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1,362 of 1,568 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually, it is hard, June 21, 2012
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This review is from: It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways (Hardcover)
One quote that keeps popping up is "this is not hard compared to birthing a baby, quitting heroin, or beating cancer." Actually, it is. I haven't got any experience with heroin, but I had 7 unmedicated births, 2 c-sections, and I beat cancer. Those things are hard, too but that doesn't make this easy. This is hard. It's hard to eat this way in a world that doesn't. It's hard to cook for a big family -- either all eating this way, or them eating this way and me not eating what they're eating. It's hard to stick with it day in and day out. It's not too terribly hard for a few weeks, but it is hard as a lifestyle. I feel anti-social. I know my eating habits put a damper on others' enjoyment when our eating out choices are dictated by my "can'ts." I know I've offended more than one gracious hostess with my polite, "No thank you." And I do miss crafting a perfect loaf of artisan bread or making my grandmother's homemade pasta. I miss tomatoes fresh from the garden with olive oil and fresh mozzarella. I miss handing on food traditions of generations to my own children. I couldn't care less about sugar and I'm not lamenting processed foods at all. They were never in my diet. I'm struggling with the limited choices of real food left for me.

Admittedly, because of autoimmune issues, I'm eating the extreme end of this spectrum, eliminating nightshades, eggs, nuts, and coffee in addition to the other foods. This kind of eating got just a passing mention in the book, yet a large population of readers is reading precisely because they're battling autoimmune disease. Note: this book doesn't recommend giving up coffee even in cases of autoimmune disease, but other research (and my personal experience) does bear that out. And giving up coffee wasn't terribly difficult. Peppers, curry seasoning, eggplant... those things are missed.

I'm not complaining and I think it's worth it, but I do think that in a future edition, the reader would be better served if there were more practical ways to cope with the everyday challenges of eliminating what is objectively a lot of food choices. For instance, two of the "go-to" recipes call for nuts. That works for some readers, but it doesn't work for the autoimmune folks. So, what's offered as a standby is just one more (two more) thing on the "don't" list.

I still think this is a valuable resource, but for most folks, longterm success with eating this way is going to take more than, "You can do it. It's not as hard as childbirth or cancer."
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Showing 1-10 of 50 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 15, 2012 4:39:29 PM PDT
Well-put! I haven't read the book, but the last few years have involved life-altering dietary changes for me: counter-cultural, and challenging, to say the least. I get the concepts of this new way of eating, and agree with them. But, it is exhausting and requires a certain kind of sustained energy that many people don't realize outside of a pretty limited sphere. Thank-you for such a well-articulated opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 18, 2012 3:42:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 18, 2012 3:46:47 PM PDT
Well I have started reading the book and I already read where they've addressed your concerns. For example, they tell you not to rely heavily on nuts regardless of your condition. They made an excellent point that really saved me and allowed me to drop those last pesky 10-15 lbs that were a struggle: Eat more fat (good fat, of course) it helps with satiety with the brain and OMG did it do the trick!!! No more cravings and the weight just started to melt and left definition I've never had before :)

KISS. Meat, veggies, and spices. Apart from that it's just a matter of exploring different recipes of combining those options and there are plenty. What's so hard about that? Don't over-think it.

You should take another read ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 9:52:38 AM PDT
Martha says:
C Hudgins: I don't think the reviewer was debating the information included in the book or trying to lose weight, specifically. She was talking about the sadness she feels in giving up some foods that she truly loves-not junk, but eggplant, not Doritos, but curry powder. As someone who loves food myself and who has lost 180 pounds, I understand the idea of grieving foods that she needs to abstain from for her own well-being. When you've spent a lifetime making handmade bread for others as a way to show them you love them, and now you know that you shouldn't make them that bread, it is hard.

As I always tell people who ask me about my weight loss, "It's a daily discipline. Or, depending on the day, it's a daily struggle." Today is a good day, and it's merely a daily discipline. I, however, will be eating eggplant and tomatoes tonight with my ground pastured bison (from Thunderheart in Austin-yum!), and the reviewer won't be. Ever. That's a hard psychological adjustment to make, adding insult to injury with whatever autoimmune issues she's suffering from.

For me, I now feel physically and mentally crappy when I eat crappy food. I feel physically better when I eat foods that are better for me. In Weight Watchers, they always say, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." This is complete BS. In OA, they say, "Nothing tastes as good as being abstinent feels." I always thought that was crazy, too. In fact, I'm finding that being abstinent from certain foods does, consistently, make me feel better. That is the strongest motivator I can find for continuing to make healthful choices.

Best of luck to you, Elizabeth, as you navigate this road of autoimmune issues. One day at a time. : )

Posted on Aug 26, 2012 1:46:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 28, 2012 10:53:14 PM PDT
Elizabeth, I am right there with you. You are not alone, but rather at the front. The whirlwind days of eleven pregnancies, childbirths and newborns, toddlers and elementary schools, spent largely trying to keep the grocery budget to an absolute minimum had left my body with rampant systemic autoimmune/weight issues, my husband with high blood pressure, allergies, and abdominal fat and my oldest daughter with severe metabolic deficiencies and borderline obesity. Luckily, I had read Covert Bailey's Fit or Fat in the 70's and was already skeptical of mainstream medical nutritional advice. I was able to significantly reduce the crippling arthritis pain on my own by reading alternative health books at the library in the early nineties but, indeed, it was a very lonely road and I, too, always struggled with how much physical pain I would experience versus which foods I would be eating in various social situations. I actually went to my local community college to take night classes in Chemistry, Physiology, Nutrition etc. to try to understand the relationship between my diet and my body. That was hard. The internet made things much, much easier to find a more nutritionally aware doctor. Finally, one doctor actually recommended that my husband read Dr. Al Sears' book P.A.C.E., and since the man in the white coat with the medical degree had recommended it, my husband actually read it. Our lives changed from there. He was much more inclined to read books that I recommended and now that we both follow the same nutrition plan, I only cook one meal for everyone, breakfast and dinner and I pack all the lunches including my husband's (with much help, of course). He is now in better physical condition than he was when we were in our thirties and he has started a trend in his office now, so his office social life actually consists of pot luck salad days. My oldest daughter has jumped on board and completely dropped sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, etc but still can't resist processed "vegan" faire occasionally, but she has made great strides with her health/weight and will get control of her body and be fine. However, some of the rest of the kids do feel very sorry for themselves. One problem, as you know, is the well meaning relatives who bring bread & "treats" for the kids as if they are somehow deprived or starving. I had to resort to throwing things in the trash right in front of them, to make them stop. "I just can't afford to pay for more cavities or doctor's visits anymore because I would rather buy real food with my money"! That was unbearably hard because I love these people and they love me. On the bright side, I volunteer for lunch duty at one of my kids school, a local charter k-12 where there is no federally subsidized lunch program or mom sponsored hot lunch program, and I will tell you that every year more and more moms are eliminating more and more processed food from their kids lunches. I have tried to get creative with my "Mom's Paleo Bento" so my younger kids will be the envy of the lunch table rather than the poor kid without a sandwich, juice OR cookie, and even now, I see more and more kids with an applegate hot dog with no bun or homemade meatballs with no pasta OR tomato sauce! etc. etc. Last year, when my 7th grader, who attends a private school, was complaining to her friends about how much she missed eating cereal for breakfast, all five girls at her table began reminiscing about the days when there was always cereal and milk in the house and now they never have cereal and milk is a luxury, so please take heart. Keep doing what you have to do to keep you and your kids healthy. They will realize the gift you have given them in due time. In the meantime, we now have a hen house for the pastured eggs, an ever expanding garden and plans for a small greenhouse, a graywater system for some trees and vines and a duck pond, etc. etc. Yes, it is not cheap, but as the kids get older and become more independent, they will be much better off understanding that they need to produce what they NEED rather than just consume what someone else has produced and needs to sell. You are totally correct. Is it not easy at all, in fact, I think it is actually the hardest thing I have done in my whole life and, further, it would actually be much easier and enjoyable for me to just have 11 more children if it meant I could go back to just grabbing a bunch of produce and cheap meats off a shelf and throwing crap on the table and buying cafeteria meals for school kids and just ordering pizza when I'm too busy to even think about dinnertime. Instead, everyday I choose to be a part of my children's, grandchildren's and great grandchildren's lives and I believe that this is the only way that it is going to happen. Best of luck to you and yours from me and mine.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 28, 2012 4:46:30 AM PDT
Sarahjoy says:
That is an amazing story. Thank you for sharing!

Posted on Sep 30, 2012 9:05:15 AM PDT
ReadsALot says:
First..... it is hard. You are having to give up a lot of things. And what you are giving up up is real food (yes, grains and dairy are real food) as opposed to processed junk. As you said, you're having to stop preparing foods associated with a long-standing tradition. That's different than many who are ditching junk food and fast food.

Remember that this is supposed to be a thirty-day trial, not a permanent thing. This is a 30-day elimination diet. At the end of it, you are supposed to add back in things and see how they affect you. The book has a reasonable plan for doing so, and you can use that same process for all the other things that you are taking out. At the risk of irritating readers here, if a food doesn't affect you when you add it back, KEEP IT IN YOUR DIET. Even if that's grain and dairy.

Also take a look and see what else in this diet is different than what you were doing before. Are you actually sitting down and eating a hearty breakfast? Three meals a day vs grazing? The increased vegetable consumption alone is beneficial for many with various illnesses. These things as well can make a difference in how your body feels and reacts.

Look, no one has any evidence that people are "not meant" to eat grains, and we're finding evidence that even 100,000 years ago people had quite a bit more starch in their diets than we thought. There is a school of thought, though, that alterations to modern wheat are causing problems. (I've had people who had no problem eating bread and pasta in Europe but get issues with it in America). Celiac used to be rare, and showed up mainly in children. NOw it is far more common, is showing up in adults, and so are gluten sensitivites. IT's unlikely people were just overlooking this years ago; it's more likely that something in recent decades is causing people to react to wheat. Modern dairy may have some issues as well. Do bear in mind that most of our ancestors weren't drinking fresh milk - Italians eat some cheese, but think drinking milk is for kids!

Anyway, hang in there and good luck.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 6, 2012 10:46:23 AM PDT
I just found this comment and the timing is awesome. Martha, thank you so much for taking the time to understand and to respond.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2012 8:32:04 AM PDT
Lift E says:
Elizabeth, many autoimmune diseases result from problems with intestines. Try to add saturated fat to every meal, it helps heal the intestines. It usually takes 2-4 months to work. Up to 6 month, but you have to be consistent for it to work. Coconut oil and grass fed beef fat especially good.

Posted on Oct 19, 2012 5:06:56 PM PDT
Eileen says:
For autoimmune issues, I recommend the GAPS diet. It's very similar to Paleo, but includes specific nourishing foods that heal the condition (bone broth, fermented foods, cod liver oil), and it's a temporary diet, rather than a permanent one. One of the reasons I chose GAPS over the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol is that the Paleo protocol is forever and it's far more limiting than GAPS. Don't get me wrong - GAPS is restricted, but nuts and eggs are allowed.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 8:28:57 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 4, 2012 8:43:18 AM PST
Per BooneBuyer's posting, the GAPS diet is not appropriate for all autoimmune patients so readers should make an informed decision before following another reader's advice on Nuts and eggs are high in lectins, an inflammatory plant protein. Here's one reference in the British Medical Journal, Do Dietary Lectins Cause Disease? For more about lectins, see this and this
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