I love a good makeover, and I love books. Two in one? I’m in heaven. The best-selling book, The Whole 30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig is a cookbook and personal transformation guide. Like any good makeover, you can expect a change in your body, and a shift in the way you think.
A new way of thinking about food
Whole30 offers a 30-day meal plan designed to reset your health, habits and relationship with food so you can overcome cravings and addictions. The science behind Whole30 is covered in the authors’ first book, It Starts With Food. The plan focuses on the quality of food (“real” food) and omits processed foods and sugar, as well as grains and legumes. You will have to say goodbye to cheese, and even hummus (made from legumes) but you can keep your morning coffee if you drink it black or with almond milk.
The Whole30 offers a way of eating that is intended to transform your relationship with food. The plan is designed to quash cravings for sugar and empty carbohydrates and encourage foods that meet the four “good food” standards, which are:
- Promote a healthy psychological response.
- Promote a healthy hormonal response.
- Support a healthy gut.
- Support immune function and minimizes inflammation.
The authors, both nutritionists, claim that their approach to eating will lead to weight loss, better health and improvements in sleep, energy and mood. The approach is based on “the accumulation of more than five years of experience with hundreds of thousands of Whole30 participants, several focus groups and dozens of community surveys.”
As someone who already cooks with whole and unprocessed foods, I loved the recipes I tried, such as Grilled Coconut Curry Chicken and Cauliflower Mash. The recipes are easy to follow and look quite elegant on your plate. Another recipe that makes it look like you slaved over dinner (but didn’t) is the Halibut With Citrus-Ginger Glaze. The delicious touch of ginger makes you forget this is from any kind of “diet” at all. Delicious.
More of what you will take away from Whole 30.
Improve your digestion
The body wants real food in order to operate properly. Eat colorful recipes co-created with Culinary Institute of America-trained chef Richard Bradford that are alive with flavor and good for your body.
Break unhealthy habits
Eating dishes like Melissa’s Chicken Hash (chicken, walnuts, apple and arugula) and the more than 100 recipes included in the book are designed to quiet those urges to run to the pantry for a nighttime snack.
Aspire toward food freedom
If you want to feel in control of what you eat and say goodbye to emotional eating once and for all, this meal plan is designed to bust cravings and achieve what the authors call “food freedom.” The authors give extra tips like “distracting yourself” when you crave something off the plan. Take a walk around your office or drink a glass of water.
Learn to savor
Slow down and be mindful when you are eating. Taste the flavors of your food and enjoy eating meals supporting the health of your body.
Build your kitchen confidence
One of the founding principles of Whole30 is you don’t have to cook complicated meals from fancy recipes—all you need are fresh ingredient and basic kitchen techniques. The book includes a guide for sautéing every vegetable you can think of, kitchen gadget fundamentals, a glossary of knife cuts, and instructions on how to cook the perfect boiled egg. Get ready to become a whiz in the kitchen with its step-by-step tips.
Get some cool extras
Whole30 also includes lots of fun extras like a grocery shopping list, what to eat while traveling, how to handle dining out, success stories/testimonials, tips on how to get your kids to eat healthy and a supportive website community where people go for tips and support. For even more information, go to the website Whole30.com.