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What is Whole30?

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There is no shortage of new diets that enter the market for those seeking to improve their nutrition and lives. Every day there seems to be a new trend that arises. You may be weaving your way through the various diet plans to help you find the one that will give your body the best chance and the best way forward with optimal health. You’ve probably heard of Whole30 Diet, but what exactly is it?

Among the many different diet plans out there comes a revolutionary way of achieving the health that you desire. The Whole30 diet is not an unheard-of plan, but it is relatively new.

Founded by Melissa Hartwig and her ex-husband Dallas in 2009, the Whole30 diet took off. Whole30 officially took off in 2015 with the publishing of the book “The Whole30.” Since then, it has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and has taken off to be a diet sensation that is changing lives.

If you ever wished you could reset all you ever believed about food, and what your body has come to expect, then Whole30 might just be the diet plan for you. This 30-day lifestyle change is designed to give you that new start to the new lifestyle you have been looking for to help you achieve optimal health.

What is the Whole30 Diet?

Whole30 Taco Salad food to eat

There are a variety of foods that can have negative consequences on your body and general health when consumed. You may be consuming these foods without even realizing the consequences to your overall health. The Whole30 plan challenges you to eliminate foods that can be causing things like inflammatory gut issues, blood sugar spikes and drops along with cravings.

What you do is follow this plan for a whole 30 days and then reintroduce foods to your diet that are helpful and not harmful to your body. Your tastes, your habits, and even the way you think about food, in general, are going to transform during the 30 days of the initial start to this way of life.

Introducing you to eating clean and real foods that are going to have a positive impact on your body and health is the main focus of this plan. There will be plenty of foods that you will have to eliminate from your diet during this initial 30 days.

Benefits of Whole30

Since you are committing whole and unprocessed foods for the next 30 days, you will find that there are some benefits that you will experience during this time.

Reduced Inflammation:

You are taking out most inflammation enhancing foods from your diet. As a result, you may find that you are experiencing less pain and less “puffiness” along with less bloating then you have ever felt.


You will quickly see as you eliminate sugar and increase your protein consumption that you will find your nights are going to be more restful and rejuvenating than ever.


As you remove the toxic elements from the processed and sugar induced foods you once ate, you will find that any brain fog or inability to concentrate will be replaced with more clarity of mind.


Since you are taking away foods that generally give you that high-low feeling, you will find that you are going to feel more energized for longer periods of time. The foods you are consuming is designed to fuel your body day to day and not to just provide you with an immediate perk that will result in a downfall. Your energy will go up and stay up for the duration of the 30 days.


One of the most important aspects of resetting your entire approach to food is to experience the dramatic differences that you experience relative to your overall health. As such, you will learn the difference between real hunger and emotional eating or eating because it’s that “time.” You will be more mindful of your body’s natural cues. Additionally, you will find that you enjoy eating foods for their natural flavor rather than soaking them in artificial flavors such as salad dressings or condiments.

True Willpower:

We have all said that we can’t follow a way of eating because we don’t have the willpower for it. With the Whole30 you will find out how strong your willpower actually is. Additionally, a lot of how we respond to hunger is driven by our hormones that aren’t completely in sync with the truth. The Whole30 fuels your hormones so that they run appropriately and provide you with correct messages regarding how hungry you truly are.


Even though you are not taking measurements or stepping on the scale, the visual appearance of your body won’t be hard to notice. You will find your skin looks brighter and healthier; your stomach will feel firmer, your hair will be stronger and shinier due to increased protein consumption. Overall, you will notice a huge difference in your entire body before you ever see it on a scale.

Diet and Food:

You will learn how to focus on eating foods that are good for your body and not damaging; you will rethink the way you eat and what you eat. You will find that you can lose weight and attain a better body composition without having to analyze how much you are eating.

Whole30 Rules: Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

leafy spinach whole30 foods to eat

Foods you eat:

During the first 30 days, you eat only foods that are all natural and that provide your body optimal fuel. You can have moderate portions of meats and seafood. Furthermore, you can eat eggs, lots of vegetables, some fruits and plenty of natural fats such as olive oil and avocados. Additionally, you can have all the herbs, spices and seasonings you desire.

You will focus most on foods that have very few ingredients and make recipes from whole foods that have no “extra” ingredients at all because they are not processed. If you do eat approved processed foods, be sure that you can read, pronounce and understand what the ingredients are. If you can’t, then it’s not going to be an approved food.

Foods to avoid:

During the first 30 days of the Whole30 way of life, you are going to eliminate a variety of foods that can have negative impacts on your body. You will not only be eliminating various foods, but also entire food groups. The reason behind these eliminations is they are often the culprit of some kind of food sensitivity for many people. By eliminating them, you are giving your body a chance to tell you what foods agree and disagree with you.

You will give up sugar of all kind. Both artificial and pure sugars are not going to be a part of your diet for the first 30 days. Refined sugars, syrups, Splenda, stevia and xylitol, are all sugars you are going to take out of your diet completely for the 30 days.

Take away alcohol completely for the 30 days. You will not even cook with alcohol like dry red wines. You will avoid them entirely with no exceptions.

Do not eat any grains of any kind. Included in these eliminations are rye, wheat, oats, rice, corn, quinoa, buckwheat and all other forms of grains that you regularly incorporate into your day to day eating.

No legumes for 30 days. What this will include is beans of any kind such as lentils, kidney beans, lima, navy and fava beans. You will also stay away from peanut butter or any nut butter at all. Additionally, you will take out all forms of soy products including milk, tofu, miso, edamame and many others.

Dairy products are also foods you will eliminate. That cream you love in your coffee will be removed, milk, yogurt, sour cream and any other form of dairy regardless of what animal it comes from.

All treats, even if they are compliant with the allowed ingredients. The idea is to reset the way you think about food and the way you eat. Therefore, if you consume foods that “technically” have approved ingredients in them, you are thwarting the process.

You can find a complete list of Whole30 foods you can and can’t have here.

Final Rule:

Though this one is not diet related, it is self-actualization related. Therefore, during the 30 days, do not step on a scale or take any body measurements whatsoever. You can do this before and after the 30 days, but at no point during this time do you allow yourself to succumb to temptation and step on a scale or reach for a measuring tape.

The reason you want to avoid looking at a scale or focusing on how much weight you are or aren’t losing during the program is that it will take away from the other benefits. You want this to be a holistic transformation. For it to work, you need to notice how different your overall health feels, how much better you are sleeping or how real good foods taste.

How does Whole30 Work?

You are making a commitment to yourself and your overall health during the first 30 days. What you are going to do it commit to making smart food choices that don’t include the eliminated foods and don’t require you to measure or count calories.

Consciously you are going to stick with the Whole30 rules for the duration of the 30 days regardless of circumstances or special occasions. If you slip up during the 30 days, you start over again at day one. Your only job is to eat good foods that are helpful and fueling your body.

You must commit to the full 30 days. You will follow the program exactly as it is written without cheating. Anything less then full cooperation is cheating yourself out of the full benefits of the program as well as selling yourself short of the life-changing results.

How you follow:

If you aren’t sure, you can pull it off, here is how it works. This part is tough love.

It isn’t that difficult. There are plenty of things in life that are hard to do; following this plan for 30 days is not. In the grand scheme of things, 30 days is a relatively short period. You have experienced tough things in life; this isn’t one of them.

Don’t plan to fail. If you go into the 30 days with the mindset of “I don’t think I can do this,” then you are setting yourself up to fail. You are the one who chooses what you eat, and therefore, you can make the choices that align with this program at will.

Don’t eat things you don’t like. Just because you are restricting a large number of foods and food groups, does not mean you need to try to force yourself to eat things you don’t like. If you prefer to eat eggs over fish, do it. Stick up for yourself, and be true to you; you do not need to eat anything you don’t want or dislike.

Just because you aren’t counting calories or monitoring macros does not mean you aren’t going to put any effort into this plan. You will have to make an effort. You will be required to meal plan and grocery shop conscientiously. You will also have to explain this program to friends or family and even coworkers when they offer you something you know you shouldn’t have. It will require some effort.

Stop thinking about changing your dietary habits and do it. You know what foods you can and cannot eat on the program; you know what you need to do. It’s just a matter of actually taking it from the thinking about it stage to the actual doing it.

After completing the 30 days without any slips, you will start to reintroduce prohibited foods back into your diet. For example, you will start introducing grains on day 31. Then plan to introduce dairy back on day 36. If you notice any discomfort or stomach issues during the time of reintroducing grains and dairy, you will be able to focus on what causes the discomfort and be able to take positive steps to avoid them.

To get you started, here are Whole30 meal plans and grocery lists you can use to help you as you embark on this new journey.

Side Effects of Whole30

Like any new diet or way of eating, you will experience some side effects that aren’t all that pleasant until your body adjusts to a new way of eating. These side effects will have negative consequences and could deter you from following the program to completion. Fight through it as it won’t last forever. Generally, it is in the first week that you will experience these side effects.


Since you are revamping your entire diet, it is only natural that you will feel grumpy and moody during the change. Your entire body chemistry will recognize the change and fight back. As a result, you will feel negative emotions during the adjustment period.

Stomach Issues:

Even though ultimately eliminating stomach issues is going to be a positive benefit of Whole30, it won’t necessarily be the case in the beginning. As you change to whole foods from unprocessed or eat more vegetables and fruits your stomach will notice the difference and react. You could have stomach pains or bathroom issues in the first week of the plan.

Headaches and general fatigue:

You heard of the Keto Flu, right? Well, Whole30 produces similar results in the first week or so. You will feel a general sluggishness and accompanying headaches that could make life difficult for a bit. However, if you power through, these symptoms will disappear within a couple of days at most.


You might get very bored and very tired of monitoring everything you eat quickly. However, you just need to remember that this is only for 30 days. You aren’t committing to this way of eating for life. Though you are frustrated now, it won’t last forever. It can’t be said enough; it is only for 30 days.


Whole30 is a complete diet re-do. You are taking what you think you know about food and your body and challenging it to a better way of life. Through the process, you are teaching your body what is optimal for your health and your body.

There are negative effects that come with resetting your eating patterns, but the benefits far outweigh the negative biological responses that come with reshaping the way your body reacts to what you put in it.

Like everything else in life, if you want a diet second change, Whole30 is it. Though this way of eating is limited to 30 days, you will quickly find that the results are optimal and you will more than likely continue with this way of eating beyond the 30 days with few variations.

Overall, you are giving your body a chance to find out what types of foods help you achieve the optimal health and body you desire to have. Through this plan, you are essentially starting your diet over and giving yourself a chance to a healthier and better future.



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