Whole30 The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

We are cookbook lovers. We live to cook and enjoy food. Yet, like everyone else there are times when we need a re-set, a jump start to help us make better choices of how we fuel our bodies.
If you follow any social media, no doubt you have had friends posting over the last few years about Whole30. I admit at first I thought another fad when I would see the posts. Slowly, as I witnessed testimonials and the continuing momentum the program built – I now bask in the Whole30 light. My goal was to begin this program this month but due to one illness after another when eating isn’t even something I’m thinking about – I have postponed embracing Whole30 until February. 
Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig are the team who began it all with It Starts with Food and The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. The latter title has become the bible for the Whole30 program. The book shares over 100 chef-developed recipes, an easy to follow overview of the program, a timeline on what to expect during the 30 days and more. The recipes continued in this title look great – Ribs, Lemongrass Chicken Skewers and Walnut Crusted Pork Tenderloin are just a few that caught my eye. Delicious dishes with some international flavors including condiments and sauces such as chimichurri, flavored mayonnaise and vinaigrettes – makes this program approachable and makes this cook happy.
Food Freedom Forever: Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food by the Co-Creator of the Whole30 by Melissa Hartwig is the second book in this trifecta of good eating. This title focuses on re-educating readers on healthy eating and removing the “good” and “bad” associations with food. It offers success strategies, tips for indulging mindfully and other helpful information to help keep you on track. This book is the pep-talk when needed. I also appreciate Hartwig’s view that diet isn’t a bad word – the word describes what we take into our bodies. Diet is a four letter word that sometimes, in my opinion, sets us up for failure and is synonymous with deprivation. The Whole30 approach doesn’t feel like deprivation at all.

If the cover of The Whole30 Cookbook: 150 Delicious and Totally Compliant Recipes to Help You Succeed with the Whole30 and Beyond was missing – one would not know that this cookbook focuses on healthy eating from the dishes contained inside. With recipes like Turkey Curry Meatballs with Roasted Vegetables and Lemongrass Cream Sauce, Almond-Crusted Sole with Chive-Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Spinach, Crispy Angry Chicken Drummies – sign me up. Foods we would normally enjoy are reconfigured in a healthy manner – how can we not love this program? Even if you don’t follow the program religiously – the recipes and advice in these books can keep you satisfied and more geared toward healthy eating so that when those indulgences do occur they don’t break the bank (or rip the pants). It’s a win-win.
Special thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt who is offering two sets of the three books to our U.S. Eat Your Books members. Head over to our contest page to enter. We also appreciate the publisher sharing one of the recipes from the new cookbook – how good does this bowl look? 


Cubes of sweet potato get crispy and caramelized in the oven. Their natural sweetness complements the slightly spicy coconut milk sauce. So good!
SERVES 2 PREP: 30 mi CHILLING: 30 to 60 mi
COOK: 30 mi     TOTAL: 1 hour plus chilling

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon coarse salt
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
(5 to 6 ounces each)
1 medium orange sweet potato or Okinawan sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, cut into thin wedges (about ¾ cup)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 small zucchini (about 8 ounces), trimmed
½ cup canned coconut milk (see Tip)
½ cup Chicken Bone Broth (page 284) or Whole30-compliant chicken broth
1 cup lightly packed baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Combine the ginger, olive oil, half the garlic, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and the red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Cut the chicken into bite-size strips. Add the chicken to the ginger mixture and toss to evenly coat. Cover and chill for 30 to 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. In a shallow roasting pan, combine the sweet potato and onion. Sprinkle with ⅛ teaspoon of the black pepper and ⅛ teaspoon of the salt. Add ½ tablespoon of the coconut oil. Bake, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the coconut oil has melted. Toss the potato mixture to coat with the oil and spread it into an even layer in the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes more, stirring twice, until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned.

Use a spiral slicer or julienne peeler to cut the zucchini lengthwise into long, thin noodles (or use a regular vegetable peeler to cut the zucchini lengthwise into thin ribbons). In a large skillet, heat the remaining ½ tablespoon coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, the remaining garlic, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and remaining ⅛ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, tossing gently with tongs, until the noodles are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the zucchini noodles from the skillet; keep warm.

Add the chicken mixture to the skillet. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and broth. Bring just to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Stir in the spinach.

To serve, divide the chicken mixture between two shallow serving bowls. Top with zucchini noodles and roasted sweet potato. Sprinkle with the cilan¬tro and mint.

TIP Canned coconut milk separates in the can, with the cream rising to the top. Make sure to whisk the coconut milk well before measuring the amount needed for the recipe.

Text excerpted from THE WHOLE30 COOKBOOK
© 2016 by Melissa Hartwig. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Photograph of the Ginger-Coconut Chicken “Noodle” Bowl by ©  Brent Herrig. 

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  • rchesser  on  January 12, 2017

    I too was skeptical of it being another fad but just yesterday, my boyfriend's and my doctor was telling him he needed to lose a lot of weight and mentioned the Whole30, thanks Jenny!

  • Jenny  on  January 12, 2017

    I may not wait until February to start – if I continue to feel better – thinking of starting Monday.

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