Listen up people. It’s a new year, it’s a new day and if you’re looking to change anything about your health you have to realize- it starts with food.
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog and Facebook for a while, you probably know that I love to lift weights. I love to pick up heavy things and put them down. That’s just good ole fun! But when it comes to revealing your hard earned muscle, you’ve got to fuel your body correctly. Good, whole, clean food will trim your waist and bring definition to your muscles. Lifting weights will SHAPE your muscles but clean eating reveals them.
I was sent this book about a month ago in order to read and review it. I’ve been so busy with finals, family, workouts and holidays lately that I haven’t had much time to sit down and read. Two days ago I finally decided to dedicate a lazy day to reading this book and wow, I’m pretty sure I’ve never gobbled up a book so fast in my entire life. I’m an English major, so obviously I love to read, but unfortunately I’m a sloooowwwwwwwww reader and it can take me up to a month to get through some books. Sad:( But I’m already done with this book and even more impressively- it seriously impacted me. It made some amazing sense and if you’re into fitness, health and always striving to achieve optimum health, I recommend you pick this one up.
It Starts With Food is about adopting a paleo lifestyle for 30 days to reset your body, mind, digestive track, taste buds and energy levels. For one month, Melissa and Dallas Hartwig suggest you cut out all dairy, alcohol, grains, legumes and sugars (no not fruit- the fake, artificial and processed junk!) By doing this, you will promote a healthy gut, psychological response, hormonal response and develop a better immune function and minimize inflammation. Now doesn’t that sound fantastic? For so long, people have been including crappy processed foods in their daily diets, inhaling sugars first thing in the morning, binging on beers to “relieve” stress, and relying on coffee to get through their typical work days. These same people face daily migraines, energy slumps, interrupted sleeps, cravings, bloating and digestive problems and probably poor immune systems. These poor people probably don’t realize anymore that these symptoms are not normal or natural. They have become so accustomed to tossing and turning at 3:00 a.m and their afternoon headaches that they don’t even think about finding a way to fix it.
What adopting a paleo lifestyle will do for you goes beyond losing weight. It will increase your energy as well as promote muscle growth (given that you continue to eat plenty of veggies and proteins). What I really like about this book is how they give you scientific backup to why cutting out certain foods would be beneficial to your health. There are reasons why legumes, grains, dairy and alcohol (duh) aren’t good for you but it’s not always obvious. Each chapter has a “summary” so you can recall everything you read about, they give you a list of “forbidden” foods and “acceptable” foods and provide a lot of information to help you make the transition. Of course, going cold turkey for a whole 30 days isn’t much of what most people would call a “transition”…so let me elaborate on what they want you to do exactly.
For 30 days you cut out those foods from your diet…completely. No cheats and no “slips” or else it won’t work. After the 30 days are over, you reintroduce one type of food at a time to see how your body reacts…if you even want to. So on day 31 you may include some milk, Greek yogurt and cheese into your diet and see how you feel. If you feel fine, you can continue to eat diary sparingly…if you don’t feel great, you cut it out altogether and live happily ever after. This program is all about finding your perfect balance. If you had more energy than you’ve ever had in your whole life, better sleep, and no more bloat than stick to the paleo diet- it’s obviously for you! If you miss peanut butter (no legumes, remember! peanuts are a legume!) too much and can’t handle the minor switch to almond butter, than maybe add it back in your diet. Either way, you’re learning about your body.
So now that I’ve received proper information on what the paleo diet means and how it can personally benefit me…I’m going to give it a try! In fact, we’re reaching the end of day 2 for me. I’m hoping that within the next month I’m going to see improvement with my digestion and muscles. If I don’t think I can lift the weigh I want to lift with this kind of diet than so be it…but I have a feeling that’s not going to be the case considering most crossfitters eat paleo because it supports their gains more than any other diet. The only thing I’m not 100% on board with is the amount of fat that’s recommended…. 1-2 servings per meal. I’m going to start cooking with olive oil and eating more avocados though, because without my oatmeal and brown rice my calories will be much, much lower and I need them high in order to put on some more muscle. So even though I love both peanut butter and oatmeal, I know cutting them out won’t be a problem if the benefits are great!
I hope this book looks interesting to you and you’ll do some research on your own to see if paleo may be for you:)
Some other good sites for information on going paleo are-