What’s the Whole30?
Whole30 is a 30-day clean-eating plan designed to clean up your eating habits by cutting out foods that might be having a negative impact on your health (a.k.a. making you feel crappy). Yes, talking about the foods that are super hard to give up: dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, and alcohol.
Committing to the Whole30 is breaking up with sugar, booze, carbs of the bad varieties, and overall resetting your view on food. While kicking your body into gear and rebooting your metabolism to new heights. YES.
What You Can Eat
ALL THE YES! (list)
- Meat. Yes to a burger, no to a bun.
- Poultry. All the chicken. All the sausage. YUM
- Fish. From a can, from the ocean, from the freezer- all the fishes.
- Veggies. Your options are almost limitless
- Fruits. Berries, Apples , and bananas – oh my! Jk lots of fruit on the horizon.
- Fats. Avocados every damn day!
If you are near a Whole Foods there is ridiculously good store-bought foods that are Whole30 approved and make this plan a little easier. Looking at you Ghee and Coconut Aminos, with a side of sugar free marinara. I use the internet as Whole30 emergency kits are out there full of condiment heavens. Ignore the snacks – those are literally meal replacement emergency – no no no snacking friends!
What You (Absolutely, Positively) Can’t Eat
Hold on grab a tissue. Your first whole30 is going to begin.
- No sugar or natural or artificial sweeteners. Nope, not even stevia
- No booze.
- No grains. Bye bye quinoa
- No beans or legumes. No chickpeas, no peanut butter- basically two of my fav foods to live on.
- No soy. or sneaky soy additives.
- No dairy. Sob. Bye cheese.
- No processed additives. Carrageenan, sulfites, MSG.
- No fake treats with Whole30-approved ingredients. Sorry, Paleo pancakes, you’re off-limits. This rule is all about building a healthier relationship with your food, and using approved ingredients to make old foods you love – is a giant NOPE!
You got this. It’s just 30 days. *Your first whole30 will feel impossible as you break up with food as a friend and look to it as fuel, you will feel invincible after you make it through and look at food in a whole new way!*
The Benefits That Make It Worth It
Please don’t you run away, there’s good reason those foods are off-limits. While I can’t promise you will have magical miracles – here are some things my husband and I have experienced personally, and check out WHOLE30.com for even more testimonies of life changing extremes.
- Weight loss. We have not gained any back!
- Health conditions may improve. My migraines have significantly decreased.
- Digestive problems resolved. *insert happy poo emoji*
- Skin is clearer.
- Energy levels are through the roof. Our coffee pot misses us. So does Starbucks.
- An entirely new list arsenal of recipes. Seriously, Whole30 dishes that are in our meal plan for life.
- Transformed taste buds. Cravings are a lot less. Ok we also love our new cooking skills a lot too.
- More effective workouts. Seeing changes faster in our bodies.
- Improved sleep. Waking up without alarms or screaming child!
- Discovered what foods make us feel like crap. This is different for everyone and something we noticed once processed foods added back into the diet on day 31; for some cheese; for others, it’s the bread. We curse cows and wheat here, they definitely are game changer for us and we made permanent changes because of it.
Why It’s Not Your Typical Diet
You’re not tracking calories. You won’t feel hungry. You won’t be eating based on a points system. You’re going to miss your morning doughnuts, but this isn’t like any diet you might be used to. Whole30 co-founder Melissa Hartwig actually doesn’t like calling the Whole30 a “diet” at all. “Most diets are spent white-knuckling your way through deprivation, restriction, hunger, tuning out your body’s signals, and obsessing over tracking and weighing your food,” Hartwig says. She doesn’t think that type of behavior is sustainable, and if you’ve ever tried dieting, you probably agree.
Also, weight loss isn’t the sole focus. You’re not even supposed to weigh yourself, except for on days one and 30. Of course, sliding into your usually-too-tight jeans and seeing body changes is going to feel awesome. Its only the cherry on top benefit from Whole30.
Why 30 Days?
Why not 21 or 60? “Thirty days is a good compromise. It takes 66 days for a habit to stick, but if we told someone to do this plan for that long, it’d be pretty intimidating,” Hartwig says. This amount of time is long enough for you to see results but not so long that you’ll be afraid to start. It is normal to look at whole30 and say HELL NO I can’t do this. Trust me it took me over a year to even try my first. I was just in a really bad relationship with processed foods.
Follow the Rules
No cheating, PERIOD. Hartwig emphasizes the importance of sticking to this plan with zero slip-ups, so you give your body the complete break (from not-so-healthy food) it deserves. If life happens and a glass of wine or a piece of bread gets in the way, Hartwig recommends starting over. She wants you to feel the full benefits of the entire 30 days. We’re not gonna lie: We’ve let a glass of wine slip before, we didn’t start over, and still felt on top of the world at the end. (Not suggesting you do the same, but we’re just being real with you.) For a full list of rules, visit Whole30.com. Please say goodbye to your shakeology- is is not plan approved, either is that protein shake. It isn’t whole food. You can have it any time when your not Whole30.
Here are some official and unofficial rules to successfully get through the program.
Do it with a friend.
Surround yourself with support. “Touch base with [other Whole30ers] every single day. Ask for help when you need it. Be authentic with your successes and your struggles. Share resources and take the time to offer advice to others where you can,” Hartwig says. You can also follow Whole30 on Instagram to connect with like-minded people.
No fake treats.
This one was hard for us to grasp, so it deserves some explanation. If a Paleo pancake calls for nothing but Whole30-approved ingredients (eggs and bananas), the flapjack is still off-limits. The Whole30 wants you to change your habits and your emotional relationship with food. “Your brain doesn’t know the difference between an almond flour brownie and your mom’s recipe; it just knows you crave sugar. So if you keep eating those sweets during the 30 days, your habits aren’t changing,” Hartwig says.
Read the Whole30 book.
The Whole30 book is the perfect thing to read or their original book”It Starts with Food” is where we started. It’s helpful, it’s clear, and it will get you motivated. Want even more Whole30 recipes? Hartwig’s latest Whole30 Cookbook may not have the nitty-gritty plan details, but the recipes are on point.
Clear your house of temptations.
Hartwig calls these “food without brakes.” The ones that give “once you pop, you can’t stop” true meaning. Say good-bye to everything on the no list. Toss it, pack it, send it to your grandmother. Just get it out. I would not advise a binge eating sesh of all these things.. this makes the first week of Whole30 a severe crash detox in our personal experience. Gift it donate it .. don’t try to wish it goodbye with a binge.
Celebrate with coffee.
You can’t drink alcohol, but you can turn to a coffee date. You can drink black coffee with a splash of nondairy, unsweetened carrageenan-free milk. ( Almond milk is making great strides in becoming carrageenan free these days!) Once your brave you can go Whole30 coffee free like us!
Plan and prepare.
This is Hartwig’s No. 1 tip when it comes to success on the Whole30. No more grabbing a slice of pizza on the way home from work. “Before day one, you should have your first week of meals planned, grocery shopping done, pantry stocked, and you should have some Whole30-compliant emergency food stashed away,” Hartwig says. Here’s a Whole30-approved grocery list to get you started.
Don’t make it complicated.
You’ll be exposed to a ton of new, delicious recipes. If you know you’re not the cooking type, start simple. Instead of making the fancy egg-bake in a cast-iron pan, grab some eggs, veggies, sausage, and avocado then scramble your breakfast. Top it with (sugar-free) hot sauce ,and you’ll have yourself a solid meal in seven minutes. Don’t be afraid to make that for breakfast five times a week; making similar meals over and over again is easier than trying to whip up (new) complicated ones. Keeping it simple the first week. Plan. Easy. Prep.
Always make leftovers.
For lunch and dinner, make extra so you have leftovers. There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing your meals are already cooked and ready to go for the day. Pat yourself on the back and party on.
The Struggle Is Real, but Worth It
The struggle is legit, but the struggle let us know just how bad our relationship was with food. Now we have made permanent changes that will last us a lifetime.
“The struggle is a normal, necessary part of the process. Changing your food is hard. Changing your habits is even harder. Changing your relationship with food is the hardest part of all. The process requires struggle—it’s how you know you’re growing—but don’t make it harder than it has to be! There is no such thing as the ‘perfect Whole30,’ so if your beef isn’t grass-fed or your travel meal doesn’t look exactly like our meal template, don’t sweat it. Your only job is to stick to the Whole30 rules for 30 days, and some days, you’ll have to let good enough be good enough. When you do struggle, remember why you took on the program in the first place, and don’t be overwhelmed by the big picture—just focus on the next day, or the next meal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and high-five yourself for the victories you’re achieving every day you’re on the program, no matter how small. Even tiny progress is progress.”
Looking for even more helpful info? Go straight to the source at Whole30.com.