This is another book that I have gifted quite a bit to get some friends and family started on a better diet. It Starts with Food is based on the Whole30 protocol from the Whole9 website. The guidelines are very strict if following the Whole30 program but it is useful in given you a good basis for how to eat more so than exactly what to eat. It's also less of a recipe book although there are some base recipes in the back to help things along but they're fairly free form cooking in that you're given base ingredients and it's up to you to spice as needed.
In general I feel like this is an excellent book to get people to basically reset their current diet and body and get their natural rhythm in order. Not only will you be eating at fairly specific times in the day but you may have to alter things like eating a big breakfast upon waking, going to sleep earlier, disconnecting from electronic devices well before bedtime etc. This is a great way to get things back in order with the body and, like I said, reset things. When doing the protocol I found that concentrating on what I was eating and playing some classical music during dinner helped to keep me focused on the meal. Prior to that I would be slamming the last bite into my mouth and chewing it up while I was cleaning dishes. So, the protocol made me slow things down.
The book is also ideal for translating fairly dense biological terms into easily read and consumed ideas. It outlines in fairly decent details why a paleo-esque diet is ideal for the body. It goes into detail about insulin issues and how/why to get all hormones in balance.
I applaud the authors for being able to condense a lot of research and sometimes complex subjects into a simplistic read that anyone can grasp. My only complaint is the actual food section. For someone not used to cooking all that often it can be a bit confusing and or daunting to figure out the meal plan. The good news is that Whole9 is packed with extra articles and food plans to help you along that are much more robust than the book. I think that is the only failing here. The rest of the book is well worth the time and effort to read it and it's a fairly short read as well. It's a book that could be read in a weekend and implementing the practice the next week.
I won't say that the actual Whole 30 protocol has to be done after reading the book but you'll get a much better idea on how to approach a somewhat drastic change in your diet and even lifestyle. This is one of those book that could literally change your life in unexpected ways should you pay attention to what's being said.