Book Review: It Starts with Food – Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways
Authors: Dallas and Melissa Hartwig
320 pages, Victory Belt Publishing, $26.95
[dropcap][/dropcap]It is easy to be skeptical of the paleo diet, or any diet for that matter, because in today’s day and age we expect eating to be a pleasurable experience. Dallas and Melissa Hartwig explain in their book, It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways, many of today’s foods are chemically produced to be delicious so that they are difficult to give up. Take Oreos, for example. You may think, “I’ll only have one,” but one turns into an entire sleeve of Oreos before you even realize it. The Hartwigs, a husband and wife duo of sports nutritionists give it to you straight: the food you eat makes you either healthier or less healthy, there is no middle ground. Their goal with this book is to teach you about some of the inner workings of the body and how food affects it, as well as what the food industry has done to food.
From the get-go, Dallas and Melissa address your skepticism. They understand how difficult it is to go completely paleo, that’s why their diet is only 30 days long, but they hope that by reading this book you may change your eating habits for life. To create their diet, the Hartwigs looked at clinical trials, nutritional theories and their own experiences. One thing they understand, which more people should realize, is that nutritional theories are not entirely accurate. Dallas and Melissa look to clinical trials as well as their own experience to make their own learned decisions. From their research, they created the Four Good Food Standards: promote a healthy psychological response, promote a healthy hormonal response, support a healthy gut, and support immune function and minimize inflammation. For the Hartwigs, all four of these standards must be present in food in order to eat it. And if you are wondering what foods make the grade, Dallas and Melissa go into great detail about which foods are good, which are bad, and why.
This may leave you a little sour because many of the foods you love will be categorized as “bad,” but Dallas and Melissa make it clear that you are an adult, so get over it. It’s time to change your eating habits. As you age, you try new foods. Assuming that your tastes have changed since your childhood, the Hartwigs encourage you to purchase food you would not normally eat in order to expand your palate – maybe you do not know how delicious fennel, avocados, or salmon are because of the way they were prepared for you as a child. It Starts with Food contains recipes like sweet-potato hash, green curry shrimp, and citrus chicken – these aren’t your mother’s recipes. It even provides you with a recipe for homemade salad dressing to replace the store bought versions that add a multitude of calories, fat, and sodium to an otherwise healthy meal. Are you a vegetarian, vegan or diabetic? The Hartwigs have a meal-plan for you too!
Now, you may not want to get muddled down in the science behind the food, you may only be interested in what food you should and should not eat. You are in luck – the Hartwigs encourage you to skip ahead if you don’t want to know the hows and whys. Nevertheless, once you learn the science you will be more likely to stick with this diet for the Whole30. If it’s the scientific mumbo-jumbo that is evading you, Dallas and Melissa provide nice anecdotes to help you better understand what they are talking about.
What makes this Whole30 diet so great is that it will help you rethink your current food choices in order to help you live a healthier lifestyle. The Hartwigs claim that many lifestyle-related diseases and conditions will be eliminated forever once you begin the Whole30 and there are many testimonials throughout the book to confirm these claims. You will no longer count calories or measure portions. Once you start the Whole30 you’ll be able to lose the extra pounds, feel better, sleep more, and have more energy. What’s stopping you from changing your lifestyle choices?