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Food can change your life in unexpected ways.
"It Starts With Food" will show you how.
"It Starts With Food" outlines a clear, balanced, sustainable plan to change the way you eat forever–and transform your life in 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, improved quality of life and a healthier relationship with food – accompanied by stunning improvements in sleep, energy levels, mood and self-esteem. More significantly, many people have reported the "magical" elimination of a variety of symptoms, diseases and conditions – in just 30 days.
diabetes · high cholesterol · high blood pressure · obesity · acne · eczema · psoriasis · hives asthma · allergies · sinus infections · migraines · acid reflux · celiac disease · Crohn's · IBS bipolar disorder · depression · seasonal affective disorder · eating disorders · ADHD endometriosis · PCOS · infertility · arthritis · Lyme disease · hypothyroidism · fibromyalgia
Now, Dallas and Melissa detail the theories behind the Whole30, summarizing the science in a simple, accessible manner. "It Starts With Food" shows you how certain foods may be having negative effects on how you look, feel and live – in ways that you'd never associate with your diet. More importantly, they outline their life-long strategy for Eating Good Food in a 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 their signature wit, tough love and common sense, "It Starts With Food" is based on the latest scientific research and real-life experience, and includes success stories, a shopping guide, a meal planning template, a meal plan with creative, delicious recipes, an extensive list of resources, and much more.
- File Size: 4136 KB
- Print Length: 332 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1936608898
- Publisher: Victory Belt Publishing (June 19, 2012)
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008C20TDG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- X-Ray: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
The concepts in this book are life-saving (and tasty too)!
I decided to do something about it in 2008 and joined a CrossFit gym – lifting weights, performing gymnastic moves, and literally standing on my head doing high intensity exercise three times per week. I ran 5 to 10 miles every weekend. I ate better – lots of salmon and veggies from the frozen food case – but after two years of effort, my body fat was still 27 percent. I had lost 20 pounds, but remained pudgy. Then I heard about Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s Whole30 program.
I did my first Whole30 in 2010. About two weeks into the program, I noticed that I was sleeping better. Then I started to set new personal records lifting heavy weights in the gym. I felt great and my energy levels stayed even across the day. I quit being so grumpy! I decided to keep following the Whole30 way of eating. After a few months, my annual blood work showed big improvements: good cholesterol – UP, bad cholesterol – DOWN. And I was losing weight. Nothing dramatic, but typically two pounds per month. The two pounds per month continued 15 months and I lost 30 pounds! I finally stopped losing weight when I was just 10 pounds above my marathon running weight from the 90′s. And that 10 pounds was all new muscle!
I first met Dallas and Melissa Hartwig in 2011 when I attended one of their in-person nutrition workshops. They were just as smart, friendly, and good looking in person as they were online. They are truly inspiring people. And their book – It Starts With Food – is just like them – smart, practical, informative, kind, tough, motivating, inspiring, hopeful…
As someone who has read most of the information on their website and attended their workshops, I expected to be familiar with everything in It Starts With Food, but I was wrong. The discussions of food cravings, the psychology of eating, and much of the science was new to me. And the Hartwigs made the science interesting. I wish my high school and college biology teachers had been as clear and practical as them! The Whole30 program is discussed in the book and the Hartwigs explain how you can do your own Whole30 and start getting the same kind of results I got in mine.
It Starts With Food is an incredible resource for anyone who wants to develop a healthier relationship with food or who just plain needs to because what they are doing now is killing them.
Actually, it is hard
Admittedly, because of autoimmune issues, I’m eating the extreme end of this spectrum, eliminating nightshades, eggs, nuts, and coffee in addition to the other foods. This kind of eating got just a passing mention in the book, yet a large population of readers is reading precisely because they’re battling autoimmune disease. Note: this book doesn’t recommend giving up coffee even in cases of autoimmune disease, but other research (and my personal experience) does bear that out. And giving up coffee wasn’t terribly difficult. Peppers, curry seasoning, eggplant… those things are missed.
I’m not complaining and I think it’s worth it, but I do think that in a future edition, the reader would be better served if there were more practical ways to cope with the everyday challenges of eliminating what is objectively a lot of food choices. For instance, two of the “go-to” recipes call for nuts. That works for some readers, but it doesn’t work for the autoimmune folks. So, what’s offered as a standby is just one more (two more) thing on the “don’t” list.
I still think this is a valuable resource, but for most folks, longterm success with eating this way is going to take more than, “You can do it. It’s not as hard as childbirth or cancer.”
Do You Dare Take On The Whole30 Challenge For Yourself?
The positive energy that Dallas and Melissa exude is so utterly contagious within the pages of this book that you’ll become super-excited about starting your very own Whole30 journey head first right away. And whether you realize it yet or not, the fact that you are reading reviews like this one means your journey to change is already underway. No matter what your health reasons are for wanting to make a change in your life, it all really does “start with food.” We all make choices every single day about the quality of the foods we are consuming and it comes down to this-either we choose foods that nourish our bodies or we choose foods that damage our bodies. It’s as simple as that. Once you realize the validity of this common sense fact, then making the necessary changes that Dallas and Melissa recommend in their book will be a snap. I’m gonna warn you now though: get ready to see some of the most significant physical and mental changes that you’ve ever experienced in your entire life. That’s not sensationalized hyperbole-it’s the truth! You’ll just have to try it for yourself to join the ever-growing list of people who have restored their health and never looked back again.
If you’ve never heard of Dallas and Melissa Hartwig before, then they provide their unique story of how they got to this point of writing a book about their work at the beginning. You’ll notice that they, like many in the Paleo community, were heavily influenced by their fellow Victory Belt author Robb Wolf who gave them the idea for doing a 30-day elimination diet that has become the basis for The Whole30. And yet they’ve modernized Paleo to the point of removing the caveman imagery that tends to be associated with this way of eating. As they so succinctly put it, “we are far more concerned with health than we are on history.” It’s not so much about mimicking the Paleolithic man as it is learning from the lessons that our hunter-gather ancestors taught us to make the best choices in the 21st Century.
And lest you think there’s no science behind this nutritional plan, you’d be sorely mistaken. Not only that, Dallas and Melissa also have a wealth of personal experience helping clients seeing them make improvements in their health that defy conventional medical wisdom. And they know that the best way to find out what works for you is by conducting your own experiments on yourself to see what happens. They also recognize that we are all different with a wide variety of physical, emotional and psychological issues to work through that aren’t resolved with a cookie-cutter approach. But as the title of their book suggests, food can and should be a powerful starting point for bringing about the positive changes you are looking for no matter who you are and what your personal situation looks like.
It’s sad when you have to include a chapter in a book on nutrition defining what “food” is, but in a world where modern pseudo-food-like products such as Twinkies, Doritos and Coca-Cola are the most ubiquitous forms of edible products sold on supermarket shelves it’s probably a very good idea. Dallas and Melissa explain the purpose of the various macronutrients found in good food and what role they play in being consumed. As a low-carber, I appreciated the blurb in there acknowledging that there is no dietary requirement for carbohydrates since the body can make them from the protein you consume (through a process in the liver known as gluconeogenesis). WOO HOO! Also, when they refer to fruit they make an excellent point that it “may promote an unhealthy psychological response” for people who haven’t yet beaten their sugar addiction and thus should be avoided. When it comes to choosing between a Snickers bar or dried fruit and a nut bar, “your brain doesn’t know the difference.” YES! They also give credence to the mistaken notion that weight management is a simple math equation of reducing your calories and fat by concluding “if only it were that easy.” AMEN!
Major themes covered in It Starts With Food include controlling cravings, learning to recognize satiation, why we eat for pleasure, how stress negatively impacts the body, why eating for you hormones is most important (with some pretty remarkable examples of what a typical good and bad hormonal day actually looks like), the role your gut plays in being healthy, why it is critical to reduce systemic silent inflammation in the body, beating your genetic tendencies towards poor health outcomes, why eliminating sweeteners will make life so much sweeter for you, how alcohol is a worthless substance to your body, reducing the megadoses of omega-6 fats in your body by dropping the seed oils, chunking the grains (even the whole grains!) and legumes because of their woeful nutritional value, doing your due diligence about whether dairy is a problematic food category for you or not, being aware of the symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases, and navigating through the maze of food choices out there to find the best possible foods to feed yourself well with the right meats, veggies, fats (yes, the right kind of fats like animal-based and tropical ones are VERY good for you!), and creating homemade meals your whole family will love and enjoy! This book is quite dense with information, but it’s written in an engaging and oftentimes hilarious manner that you’ll forget how much you’re learning in the midst of all the fun!
Of course, what would the book be without getting into the nitty gritty of The Whole30 program which is what Dallas and Melissa provide towards the end of the book. Once they’ve laid the groundwork for why you should be following the edicts of their nutritional teachings, it’s on to the plan itself. And lest you’re wondering if you’ll try this for a few days and decide to give up on it like every other health plan you’ve ever tried before, don’t even think about it. This is hard-core, life-changing stuff that demands your full attention for 30 full days without even a smidge of cheating, fudging with the details or making up excuses for why you didn’t do it. This is your welcome-to-the-real-world reality check and time to see just how serious you are about your health. When you realize “it’s just 30 days” and give it a real go, then you can see just how much The Whole30 can help you overcome a chronic health issue that has perhaps plagued you for far too many years. You won’t know unless you try and the plan is outlined for you clearly in black and white with full details on exactly what to do, how to do it, what to expect during the various phases of the 30 days, and evaluating whether you should make it a Whole45 or Whole60 to experience the best results for you (remember that self-experimentation stuff they discuss earlier in the book?). Dallas and Melissa don’t coddle you through this because they assume you are all grown adults who can make choices for yourself and dig deep to make this happen. The payoff at the end of this process will make any pain along the way totally worth it!
Once you’ve completed your Whole30, instructions on how to reintroduce foods one at a time are included along with some strategies about trying to maintain the progress you have made over the long-term. They acknowledge the difficulty it can be trying to live this way in everyday life and that the goal of the program isn’t perfection but a compass for making the best choices about how you eat. Building sustainable habits that will stick with you for life is what it’s all about. There will be meals or even whole days when you get off of your Whole30 plan but that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. You pick yourself up and get right back at it again confidently knowing what you need to do to continue the success you’ve already accomplish. Be the example for your friends and family to follow by doing your part to stay true to the principles you’ve learned in this book.
Towards the back of the book you’ll find some critical information for “special populations” such as people with diabetes, autoimmune disease, IBS and IBD, food allergies, vegetarians and vegans, active individuals, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and even your kids. There’s also specific information about some supplements that could help you along the way in this journey. Dallas and Melissa Hartwig are a compassionate couple who wish you nothing but the best in your own personal health journey. They believe the concepts they share in It Starts With Food will provide massive improvements in health for the vast majority of people, but they also realize that others will have a more difficult time despite the fact they are 100% compliant with the plan. Looking at every area of your life beyond food like sleep, exercise, stress and more will put you one step closer to finding the answers for yourself. It’s a journey to the finish line no matter where you are in this race to health and Dallas and Melissa Hartwig have given you all the tools you need to make it happy. Now it’s up to you. Do you dare take on The Whole30 challenge for yourself?
I have struggled with dieting for the last 15 years. I tried Weight Watchers and lost 11 entire pounds in 6 months– and had to deal with the constant “You must be doing something wrong…” “Clearly, you aren’t tracking your points…” Yes, I was .
I had lost weight in my mid-30′s through diet and exercise, but I never got to my goal. I had another kid…. turned 40… and nothing that I did seemed to help.
I did Crossfit over the summer which introduced me to Paleo. I had a few friends that had switched to a more Paleo type diet. Although they hadn’t lost a lot of weight, they spoke of their energy, better sleep habits, clear skin, etc. I thought they were crazy- why would I do this if not to lose weight?
Well, here I am 7 weeks later and I am sold.
I am 42. I am on the line between obsese and overweight. I exercise. I ate a “healthy” diet- never more than 1500 calories a day.
Even though they said not to track calories- I did. For three weeks. Then it became apparent- I was eating more, exercising less and the weight was falling off. More importantly, the inches were coming off. It looked and felt like someone had put a pin in me and the air is slowly coming out. No joke.
I am in sizes now that I wore at 20 lbs less than where I am now.
I was NEVER hungry.
I ate until I was full. I relearned what full was.
My skin is incredibly soft. My acne, which I never had until my 30′s, is clearing up and nearly gone. I sleep 7-8 hours a night- straight through. I have a ton of energy. My mental acuity has improved.
Oh- and I lost 13 pounds in a month and am continuing to lose about 2-3 pounds a week. But like my friends who talked to me about this, that’s the smallest part of this.
I used to say I didn’t feel fat, I felt bloated. I don’t feel bloated any more.
The first few days- almost the whole first week- were MISERABLE. I was mean. I felt sick. I fell asleep at 9 pm. Then on Day 6, my skin was glowing. I had energy. I was sold.
You do have to prepare for this and put in some effort. Use the master recipes in the back (trust me- I love to cook and I ran out of ideas).
The other thing that I found incredibly fascinating was that my taste completely changed. After my 30 days, I tried to eat an Oreo and almost threw up- it tasted like licking the fat off a cold roast. No joke. Today is my husband’s birthday and I couldn’t eat the cake from the supermarket. And ice cream tastes like scoops of sugar. It’s amazing. It’s like suddenly I can taste every preservative in everything- it’s bizarre.
I don’t see going “off” this any time soon. I did the 10 day test after, to see what I reacted to– pretty much everything except rice. Some things (like wine) are worth it, most of it isn’t.
What kept me going through the first week was the comment in the book that if you do have a serious reaction, keep at it because it means this is your issue. It was definitely mine.
If nothing has worked for you- try this. It’s 30 days. I’ve had 5 friends do this since they saw the success I had– they’ve all had great success. Insulin resistance may not be your issue, but if it is– my blood sugar levels kept creeping up every year– this is fantastic.
On a technical note- the Kindle Edition cuts off the recipes in the back. I just purchased the hard copy for this reason.
And on a final note- read the ENTIRE book first. This is a “try it” lifestyle. The more you know, the more it makes sense and the more you will stick with it.
Excellent framework – writing will put people off
This book provides a very good framework for assessing what foods are good for us and bad for us and why. There are a lot of parallels to the Paleo diet but this tries to provide a little more scientific basis for their framework. The explanations are mostly clear and written, as close as you get get while still being grounded in science, in an accessible way for a broad audience.
I really like the design of the book as well. It’s almost a magazine-like layout with lots of sidebars and linked explanations. And there are lots of summaries and re-statements as an aide to learning. If you’ve read Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed it’s a very similar design.
The scientific underpinnings to this book are clear in the number and breadth of citations and references. In fact there are 21 pages of small font references at the end of the book. That’s good to see, (although as always the reader has to critically asses whether it is a balanced view – I think it is) but dont think that that hampers the text of the book or makes it dense and hard to read – it doesn’t.
So what didn’t I like?
I didn’t like the some elements of the writing style. It is too reminiscent of the endless long winded emails and web sites that try and persuade you to buy supplements or other self help items. Too much high-fiving and urging and attempts at motivational speaking. While it is in no way overwhelming it became a little jarring at times and the book would have be better for simply removing it.
I also think that the chapters that they themselves said are “science-y” could have benefitted enormously from some simple diagrams. I’ve read a lot about insulin, leptin and the other hormone linkages that they discuss in the book. And I still found that just trying to follow the explanations as text hard. Supplementing that by showing the links with diagrams would have made a big difference. I’m sure that itself isnt easy but maybe worth thinking about for a revision of the book.
I was also less than convinced by the part on legumes. It felt to me that, while there is some research to support the view that they shouldn’t be part of a healthy diet, it was less substantiated and supported than other parts of the book.
But they all pale into insignificance in relation to the overall benefits people should get if they read this book. Enabling people to cut through the politicised food advice and helping them really understand the links between their food and all sorts of ailments is a hugely good thing. The general simplicity of their framework and the fact that it has worked for many, many people should make this a standard text for all.
A Physical Therapist reviews It Starts with Food
You know how you look forward to Christmas morning? Even as an adult, you wake up a bit early, filled with expectation? That’s the way I felt waiting for It Starts With Food to arrive in the mail. I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy to review, and as luck would have it, my copy arrived just before Memorial Day weekend. I spent three days sitting in the sun (soaking up Vitamin D!) while reading this book with a highlighter in one hand and a pen in the other.
I recommend that you buy a few highlighters before your copy arrives! You will most definitely want to take notes in the book and mark things to refer to later. This book is filled with good information throughout. Whether you are brand new to the idea of eating real food, or a seasoned veteran, you will open this book again and again over the years to refresh your thinking on important topics such as hormonal factors which influence our brain and body (insulin, leptin, glucagon, and cortisol), the mechanism behind leaky gut syndrome (bouncers defending Club Body), inflammation and autoimmune illnesses, balancing Omega 3 and 6 consumption, and emotional factors that drive our nutrition choices.
Along with the good science-y stuff, It Starts With Food teaches you how to plan meals, what a portion looks like, and how to create a meal focusing on delicious, healthy ingredients rather than complicated recipes. They discuss nutrition for special populations (pregnant women, kids, folks with autoimmune illnesses, active individuals and vegetarians/vegans) to help fine tune the plan for your individual needs. I have referred to this section several times in the past few weeks while consulting with my clients, as I tend to see folks who have a number of issues that they are trying to address through nutrition.
I love Dallas and Melissa’s ability to say really brilliant things in short, easy to understand one-liners. I don’t want to spoil the fun for you; but, here are a few of my favorites:
* With regards to the myths about Paleo: “We are far more concerned with health than we are with history.”
* With regards to research, clinical experience, and observation: “Scientific research + Clinical Experience + Self-experimentation” = win-win-win.
* Persistent biological signals lead us to overeat sweet, fatty, salty foods while keeping us malnourished.
* It’s all about hormones.
* You cannot “out-exercise” poor food choices and the resulting hormonal disruption.
* Sugar = sugar = sugar.
* Gluten-free is not a get-out-of-jail-free card.
* This does require effort on your part.
* Start thinking of eating as a nourishing experience.
* You are not that busy, you just choose to spend your time elsewhere (in regards to sitting down to eat well prepared, nutritious, delicious foods).
* This. Is. Not. Hard. (when compared to birthing a baby, quitting heroin, or beating cancer).
* At some point, you need to start making positive, sustainable changes in other areas of your life too, so…
* Don’t (only) look for a nutritional solution to a lifestyle problem.
The best news is that It Starts With Food will begin shipping on June 12th, so the wait is almost over! I highly suggest that you buy this book (I recommend the hardcover so you can use your highlighter, but I tend to be old school!). You will refer to this book over and over as you continue your journey to health. I am so impressed by Whole 9′s first book, and happy to call Dallas and Melissa friends. These guys are going to change your life.
A Registered Dietitian’s stamp of approval – Hands down one of the best books out there
First off, the analogies are well thought out. The analogies make the research and evidence behind the material understood by computer nerds, soccer moms, foodies, and credentialed health professionals alike. While some books claim to have the information laid out mindlessly, the analogies in this book really cement the material in your head. You can’t help but understand the information because you cannot get over how hilarious and true the analogy was. For example, they compare the highly palatable foods we eat to the Las Vegas strip or our digestion to a dance club. Yes, they go there, but all in good fun and for the purpose of education.
This book not only has the biochemistry down, but has the psychological association with food broken down in ways that I believe can be accepted by pretty much any reader. It’s one thing to know what food does to your body, but having a clear understanding of what it can do to your mind and why you would choose to make such changes is probably even more important. I have not found any other books that can explain the `hows’ and `whys’ of food psychology in a way that is as entertaining and concise as It Starts with Food. The title is perfectly fitting for this very reason. Food consumption STARTS with food. Food is not everything. Even a dietitian will tell you that.
You need to get this book. If you are sitting there thinking that your health and future is not worth less than $25, then I have nothing more to say.
Get this book for you, for your parents, family, friends, and everyone you care about. I mean it. Whether they choose to follow the prescriptions listed in the back of the book or not, the material is solid and the book is a great read. They may not be into the meal plan or recommendations today, right at this minute, but after reading the book I can promise they will at least start thinking about food much differently. That is a great start.
Reviewed by: Stephanie Greunke
Have Food Problems? First Book You Should Buy
I originally came to discover the Paleo lifestyle online after being diagnosed with gluten intolerance. I found MarksDailyApple.com, and started to do more online research into intolerances and chronic diseases, and tweak my diet further. I have read the False Fat Diet (eye opener on food intolerances and elimination diet), The Primal Blueprint, The Paleo Solution, and WellFED. All were useful, but a little rambling and less straightforward than I wanted. I was aware of the Whole30 through my online research, but always considered it too extreme and its authors a little more intense in their health quests than I was willing to be.
When I found out they were writing a book, I pursued the table of contents, read some available pieces online, and determined that this was exactly the more straightforward resource I had been looking for, one that I hoped would answer the questions I still had and be something I could share with others curious about this lifestyle. I bought It Starts With Food the day it became available and it is my favorite food/lifestyle resource to date.
I originally bought It Starts With Food for my mother-in-law. She’s having trouble losing weight with CW and her doctor recently convinced her to go on cholesterol-reducing medication. I planned to buy the book, review it myself, and share it with her as a friend (rather than a diet-preacher). By the second chapter, I was turning to my husband and saying, “I have to send her a copy NOW. No one should have to wait for this information.”
Quite frankly, this book is what I was looking for all along. It explains WHY + HOW in American women’s preferred way to learn about new lifestyles – in diet book form. By that, I don’t mean that the authors overemphasize weight loss over health (the opposite in fact), but that the way it is laid out is similar to other wildly successful diet books (South Beach comes to mind) and magazines. It is sprinkled with testimonials (personal connections), written in a real-life relate-able dialogue (Fat can be used as energy? Sweet.), and contains an actionable meal plan that leaves no room for guessing. In short, it is the perfect tool for people looking for a how-to primer on how to establish an elimination diet to determine intolerances, and also, how to live their best life possible.
The sections on hormones are eye opening and the meal map is hugely helpful. Since I started on this journey in October 2011, I have read COUNTLESS blogs and articles, plus the aforementioned books, and here are the changes it took reading It Starts With Food for me to make:
Finally quit corn and rice
Eat breakfast as soon as possible in the morning
Choosing lean meats or draining the fat for any industrial-produced meat
Revamping my oil habits and making doubly sure to reduce Omega-6′s (new goal for me)
Made my own bone broth! (it’s incredible and easy and cheap)
I can not recommend the book highly enough. I consider myself an average consumer, albeit a little more interested in nutrition. I’m not a scientist, a dietician, a clinician, or a paid reviewer, but I value this book and the messages in it and I think you will too.
It Changed my Relationship with Food
So without further adieu, 5 reasons you need to read ISWF…
#1: It’s the perfect mix of science and practical application.
I’ll admit, I like to nerd out on science books. Truth. In ISWF, the Hartwigs provide enough techy goodness to satisfy the left side of anyone’s brain while telling us how to put the concepts of the Whole9-foods that make us less and more healthy-into action. From a primer in the major hormones involved in digestion and energy regulation to the details of managing inflammation and gut health, this book is chock full of information and leaves no stone unturned. At the same time, Dallas and Melissa don’t hang the reader out to dry feeling lost in a sea of “science-y” stuff…they devote a huge portion of the book to answering the “So what?” questions that come up like, So if dairy makes us less healthy, how do we get our calcium? and the like. I loved that they give the reader the option of, “If you don’t care about the science and just want to know what to eat, how much to eat…skip straight to the food in Chapter 8.” They get it…not everyone wants the science but for those of us who do, we are indulged! There’s also extensive reference section with numerous primary sources cited.
#2: It addresses the psychological aspect of food.
How many of us, at some point in our lives, have felt the following about eating/bodyweight/body composition: guilt, frustration, anger, hopelessness, plagued with uncontrollable habits despite wanting to change? I’m envisioning hands raising all across the globe. I have run across no other food book that addresses these concepts in as succinct a way as Melissa and Dallas have in ISWF. In fact, it’s so central to the story that it appears in the fourth chapter and is interwoven throughout the rest of the book. They describe how modern processed food-appropriately termed “food with no brakes”-makes our brains addicted and shapes our habits in ways that we aren’t even consciously aware of. ISWF also delves into the social aspects of food and how we treat the process of mealtime. Instead of just telling us what to eat, they challenge the reader to think about how to connect to food again instead of just shoveling it in animal-style.
#3: It is realistic.
The Hartwigs realize that at some point, everyone who reads ISWF/does a Whole30/cleans up their diet can’t stay in perfect lock-step forever (and who would want to?). People aren’t robots! How do we transition from ISWF as an awareness tool and framework to something that is sustainable for life?! Luckily, the book delves into this subject and provides the reader with strategies for determining how to continue their newfound healthy way of eating (let’s all agree to stop using the word “diet” okay?!). Also, they’ve included a huge section devoted to special populations like diabetics, pregnant women and athletes and their individual considerations because context matters. As an athlete, I particularly appreciated the post-workout carb refueling chart and how to handle the pre-workout meal. Despite having done a couple Whole30s of my own, I feel like this book will still be a desk reference that I revisit frequently for motivation and inspiration as I go on my own journey.
#4: It’s entertaining and fun to read.
Having been fortunate enough to hang out with Melissa and Dallas in person and interact with them via the Web, I can say that this book sounds like them and is true to their message. They’re notoriously witty, and ISWF is no exception. The book blends some classic zingers and tough love lines with enough motivation and positivity to get you through. Anyone who’s read about the Whole30 before no doubt remembers, “Please don’t tell us this program is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.” When you read down to the bottom of the page you see, “You can do this” in bold letters. It’s like a kick in the pants followed by a hug and then getting a belly laugh all at the same time. The Hartwigs, in typical good educator fashion, use lots of analogies to explain tricky concepts: your body as a nightclub, the immune system like firefighters, and my personal favorite…processed edibles “like the Las Vegas Strip of foods”. Hilarious and relatable all at the same time.
#5: It’s got recipes for amazing food.
ISWF has a huge appendix of positively drool-worthy eats (which is no surprise because the ever-incredible Melissa Joulwan of Well Fed and The Clothes Make the Girl is behind it all). In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge Mel fan and her cookbook has permanent residency in my kitchen. The Meal Map is brilliant and contains several Master Recipes…think of them like the Mr. Potato Head of recipes: the same basic structure but a zillion variations all in neat chart form. I read through the section and literally said, “Why didn’t I think of this?!” It’s simple enough for someone brand spankin’ new to Whole30/Paleo while also giving an old-timer like me some new kitchen inspiration. Even if you are an old pro at eating this way, I guarantee you’ll find something new to try (and love)!