Here are the basics: It Starts With Food (or buy on eBay*) by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig outlines why some foods make some people sick in various ways – inflammation, stomach/gut issues, skin problems, etc. Then they offer a solution: an elimination diet called Whole30 where you eat meat, fruit, veggies and healthy fats (avocado, coconut oil, olives). No sugar (or alcohol), grains of any kind, legumes (including peanuts), soy and dairy. (Note: There is a variation for vegetarians.)
In some ways, I feel like there’s nothing I can say about this book and the corresponding diet – Whole30 – that hasn’t been said by thousands of other people online, on other blogs, and on Amazon.
However, there is one thing I’ll say about this book that not a lot of people talk about. This kind of life-change needs internal motivation, not cajoling from the outside. I have to say, I inadvertently bullied my husband into reading this book and doing the diet and his heart wasn’t in it. A year later, though, he embarked on a Whole30 on his own and had a great experience.
You are you, the only you you’ll ever be. Listen to yourself and your body.
Read through everything in the book at your own pace.
Here’s my (abbreviated) story with ISWF. I had this book for months (MONTHS) before I cracked it open. And then I opened it with low expectations, leafing listlessly and cautiously. This stage lasted several days if not weeks. I wouldn’t say I even truly read anything I was basically skimming around, being a weirdo.
Then one time I opened the book during a commercial break of some random prime time TV show and I started to get inspired. Suddenly I was ripping through the pages like Cher Horowitz rips through her closet on an important school day. (I’m a firm believer that one can never have too many Clueless references.) I jumped on the website and downloaded all the awesome free materials that go along with undertaking a Whole 30.
After that I actually started reading. Really reading and absorbing what I read. I did what the authors recommend and I skipped a lot of the science-y stuff (I went back and read through a lot of it later, though) and went straight for the Whole 30 chapters.
Then I signed up for the daily emails (highly, highly recommend doing this. It made such a difference for my experience.)
And then I started the Whole 30 two days later. Boom! After months of tip toeing around the book and the concept I just jumped right in really quickly.
That’s the secret: No one can convince you to read this book and do the 30 day elimination diet. No amount of “I feel amahhhhzing! Omg!” posts on Facebook or Instagram will convince you. You have to do the research, explore, absorb, walk around, peek in, and come around on your own.
Because, in the end: It really is all about YOU. This is not about being self-centered or selfish. You’re doing a science experiment of one. You’re not listening to your mom, your best friend, your science teacher, your Weight Watchers buddy, or even that dietitian on TV. You’re listening to your own body. 30 days eliminating foods that typically cause issues and then a few more days of re-introduction of each food group. And you’re done – armed with a complete nutrition plan customized to you. Cuz you’re special.
This lifestyle change is not easy (…I lost count of how many friends and family members whined because I couldn’t drink/eat what they wanted me to. Just politely say no thank you to that cocktail and cupcake) but in just 30 days you will know more about yourself and your body. I never once felt deprived or hungry. I did most definitely have mood swings and cravings, especially the first week or so, but my goodness it is worth it to persevere. That’s another reason to wait until you’re feeling motivated to start, whether it’s because you’re just sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, or because you have stomach aches all the time and want to know what’s causing it, if you’re only half-in from the start, you’ll only do it halfway. You have to jump in with both feet! Just jump. Trust me, the water is warm. And delicious. (Um, what? Meredith, you’re an odd duck.)
EDIT: Check out the new Whole30 dedicated book! It’s basically a textbook on how to do the elimination diet and reintroduce foods to see how they effect you. Highly recommend! (buy used or new on eBay*)
Questions? Drop me an email or post in the comments!
*Hi friends, just a heads up that this post contains scary affiliate links and if you click, a shark will EAT YOU. Just kidding! Clicking my links just means you like my site and like reading my recommendations. Your shopping experience doesn’t change, but I might get a tiny commission. Affiliate links are indicated with an asterisk like this* If you have any questions, I’m here to talk —> firstname.lastname@example.org … or leave a comment below. xoxo.