Author: Melissa Hartwig, Dallas Hartwig
Pages: 435 (Kindle)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
Melissa and Dallas Hartwig’s critically-acclaimed Whole30 program has helped hundreds of thousands of people transform how they think about their food, bodies, and lives. Their approach leads to effortless weight loss and better health—along with stunning improvements in sleep quality, energy levels, mood, and self-esteem. Their first book, the New York Times best-selling It Starts With Food, explained the science behind their life-changing program.
Now they bring you The Whole30, a stand-alone, step-by-step plan to break unhealthy habits, reduce cravings, improve digestion, and strengthen your immune system. The Whole30 features more than 100 chef-developed recipes, like Chimichurri Beef Kabobs and Halibut with Citrus Ginger Glaze, designed to build your confidence in the kitchen and inspire your taste buds. The book also includes real-life success stories, community resources, and an extensive FAQ to give you the support you need on your journey to “food freedom.”
I decided to pick up The Whole30 after really enjoying some of the recipes in The Whole30 Cookbook. I wasn’t actually following the program though. I was doing a similar, but less restrictive, 28 Day Reset and needed more meal ideas. The two programs are very similar. I was curious as to what the differences were other than the length and some of the off-limits foods. While I don’t plan on adapting the Whole30 program anytime soon, I did learn a lot about the effects certain food groups have on the body and my (admittedly unhealthy) relationship with food in general.
A lot of the beginning sections of The Whole30 are nearly verbatim in The Whole30 Cookbook, so I knew some of this information already. However, it’s important things to know. If you’re planning on trying the program, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting into. These sections tell you about what you will and will not be eating for the next thirty days and why. There’s some tough love here, because any slips or cheats will affect your results. The authors break each aspect of the program down. They tell you why you’re doing it, the benefits, the drawbacks, and more.
The one thing that did annoy me about the earlier sections of The Whole30 was that at times it felt like an advertisement for their previous book, It Starts With Food. I definitely understand why it was mentioned. They wrote it and the same subject, so people should know about it if they want to read more. But it was mentioned a lot. They’d start discussing a topic, and then just stop and say “You can read more about that in our other book.” Or they’d introduce something and say “But we’re not talking about that here, check out our other book.” It got a bit annoying. I know they couldn’t possibly cram every single detail into this book, especially since they already have those details published elsewhere. It was a bit much, but it worked, because now I’m interested in that other book.
My favorite section of The Whole30, other than the recipes, was the middle portion about kitchen basics. I was already familiar with their list of kitchen tools that you’ll need. However, this book goes further into how to actually use those tools. While doing the 28 Day Reset, I had to learn to cook for myself. Yes, my mom still cooked most things for me, but I had to do some on my own. This book explains basic cutting techniques, how to properly cook meat, and how to make perfect eggs. It’s definitely something I’ll reference as I continue on my cooking journey.
Aside from learning all about this program and its benefits, the most important take away to me was that eating habits must change. I’ve always had an unhealthy relationship with food, but it never really hit me until I was reading this guide. I thought the program was way too restricting since it didn’t even allow for those simple, two-ingredient pancakes (not that I’d eat them anyway). But reading why they weren’t allowed was a light-bulb moment. You can’t just recreate the bad foods with good ingredients and expect things to change. You’d basically be doing the same thing as a before. Then probably become hooked on these pseudo-sweets instead of the real thing. I learned that I have several trigger foods, and I need to avoid them until I can learn to eat them in moderation. It’s a whole new way of thinking, not just a new way of eating.