It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways

by Dallas Hartwig, Melissa Hartwig


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It Starts With Food outlines a clear, balanced, sustainable plan to change the way you eat forever—and transform your life in profound and unexpected ways. Your success story begins with the Whole30®, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s powerful 30-day nutritional reset.
Since 2009, their underground Whole30 program has quietly led tens of thousands of people to weight loss, enhanced quality of life, and a healthier relationship with food—accompanied by stunning improvements in sleep, energy levels, mood, and self-esteem. More significant, many people have reported the “magical” elimination of a variety of symptoms, diseases, and conditions in just 30 days.

  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • acne
  • eczema
  • psoriasis
  • chronic fatigue
  • asthma
  • sinus infections
  • allergies
  • migraines
  • acid reflux
  • Crohns
  • celiac disease
  • IBS
  • bipolar disorder
  • depression
  • Lyme disease
  • endometriosis
  • PCOS
  • autism
  • fibromyalgia
  • ADHD
  • hypothyroidism
  • arthritis
  • multiple sclerosis

Now, Dallas and Melissa detail not just the “how” of the Whole30, but also the “why,” summarizing the science in a simple, accessible manner. It Starts With Food reveals how specific foods may be having negative effects on how you look, feel, and live—in ways that you’d never associate with your diet. More important, they outline their lifelong strategy for eating Good Food in one clear and detailed action plan designed to help you create a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation, and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food.
Infused with the Hartwigs’ signature wit, tough love, and common sense, It Starts With Food is based on the latest scientific research and real-life experience, and includes testimonials, a detailed shopping guide, a meal-planning template, a Meal Map with creative, delicious recipes, and much more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628600544
Publisher: Victory Belt Publishing
Publication date: 07/29/2014
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 48,493
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

DALLAS HARTWIG, MS, PT, CISSN Dallas Hartwig is a Certified Sports Nutritionist, licensed physical therapist, and functional medicine practitioner who specializes in addressing the underlying causes of disease using a systems-oriented approach. He co-owned and operated a strength and conditioning facility until founding the online community Whole9 ( with his wife, Melissa, in November 2009. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, and travel worldwide to present health and nutrition seminars.
MELISSA HARTWIG, CISSN, RKC Melissa Hartwig is a Certified Sports Nutritionist and RKC-certified kettlebell instructor who specializes in helping people change their relationship with food and create lifelong, healthy habits. She shares resources, writes articles, and provides support to more than one million people a month through the Whole30 website (

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It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
TomDenham More than 1 year ago
Co-workers would ask me if I had had lunch if I was critical or demanding. They noticed that I was meaner when I was hungry and, unfortunately, I was hungry a lot. Eventually I was eating 6 times per day, but still got hungry. And as I got older, I got heavier. My body fat ballooned up to 37 percent. If you had known me in 1994 when I was competing in a marathon (26.2 mile) race every month, you might not believe it possible, but I gained 55 pounds. I decided to do something about it in 2008 and joined a CrossFit gym - lifting weights, performing gymnastic moves, and literally standing on my head doing high intensity exercise three times per week. I ran 5 to 10 miles every weekend. I ate better - lots of salmon and veggies from the frozen food case - but after two years of effort, my body fat was still 27 percent. I had lost 20 pounds, but remained pudgy. Then I heard about Dallas and Melissa Hartwig's Whole30 program. I did my first Whole30 in May of 2010. About two weeks into the program, I noticed that I was sleeping better. Then I started to set new personal records lifting heavy weights in the gym. I felt great and my energy levels stayed even across the day. I quit being so grumpy! I decided to keep following the Whole30 way of eating. After a few months, my annual blood work showed big improvements: good cholesterol - UP, bad cholesterol - DOWN. And I was losing weight. Nothing dramatic, but typically two pounds per month. The two pounds per month continued 15 months and I lost 30 pounds! I finally stopped losing weight when I was just 10 pounds above my marathon running weight from the 90's. And that 10 pounds was all new muscle! I first met Dallas and Melissa Hartwig in 2011 when I attended one of their in-person nutrition workshops. They were just as smart, friendly, and good looking in person as they were online. They are truly inspiring people. And their book - It Starts With Food - is just like them - smart, practical, informative, kind, tough, motivating, inspiring, hopeful... As someone who has read most of the information on their website and attended their workshops, I expected to be familiar with everything in It Starts With Food, but I was wrong. The discussions of food cravings, the psychology of eating, and much of the science was new to me. And the Hartwigs made the science interesting. I wish my high school and college biology teachers had been as clear and practical as them! The Whole30 program is discussed in the book and the Hartwigs explain how you can do your own Whole30 and start getting the same kind of results I got in mine. It Starts With Food is an incredible resource for anyone who wants to develop a healthier relationship with food or who just plain needs to because what they are doing now is killing them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like that the book was straightforward, easy to read, and an interesting take on the whole paleo/primal/eat real food thing. Maybe a little on the nose at times, but tough love sometimes is what it takes. What I did not like was the formatting for the e-reader. Tables were awful to read, and my Nook kept skipping pages at the end with all of the tables. Not easy to read at all.
TheMaxwellsMad More than 1 year ago
I am not a nutritionist, food blogger, medical professional, or anyone 'notable' in the food and nutrition industry. I am just an average mom of 2 who happened to stumble on a new lifestyle. I feel very fortunate to be able to have received a copy of this book for review. Here is my (abbreviated) story: In February of 2011, after being inspired by some incredibly amazing results achieved by a good friend of mine, I jumped in with both feet and started a Whole30. After 2 difficult pregnancies and some pretty steady post-pregnancy weight gain, I found myself about 100 pounds over the limit. Something had to give - I decided to start with food, and Whole30 seemed like a pretty easy and sound way to do it. The first time I hit the Whole9 Life blog, I rolled my eyes at the "Let Us Change Your Life" banner. I mean, how many times had I seen a similar message crammed into some infomercial promising miracles, right? But this wasn't something I had to buy. The information was right there on the blog, free for all to use and try on their own. So I tried it. I figured I would give it 30 days and see how I felt. I really had no intention of making permanent changes to my diet. But after 30 days, I was amazed at how I felt and how my body was already changing. Maybe that tagline wasn't so much BS after all... Within the first week, the ever present hunger that I had been experiencing since the beginning of my first pregnancy: GONE. By the second week, energy levels were up. By the third week, I felt AMAZING. Seriously, amazing. Even with the limited sleep that my youngest child was according me. By the fourth week I was dying to jump on that scale to see if there were tangible results to go along with how great I was feeling: 10 pounds down. INCHES gone from my body! I was in tears. I had not seen the scale move any way but UP in years. And do you know what? They were right! This.Is.Not.Hard! I began to devour anything and everything about Whole30 and paleo and clean eating that I could get my hands on. I am an active member in several communities and I HAVE completely changed my life - all due to Whole9 and this simple little program. Over the next year: exercise, 4 more Whole30s, and a solid paleo lifestyle in between - and I lost 70 pounds and over 40 inches from my body! I have lost more weight than my 2 children COMBINED! Whole 30 and clean eating just plain works. It gets the garbage out and gets the good stuff in. It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change. The information in this book is life changing, life saving, and a guide to a healthy and vibrant lifestyle. Dallas and Melissa manage to present the information in an incredibly straightforward, simple, and humorous manner. They cut right to the chase explaining why and how consuming foods make you either more or less healthy. It Starts With Food is downright brilliant. Even as a reader who is versed and experienced in Whole30, I am finding this book to be a valuable resource. Not only for myself, but as an easy way to explain to others why our food choices are so powerful. Kudos to Dallas and Melissa: you really hit this one out of the park.
Steph_McC More than 1 year ago
5 reasons you need to read ISWF... #1: It's the perfect mix of science and practical application. I'll admit, I like to nerd out on science books. Truth. In ISWF, the Hartwigs provide enough techy goodness to satisfy the left side of anyone's brain while telling us how to put the concepts of the Whole9-foods that make us less and more healthy-into action. From a primer in the major hormones involved in digestion and energy regulation to the details of managing inflammation and gut health, this book is chock full of information and leaves no stone unturned. #2: It addresses the psychological aspect of food. How many of us, at some point in our lives, have felt the following about eating/bodyweight/body composition: guilt, frustration, anger, hopelessness, plagued with uncontrollable habits despite wanting to change? They describe how modern processed food-appropriately termed "food with no brakes"-makes our brains addicted and shapes our habits in ways that we aren't even consciously aware of. ISWF also delves into the social aspects of food and how we treat the process of mealtime. #3: It is realistic. The Hartwigs realize that at some point, everyone who reads ISWF/does a Whole30/cleans up their diet can't stay in perfect lock-step forever (and who would want to?). People aren't robots! How do we transition from ISWF as an awareness tool and framework to something that is sustainable for life?! Luckily, the book delves into this subject and provides the reader with strategies for determining how to continue their newfound healthy way of eating (let's all agree to stop using the word "diet" okay?!). #4: It's entertaining and fun to read. Having been fortunate enough to hang out with Melissa and Dallas in person and interact with them via the Web, I can say that this book sounds like them and is true to their message. They're notoriously witty, and ISWF is no exception. The book blends some classic zingers and tough love lines with enough motivation and positivity to get you through. Anyone who's read about the Whole30 before no doubt remembers, "Please don't tell us this program is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard." When you read down to the bottom of the page you see, "You can do this" in bold letters. It's like a kick in the pants followed by a hug and then getting a belly laugh all at the same time. #5: It's got recipes for amazing food. ISWF has a huge appendix of positively drool-worthy eats (which is no surprise because the ever-incredible Melissa Joulwan of Well Fed and The Clothes Make the Girl is behind it all). In case you didn't know, I'm a huge Mel fan and her cookbook has permanent residency in my kitchen. The Meal Map is brilliant and contains several Master Recipes...think of them like the Mr. Potato Head of recipes: the same basic structure but a zillion variations all in neat chart form. It's simple enough for someone brand spankin' new to Whole30/Paleo while also giving an old-timer like me some new kitchen inspiration. Even if you are an old pro at eating this way, I guarantee you'll find something new to try (and love)!
BethTracy More than 1 year ago
Melissa and Dallas have written a wonderful book! They have such a gift for explaining complex biological processes in a clear and understandable way. They explain what food does to your body once you eat it and the effect it has on your health. The title of the book is perfect because you truly come to understand that whatever your health is, your well-being, your happiness, your “whatever” it really does Start with Food! Their Whole 30 program changed my life and I am so happy that countless people will be able to follow it after reading this book. I highly recommend It Starts with Food to anyone who truly wants to change their life in positive ways!
StrongLola More than 1 year ago
This is one of the BEST books out there if you want to improve your diet and understand more about what certain foods do to your body. I usually struggle to read books like this because they become too scientific or boring but this book is different. Dallas and Melissa have an easy, intelligent, interesting way of educating that will keep you interested! If you have to choose one book to learn about a Paleo style diet or even just to improve your own diet...THIS should be the one you choose! You won't be sorry!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read numerous books on paleo/healthy nutrition over the past 2 years. This takes all the information from those books and puts it into one and breaks it down in an easy to understand way.
scott41 More than 1 year ago
I am 41years old and 5'9" tall. I was stuck at 190 lbs for over a year. I exercised like crazy, hired trainers, did crazy workouts (insanity,P90X etc) nothing worked. I thought I was eating ok but after reading this book I was not. After the first thirty days I lost 10 lbs and at week 6 I am at 14 lbs lost. My energy is outstanding and I feel better than I did at 20. I have recommended this book to family and friends and now to you. Good luck on your journey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just enough science and common sense bundled up with a kick in the butt to take responsibility for your nutritional health. Easy conversational tone...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy to understand easy to implement in my life daily love it
whatthefluff More than 1 year ago
My husband convinced me to try the Paleo diet after reading this book. I thought, "sure, I'll give it two weeks." Five months later, we are both still going strong! I LOVE PALEO! I keep telling people that it has absolutely changed my life in every way imaginable. My relationship with my husband is stronger than ever before; we communicate so much better. I am no longer an emotional wreck at the drop of a hat due to blood sugar dips. I have amazing energy now. We have finally focused on those projects we half-finish or never start. Our clutter is disappearing because we can finally let go of things we don't need. It's strange how changing what you eat can change so very much. Oh and the husband and I have lost more than 50 pounds combined. We didn't even realize we had so much weight to lose. He's gone from a pants size of 34 to a 28 and I have dropped from a size 12 to an easy 4. I just can't say enough. This book can change your life if you let it.
gothmom More than 1 year ago
This book breaks it down for you, simple for simple people.
RaeVynn More than 1 year ago
I started with "Wheat Belly", and then picked up It Starts With Food. This is a great way to learn about the effects of our food choices, and how to eliminate known/suspected irritants from your life. Love the way it is presented.
AnnWendel More than 1 year ago
Review of It Starts With Food You know how you look forward to Christmas morning? Even as an adult, you wake up a bit early, filled with expectation? That’s the way I felt waiting for It Starts With Food to arrive in the mail. I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy to review, and as luck would have it, my copy arrived just before Memorial Day weekend. I spent three days sitting in the sun (soaking up Vitamin D!) while reading this book with a highlighter in one hand and a pen in the other. I recommend that you buy a few highlighters before your copy arrives! This book is filled with good information throughout. Whether you are brand new to the idea of eating real food, or a seasoned veteran, you will open this book again and again over the years to refresh your thinking on important topics such as hormonal factors which influence our brain and body (insulin, leptin, glucagon, and cortisol), the mechanism behind leaky gut syndrome (bouncers defending Club Body), inflammation and autoimmune illnesses, balancing Omega 3 and 6 consumption, and emotional factors that drive our nutrition choices. Along with the good science-y stuff, It Starts With Food teaches you how to plan meals, what a portion looks like, and how to create a meal focusing on delicious, healthy ingredients rather than complicated recipes. They discuss nutrition for special populations (pregnant women, kids, folks with autoimmune illnesses, active individuals and vegetarians/vegans) to help fine tune the plan for your individual needs. I love Dallas and Melissa’s ability to say really brilliant things in short, easy to understand one-liners. I don’t want to spoil the fun for you; but, here are a few of my favorites: • With regards to the myths about Paleo: “We are far more concerned with health than we are with history.” • With regards to research, clinical experience, and observation: “Scientific research + Clinical Experience + Self-experimentation” = win-win-win. • Persistent biological signals lead us to overeat sweet, fatty, salty foods while keeping us malnourished. • It’s all about hormones. • You cannot “out-exercise” poor food choices and the resulting hormonal disruption. • Sugar = sugar = sugar. • Gluten-free is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. • This does require effort on your part. • Start thinking of eating as a nourishing experience. • You are not that busy, you just choose to spend your time elsewhere (in regards to sitting down to eat well prepared, nutritious, delicious foods). • This. Is. Not. Hard. (when compared to birthing a baby, quitting heroin, or beating cancer). • At some point, you need to start making positive, sustainable changes in other areas of your life too, so… • Don’t (only) look for a nutritional solution to a lifestyle problem. The best news is that It Starts With Food will begin shipping on June 12th, so the wait is almost over! I highly suggest that you buy this book (I recommend the hardcover so you can use your highlighter, but I tend to be old school!). You will refer to this book over and over as you continue your journey to health. I am so impressed by Whole 9’s first book, and happy to call Dallas and Melissa friends. These guys are going to change your life.
GratitudeVM More than 1 year ago
Even if you do not do the Whole 30 Program - you will be amazed at what you will learn from this book. Dallas and Melissa put into layman's terms your body's relationship with food. Meaning how your organs, cells, brain, thoughts, etc react when you choose to put a certain food into your body. Our body is amazing and we must have more respect for it and this book highlights that so well. I saw a saying on a t-shirt one day that I will never forget and it read: "If you don't take care of your body, what ya gonna live". Oliver Wendell Holmes stated "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions". Life is all about choices - so choose the good ones!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book skimming it the first time just to get started, I am now slowly rereading it. I have been following this 30 day cleanse for11 days and have lost 9 pounds. My cravings are gone, I sleep better, my joints are happier,more clear minded. I can seriously walk by a plate of cupcakes and pasta with out a problem now. I'm someone who for years have tried to lose weight doing everything under the sun. I'm finally releasing it, and feeling stronger. I had bad sugar and carb addiction, with no control over it, until I began eating in this way. The book is well written without a lot of the fancy scientific studies, If you are interested in that all the sources are listed in the back of the book and there are a lot! They are very to the point, they don't hold back, with their instructions and discussion sometimes with a little tough love. It is very simply put, easy to follow cleanse by eating lean meats, vegetables , and moderate fruit is the main foods.. After 30 days you experiment adding the excluded foods and see what affects you physically and mentally. That is how you learn how these foods affect you . Thats when You can decide if it is worth eating it.. at all or possibly in a limited amount. I really liked this book, and I think you will too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read on Paleo, I found it informative to the extent of what to eat and why. This book is worth the money, but there are better Paleo books available that will get you started faster, look to Mark Sisson, Loren Cordain, or Robb Wolff would be my suggestion.
lovecavaliers More than 1 year ago
Really well organized. Great information. Makes perfect sense. following the Whole30 - making big changes and feeling great.
SteveFMKE More than 1 year ago
I read this after joining a Whole30 challenge at my gym. I was a little skeptical about some of the Hartwig's claims at first, but after completing the plan I'm a believer. I lost a significant amount of weight in the 30 days and discovered ways to incorporate these healthier options into my life going forward.
Tomterrific More than 1 year ago
My daughter has been on the "diet" suggested in this book for a few months now and her health has improved and several aches have disappeared; plus she had lost over 25 pounds. She is after me to try it for the 30 days suggested in the book. It is an easy read and tells you how to follow the plan shown in the book. My wife and I are ready to get started on this plan.
N525 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book, funny and well written-easy to follow instructions, there is also a web site that is very supportive. I am in my 60's and losing weight takes for-ev-er. like a pound a month is considered good for me. Lost 8 lbs the 30 days I did this-told my neighbor about it and she bought the book and lost 12 pounds. But more important is how you feel eating this way, I was not sleepy in the middle of the day, felt great all day and both my neighbor and I noticed we were just not getting that 4PM slump. It's a challenge the first few days, but stick with it, it's worth the effort. I have son who is autistic and he has really benefited from this way of eating-he said he doesn't feel so "foggy" and I've noticed his focus seems to be better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FINALLY!!! I have long awaited this book and it's HERE! I discovered the Hartwig's awesome website/blog long ago and the best of the basics are condensed in these 320 perfect little pages. What I loved about this book was the utter honesty and love that shine through as you read it - it's funny, serious, scientific, real. These two actually care about what they are talking about and they speak at a level that is easy for anyone to understand. Even if you like the more scientific approach they give you that - seriously, they have 20 pages of references! Being a vegetarian I am turned off by a lot of these "paleo" books but this is more about FOOD, all food, and what it does in our bodies after we put it in our mouth. I appreciate that they speak to their entire audience - vegetarians, vegans, athletes, pregnant/breastfeeding moms, kids. This book will raise your body awareness and make you look at food in a whole new way. Then, your life will be changed for the better.
BenABA More than 1 year ago
Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, creators of Whole 9 and friends of CrossFit Albuquerque, have written and just released a new gem of a book. It Starts With Food, is a witty, informational, instructional, fun, and pointed book. IT WILL ALSO CHANGE YOUR LIFE. If you haven't stepped up to trying the Whole 30, this is the book that will make you take the plunge. They do an excellent job of explaining why you should change your eating habits...and change them now. The science and explanations are credible, yet easily digestible for everyone. They don't beat around the bush, yet acknowledge what we all know and think: this is HARD, but doable. Yet, the book is written such that you put it down wanting to change your food and your life immediately. The change part is in the book, in plain English for your taking. It Starts With Food includes the Whole 30 program which is your road map for the first 30 days of the rest of your life. Then and most importantly it leads past those first 30 days to life long healthy eating habits. This is NOT a diet book. This is a fun, tasty, yet healthy way to live all packaged into a book that is hard to put down. Of all the "Paleo" books on my shelf, this is the book that I would recommend first.
AndyDeas96 More than 1 year ago
Dallas and Melissa have done the impossible with this book - they have taken scientific topics and made them accessible to the average reader while remaining true to their classic Whole9 writing style. This book is entertaining, enlightening, and fun to read. A must have for anyone serious about improving their health!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago