Review: It Starts with Food

I’ve mentioned in a couple previous posts that my husband and I are doing the Whole30.  If you haven’t heard of the Whole30, it’s essentially eating only nutrient-dense, whole, minimally processed food for 30 days.  You can eat: meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and eggs.  You can’t eat: dairy, legumes, grains, anything with added sugar.  The goal: eat good food, heal your gut, figure out how “unhealthy” (by certain standards that they lay out extensively in It Starts with Food) foods affect your body, and improve your relationship with food.  And other things.

My husband and I have been considering doing the Whole30 for a while, and we finally pulled the trigger.  Since we’re both information hoarders, we researched a ton on their website, in the Whole30 book, and I checked out It Starts with Food from the library.  As of today, we’re ALMOST done re-introducing all the food groups (to see if we have weird reactions to any of them), and I must say, it’s been a really good experience overall.

But about the book:

It Starts with Food by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig was a really good read.  It covered almost everything that I needed and/or wanted to know about the Whole30 program in a way that was easy and fun to read.  Dallas and Melissa did a great job of explaining more science-heavy information in an easy-to-understand way, and they weren’t afraid to encourage their readers to skip whole chapters if the science wasn’t interesting or important to them.  They had great summaries at the end of each chapter, too, which was helpful.

I’ve read a few criticisms of the Whole30 program in general, saying it’s based on bad science or too many restrictions.  Having read the book (and I’m slowly working my way through the Whole30 book), I think those criticisms are pretty misinformed.  Yes, the Whole30 program has many restrictions, but you’re encouraged to eat as much good food (again, based on their definitions: good cuts of meat, vegetables, fruit, eggs, and nuts) as you want.  They also discourage you from counting calories or weighing yourself at all during the program.

As far as the science goes, I felt that Dallas and Melissa are very straight forward in saying that some food has certain bad affects on some people.  The whole premise of the 30 days is to cut out those potentially harmful foods then to re-introduce them slowly to see how they affect you individually.  They backed themselves up with plenty of peer reviewed research and were honest about what they knew (the nutritional content of vegetables) and what they suspected (peanuts contribute to systemic inflammation in some people).

Anyway, all that to say, I really enjoyed reading It Starts with Food, and I’d encourage you to check it out it you’re considering the Whole30, are curious about how what you eat affects you, or desiring to make a health change.  It’s a great place to start.


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I write. I read. I cook. I try to connect with people.

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