Book Review – “It Starts With Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig

Best. Book. Ever.

I decided to “try Paleo”  about a year and a half ago at the constant suggestion of one of my Facebook friends. I’ve never met her, but the passion with which she spoke inspired me to give it a look. I read the book she suggested, Mark Sisson’s “The Primal Blueprint” and I was hooked. I started out like I’d just received Jesus, proselytizing to every person I could. My poor FB friends, workmates, family, etc.  have been putting up with this craziness for over a year, but I guess they expect my nuttiness by now.

About 6-7 months into my journey, I started reading other books. I read Robb Wolf”s “The Paleo Solution”, and being the Nutrition nerd, my passion for real food and Paleo grew stronger. I suggested the books to my whole family. I must have nagged them enough, because my Paleo family now includes : Mom, Dad, 3 of 4 brothers and their families, 2 cousins, and several friends. EVERYONE has gained health, lost weight, and feels amazing. Nothing could make me happier.

Around the same time I started this journey, I also decided to go back to school and finish my nursing degree. Needless to say, my nutrition classes were pretty much a joke, and although I lied enough on tests to get through it with an A, I became feverish in my quest for real nutrition knowledge. Enter Dallas and Melissa of the Whole 30.  I read about their Whole30 challenge, and after a rough Christmas season, began January 1 2012. You can see how that went, right here. When I saw they had a new book coming out, I HAD to pre-order it immediately. I have to admit, I was pretty jealous of all the Paleo bloggers getting their advance copies. I just sat on my hands and waited……Then it came. My mom asked if she could borrow it when I finished, and I was more than happy to say yes. Until…. I read the whole thing in 2 days. (That’s a pretty amazing feat given my ridiculously busy life.) As I began to read through it again, highlighting furiously, I realized I was going to have to break my promise. There’s no way in hell I’m giving this book up.  I need it to be able to answer questions and educate people. I’m not smart enough to remember all this stuff myself.  Sorry mom. Get your own.

I took it to work at the Dr.’s office with me.  My doc (boss) has already always believed in the high protein, no sugar theory, but after reading through Wheat Belly, and now ISWF, and talking with me about Paleo (pretty much non stop for the past 8 months), he has realized how messed up our nutrition education is. He is now teaching our patients real food nutrition. We have had 4 or 5 patients order this book right from their phones in the office. Why? Because it’s more than “Paleo” or “Primal”. It is more than a “diet program”.  “It Starts With Food” is a reference tool, a book that teaches and explains things in a way that even non-nerds can get it. It is funny, down to earth, and readable. It is RELEVANT. People know processed food isn’t good for them. This book gives people the tools they need to successfully transition to eating foods that will help them THRIVE instead of just survive. The other day, a lady called the office to thank me for recommending ISWF because in just 2 weeks, she was seeing HUGE changes in her son and herself. Score.

There are so many great things about this book, but I think my very favorite is the tough-love approach. Excuses bug me. I think Dallas and Melissa are Gentle yet firm in the way they explain the changes that need to be made for successful health. It’s the prodding some of us really need to take that first step toward optimal health and away from sickness, lethargy, and misery.

They also address something not many other books do: our relationship with food. They don’t go on and on about how you just need more willpower blah blah blah. They acknowledge that food plays an important role in our memories, our culture, and the way we feel. I love that they don’t ignore that fact.  I have a hard time with disapproval of others, and would rather avoid conflict, and they touch upon how to deal with friends and family who are “less than supportive” of your health goals.  That was HUGE for me.  They also address that god-forsaken scale. They missed NOTHING.

Thank you for writing this book, Mr. and Mrs. Hartwig. It has changed my life,my relationship with food,  and the lives of those around me.  Go get your copy. You’ll be thanking them too.