As the joys of summer are just around the corner, so too may be your search for the perfect summer read. And if you have ever had the chance to come to Mountain Trek or to hear lead guide and manager, Kirkland Shave speak, most would agree that he is quite inspirational. But where does Kirk get his inspiration? We sat down with Kirk and found out: what’s on the top of his reading list?
Counter Clockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging
– By Lauren Kessler
Written by a Mountain Trek alumni! Lauren’s third book is delightfully funny and insightful about the anti-aging industry. She looks at how obsessed people can become in trying to remove wrinkles and make themselves look younger, rather than go for long term lifestyle and vitality practices as they age. As an ex-mountain trekker, she certainly understands the success of lifestyle changes over physical changes or invasive medical practices. The difference between feeling younger and looking younger.
Your Brain On Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality
– By Eva M. Selhub, MD, and Alan C. Logan, MD
Kirk’s favorite health book, “Your Brain on Nature,” looks at how we’re neurologically wired to release the feel good hormones oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine, through natural living, and finding ways to get these hormones without relying on the trifecta of fat, carbs, and salt. Activities like gardening, petting an animal, being in nature, being touched or massaged, doing something creative, are all scientifically proven to lower the stress hormone cortisol and raise the feel good hormones, which all aids to contract the vigilance of life’s constant stressors.
Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently
– By Caroline L. Arnold
This book stands on the shoulders of previous books in the will power theme. Caroline takes the idea of using will power to create lifestyle habits and gives practical ways of making this happen – by creating micro-resolutions that stick to habits we already have, rather than making giant sweeping lifestyle changes that never stick. Kirk’s example in his everyday habits inspired by the book: he always brushes his teeth before bed, and now in conjunction with this, does yoga for 15 mins before bed, stretching out those hiking muscles. It is now all autopilot, as this lifestyle habit of doing bedtime yoga is anchored to the already in place habit of brushing his teeth.
Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers
– By David Perlmutter, MD, with Kristin Loberg
Highly scientific, the research in “Grain Brain” is one more book of many that has lead us to the decision of being gluten free this year of Mountain Trek. This book explores the impact of gluten on people’s health; from simple bowel irritation to very serious conditions like alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.
The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health
– By John Durant
Kirk wanted to explore the whole paleo movement from diet to exercise programs. What was the foundation over the movement over the last few years? Why is it so popular? “The Paleo Manifesto” gives good insight from an anthropological perspective and the epochs of lifestyle that we’ve had as a civilization, from gathering and hunting, to farming and herding, to industrial factory work, to urban office work, and the implications of these lifestyles on our health. The research points to a return of the gathering and hunting epoch as being the healthiest, but this doesn’t mean this lifestyle is right for everybody. We could all adopt and benefit from slivers of the hunter-gatherer way of living, but this doesn’t imply we all have to strip down to a loin cloth and head out into the bush with a spear. Ultimately, walking as much as possible and eating as much of a variety of plants as possible is how we can marry our urban, office life with our roots from the Paleo era.
Please be sure to let us know how you liked these books, as well as if you have any recommendations. Happy summer, and happy reading!