What is WHOLE30?
The WHOLE30 is a reset in which you temporarily eliminate commonly problematic foods and create new healthy food habits. At the end of the 30 days, you systematically reintroduce the foods you missed eating and evaluate how they affect your body. Think of it as a science experiment on yourself to learn how the food you eat affects you. Then, you’ll make informed decisions about what, when and how much you eat in order to feel your best.
Why would I do a WHOLE30?
Besides being able to make informed decisions about how what you eat affects you, WHOLE30ers have reported a long list of Non-Scale Victories (or NSVs), including improved skin, sleep, energy, confidence, and many more physical, emotional and lifestyle benefits. In addition, many report losing weight, but that is not the focus of WHOLE30. The WHOLE30 program helps you take control of the food you eat, instead of having it control you. Only you can determine the best foods for your body so you can be your healthiest. The WHOLE30 is a temporary 30-day elimination plan; it is not intended to be a long-term food plan. There’s no “food freedom” in following a restrictive set of rules.
What can I eat during a WHOLE30?
You will eat real, whole food:
- Moderate portions of meat, seafood & eggs
- Lots of vegetables
- Some fruits
- Healthy natural fats
- Herbs, spices & seasonings
What is eliminated?
You will eliminate:
- Added sugar, real or artificial
- Alcohol in any form, not even in cooking
- Grains (wheat, oats, corn, rice, quinoa, …)
- Legumes (beans, lentils, soy, chickpeas, peanuts, …)
- Dairy (milk, cream, cheese, yogurt, ice creams, …)
- Carrageenan, MSG & sulfites (common additives)
- Baked goods, junk foods or treats made from “approved ingredients”
Are there any exceptions?
There are some exceptions. These are allowed:
- Ghee or clarified butter (the only dairy allowed)
- Fruit Juice
- Green beans, sugar snap peas & snow peas (the only legumes allowed)
- Vinegar, except malt vinegar
- Coconut aminos (often substituted for soy sauce)
Yes, one final thing (and this can be the hardest for some):
Do NOT step on the scale or take body measurements during the 30 days!
Can I Have ... ?
What can I expect during the WHOLE30?
Everyone is different, and no 2 Whole30s are the same, even if done by the same person. With that said, this timeline was created based on common trends found from clinical experience. Your Whole30 also varies on how you’ve eaten up until you start the Whole30; typically, the greater the change, the more adjustment your body may require. But again, everyone is different. The first week of my first Whole30 was rocky – no energy and “hungover,” but before that, I was eating a low-fat, low-protein, grain based diet. It was all worth it when that Tiger Blood kicked in the 3rd week!
Also, there’s no such thing as a “perfect” Whole30. As long as you follow all of the rules for 30 days, it’s a successful Whole30. Whatever works for you. Some people like to whip up different gourmet meals every day, while others have no problem eating the same breakfast 3 days in a row. Some prefer to have meals planned and prepped in advance, while others like to keep basic ingredients stocked and try various combinations based on what sounds good at the time. I’m somewhere in between – some prep on Sundays, some sort of salads for lunch during the week, ingredients for go-to meals on hand, and try a new recipe or 2 each week.
What is FOOD FREEDOM?
Food freedom is feeling in control of the food that you eat, instead of food controlling you.
– Melissa Hartwig Urban, Whole30 cofounder
Life after your Whole30 reset and reintroduction is called food freedom in the Whole30 world. The Whole30 is designed to be an experiment for you to learn more about how food affects your body. It is not intended to be a long term lifestyle; following strict rules is not sustainable and you’re not truly in control of the food you eat. Everyone’s food freedom is different. Based on the results of your Whole30, you determine:
- the foods are ok to eat anytime because they don’t have a negative impact on your body,
- the foods that you never want to eat because the response from eating them was so horrible you never want to experience that again, and
- the foods that affected you negatively, but you’re willing to accept the consequences because the food is so delicious or meaningful. You evaluate these foods on a case-by-case basis and deliberately decide if it’s “worth it”.