Book Review: “It Starts With Food”

It Starts With Food
By Dallas and Melissa Hartwig


This week I’m not posting any recipe. I’m starting my first ever Whole30 tomorrow, so instead I thought I should share a few words on the book that not only outline the what’s and how’s of the program, but also explains the why’s (and I really do mean explains!).

I’ll try to keep it much shorter than my latest book review, as I fear too long reviews might be a bit counterproductive(?).
(However, it would not be hard to make this review long…I started to set info flags whenever there was something I wanted to highlight, but it didn’t take long before it looked more like a Christmas tree than a book so I had to stop…there’s just too much valuable information in there to keep a system like that effective.)

– Start Of Review –

First, I want to say this book is right down my alley…
• It’s not too long, nor is it too short.
• There’s no beating around the bush when it comes to delivering the messages.
• It uses clever analogies to explain complex topics which not only makes it all quite easy to comprehend, but also keeps it interesting and fun to read.
• There’s a clear red line throughout the book, and it takes you from start to end without much jumping back and forth.

The Book
The book starts out with the dietary philosophies on which the program is based, and describe what is called the four “Good Food Standards”.
These standards are a set of desired physical or psychological reactions to what we eat, and different types of food either violate or comply with these standards.

The next part describe food types that violate these standards, hence not promoting optimal health.
The good thing is that it does not just list bad food choices, but also specify which good food standards are being violated and how.
(And you’ve already learnt why each good food standard is important so it all makes perfect sense.)

From there it describe food types that comply with the good food standards (and how they do so).

There’s a chapter on meal planning, which gives you a rough estimate on how much of each of the micronutrients you should put on your plate.
That is probably good initially if your hormones are out of play, but once everything is back to normal your body should let you know by itself.

At this point you know all you need to know to proceed with the program.
(Actually, you don’t need to know the why’s to be able to do the 30-day program. It’s even said in the beginning of the book that you can skip those chapters if they do not interest you…but I sincerely hope no one does so, because that would mean missing out on some of the best explanations on the complex mechanisms involved in health (good and bad) I’ve ever read!)
The program is outlined, including a chapter on how to, after the 30 days, experiment to learn and understand your own reactions to certain foods by reintroducing previously excluded foods in a controlled way.

Then the book ends with a few post Whole30 chapters, which includes how to maintain a lifelong healthy relationship with food, some on supplementation and possible tuning, recipes and general tips to keep your food interesting.

All in all, I would say this book is complete.

Final Thoughts
I’m really glad I purchased this book.
It’s not just a book, but an investment in myself that I’m confident will lead to increased health.
Having read this book, I will doubtlessly also be much better prepared to understand other, less pedagogically written, books and articles.
I love the “tough love” approach by the authors…never rude, just very straight and honest…and always with care and much heart!
Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to start my first Whole30 tomorrow!

Want to know more?

– End Of Review –

Like I’ve said a few (maybe too many really..) times now, I’m starting my first Whole30 tomorrow.
Because of that I have also decided to not post any recipes the coming four weeks, but instead I’ll try to summarize each weeks Whole30 experience.
Please drop by and leave some encouraging comments, I would really appreciate it a lot! :)

Take care and have a great week!


7 thoughts on “Book Review: “It Starts With Food”

  1. I have felt so, so much healthier since I discovered this book a few months back! I’ve done a few days worth of offroading this last week, but I will be back on the road in no time . . . because it feels too darn good to stay away. Good luck!

  2. Pingback: Book Review: “It Starts With Food” | Paleo Digest

  3. I started by first Whole30 on August 12 too! I would love to hear how you are feeling and what your reflections on the experience. On Day 4, I’m feeling pretty good, and this morning it looked like my skin had already started to clear up. Is that even possible? I’m still getting used to eating all this meat and protein, but everything I’ve eaten has been delicious, which is really nice.

    Good luck!

    • Hi Caroline!

      Thanks for your comment and support! :)
      I plan to post some kind of summary after each week here on the blog, so the first one comes on Sunday :)

      Regarding the skin clearing up so soon, yup…I totally think so :)
      (I think I look a bit more “alive” too already…but then again it might just be placebo from the fact that I feel better that reflects.
      Don’t know, and don’t really care, either way it’s awesome!)

      Good luck to you too, and hope to see you around here more times! :)

      Take care

  4. Hey Peter–I’m still just halfway through the book and I totally agree with your review! I loved the part where they are talking about your protein serving being the size of your palm–then “if you don’t know if you are big or small, we can’t help you.” There are so many of those straightforward lines in the book that it really does make you feel like they care about you but aren’t going to put up with crap. ;) I also totally agree with you about the science-y stuff–it’s so easy to understand the way they wrote it. Such a great book–I think people should read it even if they are not going to do a Whole30!!

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