“Eat clean for two weeks with 1 cheat day a week!”
“No carbs for 10 days!!”
“I’m giving up ALL sugaaaar”
Question: How often have you heard these claims, whether they come from a highly regarded diet book, or the mouth of a friend?
Answer: too many damn times.
A couple weeks ago, I received a copy of It Starts with Food in the mail to review.
I have to admit, before I actually read it, I judged it by its cover, thinking it’d be one of those diet challenges above. I mean, it’s based off of their 30 day diet challenge – how could it not be? Well, turns out it’s not – it’s about changing the readers’ views on food’s affect on the body. And I’ll tell you how it does this in my review today!
I’d agreed to review the book before I decided to start making changes to help my hormones, but by the time it arrived on my door step, I was in the midst of re-hauling my eating style. Perfect timing!
Actually, I’d gone into reading this book with the mindset of not following its advice. I simply wanted to read it, hear what they authors, Dallas & Melissa Hartwig had to say, digest it, write a review, and move on. Lucky me, I learned a little and got a lot more than I was expecting in the process.
Basically, the book is based on their Whole30 diet, built on four foundational Good Food Rules, which basically support a paleo diet. You know, no grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, or processed food. Eat meat, saturated and monounsaturated fats, vegetables, and fruit. However, they took the time to explain why – based on their food rules. There’s also a lot of science-y stuff, which I much appreciate, as well as how to apply their 30 day whole foods program to your lifestyle.
And to answer what might be your next question, no, I’m still not taking this challenge. While I’m not one to do 30 day challenges (just the thought of "slipping up" brings me stress…I suppose its my inner perfectionist) I can appreciate those who have taken/are taking on the challenge. Actually, tens of thousands of people have taken the challenge, and reported back life-changing results.
The book references several success stories from those who used to have ailments – diabetes, celiac, migraines, and more – which have since disappeared. I love a good success story.
1.) Yeah, science! (Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!! – name that show)
The entire time I was reading this book, I was thinking, holy time suck, this book must have taken Dallas and Melissa ages to complete!! The entire first half (maybe even 3/4?) of the book is filled with science-y stuff – the how’s and why’s of how the human body works, from digestion to hormones, and how food directly affects these systems. I read statement after statement, wondering if they had done – and cited – the research to back up these statements.
Yup! They did! Not only did they cite studies and journals, but they did a great job of putting them into layman’s terms.
2.) Oh, now I get it!
About those layman’s terms. One example that really affected me is when they explained the hormonal system is words I could understand. It clicked for me! After the science-y jargon, they related the system to a thermostat. When they put it that way, it clicked. They also relate the digestion track to a night club, which was both entertaining and informative, haha.
3.) Healthy, Less healthy, More Healthy
Dallas and Melissa put it simply when they say that food is either healthy for you or unhealthy for you. While that seems black and white, I loved that there were “gray areas” in this book. Sure, they suggest you eliminate certain foods, but they also don’t pretend that one type of “food” is as bad for you as another. In their whole30 program, x food may be off limits, but in the part of the book where the explain why the food is eliminated from the diet, they also say it’s a lesser degree of unhealthy than certain other types of foods.
4.) I got 99 Reasons, but a Conspiracy Theory Ain’t One
I loved that all of their claims are backed up by three factors: science (see #1,) experience for themselves and their clients, and self-experimentation. They don’t go blaming the soybean companies, big name pesticides, and other scapegoats (though I completely agree with a lot of these claims) to back up their statements. I admire that.
5.) Life Application
So they give the reader all this information: now what? Well, the second half of the book explains how to incorporate this information into their life by putting it in a 30 day challenge form, and then applying to your life. It’s 30 days because the authors want to reader to judge for themselves how they feel after eliminating certain foods, and adding in more of others. Then after the 30 days, the informed reader can be the judge of whether they want to continue eating this way.
OK, this sounds like a rave review, but I really appreciated how the authors put this book together. Do I think this diet is for everyone? Maybe not. But the authors do a really good job of convincing – and backing it up – that this way of eating is pretty healthy.
And with that, it’s breakfast time. Oh! But before I go, I have to do a little teaser here (I know, I know. I’m sorry to tease.) I’ve been working/praying/planning/excited about something for the past month, and I can finally almost spew it out to you guys. But there’s a couple final steps that need to be done first, so expect some big news on Monday!!!
Are you taking any “challenges” right now?
I know there’s a LOT of them swimming around the blog world for the holidays. I’m loosely following Elf 4 Health, just because I think it’s a super fun challenge, but I’m also picking and choosing which parts I want to follow through with Missing the point? Perhaps….