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Book Review: “It Starts With Food”

By Sean | In Nutrition | on January 14, 2013

book-page-header-image

All my life I haven’t really considered myself much of a reader. Perhaps it was the mandatory summer reading in middle school, the required reading for end of grade tests in high school, or the copious amounts of studying in college that simply burnt me out. It’s not that the information wasn’t useful or important in some way, but I felt like I had no real stake in what I was reading. Needless to say my perspective has shifted partly because of books like It Starts With Food written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.  I felt like every chapter was filled with relevant and logical information that gave me more perspective on the food I put into my body.  If the names sound familiar, they’re the same folks that run the Whole9 nutrition and lifestyle website and the creators of the Whole30 program.  If you’re familiar with their website and the free information they routinely post, their book is like their nutritional posts’ greatest hits. Much of the information in the book can be found on their website, but having everything right in front of you, easily referenced, is very convenient.  And if you didn’t need another reason, Dallas and Melissa provide most of their information free of charge on their website and have dedicated their effort to making a living spreading the good food word.  Purchasing their book and/or attending the Whole9 seminar like Marcus did this weekend is how we can ensure the word continues to spread and good folks like Melissa and Dallas make a living.

It Starts With Food is based upon a simple premise, “The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy.”  The book’s goal is to steer you towards food options that help make you more healthy.  It is their belief that good food shouldn’t mess with your mind, your hormones, your gut, or your immune system causing systemic inflammation.  If any food fails one of these standards then it doesn’t qualify as a food that makes us more healthy.  If you like to geek out on the nuts and bolts details, they do a really good job of breaking down the “science-y” research on each standard making it understandable to the layman while still keeping the information extremely thorough.  They highlight major food groups that have been shown to make you less healthy like seed oils, grains, alcohol, sugar and sweeteners, and legumes.  Addressing popular opinion about what is and isn’t healthy and sticking to their guns with their good food standards, they tackle each group one chapter at a time.  And just when you think to yourself like there isn’t anything left out there to eat do they finally go into the foods that make us more healthy.  Foods like meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit, eggs, and the right kinds of fat.  Foods that help us thrive, not simply survive.

Where I feel the book really goes the extra mile is that of providing strategies for long-term success and master recipes from which thousands of meal combinations can be crafted.  We find the most difficult goal of the program is ultimately changing the relationship with their food, and to ensure success Dallas and Melissa provide online supplements free of charge to help with the tricky areas of the program.  Things like meal planning, dining out, grocery shopping, and many others here on their site.

I encourage those of you serious about changing your nutritional perspective to read It Starts With Food.  Put simply, it could very well be one of the most valuable and practical reads you’ll ever have.


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WOD 1.14.13

Press 3×5/Wendler

AMRAP 12:
9 Deadlifts (155/105)
12 Hands Release Pushups
15 Box Jumps (24″/20″)

2 Comments to "Book Review: “It Starts With Food”"

  • Amy says:

    January 14, 2013 at 8:00 AM -

    Great post Sean!

    The thing I loved most about this book is that they give you all of the science-y information in easy to understand terms and examples. A couple other Paleo books I’ve read are way too into the science and they lose me with all of the technical mumbo jumbo.

  • CrossFit Intrepid » A Sugar By Any Other Name… says:

    January 16, 2013 at 6:00 AM -

    […] past weekend, I’m reinvigorated and extra motivated to spread the nutritional knowledge! As Sean touched on Monday, the crew over at Whole9 distill better food choices down to whether items fail one or more of […]

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