Whole30 Has a Lot of Rules – This Cheat Sheet Summarizes Everything You Need to Know
Whether you are constantly looking for a way to improve your health, boost your confidence and improve your looks, or you are here just because you are curious to get to know better what this
Whole30 program everyone’s been talking about actually is, you are at the right place.
Wow. It must be quite tiring trying to figure out all the rules and understand completely what you are supposed to do. We really hope that this learning burns some calories, too.
Although, if you were looking for an easier way to master the Whole30 program, we have good news for you.
We’ve created this cheat sheet that summarizes everything you need to know, answers all of your questions, including those you didn’t know you’ve had.
Without further due, let’s get this Whole30 on a whole new level!
WHAT IS WHOLE30?
“The Whole30 is a 30-day experiment designed to teach you how the foods you’ve been eating are impacting how you feel, how you look, and your quality of life,”
…explains Melissa Hartwig, sports nutritionist that developed the program that is now worldwide popular.
Many people would say that this program is some kind of a reset, as it eliminates lots of groceries and helps people have a fresh start when it comes to the food they eat.
However, Melissa claims that it is much more than that.
She explains that the Whole30 is a program that eliminates all the food that is usually linked to the food sensitivities, needs, unbalanced hormones, sleep problems and many more.
The root of these problems could actually be the food you choose and that is what this program should help you realize.
Although you were probably unaware, everything you consume on a daily basis has a direct or indirect influence on how you feel and how you act throughout the day.
In order to understand which food is good for you and which is not, Melissa designed this program that eliminates all potentially problematic food for 30 days, leaving you with a task to follow up your feelings during the program.
After the 30 days pass, you are allowed to return back the food slowly and see how it affects you.
Eventually, you will become completely aware of how food choices influence you and how to make the best choice for yourself.
WHY IT TURNED OUT TO BE SO POPULAR?
If you’ve heard before about the Paleo style eating, the Whole30 might sound to you quite familiar.
The thing (or things) Paleo and Whole30 have in common are the ingredients that removed from the diet.
This mostly includes grains, refined sugar, dairy, and legumes, while vegetables, fruit and animal protein are well recommended.
So, this program exists since 2009 and as mentioned above, there are some similar programs dating even before the Whole30.
The big question is why did the Whole30 become so popular lately and what is so unique about it that everybody is on board?
As doctors and scientists say, the thing that distinguishes the Whole30 from other programs is the fact that it is quite adaptable to anyone in the world and help completely re-evaluate your eating routine, as well as the food you eat.
Unlike the other diets, the Whole30 program helps you focus on nutrient-dense whole foods in their natural form (preserving all the nutrients), which results in self-regulating the appetite and developing a much better relationship to food in general.
This makes an excellent starting point for anyone who is looking for a healthier lifestyle and ways to upgrade the quality of their life.
IS WHOLE30 A DIET?
Well, although there are strict restrictions and clear rules to follow, the Whole30 cannot be considered as a classic diet.
If you take a look at the reason this program exists, it has nothing to do with losing weight, getting thinner or similar.
The main goal is to use it as a personized guide that will help you with your nutrition in the future, all with an aim of staying healthy and improving your lifestyle.
Melissa, the founder herself, also claims that this is not a diet and she prefers not to use this word.
As she explains, you should consider the Whole30 as an experiment and act accordingly.
It is supposed to help you test the food sensitivities and figure out which food you should eat in order to feel good.
In the Whole30 program, there is no counting calories, macros or anything similar.
There is not even a restriction regarding how much you are allowed to eat.
However, you are strongly encouraged to eat until you are full and you can adjust your portions to the Whole30 templates based on your weight and activity levels.
Another thing that is special in this program is that you are not allowed to weigh or measure your self during the 30 days experiment, as is it is not about the size or number, but on how you feel.
Your feelings should be your main focus and the food you consume should be the triggers. Measurements could only mess up the perception.
WHAT AM I ALLOWED TO EAT ON WHOLE30?
The easiest explanation can fit in one simple sentence – you will be mostly eating LOTS OF vegetables and fruit, and also an adequate amount of organic fish, meat, eggs, and nuts.
On the other hand, the NO list consists of sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, certain additives, alcohol, desserts and basically anything that you are used to.
This is food that is marked as potentially bad for you (and in most cases it actually is) and therefore it is the first you will be removing from your diet.
However, there are other ingredients too that you will need to eliminate throughout the challenge.
There is a complete guide on the menu that if followed, will result in accurate information regarding your preferences.
If you have noticed in the supermarket some food that has “Whole30 Approved” mark, your assumption was correct.
Yes, you can eat those foods, as it has been officially approved as allowed during the experiment.
If you are interested in the program but afraid you won’t be able to make anything from the menu- don’t be afraid.
With enormous popularity came the ever-growing number of restaurants that offer the Whole30 meals.
This is a huge relief for anyone who is short on time or new in the kitchen.
Even though there are more and more restaurants that offer Whole30 meals, we encourage you to take time to learn and prepare food on your own.
It is the best way to learn what suits you the most and also develop a good relationship with food.
For those of you who are vegan or vegetarian, there is also a solution.
You can go on Whole30 but bear in mind that there are a bit different rules for you.
If you eliminate meat, fish or eggs and take the protein only from legumes or grains, this will mean that you are on a so-called vegan or vegetarian reset, not on authentic Whole30.
You should also consider buying and eating only organic food, at least whenever it’s possible.
Our suggestion is to not save money on the groceries but to try to save on other things.
Another good thing is to eat vegetables and fruits in their season, as you will secure to get the most nutrients that way.
A DAY IN A LIFE WHILE ON WHOLE30
As most nutritionists will advise you, breakfast must be your strongest meal.
That means loading it up with a lot of proteins and vitamins.
A typical breakfast while on Whole30 would include for example 3 egg omelet, a slice of ground meat, and vegetable plate or one of these many interesting recipes.
There is no limit really when it comes to creativity in the kitchen.
If you go through forums, you will learn that many people eat the leftovers from dinner.
That’s okay as long as it is not your first day and the dinner is actually the Whole30 approved.
Try imagining having a light piece of fish and fresh salad for the breakfast. It sounds delicious and quite nutrient, right?
We know what you are probably wondering and looking for in the text: can I drink my coffee???
Yes, you can! Coffee is acceptable, as long as you keep it black or with a dairy-free, sugar-free, additive-free creamer.
For your meal in the middle of the day or in other words lunch, you can choose a big salad and it with some high-quality protein as a steak or fat and grain free turkey nuggets.
If you prefer another cup of coffee after lunch, you may consider adding a scoop of grass-fed collagen peptides or switching to a matcha latte.
Dinner after work should look similar to lunch.
You can choose another piece of meat with a portion of salad or consider some fish instead of the meat.
Tuna salad is always a good option.
According to the Whole30 rules, you aren’t allowed to be having snacks between meals.
It is important that your daily diet consists of three meals so make sure that you eat enough for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Once you start adding the ingredients back to the diet, you will be thankful to yourself for losing the habit of eating or snacking something throughout the day.
In the emergency case and only if you feel like you really need to eat, you can have some raw nuts, some jerky or a hard-boiled egg.
That should be enough to keep you going until the next proper meal.
The toughest part of this program is that actually you aren’t allowed to eat any desserts. Any. Not even those made form Whole30 ingredients.
This may sound harsh, but it will actually help you to lose your sugar cravings.
The main idea behind the no-desserts policy is to lose the need to perceive food as a reward or a treat. It has been proven that this perception can lead to many health problems and cause addiction to sweets and desserts.
However, if you believe that you are under control and still want to keep something sweet in your menu, you have a small piece of fruit after the meal.
YOUR FEELINGS WHILE BEING ON WHOLE30
As you may have figured it out, the whole point behind the Whole30 is for you to realize which food suits you and how it is connected to your feelings.
To make it shorter for you, your feelings will be complicated.
As this is an individual experiment, that means that there are no rules and it all depends on how you react.
But you will most probably feel all these feelings (from super good to feeling sick) but in your own way, meaning that some feelings will be highlighted and some won’t.
The good thing is that this is quite a normal thing to happen and that it is all the part of the self-aware process you will go through and that will help you much in the future!
HOW TO KNOW WHETHER GOING ON WHOLE30 IS WORTH IT?
The main question before starting any program is whether it is actually worth it.
As most of the people who already did the Whole30 claim, the program helped them feel better and gain a better quality of life.
The main feedback and what are most people thankful for is the fact that after the diet people have fewer cravings towards processed food, as they realize how bad it makes them feel.
Some of the biggest results from the Whole30 program consist of weight loss, higher energy, better focus, and calmer sleep.
What is most noticeable after the program is the reduced food cravings that actually tend to disappear.
Many people have also stopped drinking coffee.
By eating good ingredients they stay fresh and energized and actually conclude that dairy and sweetened coffee do more harm than good to their organism.
Another benefit is that 30 days that the program last are enough for you to lose your all habits and gain the new ones that will stick with you even years after the program.
HOW TO START THE WHOLE30
We will go step by step, as recommended by Melissa Hartwig and explain to you the best and easiest way to start your Whole30 journey.
What’s more important, this preparation is crucial for having all chances on your side in making it to the end and getting the most out of it.
1. Learn about the Whole30
The first step is obvious and mostly covered by this article. It is important to get familiar with the program and its goals, so you know what to expect and on what to focus.
2. Read the program
Before starting it officially, we recommend you to read the program once again until you are completely sure about what should be on your menu and what are the foods you should be avoiding.
3. Commit to the program
If you have ever started a diet or tried following a health program like this one, you have been in the temptation to quit. You might have quit so you probably know what we are talking about.
Quitting occurs usually if we think that we are incapable of completing something and doing it successfully.
So before you even start, determine the exact start date and also write down the end date. You can add how you are expecting to feel on the 31st day and which goals you want to achieve. Every time it gets hard, just pay a look at this calendar and set of goals and remind yourself that it is worth it.
4. Find the support
Everything is easier when it is done with somebody else! Find members of your family or friends who would like to go on Whole30 with you.
Even if it happens that you can’t find anyone, make sure that you tell all the people you love that you are starting the program and ask for their help and support.
It will mean much to you if nobody offers you candy while being on Whole30.
Another source of support could be the Internet and all the other people who are doing the Whole30.
There is a strong community built around this program and getting support, advice and cheering from them might get you far. In the end, it is those who are in the same position as you that understand you the most.
5. Clean out your house
Preparation is half job done. Make sure that you clean out your house completely.
That means removing all the ingredients that are forbidden on Whole30. Another thing to do is to actually buy all the foods that you will be eating.
Plan ahead and go shopping for at least a week ahead.
Make sure that you have all your meals in the upcoming period plan so that you never have to wonder what to eat or forget to prepare something, so you lose your lunch or even worse – eat something you aren’t allowed to.
Look for the Whole30 recipes on the Internet, write down the grocery-shopping list and get going!
6. If ____________ happens, then I will ____________
It is really really important to be prepared for some difficult situations.
From strong cravings to feeling really sick, you have to be prepared for all of it. If you don’t want to end up looking for comfort in junk food when some difficult situation appears, write down this kind of sentence:
If _________ happens, then I will _________.
For example: If I start to feel a strong craving, I will call my friend and go out for a walk.
This way, you are securing being prepared and knowing what exactly to do, avoiding your old habits that include befriending with junk food.
7. Forget about the scale
It is really important to remember that this program isn’t about weighing or measuring yourself. The ultimate goal isn’t to lose weight but to understand your body and your needs.
You will be tracking your feelings and checking the scale will probably have a strong influence on your feelings, and that is not the point. You have to figure out how specific foods influence your feelings, nothing else.
8. Start the Whole30!
It is time! Now that you are ready, there is only one step left – to actually begin this journey! Don’t be afraid, as being prepared got you done with the most work.
Just follow the plan and enjoy the process – you will feel extraordinary when it’s done!
WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WHEN I FINISH THE PROGRAM?
You’ve made it to the last day, congratulations!
Okay, so what’s next?
You’ll probably feel like you can continue with this food regime and actually don’t need adding back any food.
Or at least almost any.
Anyways, it is the reintroduction phase and time for you to start returning ingredients one by one.
Bear in mind that this part is the most important one and that you need to pay attention to it.
This is the actual part where you will learn the most about yourself and figure out which food really suits you and which only bothers your organism.
The key to mastering this phase is to bring back the food one by one.
The worst case scenario is that you start eating all of your favorite junk food and sweets on day 31.
That is completely the worst.
Don’t ever do that as you will never know what exactly made you feel bad and it will definitely make you feel that way.
For example, if you eat a huge sandwich that is packed with white bread, cheese, chilly sauce, ketchup and anything else you add to your sandwiches usually and your stomach feels bad after eating it, you will never know which ingredient exactly made you feel that way and you may refrain yourself from all of them without any reason.
It is recommended to keep up with the Whole30 template for the reintroduction phase. It suggests adding food back one by one and ensuring good tracking.
For example, you can start by returning the dairy and eat cheese for lunch or drink yogurt for breakfast and then see how it makes you feel.
Make sure you wait at least a couple of days before you try with another one.
What is important to track is primarily your digestion and how the food affects your digestive system.
After that, pay attention to your feelings, mood, and energy as it is really important to be aware of how specific food influences your feelings.
Take care of your skin and health in general, as it may worsen if your organism shows signs of not accepting some specific food.
In the end, it could indicate the food intolerance, in which case you should definitely pay a visit to your doctor. “
We know that the Whole30 might sound a bit tough especially with all of the things that should be followed but just imagine a life where you won’t have to worry that you will feel bad after having a dinner with at your friend’s or at the business lunch, as you know what to order and what exactly to eat in order to stay at the top of your game.
We have covered everything that there is to be known about the Whole30.
Now it is up to you to decide whether it’s worthy to dare on this journey and start the experiment.
The benefits are many and the just an assumption that after these 30 days you will become more self-aware makes it all much more valuable!
Good luck with whatever you decide and let us know how satisfied with your Whole30 experience you are!