Refocused and Re- Inspired, and Recommitted: It Starts with Food, a Book Review

23 Jun

When I learned that a new paleo inspired book, It Starts With Food, was coming out, I immediately went to Amazon to pre-order the much anticipated book, any chance to become more knowledgeable about this new diet that I had adopted and I was sold! Plus I am always looking to throw in some scientific evidence to back up my reasons for going paleo when talking to skeptics who find the paleo diet restrictive and extreme!

To be perfectly honest I wasn’t quite sure how this book would differ from the other paleo books I had read, the paleo diet is pretty simple eat plenty of protein, fresh vegetables, and fruits, so I admit I was a bit skeptical about what this book would tell me that I didn’t already know.

At first this book wasn’t particularly different than any other book I had read about the diet, The book began by discussing the reasons why certain foods should be eliminated (sugars, alcohol, legumes, grains), then it went to talk about the benefits of the diet and backed up claims with scientific evidence and personal stories. Although this wasn’t anything radically different than the other books I had read, I will admit they did do an excellent job about simplifying terms and dumbing down the science and medical evidence into easy to understand terms, which was much appreciated, especially by someone like me who does not have a head for science!

It wasn’t until I neared the end of the book that I really began to see the difference in the Whole 30 approach! Of course the book contained detailed information about recommended foods to eat on a regular basis which consisted of a variety of animal proteins, an abundance of vegetables, and an assortment of fruits, however that stuff is all common knowledge that you can find on any paleo themed website, the thing that they did differently was provided guidance about how to eat the recommended foods. They shared information about which foods to incorporate in which meals and they gave recommendations about serving sizes. Finally an outline I could actually use and easily apply to my life without the need for measuring cups, and food scales! For example they recommend eating a portion of protein equivalent to the size of 1 or 2 of your palms, depending on your size and activity level, nut butters and oil the size of your thumb, and as much coconut meat and olives to fit into an open palm. Also they recommended eating only two servings of fruit a day, which they noted can be consumed after meals but should not be the main star in your first meal of the day or eaten as a pre workout meal, interesting. Of course I have been guilty of always having a big bowl of fruit each morning when I wake up pre workout….now I know!

Now don’t get me wrong I loved all the other paleo books I read but sometimes the 30 day meal plans weren’t quite realistic, they usually consisted of a variety of delicious meal ideas but when the 30 days were up how would I know how to create my own paleo approved meals, of course I knew the meal should include protein vegetables and fruit …but there was no guidelines about how much of it to eat, which always made me a bit weary, making me wonder if all the meals I made were optimally following the paleo diet correctly!

The book also clarified up some questioning topics which I couldn’t seem to get clear answers on when I consulted the internet…such as eggs and whether eating them on a daily basis was bad, turns out it’s not. I had been also wondering about string beans and sugar snap and whether or not those were acceptable on the diet because of their relation to legumes, turns our they are just fine! An how about clarified butter…I was always confused about the that seeing as many strict paleo diets follow the no dairy rule, but it turns out clarified butter has no milk solids, perfectly acceptable on the paleo diet! The authors Melissa and Dallas also strongly discourage indulging on treats, regardless if they are paleo approved or not!

This is where I have probably had the biggest setback as a new paleo. When first becoming a paleo and doing a simple internet search about the diet I came across tons of delicious paleo food blogs, I was amazed to find so many delicious paleo dessert items, Paleo Ice Cream, Pancakes, Cookies, Brownies, and the mistake I made was indulging in these items right away! I also ate large quantities of nut butter, thinking because it was an acceptable paleo food item that gorging myself on spoonful’s of almond butter was ok….wrong! Although I admit I do feel so much better, I no longer feel bloated, have daily stomachaches, or am hungry as often, but I will admit indulging in these paleo treats brought on intense cravings for more, especially when it came to after dinner treats. Never once was I actually hungry after dinner but I had grown accustomed to always having a treat for dessert after dinner, so I continued to indulge once I adopted the paleo diet. I consoled myself by telling myself I was using all paleo approved ingredient so therefore I wasn’t deterring from the diet, but as the authors note in their book a pancake is still a pancake regardless of whether or not you use alternative ingredients! I soon realized that I had incorporated my bad eating habits from my previous diet (over eating and indulging daily) to my new paleo diet,  the only difference was I had now incorporated meat and eggs into my diet in exchange for grains and legumes. Although amazingly I did feel better I realized there was potential to feel even better if I actually fully committed to the whole 30!

This book has truly refocused and re inspired me to take on the 30 day challenge and recommit myself  to eating clean and healthy foods. I started by cleaning out my kitchen today and removed all tempting items regardless of it they are paleo or not, to be honest I am not sure I have the will power yet to refuse them and I don’t want to tempt myself with nut butters, honey (my key ingredient when baking), and dried fruits which I can’t seem to eat in moderation.Although it thoroughly pained me I also packed up the batch of muffins I had made just days before and froze them with a big threatening note which will hopefully remind me not to consume them for the next thirty days (whatever works right?) I finally feel excited and committed and I am determined to succeed, this time and feel even better, stay posted for updates and results


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