It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways Info

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IMAGINE YOURSELF HEALTHIER THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE.

IT STARTS WITH FOOD.

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.

  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood
    pressure
  • obesity
  • acne
  • eczema

  • psoriasis
  • chronic fatigue
  • asthma
  • sinus
    infections
  • allergies
  • migraines
  • acid
    reflux
  • Crohns
  • celiac disease
  • IBS

  • bipolar disorder
  • depression
  • Lyme disease

  • endometriosis
  • PCOS
  • autism

  • fibromyalgia
  • ADHD
  • hypothyroidism

  • arthritis
  • multiple sclerosis

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.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways:

5

Oct 31, 2012

As this is the book I wrote, I think it's pretty awesome. But, of course, I'm slightly biased.
1

Jul 17, 2012

I was fascinated in the beginning with the scientific-like discussion of things like hormones' role in digestion.

However, when it got past the discussion of how sugar isn't good for you, the logic became a little fuzzy. They discredited the studies that have touted the health of whole grains and dairy by saying they were funded by those who have a financial stake in the profitability of grains and dairy. Ok, that makes sense, but then all of the studies the authors cited to back up their case I was fascinated in the beginning with the scientific-like discussion of things like hormones' role in digestion.

However, when it got past the discussion of how sugar isn't good for you, the logic became a little fuzzy. They discredited the studies that have touted the health of whole grains and dairy by saying they were funded by those who have a financial stake in the profitability of grains and dairy. Ok, that makes sense, but then all of the studies the authors cited to back up their case must also be discredited. Who funded those studies?

At one point they address the problem that cave men didn't live very long, so why try to eat like one, (hence the title, "Paleo diet") and explain that other problems contributed to the early death of cave men--such as a dangerous environment. That may be true, but because we have no living or recently dead cave men to study, we can't know if their diets were more healthy than ours, or contributed to their earlier demise than ours.

At the same time, other cultures who have lived healthily on grains and dairy are discredited as somehow the exception to the rule, because their lifestyle was more rigorous than ours. Wouldn't that have also applied to cave men? Perhaps we need to make our lifestyles more rigorous instead. Perhaps I should be exercising instead of reading this book. At that point, I put the book down.

Sadly, their pick-and-choose form of logic made me doubt the things I liked first about the book.

When it gets right down to it, writing off grains, legumes and dairy completely and subsisting only on fruits, vegetables and meats is not incredibly practical, and pretty immoderate. I'll let them prove in twenty years that it was a bad idea for some reason or another.

Realistically, their research hasn't even convinced me to swear off chocolate. ...more
4

Jun 10, 2012

I started doing a Whole30 (30 day elimination diet with no grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, alcohol, sulfites, or prepared foods with other chemical additives) before I ever saw this book. I give the program itself a five. I can breathe through my nose again, reliably, for the first time in years. My energy has increased and my sense of fatigue has lifted. My digestive system feels right for the first time since I was a teenager. Every day (I'm on day 23 of the 30) has brought some feeling of I started doing a Whole30 (30 day elimination diet with no grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, alcohol, sulfites, or prepared foods with other chemical additives) before I ever saw this book. I give the program itself a five. I can breathe through my nose again, reliably, for the first time in years. My energy has increased and my sense of fatigue has lifted. My digestive system feels right for the first time since I was a teenager. Every day (I'm on day 23 of the 30) has brought some feeling of improvement for a doctor-stumping collection of vague, nonlethal symptoms that I just thought meant I was getting old. And rather than being hard to follow, the elimination diet has simplified my kitchen and my food prep habits, and I'm spending less on food.

As for the actual book, I have a Ph.D. in Science, so it feels a little bit simplistic to me but I realize that what that means is my parents could probably read it and not be overwhelmed. It has very good information about how the food you eat affects mood, hormones, digestion, and the immune system written at a layman's level. ...more
2

Apr 26, 2013

It Starts With Food: a good message written by zealous messengers, paid for by the Coconut Oil Marketing Board.

If a piece of toast with peanut butter washed down with a glass of milk sounds like an excellent snack to you, this will be a difficult read and and even more difficult Whole30.

I've got nothing against the concept of a nutritional reset. The Whole30 program was beneficial for me and my husband and it made us rethink our eating habits. Considering the average level of physical activity It Starts With Food: a good message written by zealous messengers, paid for by the Coconut Oil Marketing Board.

If a piece of toast with peanut butter washed down with a glass of milk sounds like an excellent snack to you, this will be a difficult read and and even more difficult Whole30.

I've got nothing against the concept of a nutritional reset. The Whole30 program was beneficial for me and my husband and it made us rethink our eating habits. Considering the average level of physical activity in the daily lives of most living in Western cultures, this is a very smart way to keep your body functioning correctly. Indeed, Western society has been banking on processed wheat and sugar to keep it standing (or sitting, I suppose). Indeed, all of civilization is where are are today because we figured out how best to utilize the energy found in grains. Then we abused their utility.

Let's not get started on the ingrained elitism of a Paleo diet. Unless you've got a freezer full of dead animals you yourself shot , this is going to cost you.

I suppose it was the presentation of this book and the tone they used that really made me roll my eyes. Pairing health claims with flippant, colloquial phrases ("Seriously?"/"Um, that's it."/"Did you catch that?") made me tick. I get they're trying to be accessible. To me it sounded pandering, like the readers needed their hands held through this.

I was annoyed with the layout. In addition to chapters broken up into sections, there are shaded text boxes inserted through the actual text, usual mid-topic. I don't understand why these were necessary. Since they were related to the topic at hand, how hard would it have been to incorporate them along with everything else? Pretty hard, I guess, because there's usually 1-2 of these boxes per page. I ended up not reading them.

And what was the italics? If you need to emphasize your important ideas, it's okay to use italics. Except when you overuse them; then you're just a poor writer with a bad editor.

-written by a biased reader who unabashedly ate bread and dairy immediately after completing a Whole 30 ...more
5

Oct 06, 2012

I devoured "It Starts with Food" in about a day!

For the Hartwigs it comes down to one thing -- is what you are putting in your mouth healthy or unhealthy? They are logical -- not preachy, which I liked. You can do A and this will happen or B and this will happen. They very simply explain what happens with the hormones in your body when you eat a standard American diet -- dairy, grains, sugar, etc. -- and that alone should be required reading for every human on the planet.

I also appreciated the I devoured "It Starts with Food" in about a day!

For the Hartwigs it comes down to one thing -- is what you are putting in your mouth healthy or unhealthy? They are logical -- not preachy, which I liked. You can do A and this will happen or B and this will happen. They very simply explain what happens with the hormones in your body when you eat a standard American diet -- dairy, grains, sugar, etc. -- and that alone should be required reading for every human on the planet.

I also appreciated the recipes in back which enable you to master a "base" dish then provides options modify on other days with veggies and different spices. That is, you can eat the base dish or easily turn it into Mexican food, Indian food, a meal for kids, etc.

I have Celiac disease and eating a paleo diet has been a godsend -- I am the strongest and healthiest I have ever been. After this book, and the encouraging way it was written, I plan to take it up a notch with a Whole30 within the next couple weeks.

**Update: I completed the Whole 30. I blogged about it here: http://danwool.wordpress.com/2012/11/...
...more
5

Jul 04, 2012

I mostly bought this book to express support for the Hartwigs - the core of their plan, the Whole 30, is available totally for free on the website and has been very useful to me in the past. But I was pleasantly surprised - this is a good book. Readable, clear, persuasive, and it has the best cooking-for-dummies section in the back that I've seen yet. It Starts With Food avoids some of the problems other, similarly-themed books have - Cordain's dry, poorly-simplified science in The Paleo Diet, I mostly bought this book to express support for the Hartwigs - the core of their plan, the Whole 30, is available totally for free on the website and has been very useful to me in the past. But I was pleasantly surprised - this is a good book. Readable, clear, persuasive, and it has the best cooking-for-dummies section in the back that I've seen yet. It Starts With Food avoids some of the problems other, similarly-themed books have - Cordain's dry, poorly-simplified science in The Paleo Diet, Robb Wolf's occasionally grating bro humor and evangelist tone in The Paleo Solution, and the offputting nature of "paleo" as a concept. (It's brought up and dismissed very early on - while the Hartwigs could be more or less described as "paleo" people, they don't have much use for the label and they don't spend much if any time going off about evolutionary biology - they stick pretty much to modern science.)

Their website is still free, and you could totally get as much out of their plan by just using that, but if you're interested in a more structured approach to the reasoning, or just get to the master recipe section (which is, I repeat, great) the book is definitely worth it. ...more
5

Jun 29, 2016

I listened to this audio with my husband while we were on a road trip. His chiropractor wanted him to give this diet a try. I figured I'd join him and do it too.

Eating nothing but whole foods for 30 days sounds easy enough and it was once you get past the first week. The first few days were like a mental game with myself. What kept me motivated was knowing if I slipped up my 30 days started over and I didn't want to have to do that.

I gained lots of good information that I still use even though I listened to this audio with my husband while we were on a road trip. His chiropractor wanted him to give this diet a try. I figured I'd join him and do it too.

Eating nothing but whole foods for 30 days sounds easy enough and it was once you get past the first week. The first few days were like a mental game with myself. What kept me motivated was knowing if I slipped up my 30 days started over and I didn't want to have to do that.

I gained lots of good information that I still use even though I completed the program in June. I still try to make sure I have my protein and then fill the rest of my plate with veggies. And most of all I try to remember not to forget to have healthy fat with my meals so I'm not hungry later on.

So, if you're looking for a challenge and finding out how food affects your body give this book a read. ...more
1

Jul 30, 2014

I'm disappointed, though in retrospect I don't know why I had high expectations of this to start with. I've been doing the program for 28 days now and I expect to see it through -- no issues with the program, but the book, my god. My major problems with it:

1) The tone. Good grief, the tone. Cutesy "tough love" and "sugar dragons" everywhere. Condescending rhetorical questions. It seems to be written with an assumption that the reader is a stupid sack of fat who needs to be talked down to on I'm disappointed, though in retrospect I don't know why I had high expectations of this to start with. I've been doing the program for 28 days now and I expect to see it through -- no issues with the program, but the book, my god. My major problems with it:

1) The tone. Good grief, the tone. Cutesy "tough love" and "sugar dragons" everywhere. Condescending rhetorical questions. It seems to be written with an assumption that the reader is a stupid sack of fat who needs to be talked down to on every page. Anyone who ever, ever wants to talk about a "sugar dragon roaring" to me can get lost now.

2) The woo. I've seen a lot of reviews praising how well supported this is scientifically, and I really have to wonder what they think "supported" means. References were not attached to specific claims; rather, they were given at the end with a vague note as to what they might be supporting. Some of the references were 20, 30 or even 40 years old, and others were from popular websites like Slate. Lots of references =/= well supported; rather, well padded. The lack of referencing in the text made it hard to believe the claims of the authors throughout.

3) The format. I have the ebook version, and all the tables were broken in the latter sections.

4) The inconsistencies. Guilt-tripping the reader in the early chapters, then making claims about not feeling guilty in later chapters. Talking about not having dessert, then offering a dessert recipe.

Overall, I haven't minded doing the actual program -- I think it was a good way to re-set some habits, particularly around junk food and booze. And no shit you're going to lose weight if you usually consume a ton of donuts and wine, and then you shift to a different diet. But I am disappointed with the book and the way it's expressed, and I'm just not convinced about paleo; I'm more likely to use the Whole 30 as a reset from dreadful habits and then support change with my own research, because at least I know that'll be from sources that are peer-reviewed. ...more
3

Apr 25, 2013

So I was feeling crummy and decided to try the Whole30, a "paleo" cleansing diet that lasts 30 days. You eat only high-quality meats, eggs, and produce; no grains, beans, soy, dairy, alcohol (even for cooking), or sugar. I made it to day 21. I forgot my lunch one day and the office ordered in from Costa Vida. I caved an ate the innards of a barbacoa pork burrito, including rice and beans, and loved every bite.

What I like about the program:
- Emphasis on whole, natural foods
- They're not selling So I was feeling crummy and decided to try the Whole30, a "paleo" cleansing diet that lasts 30 days. You eat only high-quality meats, eggs, and produce; no grains, beans, soy, dairy, alcohol (even for cooking), or sugar. I made it to day 21. I forgot my lunch one day and the office ordered in from Costa Vida. I caved an ate the innards of a barbacoa pork burrito, including rice and beans, and loved every bite.

What I like about the program:
- Emphasis on whole, natural foods
- They're not selling anything--no bars or frozen meals
- It broke my sugar binge
- I ate a whole lot of veggies, which made my body happy
- I slept better

What I didn't like:
- I got really tired of meat and eggs
- I hate scrutinizing labels for traces of wheat,
soy, sugar, and alcohol (most dijon mustard has wine)
- Coconut aminos are NOT a good substitute for soy sauce, no matter what people say
- My cravings weren't bad and I didn't really have withdrawls, but I was exhausted and depressed most of the time. I felt good for the first week, then really struggled after that. Some people swear the "magic" doesn't happen until the end, but I ran out of patience.

Maybe I'll try it again sometime, even if just for a week. I lost 6 lbs and felt a lot less bloated. I've been reintroducing bread and dairy, with mixed results. I do plan to make long-term changes to my diet, but I don't think I'll ever follow this program exactly. ...more
5

May 27, 2013

This book and this way of eating has and will change people's lives. It has changed mine.

If you ever wish you felt better than you currently do, please read this book. Give its principles a trial run, and see if you see improvement.

I'm a lifelong junk food and sugar lover. If a doctor had not suggested I go gluten free, I'd have never done it. However, having done it, and having learned how the fuel we put in our bodies impacts how we feel - and I do mean emotionally and mentally as well as This book and this way of eating has and will change people's lives. It has changed mine.

If you ever wish you felt better than you currently do, please read this book. Give its principles a trial run, and see if you see improvement.

I'm a lifelong junk food and sugar lover. If a doctor had not suggested I go gluten free, I'd have never done it. However, having done it, and having learned how the fuel we put in our bodies impacts how we feel - and I do mean emotionally and mentally as well as physically - I had to grab hold of this book hard and learn more. I was ready for the next step. This book spoke to me. I suggest it may also speak to you.

I believe so strongly in the principles of this book that I'd almost be willing to bet anyone reading this that they will feel better if they try it for 30 days. What do you have to lose? Anxiety and depression, bye bye. Muscle aches and joint pain gone. Headaches a thing of the past. Sleeping better than I have in years. Energy to spare. I could go on and on.

I felt like total hell since the summer of 2007. If this book can help me, it can help you.
...more
3

Nov 08, 2012

okay, fine. it's a hormone-sciencey less carb-phobic Atkins plan. i get it. i am not fooled by the tantalizing inclusion of fruit and sweet potatoes.

that doesn't mean i didn't totally buy into the authors' hookum, though. i did. and i'm currently whittling away all the sugar/grain/legume/dairy products in my pantry so i can start my own Whole30 plan (hopefully in time to be finished it before xmas).

i appreciate their "hormone reset" and "foods with no brakes" mantras. i've lived them, so i know okay, fine. it's a hormone-sciencey less carb-phobic Atkins plan. i get it. i am not fooled by the tantalizing inclusion of fruit and sweet potatoes.

that doesn't mean i didn't totally buy into the authors' hookum, though. i did. and i'm currently whittling away all the sugar/grain/legume/dairy products in my pantry so i can start my own Whole30 plan (hopefully in time to be finished it before xmas).

i appreciate their "hormone reset" and "foods with no brakes" mantras. i've lived them, so i know they're not just blowing meaty smoke up my ass. i also appreciate their insistence on well-raised meat sources over organic fruits & veggies.

that being said, being "fat-adapted" is just a fancy way of saying you're in ketosis and i have a lot of issues with that word. it means kidney damage and pee-testing and bad breath and male pattern baldness. i wish they'd just said ketosis. it seems a little disingenuous to not make that clear to readers who may not make the connection.

anyway, yeah. i'll let you know how my thirty days without creamy, Splenda-sweetened coffee first thing in morning goes. heh. ...more
1

Jun 25, 2014

Notes:
*paleo/clean-eating/anti-inflammatory diet (no processed food, sugar, dairy, grains, legumes)
*not a 30-day cleanse program if you read the whole book -- authors say it could take 60 days or more
*unless you are very wealthy this diet is going to cost a fortune!!
*focus is entirely on hormone balancing through nutrition (only a minor mention in the supplements section about importance of enzymes)
*authors completely write off raw milk and soaked/sprouted grains/beans as 'too much work' or Notes:
*paleo/clean-eating/anti-inflammatory diet (no processed food, sugar, dairy, grains, legumes)
*not a 30-day cleanse program if you read the whole book -- authors say it could take 60 days or more
*unless you are very wealthy this diet is going to cost a fortune!!
*focus is entirely on hormone balancing through nutrition (only a minor mention in the supplements section about importance of enzymes)
*authors completely write off raw milk and soaked/sprouted grains/beans as 'too much work' or 'not worth the effort'
*written like a teacher to a little kid with dozens of condescending questions and comments like 'got that?' 'what are you twelve?'
*a science book with absolutely no endnotes, only a 'master list' of references to back up all their "Studies show..." statements
*reintroduction of foods is mentioned but it's clear the authors don't recommend it at all
*bottom line: this book is commonsense laced with trendy hype -- of course we should get off sugar and processed foods, but extreme diets never last and this book is one of them ...more
5

Feb 25, 2013

I must have found this book at the perfect point in my life because, had I seen it even a day earlier, I might have thought cutting all dairy, grains, soy, sugar, legumes, and alcohol from my diet - even for only 30 days - was absolutely nuts. And, trust me, I love food so I can perfectly understand how anyone would think this is crazy.

Instead I am living proof of the power of radical diet change as medicine! Gone are so many "complaints" I had just accepted as part of aging: joint aches, poor I must have found this book at the perfect point in my life because, had I seen it even a day earlier, I might have thought cutting all dairy, grains, soy, sugar, legumes, and alcohol from my diet - even for only 30 days - was absolutely nuts. And, trust me, I love food so I can perfectly understand how anyone would think this is crazy.

Instead I am living proof of the power of radical diet change as medicine! Gone are so many "complaints" I had just accepted as part of aging: joint aches, poor sleep, blurry vision, fatigue, moodiness, mid-afternoon snack cravings, and incapacitating asthma, along with a little muffin top. This book includes all the science I needed (with complete references so I could source original research myself) to justify giving this a go. One question to consider: If you are willing to take medicines to control your symptoms, why not be willing to change what you put in your body 3+ times a day? Yes, it is challenging, but I'm finding my health to be very worth the effort. ...more
3

Feb 12, 2013

Well, Jeff and I made it through 15 days of the W30 before he had a CAT scan that sparked the lymphoma diagnosis and cancer treatment odyssey of the past several months. I'd still like to try a full W30 sometime, but for now, here are my takes.

This book distills a lot of information about nutrition and I think it does so in a scientifically sound way. I think it has permanently convinced me of the evils of processed sugars and processed grains. I am less convinced - in part because I believe Well, Jeff and I made it through 15 days of the W30 before he had a CAT scan that sparked the lymphoma diagnosis and cancer treatment odyssey of the past several months. I'd still like to try a full W30 sometime, but for now, here are my takes.

This book distills a lot of information about nutrition and I think it does so in a scientifically sound way. I think it has permanently convinced me of the evils of processed sugars and processed grains. I am less convinced - in part because I believe responsible and healthy eating can include, e.g., legumes - about the deleterious effects of eating dairy and beans and whole grains. Now that I have read more about cancer-fighting foods, I also believe there is a place in my diet for occasional soy products, grains, etc.

And I am of two minds regarding the very strict approach of the W30. On the one hand, I think that mentality forces you to think hard about what you put in your body. It's extreme, and it forces you to make radical changes in your diet. On the other hand, this type of stringent diet makes me rather obsessive and I don't actually like thinking about food and what's "ok" and what's "not ok" to eat all the time. I mostly just want to find joy in my food all the time and that may involve eating crappy stuff in moderation from time to time. To the extent that the W30 framework has helped me to make good, healthy choices that's great. When it made me start questioning whether I should really eat another apricot or date, that was a little insane.

Also, I could have done without a lot of the pep talk and motivational speaking-ese in the book. I don't love self-help literature and some parts of this book read that way.

All that said, I encourage folks to read this.
...more
1

Mar 20, 2013

I tried, I really did. I got through the chapters about why you should eat this way and even got about 1/2 way into the how, but I just couldn't do it. This book is definitely not the worst one I've ever read, and I'm sure they had some good points, but I have a serious issue with any diet (and I'm using the term diet in the "all the food you eat is a diet" not "calorie-count to lose weight" sort of way) that recommends cutting out food groups. That is MY issue - I find that when I cut things I tried, I really did. I got through the chapters about why you should eat this way and even got about 1/2 way into the how, but I just couldn't do it. This book is definitely not the worst one I've ever read, and I'm sure they had some good points, but I have a serious issue with any diet (and I'm using the term diet in the "all the food you eat is a diet" not "calorie-count to lose weight" sort of way) that recommends cutting out food groups. That is MY issue - I find that when I cut things out, that's all I want. It's easier for me to follow Michael Pollan's advice of "eat food, not a lot, mostly plants". I think this falls into a "to each their own" category, and I just wasn't in the headspace to read it. ...more
5

Jun 27, 2012

This book is well written, accessible, and not heavy-handed with the advice. I like advice with a "but try it for yourself and see what works best" approach; it feels like the authors are more vested in your success than in being right about minute details, and that is refreshing.

This book was the logical next step to my nutritional education after Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma and Nestle's What to Eat. Early chapters explain the psychology behind our food choices and habits, and those sections This book is well written, accessible, and not heavy-handed with the advice. I like advice with a "but try it for yourself and see what works best" approach; it feels like the authors are more vested in your success than in being right about minute details, and that is refreshing.

This book was the logical next step to my nutritional education after Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma and Nestle's What to Eat. Early chapters explain the psychology behind our food choices and habits, and those sections resonated - in particular the discussion of processed foods as supernormal stimuli. That premise is a critical piece of the obesity, nutrition, and good health puzzle, in my humble opinion.

Some parts were so hard to believe, I referred to the original sources and checked the abstracts - when I got to the bit about saturated fat in the blood stream, for instance. I was surprised, but eventually convinced, and happily tucked into my eggs thereafter. I fact-checked several other claims here and there that raised my skepticism alarm and was satisfied with the accuracy of this book.

The accompanying resources: the template, the shopping list, the forums, and finally the recipes - simple, streamlined, and elegant. I am rarely inspired by other people's recipes, but the ones in ISWF are unique and easy, and they prepare you for tweaking and honing your own cooking skills.

I enthusiastically recommend this book, and will have to do my best to not proselytize its merits to all my in-person acquaintance. ...more
3

Apr 13, 2014

This was an interesting and informative read on a paleo-type diet. It's an extreme version lasting 30 days meant to break you of cravings, reset your hormones and reduce inflammation. I've read a lot of nutrition related books, some vegan, some anti-grain and others. All make good arguments for why they urge you to drop certain food groups. I'm really not sure I'm convinced about the paleo lifestyle. I'm not entirely discounting it, but vegan books say it's meat that inflammatory and paleo books This was an interesting and informative read on a paleo-type diet. It's an extreme version lasting 30 days meant to break you of cravings, reset your hormones and reduce inflammation. I've read a lot of nutrition related books, some vegan, some anti-grain and others. All make good arguments for why they urge you to drop certain food groups. I'm really not sure I'm convinced about the paleo lifestyle. I'm not entirely discounting it, but vegan books say it's meat that inflammatory and paleo books say it's grains. Which is it, really? I do know this: We are making educated guesses at what paleo folks ate, but we don't know for sure everything they did and didn't eat. We also don't know whether what they ate made them healthy. We don't know for sure that they died young simply because they lived a tough life, faced dangers and didn't have antibiotics (paleo claims). We do know that people have eaten grains for thousands of years and have been pretty healthy (same arguments about medicines though) up until fairly recently. We know that people can be vegans or vegetarians all their lives and thrive and be among the healthiest people. As far as paleo, although it's not "new" in the sense that it's supposed to be ancient, it's new in the sense of modern society and we haven't really looked at what the results of eating this diet for an entire lifetime are. I am at a point where I really think the issue with modern man's health is not meat vs. grains but the processed foods we eat (which both sides agree are detrimental). Maybe we don't need to be so extreme and eliminate entire food groups but rather eat in moderation and eat the best quality and cleanest versions of foods we can find. Plus exercise. After reading a dozen books on varying methods of eating, this is kind of where I'm settling in. I seemed to do best just eating a clean diet with all food groups included. I do believe people with certain health problems would benefit from a paleo diet, just as people with other health issues could benefit more from a vegan diet. I've heard numerous stories of people curing their cancer with a strict alkaline (vegan) diet but have never heard that about meat-eaters. I've heard of paleo followers curing auto-immune issues. I think you need to do what works for you! Personally, I currently have no health issues and I think I function well with a mix of foods. ...more
2

Feb 06, 2014

This wasn't consciously a new year's resolution type read, though I did read it during the Dec/Jan week. I read Gary Taubes' massive (and excellent) Good Calories, Bad Calories a few years back, which pulls the curtain back on decades upon decades of poor public policy choices about nutrition education and the negative impact of carbs and processed foods on society. I don't eat many grains anyway, and generally resisted the idea of cutting out agave and fresh fruit, but have known so many people This wasn't consciously a new year's resolution type read, though I did read it during the Dec/Jan week. I read Gary Taubes' massive (and excellent) Good Calories, Bad Calories a few years back, which pulls the curtain back on decades upon decades of poor public policy choices about nutrition education and the negative impact of carbs and processed foods on society. I don't eat many grains anyway, and generally resisted the idea of cutting out agave and fresh fruit, but have known so many people with positive-paleo outcomes that I decided to give this a go.

The book itself is okay in that pop-science-nutrition way. I did their recommended plan to a T (and actually extended their "Whole 30" plan by an extra couple of weeks, just in case I was an outlier who needed more time), but have had *no discernible improvement in health whatsoever 37 days in (a far cry from its claim that this will "change your life").

Does the fact that my pants fit exactly the same mean that the book isn't as good? It certainly makes me see it as much more of a fad/hype/bandwagon book than I otherwise would. ...more
5

Feb 25, 2013

In all of the commotion about what to eat, what not to eat and why, this book stood out to me. It was recommended to me by a friend and I know of several others who have gone through it.

I greatly appreciated the straightforward nature (and language) of this book. The book is written so that you can read as much or as little information as it takes to convince you about why they advocate the food choices that they do. Four principles are given and you can choose to read the "scienc-y" reasons In all of the commotion about what to eat, what not to eat and why, this book stood out to me. It was recommended to me by a friend and I know of several others who have gone through it.

I greatly appreciated the straightforward nature (and language) of this book. The book is written so that you can read as much or as little information as it takes to convince you about why they advocate the food choices that they do. Four principles are given and you can choose to read the "scienc-y" reasons behind these principles or move straight to the application of them.

The book does get somewhat technical in the explanation of how the body processes the food we eat, but I found it helpful to get at least a basic understanding of these processes in order to help motivate me to make good choices (for example, the train wreck of events that occurs -sometimes unbeknownst to you- when you ingest something unheathly). It helps that they use lots of analogies.

I came away from this book with a much better understanding of what is going on in my body when I eat sugar, lactose, gluten or a multitude of other things. I also was educated on what the long-term effects are of poor eating choices. They're big on the belief that any particular food either makes you more healthy or less healthy...there are no neutral foods.

The authors clearly differentiate between what is good/bad for everybody and what can be good/bad for any particular individual, and they give you the tools to know the difference. They write about becoming familar with how your body reacts to different foods and also how your mind and emotions play into what you want to eat. They also are honest about the fact that for every research study claiming that a particular food is bad, there's another study claiming it's good. There is a lot of contradicting information out there so you need to figure out what works best with your body and how to incorporate the principles that they teach into a plan for your best health.

I'll highlight a few insights that really resonated with me from this book. The first one addresses the propensity to simply replace unhealthy foods with "healthy" substitutes (like having gluten-free bread instead of regular bread or making cookies with honey instead of granulated sugar). They talk about how we shouldn't try to find healthy ways to re-invent junk food but should embrace all of the naturally good food there is to eat and let our taste buds reset to enjoy (and be satisfied by) the simpler flavors (that we used to eat centuries ago). Constantly seeking to sub a healthier version of an unhealthy food only reinforces our habit and desire for those unhealthy foods and it keeps our bodies trained to continue that behavoir. The second thing that caught my attention is somewhat related. They mention that straight-up healthy foods (like whole fruit or white potatoes) can still be manipulated by our minds to reinforce bad habits and should, therefore, be avoided until we have a handle on those bad habits. For example, a banana may be good for you but if you're eating it after dinner because you always have to have something sweet after a meal, it's actually reinforcing that bad habit (caving to a sugar craving)...even though it's a healthy sugar. Thirdly, they don't pretend that you'll never have a piece of chocolake cake again! They're people too. They know that sometimes it really is worth it to have one of your mom's homemade cookies or a piece of your grandma's banana bread. They just want to help you get to a place where you understand the physical consequences of those choices so you can make an informed decision (and they emphasis that, no, doughnuts are not "special" just because they are at your office every Friday).

I thought this book did a great job of tempering fact with individual variation and tough love with encouragement. I was motivated to make changes and felt that the book provided the tools necessary to do so.

In addition to the great explanations of how food works in your body, the authors have also outlined a 30-day plan (complete with meal ideas and cooking tips) designed to reset your body so that you can see what it feels like to function well, and so that you can experience how your body reacts to things like sugar, grains, or dairy when you add them back into your diet in a controled manner (one group at a time).

I decided to join the program to help eliminate unhealthy habits and cravings and to get to a point where I can truly know if I am sensitive to gluten or lactose. Changing habits is not easy but this book definitely encouraged me to see that is is worth it. I was able to borrow this book from a friend but quickly saw how useful it is so I ordered it shorly after I started reading it. I know I will be referencing it frequently. Check out their website for more information. www.whole9life.com

...more
5

Jan 29, 2014

I love this book. I couldn't have picked it up at a better time in my life. Last year I went through several health issues. First off, I was having problems with my GI system - I had IBS among several other issues and I could literally feel the inflammation in my stomach. I then became sick over the summer, had bronchitis like symptoms, and was diagnosed with asthma. I had trouble breathing often, could not exercise as much, and also had my anxiety elevated. I could not pinpoint exactly what my I love this book. I couldn't have picked it up at a better time in my life. Last year I went through several health issues. First off, I was having problems with my GI system - I had IBS among several other issues and I could literally feel the inflammation in my stomach. I then became sick over the summer, had bronchitis like symptoms, and was diagnosed with asthma. I had trouble breathing often, could not exercise as much, and also had my anxiety elevated. I could not pinpoint exactly what my triggers were. I took an allergy test and found out I was moderately/highly allergic to wheat, corn, soy, peanuts, and sesame in addition to several plants that grow native in my community.

Now my doctor simply told me to avoid these foods and to take asthma medication every night and to have my rescue inhaler on hand. This devastated me, as my love for food I felt would have to diminish at this point. I mean, what can you possibly eat that does not contain ANY of these ingredients?? <-- (thought the old me).

Without getting much help from any further healthcare professionals, I decided I needed to make some life changes. I have a biology/psychology background so anything relating to science is fascinating to me and I now work in the realm of public health so PREVENTION is KEY in my field. This book helped pave the way in my journey to some wonderful life changes and has also prevented me from feeling any sicker. It is well-written and describes every aspect of healthy eating and the ingredients involved (as well as those that should not be involved) in the process in clear and concise language. It has helped switch certain gears in my mind to make my relationship with food once again highly positive.

Little did I know it would be a blessing in disguise for me to find out about my food sensitivities as I've come to find there is SO much out there that I can still eat and enjoy at the same time. Everything I've made has not only been delicious, but super healthy, and fit to my stomach's needs.

Since the new year began, I am now making wiser choices at the grocery store, control cravings (I only crave healthy, feel good foods now!), I sleep well every night (I would go through many sleepless nights prior to adjusting my lifestyle having trouble breathing), and exercise actively. All of this contributes to me having some great, natural energy throughout my busy work days and weekends.

I love that this book is as straightforward as it gets, it is a no-fuss solution to an issue that should never be a problem for any body! It should be understood that this isn't just a diet - it is a lifestyle and it clearly can be adjusted to fit anyone's needs. I also loved how they emphasize the fact that "cheat meals/cheat days" shouldn't exist. I never believed in them either so why incorporate them into your lifestyle when you have the power to choose what goes into your body everyday. People never realize also, that moderation is key.

In the past, I never had problems with eating - not once restricted myself to things nor have I ever been overweight yet I still ended up having inflammation issues from eating highly processed and sugary foods. This book however has helped me switch over to eating whole foods in a new way. I am now more motivated everyday to prep and cook a variety of Good Foods that I love. It's true, many sicknesses and diseases out there can be reversible just by mindful eating with real food you can truly enjoy. My relationship with food has never been better. ...more
4

Jan 16, 2013

The book was well written, easy to read, the concepts and science behind their ideas were explained in plain English and used a variety of examples. The one thing I'm not certain of is that a person were to pick up the book who wasn't familiar with the Paleo Diet or hadn't read about the dangers and risks of industrial farming (Omnivores Dilemma, Food Inc, etc) if it would have resonated quite the same way. That said;

The Good
1) They put the responsibility for what goes into your mouth squarely The book was well written, easy to read, the concepts and science behind their ideas were explained in plain English and used a variety of examples. The one thing I'm not certain of is that a person were to pick up the book who wasn't familiar with the Paleo Diet or hadn't read about the dangers and risks of industrial farming (Omnivores Dilemma, Food Inc, etc) if it would have resonated quite the same way. That said;

The Good
1) They put the responsibility for what goes into your mouth squarely in your lap.
2) The program is well explained and they admit that people following it will need to experiment to find what works best for them in terms of food choices and quantities.
3) it eliminates the obsession with weight and the scale and focuses on proper eating for health.
4) good resources section both on the author's website plus a variety of others that they list out for you.
5) Doesn't come off as preachy and openly accommodates the needs of Athletes, Vegetarians and others
6) Approaches problems with not only what we eat but how and why
7) a slightly different take on portion control (no calorie counting, no real measuring of fats and proteins, and carbs)
8)Not presented as something that can solve all your issues (weight or health) but merely a step in the right direction.

The Bad
1)It's hard to over come the idea that the right kind of fats in foods are OK after years of being told otherwise.
2)Encourages 3 meals a day with no snacks (unless you're a regular exerciser)
3)Other than coffee and the issues with milk the only other reference is herbal tea.
4) lacks a guide for how to eliminate problem foods (oils, bad fats, etc)when ordering out.
5) included success story quotes lack scientific validation. It's one thing to say say I lost 25 pounds and went off my meds but it's another to see lab results supporting that action on an independent case by case basis. (they do reference broad scale studies)

In general though a good read and thoughtful piece on nutrition that will make you think twice before eating a cookie or drinking a soda even if you aren't following their 30 day plan. ...more
5

Feb 03, 2014

I love this book and the Whole30 premise. I'm on day 20 of Whole30, and this program has changed the way I view food and eating. When I first heard that the program prohibited all grains, dairy, sugar, and alcohol, I thought it would be impossible. But the program has made me not want those foods, as opposed to usual diets that make me crave those foods even more. Whole30 has made me love vegetables, healthy fats, and rich proteins. I have started to taste how sweet fruit is, and how flavorful I love this book and the Whole30 premise. I'm on day 20 of Whole30, and this program has changed the way I view food and eating. When I first heard that the program prohibited all grains, dairy, sugar, and alcohol, I thought it would be impossible. But the program has made me not want those foods, as opposed to usual diets that make me crave those foods even more. Whole30 has made me love vegetables, healthy fats, and rich proteins. I have started to taste how sweet fruit is, and how flavorful vegetables can be. I highly recommend reading this book whether or not you are on the plan, however, because it teaches you what food does in your body. I never understood how hormones interact with food, how inflammation affects our health, and what's wrong with processed foods and sugar. Most importantly, it taught me that many foods I thought were "healthy" were actually the causes of many of my health issues. ...more
4

Jun 09, 2018

There are two negative things that could've made this book a 3 star book very easily, but there's one thing that made it worth 4 stars.

I will begin with the positive. Melissa and Dallas Hartwig in this book provide a positive, clear, practical guide to eating and nutrition. Their 'diet' is called the Whole 30, and it consists of eliminating any and everything that might cause you bodily troubles, especially inflammation. That means dairy, legumes, alcohol, processed carbs, gluten, soy, vegetable There are two negative things that could've made this book a 3 star book very easily, but there's one thing that made it worth 4 stars.

I will begin with the positive. Melissa and Dallas Hartwig in this book provide a positive, clear, practical guide to eating and nutrition. Their 'diet' is called the Whole 30, and it consists of eliminating any and everything that might cause you bodily troubles, especially inflammation. That means dairy, legumes, alcohol, processed carbs, gluten, soy, vegetable oils, and surprisingly, all grains. You are supposed to eat a lot of healthy fats, animal meats, vegetables (potatoes actually fall here and are allowed), and even some fruits.

So why is this so revolutionary? Well, in one sense it isn't. They're basically just eliminating all the negatives. But in another sense it is because it allows you to really then see what bothers you, and to what degree. They don't fall into the unscientific low-fat craze. They don't think saturated fat is bad. They see clearly the dangers of processed carbs. And they then think that for 30 days, you should just only eat what we know is good for you. They back this with research, it makes sense, and it has testimonial support.

So this Whole30 plan and idea is enough to give this book 4 stars. They explain it well. It makes sense. And it is backed with much research and testimonials.

So what are the two negatives I saw that almost made me rate it three stars?

First, it just isn't well written. I am actually not a stickler for 'good' writing—especially because I don't even know how I'd define it. However, I think it is sort of obvious when you encounter less-than-good writing. And I think this book falls into this category. The way they write, how they emphasize things, and even how the book is formatted (with sporadic paragraphs and lines scattered throughout the pages) all leads to the conclusion that it just isn't good writing. If you compare this with Dave Asprey's book The Bulletproof Diet (in which he advocates for many similar nutritional ideas, and also uses many studies) and you'll see how it could've been written so much better.

But coupled with the poor writing is the extreme rigidness of the plan. Now I know, they rightly say that doing this isn't 'hard.' After all, we can control what we eat. But then comes the big deal-breaker, namely, eating out or anywhere besides your home. They advocate to not look for the perfect months, and to just do it for 30 days, because no month will be perfect. But what they don't warn about is how near impossible it is to eat out. And I mean impossible. The only thing we could find (if you search the Whole 30 forum, you'll see what I mean) is eating at Chipotle. But not just anything at Chipotle, but only their pork (as everything else was cooked in bad oils), with a bed of lettuce, with pico de Gallo and guacamole. That's it. Besides that, there is no where we found we could eat out. Couple that with traveling anywhere or eating with any other people, and it is nearly undoable.

So my wife and I are planning on doing this maybe in January when we don't travel and don't need to eat out. But we'll see.

But overall, the nutritional info in here is good. I think their ideas about things can be good. But in the end, it is far too strict. I know it is only supposed to be for 30 days, and in the second to last chapter they talk about how they don't want you to be this strict forever, but they could've given more on this.

Would I recommend the book? Yes and no. Yes, the Whole30/Paleo/high-fat/less-vegetable-oils/less-refined-carbs idea in nutrition I think is right and backed by science. So if you're looking for info on this, this is an okay place to look. But no, because of how poorly it is written, and because of the difficulty of the diet. It's one thing to talk about the strict 30 day commitment, but they could've had much more about long term living. ...more
3

Jan 31, 2019

As many of you know, my wife is a Whole30 evangelist who regularly participates in the program, which she seems to love - mostly because it makes her feel so healthy, with better sleep and more energy, among a host of other benefits. So, after watching her this month on the Whole30 program (for the 4th or 5th time), again with such positive results, I finally read the book that started it all. I must say, as a biologist by education and training, I definitely buy into the author's claims about As many of you know, my wife is a Whole30 evangelist who regularly participates in the program, which she seems to love - mostly because it makes her feel so healthy, with better sleep and more energy, among a host of other benefits. So, after watching her this month on the Whole30 program (for the 4th or 5th time), again with such positive results, I finally read the book that started it all. I must say, as a biologist by education and training, I definitely buy into the author's claims about how important diet is to overall health, and the role of food-induced inflammation in obesity, diabetes and a number of other chronic diseases. There is a lot of stuff out there that we simply shouldn't be eating. I also appreciate how the "Whole30 experiment" is meant to identify those foods one should keep central to their diet, and which foods to avoid or completely eliminate. That being said, full and serious commitment to the Whole30 program is clearly a real challenge that takes focus, planning and discipline, namely due to its black-and-white, take-no-prisoner food restrictions (I know, it's only for 30 days!). Although I see the value in shifting my diet towards the longer-term goals of the program, I don't think I'm ready to take the Whole30 plunge. However, I have been working to regularly incorporate Whole30-compliant meals into my diet, with surprisingly positive results. I started this last summer, mostly through the elimination of sweets, a dramatic reduction in carbs (um, bagels and muffins), and a marked increase in protein/fat consumption (I now love uncured turkey bacon and avocados!). Amazingly, I lost 10 pounds in less than 6 weeks. Fortunately, I have managed to keep the weight off, even with a small setback over the holidays. Given this experience with "my new eating habits," and with a newfound admiration of my wife, I hope that someday I may have the courage to participate in the Whole30 program in earnest. ...more
5

Aug 27, 2018

Absolutely the best Whole30 book for me. I would recommend this to EVERYONE, even if you aren't interested in doing the program. It's especially good for questioners, science-driven, "why" people. The science is there, in an easily digestible, and even fun at times, format. Food is SO important. Fueling yourself is important. The things that proper nutrition can do for autoimmune diseases, diabetes, allergies, digestion, the list goes on and on, it can be amazing. You choose whether the food you Absolutely the best Whole30 book for me. I would recommend this to EVERYONE, even if you aren't interested in doing the program. It's especially good for questioners, science-driven, "why" people. The science is there, in an easily digestible, and even fun at times, format. Food is SO important. Fueling yourself is important. The things that proper nutrition can do for autoimmune diseases, diabetes, allergies, digestion, the list goes on and on, it can be amazing. You choose whether the food you eat makes you more healthy, or less healthy. Knowledge is power, but also finding out what works *for you* is even more powerful. This allows you to systematically determine that. ...more

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