin to training a vine or plant to grow in a specific direction. And so the common rule is creating habits of purpose. The Common Rule goes through four different daily and four different weekly habits designed to transform your days and thus your health.

The Common Rule is not technically a health book. When you look at your whole self {body, mind, spirit, diet, and environment} and do things that create a better you, you’re going to have health because you are a holistic person.

Habits of the Household is very similar. It is creating rhythms within your household. It’s very similar to The Common Rule except it is family focused. Both books are great.

Rushing Woman’s Syndrome: The Impact of a Never-Ending To-Do list and How to Stay Healthy in Today’s Busy World

Rushing Woman's Syndrome: The Impact of a Never-Ending To-Do list and How to Stay Healthy in Today's Busy World

The next book is actually two books. (I told you, I love to read and I had a hard time getting just down to 10.)

Rushing Woman’s Syndrome and Exhausted to Energized are by Dr. Libby Weaver. She is amazing. And if you get to listen to her, she has a gorgeous New Zealand accent. I love listening to her.

I read Rushing Women’s Syndrome about 15 years ago and it was the first light bulb moment for me that connected how we are so pressed and busy and how that impacts our hormones and thyroid.

Description from the back cover:

Do you often feel overwhelmed, and in a daily battle to keep up? That you rarely get on top of your to-do list, and at times feel out of control and unable to cope? If so, you may be experiencing the first signs of rushing woman’s syndrome….

Never before have women been in such a hurry to do so many things and be there for so many people. The pace of modern life has drastically increased – but even though our minds can go faster and technology allows us to get more done, our bodies still have cavewoman-like biology – which means they cannot respond healthily to the new and constant pressures we experience. In this book, nutritional biochemist Dr. Libby Weaver explains how a stressful, fast-paced lifestyle can have dangerous effects on all areas of a woman’s health, including:

  • Nervous system – how an imbalanced nervous system may be causing you to gain weight and disrupting your sleep
  • Adrenal glands – why adrenal fatigue may be making you feel tired but wired
  • Reproductive system – how your daily stresses may be affecting your menstrual cycle or fertility
  • Digestive system – why stress could be at the heart of your bloating, cravings or unpredictable appetite
  • Emotions – how your emotional landscape holds the key to leading a fulfilling life without the need to rush

Inspired by Dr. Libby’s clinical experiences and her empathy for women and the many roles they now juggle, this audiobook offers real solutions to restore your health so that you can stay both productive and healthy.

Dr. Libby Weaver is a biochemist, so this book does go a little deep into physiology and biochemistry of  what constant rushing produces. It is such a good book, though. I also love Exhausted to Energized. Now, out of the two, Rushing Woman’s Syndrome is a little bit more biochemical whereas Exhausted to Energized is a little bit more practical, but both of them are great. I counted them as one book so that I can give you more on today’s list.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Book number four is again, not a specific health book. It is Atomic Habits because when you’re trying to change your health, you have to change your habits. Most of our daily life is built on our habits. So if you want a healthier life, you have to change your habits and Atomic Habits will help you do that.

Description from the back cover:

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving–every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits–whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.

Atomic Habits is a book that I try to read each year. I always get new things out of it. If you’re looking to improve your health, it is a great one to start with.

Fast Like a Girl: A Woman’s Guide to Using the Healing Power of Fasting to Burn Fat, Boost Energy, and Balance Hormones

Cover of the book Fast Like a Girl by Dr. Bindy Pelz

Book number five is Fast Like a Girl. I talked about this a couple of episodes ago when I was discussing fasting. This book has been so helpful because fasting has been everywhere. Yet when a lot of women try fasting, it seems to backfire.

Description from the back cover:

Are you among the many women who feel unheard and unseen by their doctors and health professionals? Have you become exhausted by the promise of quick-fix diets that only leave you disappointed? Well in Fast Like a Girl, Dr. Mindy helps you to take back control of your health by using the quickest path back to better health—fasting.

While most fasting advice has been a one-size-fits-all approach that leaves women with more questions than answers, in this book Dr. Mindy shares the proven strategies, specific protocols to use if you are trying to overcome a condition, fasting hacks, and tools that she has used to help hundreds of thousands of women thrive with their fasting lifestyles.

Fast Like a Girl is a book that teaches you how to do it in sync with your hormones. Women are not men, and men are not women. Our hormones are not the same. And we have a 28-ish day cycle. And when we fast along with our hormones, honoring them, and knowing which phase we’re in, it works better. Grab this book or listen to my episode all about fasting.

Food Saved Me: My Journey of Finding Health and Hope through the Power of Food

Food Saved Me: My Journey of Finding Health and Hope through the Power of Food

Book number six is Food Saved Me by Danielle Walker. This is a memoir, and I love how relatable it is. If you have any type of autoimmune problem or if you have any type of health problem that you think could be impacted by food, [side note: that’s all of them] this book is for you.

Description from the back cover:

You can live a full, happy, and healthy life without ever feeling excluded or deprived.

When doctors told Danielle Walker that food didn’t cause her autoimmune disease and couldn’t help control it, she set out to prove them wrong.

Diagnosed with an extreme form of ulcerative colitis at 22, Danielle was terrified she’d never be able to eat all the wonderful, great-tasting foods she loved growing up or host warm, welcoming gatherings with family and friends. So when the medicine she was prescribed became almost as debilitating as the disease itself, Danielle took matters into her own hands, turned her kitchen into a laboratory, and set to work creating gut-healthy versions of the foods she thought she’d never be able to enjoy again. Three New York Times bestselling cookbooks later, Danielle has become a beacon of hope for millions around the world suffering from autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and chronic ailments.

Now for the first time, with stunning transparency about the personal toll her illness took on her physically, emotionally, and spiritually, Danielle reflects on everything she’s learned during her decade-long journey toward healing―including the connection between gut health and overall well-being, the development of her favorite recipes, and the keys for not simply surviving her autoimmune disease but thriving despite it. Through her resilience, Danielle tells a story that provides hope―hope that despite your ailments or hardships, you can live a full, happy, and healthy life without ever feeling excluded or deprived.

This book is a beautiful picture and memoir of Danielle Walker’s journey to figure out how food impacted her autoimmune disease when all the doctors told her it wasn’t related, and then how she changed her diet and what she ate, how she developed recipes, how now she’s helping other people.

The memoir is amazing. Her cookbooks are also fantastic. So if you’re looking for cookbooks or a blog with tons of recipes, Danielle Walker has so many resources for people who are trying to adopt a gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free diet.

Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health

Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health

Book number seven is actually a book that I haven’t read for many years. I checked it out from the library on a whim when I was either going through school to be a holistic health educator or right after, and it’s called Breathe: The subtitle is The Simple Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health.

Quite honestly, I don’t remember a ton about this book, but I know that it changed the way I breathe, and I know that it changed everything I teach as far as diaphragmatic breathing and how it can help you.

Description from the back cover:

Contemporary science confirms what generations of healers have observed through centuries of practice: Breath awareness can turn on the body’s natural abilities to prevent and cure illness. The mental and physical stresses of modern life, such as anxiety, frustration, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, high blood pressure, digestive woes, and immune dysfunction can all be addressed through conscious control of your breath. In addition, it can increase energy, accelerate healing, improve cognitive skills, and enhance mental balance.

Yet most of us stopped breathing in the anatomically “right” way, the way to take advantage of these benefits, when we were four or five years old. We now mostly breathe in a way that is anatomically incongruous and makes for more illness. Dr. Vranich shows readers how to turn back the tide of stress and illness, and improve the overall quality of their life through a daily breathing workout. In a fascinating, straightforward, jargon-free exploration of how our bodies were meant to breathe, Dr. Belisa Vranich delves into the ins and outs of proper breathing. By combining both anatomy and fitness with psychology and mindfulness, Dr. Vranich gives readers a way of solving health problems at the crux and healing themselves from the inside out. BREATHE is an easy-to-follow guide to breathing exercises that will increase energy, help lose weight, and make readers feel calmer and happier.

I do not remember what that daily practice is, but I remember that this book is how I learned to breathe with my diaphragm. I was such a stress breather. I breathed with my chest and with my shoulders. I could not breathe with my diaphragm.

Even when I was reading this book, I had to lay on my back on the floor with my knees up so that I could relax my core and breathe correctly. And this book taught me how to do it. It went through why to do it. So I recommend this book, even though it’s been many, many years since I read it.

Aggressively Happy: A Realist’s Guide to Believing in the Goodness of Life

Aggressively Happy: A Realist's Guide to Believing in the Goodness of Life

Book number eight has a title that makes me smile. It’s called “Aggressively Happy.” Those words don’t go together. That’s why I love it. Aggressively Happy is by Joy Marie Clarkson.

Description from the back cover:

Discover the Way Toward a Lighter, Braver, and Wiser Life

This old world can be exhausting, despairing, and cynical. But you don’t have to be.

Instead, you can unlock the power to a happy life–an act of defiance that will make you more resilient in times of turmoil, pain, and chaos. Cultivating happiness takes grit, determination, and a good sense of humor. It’s not always easy, but it’s well worth it.

Beloved writer Joy Marie Clarkson leads the way, crafting an audacious case for happiness no matter what you’re going through. With her signature humor and lyrical storytelling, Joy offers an irresistible invitation:

“If we accept that life will be full of difficulties and sorrows, we then have two options: to resign ourselves to life generally being a bummer, or to seek enjoyment, delight, and hope in the midst of (and in spite of!) life’s up and downs. To put it bluntly: You could choose to cultivate happiness, or you could not. . . . I think we should go for it.”

Go, therefore, and choose an aggressively happy life.

This is a fun book. Again, it’s not a “health” book, but it is about your mental health and outlook. So it is about your health. Especially since sometimes having an autoimmune disease can make the days harder.

Every single chapter had me thinking. There was one chapter about how to be more like Mr. Collins. Okay, if you’ve ever read Pride and Prejudice, you know there’s one character that you don’t want to be like and that is Mr. Collins, right? That’s why I was wondering “Why is this a title for one of your chapters?”

But it makes perfect sense. Mr. Collins is never upset with how he is. He is always in the moment, looking for the bright side, like he’s complimenting what the potatoes, and he’s sincere in it. He’s looking on the bright side of life, even though he’s Mr. Collins.

How to Heal Hashimoto’s: An Integrative Road Map to Remission

How to Heal Hashimoto's: An Integrative Road Map to Remission

Book number nine is a book that I’m not completely done with, so I can’t tell you my overall view of it, but I know that within the first half, I have highlighted so many things.

The book How to Heal Hashimoto’s is by Mark Ryan. He does pull in a lot of Chinese medicine stuff. So if that weirds you out or is too much woo for you (even though Chinese medicine is based on centuries of practice) then this might not be the best book for you.

Description from the back cover:

Here’s the simple truth about Hashimoto’s: It’s way more than a thyroid problem. And even though it’s an autoimmune disease, it’s also way more than an immune system problem. Over time, it progressively becomes a body-wide disorder.

Most people are familiar with the common hypothyroid symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, sensitivity to cold, hair loss, and constipation. But what many people don’t seem to understand is that many Hashimoto’s patients also have anxiety and depression, acid reflux, blood sugar imbalances like hypoglycemia and insulin resistance, intestinal permeability, anemia, food intolerances, and much more.

This is not coincidence. It is all caused by repeated patterns of one system of the body breaking down and bringing other systems down with it. This causes vicious cycles that lead to the breakdown of the gut, the brain, the adrenals, the stomach, the gall bladder, the liver and every other major organ in the body.

How to Heal Hashimoto’s offers a practical, easy-to-follow approach that treats the whole body, by figuring out what is breaking down and then developing a plan for fixing it. Using an autoimmune diet, lifestyle changes like meditation and qi gong, and other natural interventions, Marc Ryan shows you how to transform these vicious cycles into positive healing momentum —thereby allowing the body to return to balance.

Get ready to take charge of your health and reclaim your life!

I can’t tell you about the whole book because I haven’t finished it, but so far it’s been good. The sections about labs are very, very helpful.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m doing a lab series. I’m trying to do a lab episode about once a month until we cover all of the labs because I get a lot of questions.This book has been one of my resources for some of those episodes.

Dr. Isabella Wentz

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause

Dr. Isabella Wentz is another resource that I pull a lot from when I’m doing research. Book number ten is actually three books.

Dr. Isabella Wentz was one of the authors that I looked for specifically when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s because I had heard about her books. She was so helpful to me when I was trying to figure everything out. She has several books. The “Root Cause” book, I think, is my favorite of hers. She also wrote “Hashimoto’s Protocol” and she has a cookbook.

Description from the back cover:

What’s Really Going on in Hashimoto’s?

Hashimoto’s is more than just hypothyroidism. Most patients with Hashimoto’s will present with acid reflux, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, intestinal permeability, food sensitivities, gum disorders and hypoglycemia in addition to the “typical” hypothyroid symptoms such as weight gain, cold intolerance, hair loss, fatigue and constipation.

The body becomes stuck in a vicious cycle of immune system overload, adrenal insufficiency, gut dysbiosis, impaired digestion, inflammation, and thyroid hormone release abnormalities. This cycle is self-sustaining and will continue causing more and more symptoms until an external factor intervenes and breaks the cycle apart.

The lifestyle interventions discussed in this book aim to dismantle the vicious cycle piece by piece. We start with the simplest modifications, by removing triggers, and follow with repairing the other broken systems to restore equilibrium, allowing the body to rebuild itself.

Did you notice a lot of similarities between numbers nine and ten?

They both look at Hashimoto’s as a problem of not just the thyroid like so many conventional or Western medicine doctors act like. It’s not a condition of your thyroid. It’s a condition of your immune system. There are so many things that go into it. Then Hashimoto’s impacts other things. There’s a cycle that we need to break.

And that is why I created Hashimoto’s Decoded for you! It is a free mini-course. In it, I go through your root causes.

When I went back to school for holistic nursing and education, one thing that I was trained to do was look at a whole bunch of resources, put them in plain, simple language, and then help you apply it to your life so that you can have simple and sustainable actions.

Reading books is great, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. It is not always the answer.

I wanted to create a course for you to make health and Hashimoto’s simple for you. That’s what I did!

To get started, download the app. Then enroll in the free mini-course Hashimoto’s Decoded. I will go over the root causes with you and help you figure out the next step on your path to health.

I look forward to seeing you in the app.

Images used in this post include book covers from Amazon. Also a selfie with me holding a pile of books. 

Esther Yunkin, RN speaking to a woman holding a coffee mug. Both seated on a couch.

Download the Health with Hashimoto’s App

Unlock your wellness journey with the free Health with Hashimoto’s app!

Join a supportive community that’s here for you every step of the way.

Binge your free mini-course, Hashimoto’s Decoded, designed to answer your questions and cut through Hashimoto’s confusion.

Ready to take control of your health and feel like yourself again? Enroll in the full Holistic Hashimoto’s course.

Download the free app now and get started!

iOS users – look for the Health with Hashimoto’s app.

Android users – Esther is working on your stand-alone app. In the meantime, you can find it via the Passion app.

Take the free Hashimoto’s Decoded min-course

Esther holding a coffee cup that says "make it happen" with title of: Hashimoto's Decoded: Clear steps to regain control of your health