Healthista Book Club: It Starts with Food

Let me just readily admit one thing about me: I’m kind of a nutrition book junkie. I definitely don’t post about everything I read, but here are a few of the nutrition books I’ve reviewed in the past:

I picked up It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwigafter I saw a review of it on one of my favorite blogs, Nom Nom Paleo (beautiful pictures, amazing food, adorable family). I’m always looking for books that break down the science behind the way I eat in a way everyone can understand (even the most science-inept among us), and this one does just that.

I’m going to copy the excerpts Nom Nom Paleo pulled from the book because I think they’re perfect examples of how It Starts with Food shows you the science behind their principles in a way that makes total sense:

Imagine that your brain is blind, unable to see your chubby reflection in the mirror or the creeping number on the scale. It needs leptin to give it the facts it can’t see. So until the brain hears leptin say, “OK, we’re fat enough,” the brain is going to keep telling you to eat more and move less, to ensure your survival… And without that leptin message, your subconscious brain will continue to direct your behaviors as if you were too lean — despite the fact that you know you’re gaining too much weight.

One thing I should warn you about this book: it’s full of tough love. The Hartwigs know the diet they suggest you eat (for 30 days) is restrictive. They know it’s a challenge to eliminate all grains, legumes, dairy, sugar, and alcohol. But they also know it’s not THAT hard in the grand scheme of things — and that the health benefits are well worth it.

It all boils down to inflammation. Many foods that are all too prevalent in the Standard American Diet (grains, sugar, oils, processed foods in general) lead to serious systemic inflammation, which in turn can lead to serious health problems. Just a few examples of health problems that can be caused directly or indirectly by inflammation: acne, diabetes, eczema, GERD, arthritis/joint pain, IBS, migraines, asthma, psoriasis, and a whole host of other nasty conditions.

So what do they suggest you do about this? Go off grains (including corn and white potatoes), legumes (including peanuts), dairy (not including clarified butter), sugar, alcohol, and processed foods for 30 days. Just 30 days to give your gut and immune system time to repair themselves. Then, you can slowly add foods back in as you can tolerate them.

Again, it’s hard no doubt, but it’s doable, and the effects might just astound you. I’m currently on week two of the Whole30 program (with a couple slip-ups with sugar or wheat products I didn’t know were added to a dish until it was too late). How do I feel? In a word, great. Eating like this is SIMPLE, and it makes deciding whether to eat something or not pretty easy.

I may do an update after the 30 days, just to let you know how things went, but this isn’t really about me trying the Whole30 program. It’s about the science in the book and the articulate way It Starts with Food explains it.

And I’m curious: Have you heard of the Whole30 program? What do you think? You can learn more about the Whole30 program on the Hartwig’s blog. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Note: I wasn’t paid or compensated in any way to review, read, or try the Whole30 book/program (I paid for the book myself!). I was simply interested in it and wanted to read the book and give the program a try!

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    Sometimes I don’t wonder if my ulcerative colitis (and the IBS that is associated with it) isn’t caused by my diet a la...
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