Guest author Michele “Bitches!” Kelber brings you her take on Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s new book about their Whole30 plan for heath and wellness, It Starts With Food.
Dallas and Melissa Hartwig tag team their way through the world of food. Their approach to health goes beyond the traditional outlook of “you should eat this and you shouldn’t eat that.” In a somewhat comedic way, the dynamic duo take a different and novel approach.
Unlike most health books on the market, the Hartwigs mention weight loss as an added benefit of eating whole natural foods, not the be-all and end-all of why to eat certain things. The main focus is meeting “good food standards.” The standards are beyond the typical scientific jargon, emphasizing the importance of “psychological and hormonal response, supporting a healthy gut and immune function and minimize inflammation.” The effects of food are discussed first, before the specifics of what to eat. This gives a baseline for understanding how our bodies work.
The Hartwigs dive into the science of food as well. The middle chapters cover the nuances of nutrition and the effects specific types of foods have on our bodies. Food groups are compared to good food standards and dissected. Adhering to these principles and opting to consume healthier foods (a substantial discussion in the book as well,) allows people to people see the everyday health results they want. Medical conditions reconcile themselves, weight drops, and overall daily wellness improves. Even as someone with a strong background in nutrition, I found some facts enlightening and informative. Did you know the best way to get Omega-3 is by eating animals raising in their natural environment and fed their natural diets? Hmm, kind of makes you rethink the whole fish oil capsule thing…
In the final chapters, Melissa and Dallas offer sample meals and food choices. They describe minimum serving sizes for protein, fats, fruits and vegetables, and timelines. Although named the Whole30, initiating adaptation for thirty days to see substantial results, the pair agree that sometimes people may need the Whole40 or the Whole60 to really see the benefits. It doesn’t end there. The Whole30 encourages participants to slowly and separately eliminate and then reintroduce foods to gain a better understanding of the effect each has on their body. Everyone is different: what’s great for some may not be for the other. For myself, abstaining from eating gluten and dairy had me feeling tip top. I didn’t realize how much better I felt until I separately re-introduced both groups into my diet. My asthma reappeared and the pain of my arthritis multiplied almost immediately. Sometimes it’s in meeting someone again that we see exactly why we parted ways.
The greatest gem the Hartwigs provide is talking about the hard stuff. No one claims this is going to be easy, but they know it’s going to be worth it. There is open discussion about all the things that comes up when you alter your choice of foods. The cravings, the emotional response we have to certain foods, the physiological reaction and recognition our bodies go through when we eat. They don’t just tell us eat this, not that and have willpower to make up the difference. It isn’t about willpower, it’s about “developing a new relationship with food”. It’s about respecting our bodies, providing nutritional and emotional nourishment, and understanding the cues our bodies send to us. It really does Start With Food.