What is Whole30?

Co-founded by Melissa Hartwig Urban in April 2009, the Whole30® is designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by overuse or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat—even the “healthy” stuff.

Whole30 vs. Paleo vs. Keto

There are many differences and similarities between Whole30 vs Paleo and Whole30 vs Keto. How are they similar? All three aim to restrict the intake of sugar, processed foods, and stress low-carb food options. All three are about low carb, healthy proteins, and healthy fats.

whole30 vs diet

The contrast between the three comprise of % differences in each of those categories: Keto is all about fats (about 70% of your caloric intake is fats) whereas Paleo and Whole30 are nowhere near that amount. 

With Paleo and Whole30 specifically, the time element of the lifestyle is a major factor separating the two. Paleo is paleo and you eat and live that way the whole time you choose Paleo. I know some individuals who have been on the Paleo diet for several years. On the other hand, Whole30 is about a nutritional reset for 30 days designed to put an end to unhealthy living and to help you understand your body’s food sensitivities. An individual’s post-Whole30 plan may look very different than another one’s post-Whole30 plan. And that’s because our body’s are all different and react differently to certain foods.

In our Whole30 vs Paleo vs Keto Guide, we thoroughly compare and contrast the Whole30 lifestyle against five major, popular diets in the nutritional lifestyle world. 

Whole30 Tips and Advice

Find Your WHY

Read the book, It Starts With Food by Melissa Hartwig Urban and Dallas Hartwig, which sounds obvious, but you could conceivably glean enough info from Whole.com to do the program, BUT knowing the deeper science behind WHY you’re eliminating certain MAJOR food groups from your diet is crazy helpful when you’re on Day 4 or 14 and you’re struggling. Having a solid science-y WHY foundation is really, really helpful.

Also helpful to get a good visual WHY. Save a photo, hang an outfit in a visible place, put a post-it note on your computer or wherever else you snack. The first few days can be pretty challenging. And the goal is to pursue wellness and to NOT worry about your weight or fitting into a certain article of clothing, but there will be a day when you are going to want to tap out and eat a donut. It helps to have something to help you keep you focused on why you’re doing this.

Plan Your Whole30 Meals. All of Them.

You cannot wing it. You’re breaking some hard habits. Some of the hard habits I had to break was eating noodles all the time. Also toast. Getting up in the morning and already knowing that I’m going to make eggs with sweet potato hash and spinach is much easier than pining for a cinnamon roll and a cup of creamy coffee. Same goes for any meal. Don’t wait until someone comes by your desk to invite you lunch to decide what you’re eating, because fate dictates that that person’s going to invite you out for pizza...and it’s WAY easier to turn down pizza if you have a Whole 30 compliant meal waiting for you in the fridge.

whole30 plan

Become a Meal Prepper

I’d been a planner, but I wasn’t a prepper...until Whole 30. Even doing something as simple as pre-cutting some fruit, making a big batch of shredded chicken in the crock pot, or roasting a big pan of root veggies can be very helpful when you’re eating clean for a whole 30 days. You can even double down and assemble a week’s worth of lunch salads all at once. Anything you can do to make your life easier, makes it easier to stick to your Whole 30. And I promise, sticking with it is so worth it.

Pack a Whole30 Snack

Put some emergency Whole 30 compliant snacks in your car, purse, and desk. Because the best laid plans can’t account for getting stuck in traffic or a meeting going long. A handful of almonds in a pinch can be a lifesaver when you’re really hungry—and one of the things I noticed when I stopped eating gluten and grains was that hunger hit hard if I waited too long.

Get a Buddy

Having someone else in the WHole 30 trenches can help. Especially so you can text them when you’re dying for a diet soda, or sugary coffee, or whatever floats your boat.

Whole30 Meal Plan for People With Kids

Our trick is simple: deconstructed meals. Sure it might mean a few extra dishes, but it’s totally worth it. A deconstructed meal simply means that you keep the components of the meal separate so everyone can “build their own” and you can keep your meal compliant while keeping everyone fed and happy. For example: serve your traditional spaghetti and meatballs, but with a portion of zucchini noodles (or “zoodles” as the kids say these days) so you can assemble a grain free plate for yourself. Another example: hearty sandwiches, but instead of bread make yours lettuce wrapped. Turkey, bacon, tomato, avocado, mayo...wrapped in lettuce?! SO GOOD. *These examples all assume the use of Whole 30 compliant ingredients

Modify Your Family Favorites

You’d be surprised how many soups you can make Whole 30 compliance by simply omitting a few ingredients (such as flour for thickening) and the adjustments aren’t super noticeable. We’ve omitted cream, cheese, flour, beans from various soups and in some cases replaced with a compliant substitute, and still thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Instead of reinventing your meal plan, look at your family's favorite go-to meals and make some slight adjustments—you’ll be surprised how much you still really enjoy that bunless pulled pork sandwich, or lettuce wrapped tacos, or chicken with roasted broccoli instead of noodles. 

Are There Side Effects Of Whole30?

The only “side effects” of Whole 30 were that we felt a million times better! Here’s a short list of the things I stopped experiencing on Whole 30: difficulty falling asleep, low energy, brain fog, bloating, gas, general digestive misery, crazy mood swings, headaches, and cravings for sugar. Here what improved: my sleep, my ability to stay focused, my energy (I felt unstoppable), my digestive regularity, my digestion in general (no more tummy aches), my menstrual symptoms (my cramps disappeared on Whole 30...no joke), and my skin cleared up and looked amazing! 

Whole30 Tips For Quitting Sugar

Trying to embrace the sugar free lifestyle? Do you get cranky when you don’t have sugar? Crave an afternoon treat (and a late night dessert)? Eat cake for breakfast (until the pan is gone)? Guzzle leftover frosting from the squeeze bag (every time you pass the fridge). Get defensive or angry when people talk about eliminating sugar from their diets? (this really happens) You might be addicted to sugar. We explore the world of quitting sugar and provide some valuable information on your quest to quitting.

quitting sugar whole 30

Healthy Living For The Whole30 Mom: Quitting Sugar

Every few months, I fall off the wagon. I go from being a reasonable nutritious eater, to behaving like an all-out Sugar Monster. What comes first? The brownie or the bad mood? Here’s the journey of how one Mom is fighting the battle to quitting sugar.

What's Your Sugar Intake?

Ever wondered about the average sugar intake of a typical American? Think you might need to cut back? Check this out…

7 Things I Take Every Day

I've been refining my list of vitamins I take on a daily basis over the past few years. I've combined insight from some really smart doctors with my own trial and error. Here's the list of my favorites and how Whole30 plays a role in my health!

whole30 nutritional supplements

Is it Safe to Whole30 During my Pregnancy?

You are not alone in wondering if a Whole30 is safe to do while pregnant. We (Whole30 co-creator Melissa Hartwig and myself) get these questions every day. Your #PregnantWhole30 concerns are common, and they also show me how serious you are about your health and the health of your baby.

Life After Birth: 5 Ways to Take Care Of Yourself

We dive into the best ways to take care of your body after giving birth. And discuss how Whole30 can be part of it. Plus we have 3 nourishing Whole30 recipes for the postpartum Mama.

Whole30 With a Family

If you want to do a Whole 30 and you’ve got a houseful of people that are happy for you, but are firmly PRO GLUTEN, there’s room for everyone at the table. Our recommendation is to take the meals that you know your family loves and still wants to eat on the regular, and modify them so everyone can assemble a plate that works for them. For example if your family loves taco Tuesday, simply use the ingredients to create a delicious Whole 30 compliant salad for yourself. If it’s spaghetti night, make regular pasta for your family and enjoy your meat sauce over zoodles or sweet potato hash (sounds odd, but it’s delicious). Burger night is easy—just make your burger lettuce wrapped while everyone enjoys their bun. See what we mean? It’s all in the assembly.

whole 30 family

 Whole30 Meal Prep

There are two important Whole 30 meal prep tricks.

  1. Plan your meals.
  2. Chop ahead.

Plan your meals...all of your meals. Including your emergency stash for when you are trapped in traffic or have a delayed flight (real scenarios from my life, friends). Whole 30 is not a time to wing it. You cannot just “see where the day takes you”...because it will take you to Chick-fil-A. So sit down once a week, plan out all of your meals and hit the grocery store.

Chop ahead...because all those veggies need to be peeled, chopped, shredded, or turned into zoodles, and that stuff eats up time. I was a pretty healthy eater before Whole 30 but MAN, when you start eating more veggies your daily prep time can feel like a lot. Case in point—my favorite breakfast is sweet potato hash with scrambled eggs and spinach. But slicing onions and shredding sweet potato every day added just enough prep time in the morning that it was feeling like a hassle. But, if I cut onions and shred sweet potato for the work week, my morning seems much more pleasant. 

Where To Dine On Whole30

In-n-Out Burger

Get yourself a Hamburger (I go with a double) Protein Style - no sauce, no cheese. Meat, tomatoes, lettuce, onions. “Protein Style” is In-n-Out Burger lingo for lettuce wrapped. (When I’m not doing a Whole 30, I get a Double-Double protein style with grilled onions. Plus fries. Because my body can handle it and it is heaven in a drive thru.)

Chipotle

Ask for the “Whole 30 Salad Bowl” at Chipotle. Or, if you want to know the nitty gritty details, order the following: A burrito bowl, with Carnitas, no beans, no rice, with guacamole, with fajita veggies, with any salsa except the corn salsa, and add lettuce. Boom.

How to Hack a Salad

You can go just about anywhere and modify the most veggie-heavy salad on the menu to suit your needs. Remove the croutons, corn, cheese, beans, candied nuts, and ask for the salad to be dressed with olive oil and a lemon wedge or balsamic vinegar. My personal favorite “dressing” is avocado with balsamic vinegar, which is usually easy to find at a build-your-own salad bar. 

whole 30 hack a salad

Whole30 Shopping Lists

Shopping For Whole30

Whole30 WalMart Shopping List

We’ve got your BIG Whole 30 Walmart Shopping List, plus a free printable shopping checklist to help you stay on track! Whether you're new to Whole 30, or already living it ride-or-die style, chances are you've been on the hunt for compliant food and ingredients at every health food store near you.

whole 30 shopping list

Whole30 Frozen Meals - Microwave Meals at Walmart

The day that the Whole30 Great Value Freezer meals became available I filled my online cart for pickup and sang praises to the internet! We review the best options and give you a few tips on finding the best Whole30 frozen meals at Walmart.

Our Favorite Whole30 Products

TessaMae's Dressing

Nutpods Coffee Creamer

Epic Beef Apple & Uncured Bacon Bars

LaCroix Water

Hint Water

Whole 30 Approved Lara Bars

Whole 30 Approved Bacon

Whole30 Deli Meats

Whole30 Sauces (Avocado Mayo, Primal Kitchen)

Whole30 Recipes

Awesome Bacon Apple Chicken Salad – Whole30, Paleo, No Added Sugar

You don’t have to be on Whole 30 to love this bacon apple chicken salad. This is my champion “leftovers” recipe. A few key leftovers, mainly chicken and bacon mixed with some fridge and pantry staples and BOOM. You’ve got a healthy meal that you will look forward to eating.

Whole 30 Bacon Apple Chicken Salad Recipe

Whole 30 Bacon Apple Chicken Salad Recipe

Chocolate Coconut Almond Butter Recipe {in the blender!}

I’ve gone through several phases of completely eliminating sugar from my diet. I cut sugar completely out for an entire year, I’ve done several rounds of Whole 30, and in general I just try to stay away from sugar. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love a good sweet treat and this Chocolate Coconut Almond Butter is one of my favorites!

Whole 30 Chocolate Coconut Almond Butter Recipe

Chocolate Coconut Almond Butter Recipe

Whole30 Breakfast Sweet Potato Hash

Whole 30 breakfast was going to be my real struggle. And it was. It was hard to break those sweet bread breakfast habits, but hear me when I tell you that it was the best thing I ever did for my health.

Whole 30 Breakfast Sweet Potato Hash Recipe

Whole 30 Breakfast

Whole30 Taco Seasoning

Save money, avoid creepy hidden additives, and win at your elimination diet with our Whole 30 Taco Seasoning! It’s great on so many dishes, you’re sure to reach for it on days other than Taco Tuesday.

Whole 30 Taco Seasoning Recipe

Whole 30 Taco Seasoning

Whole30 Ranch Dressing

A veggie-heavy salad with this Whole 30 Ranch Dressing can be made in so many delicious ways that you’ll never be bored with your bowl of Whole 30 goodness. When I did my first Whole 30 a few years ago, I got the idea real quick that it essentially boiled down to this; protein and veggies. That’s where this Whole 30 Ranch Dressing comes in, because a big delicious salad is about to become your new best friend.

Whole 30 Ranch Dressing Recipe

Whole 30 Ranch Dressing

Whole30 BBQ Sauce

Get ready to fall back in love with pulled pork, chicken, and anything else you want to coat in this delicious goodness! This whole 30 approved bbq sauce is absolutely delicious! You’ll never go back to your old sauce after tasting our Whole 30 BBQ Sauce recipe!

Whole30 BBQ Sauce Recipe

Whole 30 BBQ Sauce

Classic BBQ Ribs With Brussels Sprouts

Whole30 approved, clean eating, DELICIOUS slow cooker BBQ ribs from the creator of Whole30, Melissa Hartwig. When your lips hits these ribs, you won’t believe they really are Whole30!

Whole30 BBQ Ribs With Brussels Sprouts Recipe

whole30 BBQ Ribs With Brussels Sprouts

Whole30 Spaghetti Squash Pesto Bake

This Whole 30 Spaghetti Squash Pesto Bake could not be easier to put together—or be more delicious for so little effort! We’ve also linked to a great Whole 30 friendly pesto below in the notes.

Whole30 Spaghetti Squash Pesto Bake Recipe

Whole30 Spaghetti Squash Pesto Bake

Whole30 Egg Roll In A Bowl

If you are craving some Chinese take-out but trying to take it easy on noodles and wrappers, this whole 30 approved egg roll in a bowl is perfect! Ready to enjoy the taste of takeout while staying true to the Whole 30 program? Get ready to enjoy the Whole 30 Egg Roll in a Bowl!

Whole30 Egg Roll In A Bowl Recipe

Whole30 Egg Roll In A Bowl

3 Nourishing Whole30 Recipes for the Postpartum Mama

Nutrition plays a big role in postpartum health. Pregnancy, labor and delivery, and breastfeeding can deplete your nutrient stores, so it’s important to be mindful of replenishing them throughout pregnancy and postpartum. These Whole30 compliant recipes are specifically designed to nourish the postpartum mama.

Get The Whole30 Postpartum Recipes Here!

whole30 recipe pregnancy

Seven Mocktails for Mama

We've got seven incredible Whole30 mocktails perfect for Mama's. Check out these potential health benefits just from sipping on this one! Cucumbers and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties, mint is known to ease nausea, and lemons are a refreshing addition that can also support digestion.

Get Your Whole30 Mocktail Recipes Here!

whole30 mocktail recipe

5 Ingredient Banana Almond Butter Muffins

These muffins are 5 ingredients, easy to make, healthy, gluten free, and Paleo compliant, and DELICIOUS. The ingredients are Whole 30 compliant, but combining them into a muffin is not compliant to the Whole30 philosophy. These are also a great post Whole30 muffin, or great with Paleo or gluten free diets. These Banana Almond Butter muffins are a huge hit with the entire family (special dietary meal plan or not!).

Whole30 Banana Almond Butter Muffins Recipe

Tasty One Pan Italian Sausage And Veggies

The secret's in the sauce! Feeling short on veggies? Seriously, in all the running around, trying to pull off dinner between all the kids activities and all of the things we adults need to get done, vegetables are like the last thing that makes it to our dinner plate.

Whole30 Pan Italian Sausage and Veggies Recipe

Whole30 Resources

The Today’s Mama Podcast Interview with Whole30 Founder Melissa

Hartwig Urban We talked to Melissa Hartwig Urban on the TodaysMama.com Podcast. You can find a list of where to listen HERE, or listen via the YouTube video embedded below.

Whole30 Books

The Whole30 Friends & Family: 150 Recipes for Every Social Occasion

Since 2009, millions of people have changed their health, habits, and relationship with food with the Whole30. With four Whole30 cookbooks and thousands of free recipes, it’s never been easier to make Whole30 meals at home, but navigating social gatherings can feel daunting. You can honor your health commitments while enjoying time with family and friends, and this book shows you exactly how.

Learn More Here

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways

“It Starts With Food" outlines a clear, balanced, sustainable plan to change the way you eat forever--and transform your life in profound and unexpected ways. Your success story begins with the Whole30, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig's powerful 30-day nutritional reset.

Learn More Here

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom

The Whole30 offers a stand-alone, step-by-step plan to break unhealthy habits, reduce cravings, improve digestion, and strengthen your immune system. The Whole30 prepares participants for the program in five easy steps, previews a typical thirty days, teaches the basic meal preparation and cooking skills needed to succeed, and provides a month’s worth of recipes designed to build confidence in the kitchen and inspire the taste buds.

Learn More Here

The Whole30 Fast & Easy Cookbook: 150 Simply Delicious Everyday Recipes for Your Whole30

Whether you’re doing your first Whole30 or your fifth, or just looking for some healthy, fast, and easy recipes to try, this collection is a must-have for any kitchen.

Learn More Here

The Whole30 Slow Cooker: 150 Totally Compliant Prep-and-Go Recipes for Your Whole30 ― with Instant Pot Recipes

The Whole30 Slow Cooker features delicious, no-fuss dinners that cook while you work; roasts that transform into tacos, salads, and soups, for easy meals throughout the week; and satisfying one-pot meals that make prep and cleanup a breeze. These creative meals use whole-food ingredients found in any supermarket, and as an added bonus, feature recipes and directions for making your meals Instant Pot-friendly!

Learn More Here

Food Freedom Forever: Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food

Food Freedom Forever offers real solutions for anyone stuck in the exhausting cycle of yo-yo dieting and the resulting stress, weight gain, uncontrollable cravings, and health complaints. In her newest book, best-selling author Melissa Hartwig defines true "food freedom" as being in control of the food you eat instead of food controlling you.

Learn More Here

The Whole30 Day by Day: Your Daily Guide to Whole30 Success

The Whole30 Day by Day serves as a quick-reference guide for the program: keeping the rules handy, sharing helpful resources, and walking you through the important reintroduction phase, one day at a time. You’ll carry it everywhere during the program, using it to stay accountable and motivated during the 30 days.

Learn More Here

The Whole30 Cookbook: 150 Delicious and Totally Compliant Recipes to Help You Succeed with the Whole30 and Beyond

The groundbreaking Whole30 program has helped countless people transform their lives by bringing them better sleep, more energy, fewer cravings, weight loss, and new healthy habits that last a lifetime. In this cookbook, best-selling author and Whole30 co-creator Melissa Hartwig delivers over 150 all-new recipes to help readers prepare delicious, healthy meals during their Whole30 and beyond.

Learn More Here

Wired to Eat: Turn Off Cravings, Rewire Your Appetite for Weight Loss, and Determine the Foods That Work for You

Robb Wolf helped hundreds of thousands of people lose weight by eating a low-carb Paleo diet, but Paleo is only a starting point, not a destination. Now, he'll share a more customized way of eating that may be the key to permanent weight loss and better health. You'll start with Wolf’s 30-Day Reset to help you restore your body's blood sugar levels, repair your appetite, and reverse insulin resistance.

Learn More Here

Life After Whole 30

Tips and Tricks

A lot of people get nervous after their first Whole 30 because they love how good they feel after eliminating so many foods that were making them feel lousy. It’s really intimidating to think about reintroducing those food groups and a lot of people think that it’s just easier to keep doing Whole 30...forever. But you have to live in the real world. You have to travel and go to lunch meetings and family dinners and trust me when I say that even the most well intended people cannot navigate all of those meals 100% of the time. And this is why you go through the reintroduction phase—because it’s better to truly know how certain foods will impact you, so you can make better decisions in the real world.

For example, by following the reintroduction advice in It Starts With Food, I learned that non-gluten grains and dairy is okay in moderation, but legumes will wreck my stomach, and corn will give me a headache. So now, if I’m faced with ordering a tex-mex salad or rice bowl, I know that I can enjoy the rice and the cheese, but that I should stay away from the beans and the corn tortilla. 

Post Whole30 Advice

The first time I did Whole 30, I didn’t do the reintroduction as recommended. The second time I did and it was a much more informative experience, so let me give you some advice.

1. Go Slow, One Food Group At A Time

It can be tempting to dive right back into your favorite meals. But those meals can include several food groups—for example, Fettuccine Alfredo, might make you feel awful. But was it the gluten in the pasta, or the dairy in the sauce? Reintroduce one food group at a time, and give your body time to fully react to see how the food impacts your sleep, mood, digestion, skin, etc. For me, I feel the impact of food when I wake up the next morning feeling achy, bloated, or having had a miserable night of tossing and turning.

2. Keep Detailed Notes

Keep notes about how food groups affect you on your phone (it’s handy). Not all foods in a food group are created equally. I try to only enjoy dairy in moderation, but every so often I really crave a milkshake. A shake made with soft serve ice cream (like at my beloved In-n-Out) doesn’t make me feel bad, but a “concrete” made with frozen custard will WRECK me before I am halfway done. Can you see why this is good information? Me too.

Keeping the notes handy on your phone will allow you to refresh your memory later on, especially for special occasion foods and dining out. 

Post Whole30 Recipes

One of the best post-Whole 30 meal planning advice I can give is to keep some of your favorite Whole 30 recipes in your regular rotation. It will help keep your familiar with the guidelines and remind you how well you feel after a healthy meal. Pizza is super yummy, but sleeping really well after having Whole 30 Eggroll in a Bowl for dinner is also pretty great.

Another bit of advice for your post-Whole 30 life is to break the Whole 30 “No Sex With Your Pants On” rule. Now let me be clear, I wholeheartedly support the Whole 30 program and had the wonderful firsthand experience of breaking my breakfast-must-include-a-bread-item routine, but now that I’ve learned what food groups are “worth it” and gotten clear about which foods I can tolerate in moderation, you can bet that I’m going to bust out the gluten-free waffle mix on a Saturday morning with my kids. Or make a paleo chocolate chip cookie. Or a banana almond butter muffin. You’ll know how much of these is too much and balance accordingly. 

5 Ingredient Banana Almond Butter Muffins

These muffins are 5 ingredients, easy to make, healthy, gluten free, and Paleo compliant, and DELICIOUS. The ingredients are Whole 30 compliant, but combining them into a muffin is not compliant to the Whole30 philosophy. These are also a great post Whole30 muffin, or great with Paleo or gluten free diets. These Banana Almond Butter muffins are a huge hit with the entire family (special dietary meal plan or not!).

whole30 Banana Almond Butter Muffins
Mama's Guide To Whole30 (1)

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Whole 30 Easy BBQ Sauce Recipe-8

Whole 30 BBQ Sauce

You’ll never go back to your old sauce after tasting our Whole 30 BBQ Sauce recipe! Get ready to fall back in love with pulled pork, chicken, and anything else you want to coat in this delicious goodness!