It Starts with Food by Dallas Hartwig & Melissa Hartwig

September 17, 2016
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As long as Americans have been obsessed with food, so have they been with diets. The secret to eating healthy threatens to elude the public forever, as fleeting fads only leave in an indent in our daily lives. Then enter Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, sports nutritionists and medicine practitioners, whose experiment with their own health led to the revelation that would change thousands of others. They developed the Whole30 Program, or 30 days of rigorous clean eating: all based on what you individually need most.

It sounds harder than it is. In their bestselling It Starts with Food, the Hartwigs outline the process in friendly, accessible prose. The Whole30 is an experiment you perform on yourself, in order to figure out what your system likes and doesn’t. The Hartwigs’ reasoning is simple: in order to fix your health, you need to be on your own schedule, not something that covers half the American public. Their proposal is startlingly hands-on, and immediately empowering. In the book, you are handed all the decipherable tools and knowledge needed to start a health journey for the rest of your life.

The book opens up on a single philosophy. Food is where it starts, and where it ends. The book presents revolutionary new biological science at a readable level, made clear through metaphors, explanations, and the theme of self-awareness that persists throughout. The Hartwigs find footholds at the hormonal level, all the way up to day-to-day phenomenons like that two o’clock slump in the afternoon, to why you can’t knock your cravings no matter what. Their collection of brilliant new health truths has something in it for everyone: for those who wish to look deeper into their body clockwork, there’s the sharpness and depth of an educational lesson, as well as the long-sought answer to the average person’s diet dilemma. 

And the most extraordinary thing about Food is that it’s not a diet, or a fad. As the Hartwigs describe simply, the Whole30 is a lifestyle. There is no portion-control mania, or calorie countdowns; in fact, the authors encourage you to eat more healthy fat and generous helpings of the good stuff. Even the Hartwigs admit that always eating clean is no easy task. They concur that events with familial or cultural significance shouldn’t necessarily turn into a floor for debate, but that planning cheat days in advance is like setting yourself up to fail. The sheer power of the facts in the Hartwigs’ user-friendly, clear-cut book will change everything you thought you knew about food. Just reading the book forces you to double-take on what you put in your body, and leaves the Whole30 Program to shatter the wall between you and your best self. Either way, the jury’s out. It all starts with food.

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