Monthly Archives: January 2013

It Starts with Food, the review


pages of notes (and if you looked inside my book you would see notes written all over the place plus paper clips marking many pages and passages)

Dallas Harwig says, “food can change your life and It Starts with Food will show you how.”

Dallas and Melissa Hartwig are the husband and wife tagteam bloggers behind and the whole30 program. They are also pretty famous for their tough love!!  They wrote an awesome book, It Starts with Food, and I was lucky enough to be sent a copy to review for the blog.  This book is full of information about the whole30 program. You do not need to read the book because the ENTIRE whole30 program is (and always will be) available online for FREE on the whole9 site. However, I highly recommend you read the book!

I thought I knew about the whole30 program.

After reading, It Starts with Food, I understand much more of the “whys” and the how of this program! Dallas and Melissa break down the science of food and its effects on the body. And they do it in a way that makes sense to normal people. By normal people, I mean people without fancy science degrees. Melissa even calls it the “science-y stuff” and if you know me, you know I love that kind of talk!

There is so much science and diet information out there it is easy to go into information overload. According to It Starts with Food this can cause paralysis by analysis, a state in which you take no action.  Who among us lifetime dieters has not been right at this paralyzed state. We know we need to do something so we research and then the information is too overwhelming to know where to start. And while It Starts with Food does give you more information, Melissa and Dallas Hartwig have already completed all the scientific research and made it easy to understand for us non-sciencey people.

The whole30 is “grounded in science, based on thousands of observations and proven results, and anchored with a 30 day structured self-experiment.”

The whole30 was created in 2008/2009 and since then thousands of people have successfully completed the program!

It Starts with Food tells us that all food we eat should do four things. The food we eat should:

  1. Promote a healthy psychological response
  2. Promote a healthy hormonal response
  3. Support a healthy gut
  4. Support immune function and minimize inflammation

What you can hope to learn when you read It Starts with Food:

  • Why dieting doesn’t work but its not your fault – in fact It Starts with Food will tell you all the science-y reasons why we cannot resist.
  • What a “Frankenfood” is and why it wreaks havoc on your body.
  • Difference between satiety and satiation or Prime Ribs and Oreos.
  • The gut is super important in regards to your overall health.
  • what foods can make you feel great!

There is a good hunk of science matter in It Starts with Food. Dallas and Melissa really explain how food works for and/or against your body. And the explain how it all is supposed to work. I wont even try to explain all the science-y stuff because I could never do it justice. You will just have to trust me when I tell you, Dallas and Melissa know their stuff and they want you to know all about it! They want you to be successful on your Whole30 challenge.

It Starts with Food and the whole30 is said to change your life  in unexpected ways. I believe it will!! I was so skeptical about the whole30 but after reading It Starts with Food I was ready to take the challenge. Are you??

Disclaimer: I received a copy of It Starts with Food to read and review. All thoughts are my own!


let’s talk about food.


Big Man is making dinner tonight.

This is indeed a rare treat!!

I have pretty much taken over the reigns in the kitchen…would you believe when we first met, Big Man did all the cooking and I burnt water. Now, I love putting together meals and menu plans. I love food more than possible. I learned how to cook by watching Paula Deen and Emeril on foodnetwork. And, I got good at it!

I have tried all sorts of food styles and types (usually to go along with whatever “diet” I was trying at the time. Over the last 5 years, I have tried Weight Watchers, blindly cutting calories, nothing but hoping the weight would come off, Visalus, and a gaggle of other diets. With each one, I had initial success but nothing lasted.  I tried to fit in my favorite food, or modify them to be lower calorie, or only have them once in a while. None of that worked.

I recently read an amazing book, It Starts With Food (ISWF) and my mind has been opened! I have a formal book review coming tomorrow night but tonight I want to talk about food and a little bit about my Whole30 experience.

Today is Day 22 of my first Whole30 Challenge. I chose to do the Whole30 after reading ISWF, and as cliche as it is, I started my Whole 30 on January 1st!

Initial worries:

  • coffee with NO cream or creamer or splenda
  • was I going to be hungry?
  • was food going to be boring?
  • was I going to be hungry?
  • where’s my coffee?!?!
  • what am I going to eat?!?
  • how is this going to work with family meals (we make it a point to eat dinner at the table together every  night while we can. I know as Q gets older we will not always have this time)
  • really, only 3 meals?!
  • can I do this!?

I have logged everything I have eaten since January 1st. I am using myfitnesspal…my username is mendingjen if you use MFP too! When I am finished the whole30 and I have a bit of time, I may write up a day-by-day food diary for the blog but for now, check out MFP. If we are friends you can see my food logs.

Feast your eyes on this instead!


What I have learned so far:

  • I have not felt deprived.
  • I have enjoyed the food I have been eating. Its pretty and delicious!!
  • I have increased my veggie intake by at least double.
  • I am not snacking, but I have had the occasional snack (when I determined I was truly hungry)
  • I have made huge progress in eating what my body needs not what it thinks I want.
  • I do 1000% better with sweets when I just don’t have any to begin with (insert pasta or bread in place of sweets and it works the same)
  • I can drink black coffee but not every coffee. I like black tea.
  • I like peppers and mushrooms.
  • I can see myself eating like this (not as strict) for the long haul.
  • I miss cream in my coffee. I think I can do without the splenda but I miss cream coffee.
  • I like cashews, especially when paired with a banana.
  • I can sit at the same table while my husband and daughter eat pizza, and eat meat and veggies.


I have one full week after tonight. And I am ready for it!!


Does whole30 scare you? Have you conquered the whole30? What is your favorite veggie dish?



January 1st I made a commitment to start and complete the Whole30 program. I am doing great!! 

January 9th I made a commitment to 30 minutes EVERY day of moving my booty-walking, running, yoga, intense house-cleaning – and I am doing great!! 

Today, January 13th I am making a commitment to blog 3 times every week. My blog has taken a backseat and that is silly. Blogging is like my therapy. I need to use this space to clear my head and let my thoughts ramble. I do some of my best thinking here and in the shower and in the car. Here may be the only convenient place of the three.

COMMITMENT is the perfect word for me this year!

I will continue to make small commitments because I am realizing just how big those small commitments will be for me! I can already see how good they will be. I can already see progress. I am thinking about my commitments. I am honoring those commitments and by doing so,  I am honoring myself.

Eating according to the whole 30 guidelines has been a big switch for me. I am only eating three meals a day each meal containing protein, vegetables and/or fruits and some fat. I am getting lots of fresh vegetables, small amounts of fruit, a decent amount of lean meats every meal. Snacking is not really “allowed” on plan and I have been trying to stick with this “rule” as closely as possible. Not snacking has allowed me to really listen to my body. A few times I have truly felt hunger, I went and found a mini-meal not just a snack.

See, my commitment to whole30 is helping in my commitment to listen more!!

Moving more is loving me more!

I don’t know why I forgot how much I like to move. I like to sweat. A commitment to 30 minutes is not asking too much. And my body will thank me.


Small commitments that lead to a happy place.

A happy Jen.

I can’t wait to see where this year takes me.


This week I make the commitment to:

  1. continuing the whole30 plan
  2. blog 3 times (well, two more times)
  3. move my booty 30-minutes every day.
  4. #yogaaday – I missed yesterday but I will make that up tonight.
  5. That’s it! that is enough for this week!!

What is your commitment this week??

#whole30 Days1-5…the food pics edition


I had this awesome post all written, I was finishing it up this morning and what did I do…hit the wrong button TWICE and trashed the whole damn thing!


So here are my food pics for the first 5 days of eating on Whole30 plan. I will post all my thoughts and maybe more pictures (of Day #6 and #7) later tonight!



Because I really have to get ready for school or I would rewrite this post!!

IS it Monday again?!?!