Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Nook - It Starts with Food

It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and change your life in unexpected ways by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig:

(Here's the link)

What an amazing book with an amazingly simple idea: ditch all the junk in your diet and just eat meat, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats.  That's it.

Now, stop right there, you might think.  Don't you need dairy to survive?  And how about grains?  Chocolate?!  Our authors, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, do a great job of telling us all the "science-y" information about why sugar, alcohol, seed oils, grains, legumes and dairy all wreak unseen havoc on our bodies. The authors set out four Good Food standards, explaining that "the food we eat should promote a healthy psychological response; promote a healthy hormonal response; support a healthy gut; support immune function and minimize inflammation."  And they break down each of these bad-guy foods and tell us how they damage the body.  Then, in chapters on meat (and seafood & eggs), veggies & fruit and healthy fats, the authors show us the opposite: how these foods contribute to our health.  It all comes down to this: "the food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy.  Those are your options."

The final part of the book explains what the Whole30 is and all the rules - what you can and cannot eat.  The authors give lots of tough love while making their point - any excuse you might have is shot down here.  The program is simple: eat whole foods (meat, veggies, fruit & healthy fats) for 30 days and see how you feel.  You'll probably lose some weight, maybe your skin looks better, maybe some of your health ailments are gone.  All thanks to eliminating bad stuff from your diet for a short time.

After your 30 days, you can slowly reintroduce some of these off-the-list foods back in, and observe your body's reaction to them.  Then it's up to you to decide your dietary future.  The authors have faith that you'll want to continue to eat healthy, and also understand that sometimes, one little bite of something might morph into old habits.  That's really what the Whole30 is out to accomplish - changing your old, unhealthy habits.  So, instead of grabbing a smoothie and a muffin for breakfast, you'll make a veggie omelet instead.  And, also getting in the habit of eating 3 meals a day, and making sure to sit down and enjoy those meals.  It's not only about limiting your diet to the healthiest foods available, but also changing the way you think about food. 

I started my Whole30 on March 1st (but then realized a few days into it that the vegetable broth I had used in a chicken dish contained sugar.  Sugar!  In vegetable broth!  I never thought to look.  So, technically, my start date is the 4th).  Anyway, I feel great, and it's only been a few days.  I can tell I've lost a little weight, I am not hungry at all between meals, my cravings are slowly going away, and some things that I never realized were food-related are improving (for example, I'm not inclined to be lazy in front of the computer anymore.  Now, I'm always on my feet, moving and doing!).  And, my sleep schedule is back on track (I would have never made the connection of sleep patterns and healthy diet) - just like our authors promised, I wake up every morning before the alarm goes off.

I've read a lot of books on healthy eating, and I've got to say, this one really resonated with me the most.  Just 30 days to start a healthy new life....count me in!


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