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Friday, April 5, 2013

I Just Finished a Book You Need to Read. Here's Why...

I just finished reading It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.  And I am desperately trying to figure out a way to review it thoroughly without boring you to tears.  Because I want you to read this whole post.  I'll try to keep it short and sweet if you stay with me, okay?

I think this is an amazing book that will challenge your relationship with REAL food.  

It is just about the closest thing to a "fad diet" that I'm ever going to recommend to anyone... and I haven't even tried it, yet!  (Stay tuned for how the next month or so goes for J and I!)  But before I tell you about it and what it entails I want you to know that if you are any of these three people, you need to read this book:

1.  Anyone who jokes about being addicted to sugar.  Because it's true and it's not funny - you probably are.  So cut it out and go get this book.

2.  Anyone who feels like they're constantly on a roller coaster of wanting to eat healthy but can't stick to a good diet and or always crash back into their old habits.  This method is all about reprogramming your body the right way.

3.  Anyone who has chronic health issues.  Some of the testimonies in this book are amazing... people trying out this program and being totally cured of illnesses, aches/pains, etc. that they had been struggling with or being medicated for their whole lives!

Okay I just thought of one more...

3a.  Anyone who is related to me.  I'm serious.  If you currently have or EVER had the same last name as me.  Or are married to someone who has or has ever had the same last name as me.  I want you to read this book.  Because I want you to live long and prosper and I care about both the quantity AND quality of your life.

And as the Hartwig's say... It starts with food!  

Okay so here are Dallas and Melissa's Good Food Standards:
The food we eat should...

1.  Promote a healthy psychological response.
2.  Promote a healthy hormonal response.
3.  Support a healthy gut.
4.  Support immune function and minimize inflammation.

The main idea is that anything you eat either makes you healthier or makes you less healthy.  Here's how you build your meals during the Whole30 (30 days of whole eating) plan... 1-2 palm sized portions of protein (high quality meat, seafood, eggs), fill the rest of your plate with a variety of vegetables, one or more good fat source per meal, one or two small servings of fruit a day.  Three meals a day.  No snacking.

You may have noticed a distinct lack of grains (any! forget avoiding gluten they're not even down with rice!) and dairy (no cheese waaaaa) and also no no NO sugar (or any kind of sweetener, not even honey) or legumes or alcohol.

I would seriously call it more of a cleanse than a diet.  Because what they want you to do is cut out all the foods they consider nutrient-poor (they go into great fascinating depth about why) and see if your body feels better after essentially 30 days of healing it with good food ONLY.  It will help you loosen the grip sugar has on you.  It will help you stop reaching for the cereal for breakfast, pizza for lunch, and pasta for dinner.  It will make you read labels and question processed foods.  It will help clear up your acne.  It will help you sleep better.  It will boost your energy. 

It will help you develop a healthy relationship with your food.  But you have to eat your veggies.  Apparently by the truckload full ;o)

So basically what you're looking at is learning from them how to have a healthy lifelong relationship with food.  And you use the Whole30 program as a way to kick start your individual healthy eating lifestyle.  

After what could be a lifetime of poor eating habits, you need something to help restart healthy metabolism and re-balance the hormones that regulate your hunger.  They go really deep into the science behind all this, but not in an obnoxious way... it's totally in a "even a busy mom of two who hardly has time to read will understand this" kind of way.

Dallas and Melissa are real and I appreciate that.  They are really hilarious authors and had me laughing out loud at some points!  But they write that it's okay to be honest about the reason you want to eat a less than healthy food.  It's your birthday.  And it's delicious.  Or it's family vacation or Christmas dinner or whatever.  But it's delicious.  We can indulge occasionally on a treat.  For no reason other than that it's delicious!  

But obviously they stress mindful eating even for these treats.  Eat ONE cupcake.  And enjoy the crap out of it by george!  But just that one ;o)

I'm going to do a little more research and then Jesse and I are going to give this a try.

I must confess that I have a different stance than the authors on certain forms of grain and dairy products.  But we're not talking about making this our every day diet, we're talking about a month.  Anyone can do a month!  Think of it as a trial period to see what foods really do and don't nourish your body.  Everyone is different.  (especially in the area of gluten and dairy intolerance)  After we eat clean for 30 days we can slowly introduce those "compromise" foods back in and see how we feel.   

So now that you're super excited about exploring this with me, go buy the book and let me know what you think!  Check out the reviews on amazon... out of 466 reviews they have 411 5-star ratings!  Definitely worth looking into.  And remember, if you buy it through my amazon link I get a high five from amazon in the form of money.

It really is my desire that all my loved ones consider this stuff.  
Which basically means anyone reading these words.  If you are what you eat then I want you to be healthy.  For a long long time.  Because I love you all!

I'll leave you with this quote from the book:  "Start thinking about food as a nourishing experience.  Don't fall victim to reductionism - our meals are not just fuel, calories, or nutrients.  Our meals are so much more than the sum of their ingredients!  Our meals are our culture - the things our parents taught us and their parents taught them.  They are memories and emotions, reminding us of other meals and other experiences we have shared with those we love. Mealtime is about building new traditions within our own kitchens, with our own families - and setting a good example for future generations."


  1. I've heard of the Whole30 eating plan--it sounds so cool! It's quite similar to how I eat actually, no gluten (rare grains), no sugar, def. no alcohol, :P and I hardly eat legumes. Though I must have my dairy. :o) So basically, I try to just eat veggies and protein throughout the day. Anyway, I'm really excited about this for you!! I can't wait to hear all about it, this kind of stuff is right up my alley. :D

    1. What? No alcohol for teens in PA? ;o) Yeah I'm excited about it, too. Well, when I say excited I mean I'm curious to see how it goes for us. I'm really going to miss the dairy. And probably the grains, too. I AM experimenting with sourdough bread after all. Mmmmm. Okay yeah this is going to be hard haha.

    2. Sourdough...one thing that I REALLY miss. Good luck with that...I'm sure it'll be great. And once you're done with it, you'll reallllly appreciate everything a lot more! Haha! And I know, the alcohol thing here stateside is quite interesting...I don't really understand. ;P

  2. Good way to eat. stabilizes insulin and teaches the body to use its main fuel source for energy- which is FAT
    very similar to paleo and Atkins
    lean protiens - vegetables — some fruits- nuts&seeds & heathy fats
    Books - Calories in Calories out (or a simpler read "Why we get Fat")
    explains the science and history of this style of eating
    thanks for the reminder and care
    getting back eating that way.

    The hard part - BEER becomes a 4 letter word again :0(

    1. I KNOW. Oh how delicious beer is... cheers to drinking it less and feeling/being healthier. We can do this!

    2. You should come visit again so we can both justify more hefeweizen in our lives. I mean, vacation, right? ;o)

  3. I actually was forced to do this when I was still breastfeeding SM. About 4 months in I got a terrible yeast infection and my doctor didn't believe me! About 2 months of pain and I was finally able to see a different doctor who gave me the meds. I wasn't taking ANY chances of it not working so I also went on a meat and veggies only diet for 1 month. It was really tough for me but I know I am capable of doing it. Now, I am kicking myself for not gradually adding back things...I was just so thrilled to be able to eat again! I may need to try it again. Although, I really don't think the hubby will go for it. You will have to let me know how you guys do with it and how your hubby handles it!! Good luck! :)

    1. Yeah I'll keep you posted. It's been harder than I thought, but we'll see!