Tuesday, May 13, 2014

book report: It Starts with Food

(so yeah....when I say I'm going to research something.....I dive in deep. I am absolutely in no way affiliated with these Whole 30 people--these are 100% my own opinions)
it starts with food // the little red house
I promised to come back with a book report for It Starts With Food....

I loved it.
Like really, really loved it.
It is loaded with information--and it's also very entertaining. 
I knew I would like it--it's food + science--both are right up my alley, but I had no idea how much I would really learn and absorb.

The book is about healing--in more ways than one. Healing our bodies by taking in the most nutrient dense foods possible, and temporarily eliminating foods that could be causing inflammation or other troubles. It's about healing our relationships with food--how and why and what we eat.

I think the beauty of the book is that 10 different people could read it and all take different advice from it--there is something for everyone.

I read about the Whole 30 program (how/what to eat) BEFORE I read the book....and I really wondered why grains, and especially legumes needed to be eliminated for the 30 days. Well, both can cause inflammation--which can manifest itself differently in different people--fatigue, aches, pains, acne, allergies and the list goes on and on and on--there is an entire page....this intrigued me. I was on and off antibiotics for 3 years for Lyme which absolutely wreaked havoc on my entire body. I have spent the last two years trying to heal and rebuild, and never once considered that maybe the whole grains, beans, and peanut butter I love to eat could be hindering my healing process.

Grains, beans and dairy aren't "bad" for you (unless of course they are causing inflammation somewhere in your body), and the book does not recommend eliminating them for life....just 30 days, and then over 10 days you slowly reintroduce everything to see if anything upsets your system. You can then eat according to what makes you feel good.

You don't need to eat this way for life--it's 30 days. If down the road--maybe months or years after you do W30, you feel old habits creeping back--sugar addictions, processed food, not enough vegetables, you can do the program again--even just a few days of it, to kick start your system. The book is about finding a healthy balance in the food we eat.

Do you wake up hungry? I don't--at all. Well guess what?.....we are supposed to. The hormones in our bodies are in there to keep us feeling full all night, and wake up feeling hungry--asking for fuel for our day ahead. I usually get up and get the kids breakfast and off to school, and then come home and make myself a big leisurely breakfast before I head to class. It's usually 2+ hours after I wake up that I actually sit down and eat....this was all new to me.

I have a great relationship with food (pat on back). I was pretty sure I did, but I wondered before I read this book if it would make me feel guilty for enjoying treats....and it didn't! It confirmed to me that I am on the right track, while encouraging me to continue to explore food, eat more vegetables than I ever thought necessary, and enjoy a treat from time to time (done.)

Somehow I am on day 9--ha! I honestly had zero intentions of eating this way for 9 days--I was going to make a treat for Mother's Day, and then I had a cold and couldn't taste....so decided not to waste my time. So here I am, eating vegetables 3 meals a day and not even the teeniest piece of chocolate....and it feels good. If I had a cookie tomorrow I know I'm technically out of the club, but I will continue to eat this way when I can, and enjoy treats, and cheese and everything else when I want to.....that's just how I roll. Mmm...rolls.
I'm basically using this time to "reset" my system--you'll read below that I actually did a very similar program (it was sooooo much harder before) a few years ago.

-more vegetables
-waking up and eating within an hour--I'm working on getting my hormones in order
-eating more at breakfast and lunch to keep me full longer during the day
I want to read the book again in a few months and see what new things I can work on.

-Honestly, everyone.

-I wish I had read this years ago!
A few of you that have been with me for a while may remember when a Dr. put me on a similar diet when we were still experimenting with Lyme treatment--it was absolutely awful, it was only meats, veggies, and nuts (not even fruit!)--and I hardly ate meat at the time, and I didn't eat the variety of veggies that I eat today--I was hungry and sad and didn't understand WHY I was doing it--I was never told the science behind it, only that I shouldn't eat these things. I really had a limited food knowledge, didn't cook that well, and I was also coming off of eating mostly processed foods, so the transition was hard. But after the month of starving, I started to research on my own WHY we need to eat real, whole foods, and how they can help our bodies. That was my turning point--and as much as I hated those 30 days, they changed me, and I am always looking for ways to improve (like reading this book).

-If you find yourself eating a lot of processed food, this book is awesome at explaining why you shouldn't, and it really guides you step by step on how to get yourself on track. Read it.

-You should read this book if you have an unhealthy relationship with sugar. Do you have a hard time passing sugar up? If there is candy in front of you do you eat it every time? Do you NEED sugar every day? Read this book. I love that it talks about "special treats"--treats you make from scratch, dessert enjoyed with your friends or family--something special. One of my favorite quotes is

"One thing we'll tell you right now--the box of doughnuts (or the open bag of pretzels, or the bag of M&Ms) sitting on the break-room counter is not special. You're a grown up. You earn your own money. And if you want doughnuts, pretzels, or a bag of M&Ms, you can walk right into any supermarket or convenience store and buy them. These foods are not special. They're not homemade, or a once-a-year treat, and we're pretty sure they don't evoke fond childhood memories of sitting around the dining room table while Mom pulls things out of the oven [...]Don't indulge in something that's less healthy just because it's around."

-Need to kick a soda habit? Read this book. Soda should be treated as an every-once-in-a-while treat. NOT a drink. An icy Coke with a big chunk of lime + really good fish tacos is a must for me--but it's a treat, not an every day occurrence. It you find that you NEED soda, you should break that habit.

-Do you have a fat phobia? Years ago (before my knowledge of whole food) I thought we were so healthy--you know, because we ate low fat yogurt, and reduced fat peanut butter (ps. that is NOT  peanut butter), low fat turkey bacon (gag). Low fat, non fat.....blehck. Nothing we were eating was real. I was terrified of consuming "fat", because I had no knowledge of good fats. This book encourages you to EAT FAT. But the good kinds! Our bodies need different fats to function and thrive. If you need to heal your relationship with fat, then this book is for YOU.

-Do you have diabetes? Read this book.
-Are you overweight? Read it.
-Do you want to know WHY food reacts in our bodies the way it does? This book is for you.
-Do you have two legs, walk upright, and put food into your mouth with your hands? Then I would totally recommend this book. I truly think there is something for everyone.

About The Whole 30 Program--these are 100% my opinions....so listen, or don't.
If you decide to embark on the Whole 30 journey:
-easy on the processed meats. In researching meal ideas, there is a lot of salami and sausage and bacon and pepperoni going on. Even if they are "W30 compliant", and even though I enjoy these things in small amounts (mmmm bacon).....you do know you shouldn't eat bacon every day, right? Ok, just checking. Don't make your main protein sources these meats too often.
-I've found many people doing the program haven't read, or don't even have the desire to read It Starts with Food. This is what makes parts of W30 seem like a trend to me--people just jumping on board without even knowing why they are doing it....just so they can say they "did it". Read WHY it's important, or you will never be able to change your lifestyle and relationship with food.
-Again, while scouring the web (you guys I was out of school last week so I had all kinds of time to do my research), I've seen girls resorting to EATING BABYFOOD. whhhaaaaaattttttt. You know, because "I just needed a sweet fix." THIS IS NOT THE POINT OF THE PROGRAM. You are supposed to be eating REAL food, and working on your relationship with it...not regressing back to when you were 8 months old. Eat an apple--you have teeth.
-Don't become obsessive. Even if you are eating 100% healthy 100% of the time--if you are obsessing over your food, it's not a healthy relationship. Relax and breathe.

-Read It Starts with Food . Your library should have it (although you may be #76 on the waiting list), or you can find it HERE. I think it's a book you will reference for many many years.
-Take from the book what works for YOU, and ignore what works for everyone else. Any progress towards a healthier lifestyle is a great step.
-Be nice. 
Why do I always have to say this? Don't judge people because they eat differently than you do--you are better than that. Disagree with everything I just said? Fine--don't be mean about it. Don't be so uptight. I used the #whole30 hashtag on a few of my photos on Instagram (totally W30 approved obviously) and was scolded because "you also have a picture of cake in your feed, which is not Whole 30 compliant, so this may cause confusion if people come to your recipes as a reference for Whole 30....thanks for understanding, kissy wink face emoji."
You guys!! Did you know there are hashtag police? What a world we live in! So again, just be nice, mind your own business, and seriously TAKE A BREATH.  

Ok. Enough yapping. Who's hungry?
These are a new favorite around here....
chicken curry wraps // the little red house
Thai Chicken Wraps
whole 30 compliant, this fed my family of 4
-2 chicken breasts
-1 TBS green curry paste
-1/2 cup-1 cup coconut milk
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-fresh ginger
-carrots, shredded
-bell pepper, sliced
-red cabbage
-bean sprouts (not pictured.....our tiny store was out, but we love bean sprouts....I need to grow my own. )
-green onions
-chili sauce (optional)

-dice chicken breasts and saut√©' in coconut oil on medium heat until cooked through. Add minced garlic, fresh ginger, (I used about 1", and grated it) curry paste and 1/2-3/4 cup coconut milk, depending on how saucy you want it. Heat through. 
-Add to washed romaine leaves, and top with veggies, cashews, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. 
NOT PICTURED: because I was hungry and forgot when I took the picture--take some coconut milk, and add in some chili sauce and lime to spice up your wrap.

Thank you ALL for your great comments on last week's Whole 30 post! Keep them coming- I love food talk.
Happy Eating.


willivia said...

i need to go get that book!

thank you for sharing!!

Mandy Lulou said...

I have been wondering what the #whole30 hashtag was all about. Thanks for breaking it down in your post! I'm extremely interested in reading the book. I have high cholesterol (hereditary) and insulin intolerance (also hereditary). Learning about food and what it does to my body is always a good thing.

Jackie said...

I love food! I just bought a cookbook, "Isa Does It" its vegan recipes, since I always think we need more veggies…and we've loved it. I really think I should get this book and read it, I've been trying to steer away from meat more…so maybe we can find other recipes to add to the mix that are vegetarian or vegan from whole30. Thanks for the research and book recommendation!

Hayley said...

Ooooo. I need to make these!

Courtney said...

Good post! And, good idea about having hashtag police. Kissy wink smiley face

julie said...

always so inspiring. im getting that book.

Kelly Jo said...

Ok now I'm totally craving a coke with lime and fish tacos! I promise that's not the only thing I got out of your post haha. I have been thinking about Whole30 for a couple weeks now and 30 days seems so intimidating to me but I think reading the book and taking it day by day at first will be the way I approach it. I think I have a pretty good relationship with food but sugar is my biggest weakness, I eat it everyday. I love learning new things and I think the science behind this all sounds really interesting. Hope you keep indulging us with your whole30 recipes, they have both sounded so delicious!

Lori said...

This was such a great read. Thanks for being so real, it is truly appreciated. I have been on the waiting list at my library for too long to read this book, maybe I should just buy it..... :) I do have a question for you. I would love to try eating this way more, however I get hung up on all of the meat. I only have meat once or twice a week (if that) because I think we don't need it every single day. How did you deal with that? I would LOVE to see your meals or ideas while you've been eating more whole30. :)

Sonja said...

Thank you for such an informative post! I am also trying to eat a bit more "whole" and have a healthier relationship with food, so I guess I should get the book!

However, I do not completely agree with the quote from the book about special foods. Why can't I have a fond childhood memory connected to a processed food? My mom wasn't the homemade meal person, and rarely baked anything, so I have many fond memories of my childhood with her (and my dad) and processed foods...

This does not of course mean I should eat them all the time, but just assuming these kinds of memories don't exist seems a bit naive/elitist? I dunno, guess it hit a nerve.

Anyways! Great post!!! Enjoy a bit of time off from school!

Camilia Lund said...

So glad you wrote this! I may be on board now that I understand it is more about re-aligning & learning about food & my iwn body in relation to it. Thank you!!!

Kate said...

Sheena! I don't comment very often, but I'm a long time reader. I came to your blog today to find your chocolate coconut cream cake recipe (SOO DELICIOUS) and just read your latest post about "spicy chicken and coconut curry soup" and then I thought to myself "oooh these ingredients are whole30 compliant! And then I scrolled down and saw that you just read It Starts With Food! (I did a whole30 last month and I'm still eating whole30 80-90% of the time) the chocolate cake is for a party tonight.. but now I'm feeling a little guilty like I should make a healthier treat.

I have to tell you.. I have made that cake 5-6 times over the past few years and people L.O.V.E. it, I cannot even tell you!

Radhika Chaliha said...

YOU are a gem… one of the nicest finds for me. All your stuff is awesome and this book - thanks so much for the review (and the blogs, the pictures, the food…. for sharing yourself with us) <3

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