The Whole30 Ultimate Beginner Guide
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Last Updated on September 4, 2021 by Lisa Johnson
Do you wake up in the morning feeling like you have been hit by a bus; with unexplained aches and pains? Are your energy levels inconsistent or nonexistent? Do you have a condition; such as allergies, chronic fatigue, or digestive issues? Your symptoms may be directly related to the food you eat! The Whole30 Ultimate Beginner Guide is filled with tips, tricks and recipes to help you feel and live better.
Check out The Ultimate List of Whole30 Recipes for more healthy and delicious recipes.
My personal belief is that the food we eat is slowly killing us. I know that sounds extreme, but look at the rise in diseases that were nonexistent 50 or 60 years ago. Sometimes we “think” we are eating healthy meals, but still end up feeling sick, tired, and fed up! A Whole30 Challenge is the perfect way to figure out why and start feeling better.
What is Whole 30?
The Whole 30 diet was created as a way to reset your health, habits, and relationship with food. It not necessarily a weight loss diet, though that is often a side effect. Think of it as an elimination diet to help you figure out which foods your body is sensitive to. Food sensitivities cause inflammation which sets off a cascade of responses within the body, and none of them are good!
How does Whole 30 work?
For 30 days, you will completely eliminate the most common foods that cause problems. You will also be eliminating foods that cause cravings and effect metabolism, digestion, and immune system.
By removing these problematic foods, you will feel better and be able to recognize which foods are the culprits once they are reintroduced!
What can you eat on Whole 30?
- lean meat and poultry
- fruits and vegetables
- potatoes (white or sweet)
- olive oil
- nuts and seeds
- ghee & healthy fats
- herbs & spices
- lemon water
- almond milk
- herbal tea
- black coffee
The more vegetables you eat, the healthier you will feel. Of course proteins and fats will help you feel fuller longer so you don’t snack as much.
Choose high quality meats; grass-fed, wild-caught, free-range, etc. Leave the processed meats in the store, they contain additives that most people cannot even pronounce!
What foods are not allowed on Whole 30?
- sugar (real or artificial; including maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar)
- alcohol of any kind
- grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, bulgur, sorghum, millet, rice, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa)
- legumes (beans of any kind, peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts)
- dairy (cow, goat, sheep)
- soy (tofu, soy sauce, miso, temph, edamame)
- vegetable oils (canola, soy, corn)
- junk food
- processed foods (they tend to contain MSG, carrageenan, added sulfites and other unhealthy ingredients)
It may seem like a very short list, but once you start reading labels you will be shocked!! No bread, pasta, rice, cereal, cheese, ice cream, bags of chips, beans, lentils, quinoa, or fast food. Actually, Chipotle has a Whole30 approved menu so there is one bright spot.
If you stop and think about it; grains are genetically modified and sprayed with RoundUp while growing. 90% of the soy produced is also genetically modified and sprayed with RoundUp. Cows are pumped full of hormones and fed genetically modified corn instead of grazing in fields of grass. We eat what they eat and our bodies are not designed to handle it.
Sugar, ahh sugar. Sugar is more addictive than heroin!! The average American consumes around 17.4 teaspoons of sugar per day – that’s more than 5 teaspoons higher than the average sugar intake recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, around 75% of packaged foods sold in supermarkets contain added sugar. This includes processed foods like snacks, cereals, energy drinks, fruit juices and baked goods…which is why they are excluded on Whole30!!
Your habits and food cravings will not change if you keep eating them with Whole30 approved ingredients. You are looking for improvement, correct?
What are the rules of Whole 30?
- NO SMOKING
- No weighing yourself or taking measurements
- No homemade “treats” or baked goods using approved ingredients – cauliflower pizza crust is a no-no!
- No cheating, or you have to start over again!!
It is best to not focus on what you can’t have and embrace how much better you will feel. We have all grown up with negative ideas about weight and body image. Give yourself 30 days without a scale and you will be rewarded with loose fitting clothes!!
Exceptions to the rules
- clarified butter or ghee (the milk solids have been removed)
- fruit juice as a sweetener (in moderation)
- green beans and snow/snap peas – they are more “pod” than “bean” and are good for you.
- vinegar (white, balsamic, apple cider, red wine, rice)
- alcohol-based botanical extracts (vanilla, lemon, lavender)
- coconut aminos/nectar (soy sauce substitute)
I mentioned the loose fitting clothes above, but there are many other benefits as well. If you fully embrace your 30 challenge, it will change the way you think about food. It will change your tastes, habits and cravings which ultimately change your emotional relationship with food as well.
How would you feel about?
- consistently high energy levels
- better sleep
- improved focus and mental clarity
- healthy digestive function
- improved athletic performance
- happier disposition
Believe it or not, The Whole30 Ultimate Beginner Guide you are reading IS the condensed version of Whole30!
Top 10 Whole 30 Recipes
- Whole 30 Ranch Dressing
- Whole 30 Breakfast Burrito
- Super Easy Garlic Aioli
- Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup
- Sweet Onion & Citrus Dressing
- Paleo Cauliflower Rice
- Instant Pot Kalua Pork
- Peruvian Roasted Chicken
- Instant Pot Italian Beef
- Slow Cooker Adobo Chicken
My personal favorites – (featured image) Asian Beef Salad & Smashed Potato Burgers topped with Super Easy Garlic Aioli (last image) which just missed the Top 10 list.
Whole 30 Tips & Tricks
Keep it simple – if you want to eat the same thing every meal, go for it! You will probably get bored, but if it makes your life easier who cares! Remember, you can have breakfast for dinner or leftover dinner for breakfast…your body doesn’t care what time it is.
Plan ahead – the fastest way to blow it is by getting hungry and not having anything ready to eat!!
Do not set yourself up to fail – If you have a family vacation or some other major event, wait to start or you are setting yourself up to fail!
Remove temptations – clean out your refrigerator and pantry before you start! You do not want to give in to temptation when your cookie cravings hit.
Additional Whole 30 Resources
- Whole 30 Game Plan
- Whole 30 Game Plan 2.0 – includes what I learned after my 1st Whole30 Challenge
- Whole 30 Meal Plan Week 1
- Whole 30 Meal Plan Week 2
- Whole 30 Meal Plan Week 3
- Whole 30 Meal Plan Week 4
- All of the Whole 30 Recipes in the Archives – 80+ recipes and growing
Whole30 Ingredients & Products
- CHOMPS Beef Sticks – great for when traveling.
- No Soy Teriyaki Sauce
- Ghee – if you do not want to make your own.
- Coconut Aminos – soy sauce substitute.
- Tessemae’s Lemon Garlic Dressing – my favorite bottled dressing available at most grocery stores in the produce department.
- Larabar Cashew Cookie Bars – not all Larabars are Whole30 approved, read the labels.
- Sugar-free Almond Butter
- La Croix Limoncello or Cherry Limon flavored sparkling water available in most grocery stores.
You can see the rest of my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets here in my Amazon Affiliate Page. I earn a small commission when you purchase through my links, at no cost to you, so I can keep bringing you more delicious recipes!
So tell me, are you inspired or exhausted after reading this post? 🙂
Good luck, and let me know how it goes!!