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Here are all the basics you need to know about the Whole30 challenge, including the Whole 30 rules, meal plan, recipes, and grocery list. Learn what the Whole 30 is (and isn’t) and grab my 7 tips to help you rock your own Whole30 diet challenge.

We all need a little food reset from time to time (especially after the holidays) – a time to refocus our eating on cleaner foods and reduce (or give up) other foods. 

If you’re on the hunt for a plan that will get you back on track, keep you from feeling “hangry”, and help you feel your best while eating clean, wholesome foods, then check out the Whole30 program.

Committing for just 30 days can offer you a huge host of benefits!

What is Whole 30 Rules?

The Whole 30 is a program designed to change the way you relate to food and eat in 30-days. It’s a clean-eating plan designed to clean up your eating habits by cutting out certain food groups (dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, and alcohol), while focusing heavily on whole, fresh foods. 

Basically, you will remove all potentially inflammatory foods and beverages from your diet and eat three “clean” meals a day, made with Whole30-approved ingredients.

The goal of the Whole 30 meal plan is to investigate how your body responds to certain foods.

First, you eliminate all those potentially “trigger foods”; then you slowly reintroduce them after the 30 days are up. If they still work for you — terrific! If you find that you react to any of those reintroduced foods, that’s your clue to find an alternative that fits you better. 

With the Whole 30 mean plan, you’re basically committing to eating nothing processed and no treats of any kind (even the “healthy” versions, for 30 days). 

Benefits of Whole30

According to Whole30’s co-founder, Melissa Hartwig Urban, the program improves: 

  • Energy
  • Sleep
  • Digestive issues (gas, bloating, pain, constipation, or diarrhea)
  • Skin
  • Joint pain/swelling
  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Biomarkers for blood pressure, cholesterol, and fasting blood sugar. 

She also says that it helped on weight loss of about 96 percent of participants on the program, without counting calories or points, or weighing or measuring their food.

As if there aren’t enough benefits to doing the Whole30, here’s one more important one: you’ll be able to identify trigger foods that cause problems for you after you introduce them back into your diet.

After your reset, you’ll be able to easily see if any of these reintroduced foods make you feel tired, bloated, or foggy.

The Whole30 Rules

When it comes down to it, there’s really only one single rule to Whole30 – eat whole nourishing foods that make you feel great while avoiding subpar foods that don’t. Of course, there is a little more fine print for some situations – you can read the full Whole30 rules right here.

WHOLE30 GROCERY LIST: ALLOWED FOODS

  • Meat (pork, beef)
  • Poultry (chicken)
  • Seafood (shrimp and shellfish)
  • Fish (salmon)
  • Vegetables (even potatoes) 
  • Fruit (in moderation)
  • Natural Fats
  • Eggs
  • Coffee (black)
  • Ghee or Clarified butter 
  • Olive oil, Avocado Oil and coconut oil
  • Coconut aminos
  • Nuts and seeds (except for peanuts because they are a legume)
  • Vinegar (apple cider, red wine

THESE FOODS ARE NOT ALLOWED: 

  • Added Sugar, natural or artificial sweeteners (Stevia, Splenda, Xylitol). Not even maple syrup, agave nectar, date syrup, coconut sugar and honey.
  • Alcohol (this includes vanilla extract, but kombucha is ok).
  • Smoking
  • Grains (barley, rice, quinoa, wheat, corn, rye, oats, amaranth, buckwheat, starch etc)
  • Green beans or legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney, soy protein, tofu, tempeh)
  • Soy (any forms of soy, soy lecithin, edamame)
  • Dairy (includes goat’s and sheep’s milk products, yogurt, sour cream, kefir)
  • Peanuts (including peanut butter)
  • Processed additives (Carrageenan, sulfites, MSG)
  • Junk food (chips, ice cream, french fries)

7 Tips to Help You Rock Your Whole 30 Challenge

Here are some additional tips to get you through the month so you can discover all of the benefits of Whole 30 as you complete the program:

1. Plan ahead

“Be prepared” will become your mantra while doing the Whole30. Being successful through the Whole 30 program is all about planning ahead. Here are some situations that planning ahead will make easier:

  • Reduce temptation by cleaning out your pantry
  • Meal Plan
  • Stock up on emergency food for travel or for the office
  • Develop a strategy for handling tempting situations like a birthday party or a special dinner.

2. Have A Support System

  • Have an accountability partner – get a friend or partner to do the challenge with you. It’s more fun together! 
  • Join one of the Whole 30’s free, online communities for accountability, advice, and resources. 
  • You can also follow Whole30 on Instagram to connect with like-minded people.

3. Meal Prep

Life is too busy to try scrambling to get to the grocery store and chop veggies when you’re running kids to soccer while also trying to get homework and baths done.

Think about your meals in advance (remember your mantra “be prepared”?). Pick a day to meal plan, grocery shop, and meal prep (here are some easy Whole30 recipes to get you started). You’ll be less stressed and less likely to get off track.

4. Don’t Skip Dessert

Just as the diet is about going back to basics, so is this tip. Make dessert basic. Instead of 2 layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, get back in the mindset of fruit being a treat. It will satisfy that sweet tooth!

5. Don’t Weigh Yourself During The First 30 Days

Keep the focus on eating (and enjoying) clean, healthy foods. You may drop pounds during the challenge, but weighing yourself will take your focus away from your real goal. 

6. Always Make Leftovers

When cooking, make enough to have leftovers. There is something rewarding about knowing your meals are already cooked and ready to go for the day. Plus, it helps reduce the temptation to make something that’s not on the diet.

7. No Fake Treats

The Whole30 wants you to change your habits and your emotional relationship with food. So even pancakes made with Whole30-approved ingredients or cauliflower crust pizzas are off-limits during the challenge. These little treats and “hacks” are infamously referred to within the Whole 30 community as SWYPO (aka sex with your pants on). Just say no!

Here Are Some Whole30 Recipes To Get You Started

15 Instant Pot Whole30 Recipes To Keep You On Track

The Whole30 Cookbook by Melissa Hartwig Urban

The Whole30 Slow Cooker by Melissa Hartwig Urban

While the Whole30 may (at first) sound like a restrictive diet, it’s really about changing your lifestyle and habits. It’s 30 days of eating whole foods and exploring a more purposeful, mindful approach to food. And it’s ONLY 30 days.

Are YOU ready to try the Whole30? You got this!