Disclaimer: I am not affiliated in any way with the Whole30 brand. I’m trying and evaluating the results for myself following the plan.
So what is Whole30?
Whole30 is an extreme version of the Paleo Diet. It follows the Paleo Diet (primal/caveman) basics of minimally processed foods, no grains, soy, dairy or legumes.
I like the pyramid below except the fact there are no eggs! Eggs are allowed and can be a large source or protein. Especially if you what to incorporate protein with your breakfast.
Whole30 takes Paleo to another level:
As you can see more in their website https://whole30.com/and the best selling Whole30 books.
The biggest difference is Whole30 is much more restrictive. Also, there are NO sweeteners allowed except whole fruit or fruit juice. Which when you start looking at labels means just about anything sold already prepared.
Here is the list of the official rules:
The Whole30 Program Rules
Yes: Eat real food.
Eat moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables; some fruit; plenty of natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.
No: Avoid for 30 days.
- Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
- Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking.(And ideally, no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
- Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn, and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch, and so on. Again, read your labels.
- Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
- Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.
- Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
- Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients. Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is totally missing the point of the Whole30, and will compromise your life-changing results. These are the same foods that got you into health-trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.
Some specific foods that fall under this rule include: pancakes, waffles, bread, tortillas, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, pizza crust, cereal, or ice cream. No commercially-prepared chips (potato, tortilla, plantain, etc.) or French fries either. However, this list is not limited strictly to these items—there may be other foods that you find are not psychologically healthy for your Whole30. Use your best judgment with those foods that aren’t on this list, but that you suspect are not helping you change your habits or break those cravings. Our mantra: When in doubt, leave it out. It’s only 30 days.
One last and final rule:
- Do not step on the scale or take any body measurements for 30 days. The Whole30 is about so much more than weight loss, and to focus only on body composition means you’ll overlook all of the other dramatic, lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So, no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat, or taking comparative measurements during your Whole30. (We do encourage you to weigh yourself before and after, so you can see one of the more tangible results of your efforts when your program is over.)
The Fine Print
These foods are exceptions to the rule, and are allowed during your Whole30.
- Ghee or clarified butter. These are the only source of dairy allowed during your Whole30. Plain old butter is NOT allowed, as the milk proteins found in non-clarified butter could impact the results of your program.
- Fruit juice. Some products or recipes will include fruit juice as a stand-alone ingredient or natural sweetener, which is fine for the purposes of the Whole30. (We have to draw the line somewhere.)
- Certain legumes. Green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are allowed. While they’re technically a legume, these are far more “pod” than “bean,” and green plant matter is generally good for you.
- Vinegar. Nearly all forms of vinegar, including white, red wine, balsamic, apple cider, and rice, are allowed during your Whole30 program. (The only exception is malt vinegar, which generally contains gluten.)
- Coconut aminos. All brands of coconut aminos (a brewed and naturally fermented soy sauce substitute) are acceptable, even if you see the word “coconut nectar” in the ingredient list.
- Salt. Did you know that all iodized table salt contains sugar? Sugar (often in the form of dextrose) is chemically essential to keep the potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost. Because all restaurants and pre-packaged foods contain salt, we’re making salt an exception to our “no added sugar” rule.
You can find this in full here: https://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/
What do you get in return for 30 days of intense discipline.
There is more on the website about this. I will however speak for myself and my last two attempts, what I got out of it was:
1) I read and analyzed food labels
2) I almost completely stopped eating out (saving calories and money)
3) I was able to fill up on very low calorie foods so much that I had to count calories just to make sure I was getting enough
4) I overall felt better and my digestion improved
5) My tastes changed and I started tasting food that was naturally sweet and enjoying them without added sugar/sweeteners. I also stated enjoying other foods (vegetables mostly) that I never ate before because I thought that I didn’t like them.
My Whole30 Experience:
Today will my be 3rd attempt. My fingers are crossed that the 3rd time will be the charm.
I did not make it with my last two attempts.
The first was the hardest and after my husband brought home coconut milk “ice cream” that he said he thought I could eat, I caved. It had agave syrup a sweetener not allowed. I justified it by saying that it had only been 9 days so I could just start again. It wasn’t as if I was on Day 29, I told myself. Still it was just an excuse. I just really wanted to eat the Coconut Bliss.
The second attempt I really thought I was going to make it. Midway through the month a bout of depression was triggered and I gave up for 2 weeks. I ate off plan for 2 weeks and hardly exercised at all. I know what triggered me and fortunately it only lasted 2 weeks instead of 2 months. That is the biggest difference I can tell being on bipolar/depression medication for vs. not. My episodes are significantly decreased in time and intensity.
Now here we are! Third time is the charm!
The biggest mistake I made on my second attempt was not meal planning enough. I thought I was going to wing it week to week. If you hit a slump (like I did) and don’t want to cook or make yourself food prepackaged compliant food that is available is almost nonexistence. Also, forget about just swinging through a drive-through to get something when you are starving.
I found myself subsisting on cashews and bananas which completely defeats the purpose, so I quit after 16 days.
Now I am ready for #septemberwhole30. I think. Follow me on Instagram to see my day-to-day meals and progress.