It Starts With Food

by danielle on December 16, 2012

I mentioned awhile ago that I was reading and loving It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig in this post and got a couple requests to do a more in depth review. Since I loved this book so much, I read through it in two nights (total nerd!), I wanted to share some more information with you!

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The authors of It Starts with Food are also the founder of Whole9 Nutrition whose site I have been reading for years! I love their simple, clear cut explanations, and how their explanations are based in plain scientific fact and personal experience. Such a great combination of information.

The basis behind this book is that food should be making us healthy and instead it is making our population sicker as a whole. One of my favorite quotes of the book is this: “the problem is that these foods are supernormally stimulating in the absence of nutrition and satiety”. Bottom line: Foods like twinkies, oreos, doughnuts, etc…are all designed to make us hungry! They’re designed to make us want more, not get enough, crave them again and again. The food industry is not dumb. They are purposely creating these “frankenfoods” to be addicting and their plan is working. Why does all this happen? These foods are stimulating to make us crave them but once we eat them we never actually get much nutritional value from them. Even the mere thought of thinking about these “superhuman foods” makes us crave them and once we have them, dopamine is released making us happy. Over time we relate this dopamine release (that rush that makes us happy) with the supernormally stimulating foods and we want them over and over again.

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Best page of the book was page 53. Yes I’m breaking it down to pages. The Hartwigs write: “elevated cortisol messes with normal thyroid function, leading to a metabolic slowdown that makes it much easier to pack on the pounds. So if you have an intimate relationship with food-with-no-brakes, and you’re leptin resistant, and you’re insulin resistant, and you’re chronically stressed…Is it any wonder you can’t lose weight, even on your low-fat, calorie restricted diet?…It’s all about hormones.” The nutrition nerd in me loves this. I think this statement probably defines about 50% of American women and maybe 75% of American women who are always on a diet.

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So what’s the solution to all of this damage?? Cut out all those foods that are causing such havoc to our bodies, including grains, dairy, and legumes. They illustrate the reasoning why we should be ridding our diets of these foods wonderfully and one of my favorite sections is their build your plate images where there is no weighing, measuring, or counting. It’s as easy as holding eggs in your hand and having as many as will fit, literally. There is even a simple recipe guide in the back that I love and will be getting a lot of recipe ideas from.

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Overall if you’re interested or even curious about a Paleo diet I would definitely recommend picking up this book. As I always say I’m not a fan of product reviews unless I love the product and this I love!

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. (I genuinely loved this book and had wanted to buy it on my own before I was given a copy!)

Anyone else read It Starts with Food yet?? What are your thoughts on preventing our hormones from getting out of whack??? 

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessie December 16, 2012 at 9:05 am

What an awesome book. Thank you so much for sharing this review with us.

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Of course Jessie! Glad you found it helpful!

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance December 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Very interesting! I would love to get my hands on a copy of this. You’re the second person I’ve heard that was very impressed with the book, and it seems like it’s full of great information and ideas. Thanks for the review!

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Definitely worth reading Michelle!

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Lucie December 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Thanks a lot for sharing this with us this is so interesting!!

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Glad you liked it Lucie!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm

This book sounds really interesting! Although I don’t necessarily agree that grains, dairy and legumes are bad for us, I definitely agree with what it has to say about all those “frankenfoods” and their effect on our bodies. I learned about it in my nutrition class last year – it’s crazy how foods like that can actually be addicting to our bodies!

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I agree with you Chelsea. I think different things work for different people but regardless I think frankenfoods are not very good for us!

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Kristen@Change of Pace December 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm

I love books like this. I actually asked for Well-Fed for Christmas. I’ll have to get this one too :)

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Yes definitely get them both! I have well fed too and it’s great!

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kim@hungryhealthygirl December 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Sounds like a very interesting read. I really want to pick this book up now!

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Definitely check it out Kim!

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RunFastMama December 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I’m a fellow nutrition nerd and read the book as quick as you did, When I was half way through on a Sunday night, I started Whole30 on Monday morning and have been documenting my journey on my blog. I am so amazed at the changes, I ate pretty paleo but there was always sugar, alcohol and diary. Without those I am a new person.
This book has the power to turn the health care crisis around, if only people would cut out the twinkies an take responsibility for what they eat.
Great review!

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Glad to know you loved it too! I have to catch up on my blog reading and check out your journey! I’d love to read more about it!

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. December 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Great review, Danielle! Sounds like a pretty interesting book. I’ve always been interested in how hormones affect weight, and how women who chronically diet seem to have the hardest trouble keeping a stable weight, so it would be neat to learn more about that.

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Thanks Amanda! I find the hormone weight connection super interesting too!

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Alison @ racingtales December 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I’m reading this book right now – not getting through it quite as quickly as you! – but absolutely loving it! My highlighter has been very busy. My favorite quote so far: “The foods you eat exert a powerful psychological influence…” Great read.

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I love it! I am a huge highlighter too ;)

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Lisa December 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

This book sounds really interesting. I’m always interested on these tests and how people are effected from different diets. Even though I don’t necessarily agree all grains are bad for people, its still fun to read different views.

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Me too! I like to hear the different sides and science behind it!

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Jess @ JessieBearWhatWillYouWear December 16, 2012 at 7:56 pm

My hormones were totally out of whack for the first two years of college. I think diet TOTALLY could have prevented it! I’m glad there are books like this though. Important stuff.

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

So glad you figured it all out!

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Laura @ Mommy Run Fast December 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Great review! This is on my list of books to read… I’m not sure I agree with cutting out all grains, but certainly the refined ones. Curious to read more!

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danielle December 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Definitely! I think some grains are okay in moderation but it’s though super processed ones that are the most dangerous to our health!

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Brad Gouthro Fitness December 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this book. Haven’t read it yet though.

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danielle December 17, 2012 at 11:52 am

It’s definitely worth reading! Hope you enjoy it!

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Elle December 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Dying to get my hands on a copy of this book! I am starting the Whole30 Challenge on January 1st and quite excited about it.

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danielle December 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

How awesome! Keep me updated on how the whole30 goes for you :)

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julie December 17, 2012 at 1:32 am

LOVEEDD this book! i got up to day 21 on the whole30 challenge and then caved and had hot chocolate with stevia hahah but it definitely cured my overloading addiction to stevia – i’ve cut back drastically. it also helped me realize its just not that serious and i’ve since been eating 3 bigger meals with less snacking. AND the whole30 bbq sauce is a weekly staple of mine – it’s actually on the stove right now and splattering everywhere!

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danielle December 17, 2012 at 11:54 am

That’s awesome! I’m such a snacker too and Paleo really does help cut back on my snacking too! I’m just more satisfied overall with a Paleo meal.

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Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile December 17, 2012 at 2:26 am

I just finished this book today – I read it in four days! Ha ha. It was certainly a great read and funny too. Makes me think for sure! I loved reading the science behind it all – I’m a nerd, too. ;)

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danielle December 17, 2012 at 11:54 am

So glad you loved it too!

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Dottie December 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Thanks for your review on this book. A friend of mine recently recommended it as well. I’ve been browsing your site and found fascination in the fact that you attended IIN. I was actually at one point thinking of schooling in the field of nutrition to be a wellness coach or something, but I couldn’t afford the program. Besides that in the last year, I’ve been met with a lot of loss, followed by depression and my desire for fitness pretty much disappeared and I’ve put on a good 45 lbs of the nearly 150 I had lost. After the new year I will be placing more focus on getting better nutrionally and fitness wise. I have been dealing with the emotions/depression and I’m much better there. Again, thanks so much. Now I just need to get my hands on that book.

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danielle December 17, 2012 at 10:03 pm

So glad you enjoyed the book! Feel free to reach out if you ever want to talk :)

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Rachel @ cuttingoutcarbs December 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Finished this book today :) Going to probably write a review of it on my blog as well. Loved it. I’ve “done” the Whole30 before this book totally opened my eyes to a lot of things I was doing wrong. Feel so much better about certain food decisions now that I know the science behind it. Thinking of doing the Whole30 again in January, this time the right way.

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danielle December 17, 2012 at 10:06 pm

So glad you to hear you enjoyed the book too :)

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Courtney @ Journey of a Dreamer December 17, 2012 at 10:00 pm

I’ve been reading this too! Loooooove it!

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danielle December 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I know it’s awesome!

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Sarah @RunFarGirl December 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm

This book has been on my list of must reads (if I can only find the time between chasing my 3yo and nursing my 2mo old. HA!) I’ve read Robb Wolff’s Paleo Solution and for the most part I try to cook and eat paleo (the whole fam). But during pregnancy I got away from it mostly because of the nausea and haven’t really gotten back to it. I really need to read this to remind myself why paleo is so much better (as if the sugar “hangover” i feel isn’t enough?!?) THanks for a great review. Love your blog by the way, found you through MizFitOnline:)

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danielle December 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Awesome Sarah! Thanks so much and so happy you found me. It’s definitely worth reading and I actually found it a little more simplified than some of Robb Wolff’s stuff which was great :)

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Meredith @ DareYouTo December 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Great review! I liked the book when I read it (review here: http://www.dareyoutoblog.com/2012/08/ItStartsWithFood.html ). I agree that it’s a greeeeat resource for anyone new or interested in paleo. It really breaks it down, and I love the core message of “your health starts with FOOD.”

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