The Whole30 program is essentially an elimination diet that removes certain foods from your diet for 30 days.
During the 30 days, you avoid sugar, alcohol, legumes, grains, dairy, and other foods that are considered inflammatory in order to “reset” your body.
The Whole30 Program Rules:
Yes: Eat real food.
Eat meat, seafood, and eggs; vegetables and fruit; natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with a simple or recognizable list of ingredients, or no ingredients at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.
No: Avoid for 30 days.
- Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. This includes (but is not limited to) maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, monk fruit extract, Stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, and Xylitol. If there is added sugar in the ingredient list, it’s out.
- 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 most forms of legumes. This includes: beans (black, red, pinto, navy, garbanzo/chickpeas, white, kidney, lima, fava, cannellini, lentils, adzuki, mung, cranberry, and black-eyes peas); peanuts (including peanut butter or peanut oil); and all forms of soy (soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy protein, soy milk, or soy 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, 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 compatible) is missing the point of the Whole30, and won’t lead to habit change. These are the same foods that got you into health-and-craving trouble in the first place- and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.
- 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 breaking out the tape measure during the 30-day elimination period (You may take photos and/or measurements on Days 0 and 31, however).
*Some specific foods that fall under this rule include: pancakes, crepes, waffles, bread, tortillas, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, brownies, alternative flour pizza crust or pasta, granola, cereal, or ice cream. No commercially-prepared chips (potato, tortilla, plantain, etc) or french fries either. While this list of off-limit foods applies to everyone (even those who “don’t have a problem” with pancakes) you may decide to exclude additional foods that you already know make you feel out of control, like RXBARs (snack/protein bars) or almond butter.
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 you may be sensitive to the milk proteins found in non-clarified butter.
- 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 and most peas (including sugar snap peas, snow peas, green peas, yellow peas, and split peas) are allowed.
- Vinegar and botanical extracts. Most vinegar (including white, red wine, balsamic, apple cider, and rice) and alcohol-based botanical extracts (like vanilla, lemon, or lavender) are allowed during your Whole30 program. (Just not malt-based vinegar or extracts, which will be clearly labeled as such, as they contain gluten).
- Coconut aminos. All brands of coconut aminos (a brewed and naturally fermented soy sauce substitute) are acceptable, even if you see the words “coconut nectar” or “coconut syrup” in their 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, salt is an exception to our “no added sugar” rule.