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It Starts With Food {book review}

Wow.

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This book has changed my life.

Seriously.

From the book cover. . .

It Starts With Food outlines a clear, balanced, sustainable plan to change the way you eat forever—and transform your life in profound and unexpected ways. Your success story begins with the Whole30®, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s powerful 30-day nutritional reset.
Since 2009, their underground Whole30 program has quietly led tens of thousands of people to weight loss, enhanced quality of life, and a healthier relationship with food—accompanied by stunning improvements in sleep, energy levels, mood, and self-esteem. More significant, many people have reported the “magical” elimination of a variety of symptoms, diseases, and conditions in just 30 days.

Now, Dallas and Melissa detail not just the “how” of the Whole30, but also the “why,” summarizing the science in a simple, accessible manner. It Starts With Food reveals how specific foods may be having negative effects on how you look, feel, and live—in ways that you’d never associate with your diet. More important, they outline their lifelong strategy for eating Good Food in one clear and detailed action plan designed to help you create a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation, and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food.

Infused with the Hartwigs’ signature wit, tough love, and common sense, It Starts With Food is based on the latest scientific research and real-life experience, and includes testimonials, a detailed shopping guide, a meal-planning template, a Meal Map with creative, delicious recipes, and much more.

The book starts with a statement, that really made me stop and think.

The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options.

Whoa. #truth

The book goes through all food groups and how each of them affect us. Through emotions, nutrients, in our body and how they might be making us feel. They have the science to back up the information and they also share personal stories and experiences.

But, the kicker is . . .

they (Dallas and Melissa Hartwig) say – don’t take our word for it.

In this book, they give you the skills and tools to try a Whole30 for yourself and to figure out once and for all how different foods affect YOU. Because that’s all that truly matters, right?

They claim that “after implementing our program, you won’t have to wonder whether the foods you are eating are healthy for you. You’ll be able to make educated, informed food choices for the rest of your life. And you’ll know how to enjoy treats, sweets, and other “less healthy” foods in a way that is always moving you towards better health, fitness, and quality of life.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounded pretty amazing to me.

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And as a doctor, I really liked reading about all the science to back up their thoughts on how specific food groups can cause inflammation that can lead to a bunch of different diseases, symptoms and feelings. The book is also nicely summarized at the end of each chapter, so if you’re not interested in the science-y stuff, you can just skip it and read the highlights.

I’m not going to recap the whole book. .. but I would highly recommend reading it!

So, what is the Whole30?

Basically, it is 30 days of “a short term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive track, calm systemic inflammation, and put an end to unhealthy sugar cravings, habits, and relationships with food.”

They go on to state that “certain food groups (like sugar, dairy and legumes) are probably having a negative impact on your health and fitness level without you even knowing it.”

During the 30 days:

Eat: Foods that make you healthier – meat, seafood, eggs, lots of vegetables, some fruit and plenty of healthy fats.

Don’t eat: sugar (real or artificial), alcohol, grains (not even whole grains!), legumes, dairy and white potatoes.

Fairly straightforward and simple, right? In the book, they give you lots of information about the 30 days with tips and tricks for success and meal plans/ideas.

Literally, after reading this book, I made changes to how I eat, shop and prepare meals.

I haven’t done a Whole30. well, not yet. Winking smile

But over the past few weeks, I have swapped my morning smoothie, which I thought was a pretty healthy way to start my day, but after reading this book, maybe isn’t the best for me. Fruit has a ton of natural sugar, right? Well, even that natural stuff can be hard for the brain and body to interpret. And it was not doing me any favors with dealing with my sugar cravings later in the day. So, I swapped it out for eggs with veggies. Now, I am fuller for longer in the morning and my sugar cravings seem to have calmed down a bit.

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I also changed my lunch to their recommended balance of protein + veggies + high quality fat and seasonings. I don’t think I was getting enough healthy fats into my lunches, which then lead to hunger and fatigue in the afternoons. So, I made my own mayo (healthy fats!) and whipped up some chicken salads – chicken + diced carrot + grapes + mayo + pecans = delicious and filling lunch. Usually paired with an orange too. And I haven’t had that mid-afternoon slump or had to go digging in my desk drawer for a snack. Amazing. Finally, I’ve gone back to the clean eating guidelines that I’ve followed with AdvoCare (btw – this Whole30 stuff lines up perfectly with AdvoCare!) and given them the Whole30 twist – no grains or legumes and really made sure that we are getting some high quality fat in our dinners.

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And you know what? We have been sleeping better. Yup – even Scott has noticed the changes!

And honestly, after just a few weeks of making some small changes, I feel SO much better. I’m happier (I was feeling a little down there because of my eating habits, low energy, and all the stress of the upcoming move), I have more energy, I am sleeping better, and even though I can’t see or feel it – I know I am healthier. And that’s awesome.

Ok, but let’s not get crazy – I am still drinking  my latte and having dessert – mostly on the weekends. Smile

Anyway, long story short. I am going to do a full Whole30 (probably in February) because I think I deserve it to myself and my body to find my perfect health.

And I love this book. Please read it. It might just change your life.

Have you read it? Any books lately that have changed your life?

Linking up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!

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Food Rules

I just finished readying Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. Have you read it?

While there wasn’t anything earth shattering in the book, it had some good ‘rules’.

The book is organized into 3 parts: 1. What should I eat? (Eat food). 2. What kind of food should I eat? (Mostly plants). and 3. How should I eat? (Not too much).

There are 64 rules total in the book. It is a quick read with most rules taking up one page with a brief description or explanation of the rule listed.

Here are some of my favorites:

From part 1. What should I eat? (Eat food).

Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.

From part 2. What kind of food should I eat? (Mostly plants).

Eat mostly plants, especially the leaves.
Eat your colors.
Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.

From part 3: How should I eat: (Not too much).

Stop eating before you’re full.
Treat treats as treats.
Break the rules once in a while.

I think I would like to read Michael Pollan’s first book: In Defense of Food. It sounds like that is more of a discussion and research on the Western diet. Has anyone read that?

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