I am nearly finished with It Starts with Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. The book ends with a "how to" for the Whole 30, but more than the first half is the science behind paleo concepts. My main take-away as they share it: paleo is not about trying to be a caveman, but choosing the most efficient energy source in your food. The purpose of the Whole 30 is to eliminate food groups that research indicates are less than ideal for our bodies. After the 30 days, you reintroduce food groups and determine how they make you feel in comparison to your 30 days of clean eating. It's all pretty straightforward, until it's not.
There are lot of contradictions in the book. The authors themselves acknowledge that one study supports one claim and then a host of others support its opposite. This goes back to the individualism they support once the 30 days are over: you have to figure out what works for you.
Some parts of their logic made me shake my head. In the section about dairy, they italicized to emphasize that drinking cow's milk is completely ridiculous because it's meant for newborns of a different species. Well, paleo food includes organ meats. You could easily put that in bold letters with a double underline to emphasize you're eating the liver of another animal! Those carnivores eat pigs' heart--PIGS' HEART! That sentence is probably in some vegan book somewhere. Why are humans somehow meant to eat this part of an animal and not that? I'm not convinced.
Yet, here's my own contradiction: I doubt dairy will be a major part of my diet after my 30 days are over. Yes, I love cheese--the stinkier the better [see below]--and ice cream is pretty much the perfect dessert, but I used to drink hot chocolate and eat grilled cheese sandwiches regularly and I never felt particularly great after those eats. I feel slowed down after a major dairy session and that's a pretty bad feeling. I want the food I eat to make me feel liking going, not napping.
The authors make a good point about grains and legumes. Using the fact that people have eaten these foods for thousands of years is not a good justification to keep eating them. They point out these were the foods that were eaten because they were readily available and needed for survival, but were not ideal for thriving. And, again, they assert that while beans, for example, are a good source of fiber, many vegetables are a better source. I can agree there, but I'll also be returning to some legumes next week.
They talk about the overconsumption of grains and legumes, but that's not a problem for me. I can guess that for some cultures it could be a problem because of limited food sources and limited money. Black beans will never be my entire dinner, but I do believe they are good source of nutrition and I cannot continue to eat as much animal protein as I have for the past 3 weeks. I want more of a balance in my diet and I also resent how the challenge calls for such expensive foods. The ideal animal proteins are local, organic, pastured, grass-fed, and on and on.
Overall, the book is worth a read, especially if you're interested in their view on how food reacts in your body, both physically and psychologically. Of course, the most important thing is how it reacts with you as an individual. I am my own research.
I had bacon and eggs for breakfast. For lunch, a fall salad in the middle of spring with arugula, apples, pears, fresh cranberries, walnuts, and blue cheese. Minus one point. I had shrimp and broccoli in a faux coconut curry sauce for dinner.
I downloaded an app that coaches you through a seven minute meditation. It was nearly impossible for me to focus.