I was recently given the opportunity to review the book, “It Starts With Food” written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. The duo are the masterminds behind the Whole9 and the Whole 30 program and have a pretty massive following.
But I have to confess: I offered to review the book because the title was exactly what I preach. I had never heard of the two of them, their program or any details of the book.
When I started to post in the fitness community that I was reading it, everyone seems excited. The book was obviously flying off the shelves like Fifty Shades and people were soaking up the information like sponges talking about how GREAT it was. I had to find out why. I only got a few pages into it and realize there was already a stain in our relationship:
The Hartwigs were STRONG promoters of the Paleo diet (meat, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, vegetables, roots, fruit, etc.) I am a quinoa slinging vegan. Oh, Lord…..this was about to get ugly.
Let me just go ahead and say off the top: As it stands right now, this book did NOT convince me to go back to eating animal protein. That works for “me.” I disagreed with some of their ideas and “research” doesn’t necessarily move me (in the field of nutrition, just about “anything” can be “proven” or “disproven.” You have to be willing to see what works for you and what I DO agree with is that the Hartwigs invite and encourage you to do just that.) and I didn’t find their “wit” and “tough love” entertaining all of the time. What I did find was that there are just some things that are universal and CANNOT be disputed. It goes something like this:
1.) Your food should be your medicine. If something isn’t quite right in your body, start there.
2.) Everyone benefits from not eating stuff they cannot pronounce.
3.) Eat the highest quality foods of the ones you choose.
4.) Eat out of hunger, not out of emotion or obligation.
5.) Savor food as you savor life.
It all starts with food.
I was very much in favor with the Hartwigs’ discussion on sugar. ALL types of sugar. I have been known to tote my agave nectar and stevia around like winning lottery tickets but the truth of the matter is even using those does something to the mind. It kept tricking me into “thinking” I “needed” something sweet. Was it a better choice health wise? Maybe. But for a sugar addict, it was still a setup. Just like trying to recreate foods that “follow the rules” but keep you “mentally stuck.” If dessert is my problem, I don’t care how vegan it is, my attachment to the FOOD is the issue, not what type of sugar I used. I was very much in sync with what they were saying with that. Food is so much deeper than the ingredients, although that’s major too.
I also enjoyed their discussion on SITTING DOWN and eating your food, savoring EVERY BITE. We have become such a society of multi-taskers (guilty) that we eat, drive, discipline kids and do squats all at the same time. Before we know it, we’ve wolfed down our food, haven’t felt fulfilled and are now searching for something else to eat. We have to become conscious. When we become conscious, we are in tune with ourselves and our bodies, our needs and our fulfillment.
While I was also in agreement with the havoc dairy creates in your body and how fat in the diet doesn’t make you fat, there is one major point that I really wanted to share that really got me thinking about how I could clean up my diet even more was this:
I realized that I wasn’t eating as much produce as I normally did because I was “rushing.” When I am “rushing” I start grabbing whatever (even as a vegan) and that even though some things are considered “health foods” by mainstream, I know better and I should be doing better not just because I am a trainer but because I am a mother who has children watching her every move and am a human being who wants to feel her best.
And, as a side note, right before I read this book, I realized I was eating TOO many carbs and have cut down tremendously. “I” never recommend cutting out an entire food group (and “meat” is not a food group, “protein” is). However, would I recommend people who are searching for healing and a map to try out the Whole30? Absolutely. I even recommended it to my husband. Just because it doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it can’t work for you. If what you are doing NOW isn’t getting you to where you want to be then try something different.
Now, the Hartwigs recommend that you don’t just kill your habits off one at a time. They recommend you jump off the deep end and decide you are going to do this thing for 30 days, no slip-ups, no excuses or whatever. I have taken a different approach in my own practice with my clients in the past. However, when I decided to become vegetarian years ago, I just did it. I didn’t “wean” myself. Same thing with drinking beer. (Don’t judge me.) My suggestion? Let your “weaning time” be while you are reading the book and when you get to the part that says, “Let’s go!”, just go. Let me know how it works for you. 🙂