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September 6, 2021


Christine VanDoren NSCA-CPT, ACE
Everything You Need to Know About the Whole30 Diet

Fact Checked By Christine VanDoren NSCA-CPT, ACE
 September 6, 2021

Whole30 Diet

There are so many different diets out there, so how do you know which one is right for you?

The Whole30 diet may be perfect if you want something simple to follow that will help you discover which foods suit your body the best!

What is the Whole30 diet?

The name says it all! The Whole30 diet consists of eating mainly whole foods for 30 days (1).

It essentially is a nutrition challenge to help you discover what specific foods could be causing you any symptoms or ailments.

By eliminating all possible nutritional sources of what could be causing your body harm, you can discover allergies and sensitivities.

After 30 days of eating organic, free-range, and unprocessed foods, you will enter the reintroduction phase.

During this follow-up phase, you gradually add foods back into your diet, one by one.

If you are positive that your body isn’t negatively affected by a particular food, it is time to add the next one.

Likewise, if you are suddenly experiencing symptoms, you can quickly identify what food is causing them.

The original creators of the Whole30 diet say that you should not follow the plan for longer than 30 days, but if you need to try it again in the future, that is fine to do.


What should go into your shopping cart?

You must understand which foods are allowed on the Whole30 diet and which are not.

If you stray and eat any of the food not allowed, you will have to start the 30 days over (2).

Set yourself up for success and always have plenty of the foods permitted around your home, so eating the forbidden foods doesn’t tempt you.

Foods to eat

  • Meat, seafood, and eggs are excellent protein sources, and it is ideal for them to be organic and free-range.
  • Fruits and vegetables are great examples of whole foods. Try to buy organic when you can.
  • Most legumes are not allowed. A few exceptions are green beans, snow peas, and sugar snap peas.
  • Fruit and vegetable juices are low-calorie and nutrient-dense.
  • Natural fats provide support for your organ function and help with cholesterol levels.
  • Salt, herbs, spices, seasonings, and non-malted vinegar can be used to season food.

Foods to avoid

Every food or drink item listed below can cause someone an ailment or disagree with their digestive system.

Even if you do not have a problem with a particular food not allowed on the Whole30 diet, still eliminate it for 30 days.

You may discover that it does indeed cause you some discomfort you weren’t aware of before.

  • All grains and sources of dairy
  • Soda and alcohol
  • Junk foods
  • Baked goods, including any homemade desserts made from foods allowed on the diet
  • Added sugars, whether they be natural or artificial
  • All forms of soy
  • Carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites

What are the potential upsides and downsides of the Whole30 diet?

Every way of eating has its’ ups and downs, especially if it is more restrictive or for a more extended period (3).

The Whole30 diet is no exception, although the pros do outweigh the cons.

Keep in mind that everything mentioned is very dependent on the person, and there has been no release of research-based evidence yet.

Benefits of the diet

While weight loss is certainly not the primary goal of this diet, many people tend to lose weight during the 30 days.

This comes naturally to most because the amount of sugar and alcohol consumed is practically none, and there is the potential for a restored metabolism.

The lack of sugar is also significant for someone who is prediabetic and looking for ways to be preventative.

Nearly everyone has inflammation somewhere in their body, and certain foods usually cause it.

However, this inflammation can be eliminated, and causes of gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be significantly helped.

The Whole30 diet has also helped some people cure Lyme disease and celiac disease and balance their cholesterol levels.

Negative effects of the diet

While there is good in eliminating all irritating and processed foods, the Whole30 diet is still restrictive.

Because of this, many people tend to gain all the weight they lost right back due to rebound overeating.

If you want to keep the weight you lost off, be extremely gradual with bringing the processed foods back into your daily eating and keep the amounts minimal.

It can also be frustrating for many people because you have to start over if you eat one of the eliminated foods.

This can lead people to quit the diet altogether, resulting in them never finding out what was causing their problems.

Certain groups of people should not utilize the diet- pregnant women, anyone recovering from extensive surgery, and anyone with a history of eating disorders.

If you have suffered from an eating disorder in the past, following a restrictive diet can be triggering and possibly bring about old habits.

Meal and snack ideas

Now that you know what foods you can eat, here are some delicious meals to try over your 30-day experiment!


  • Potato Sausage Breakfast Bites (4)
  • Beef Bacon, ground turkey, bell pepper, onion, Yukon Gold potatoes, eggs, seasonings
  • Golden and Crispy Breakfast Bowl (5)
  • Beef Bacon, potatoes, eggs, avocado, seasonings
  • Veggie Breakfast Casserole (6)
  • Butternut squash, broccoli, bell pepper, eggs, almond milk, oil, seasonings


  • Naked Spring Rolls (7)
  • Chicken, red onion, garlic, almonds, fish sauce, purple cabbage, carrots, lettuce, dressing
  • Simple Deviled Eggs with Spiced Herb Garnish (8)
  • Eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, seasonings
  • Creamy Lemon Dill Shrimp Salad (9)
  • Shrimp, celery, red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, dressing


  • St. Louis Ribs and Potato Wedges (10)
  • Ribs, potatoes, ghee, white vinegar, oil, seasonings
  • Argentine Chicken Chimichurri (11)
  • Chicken, carrots, eggs, oil, dressing
  • Spaghetti Squash Carbonara (12)
  • Spaghetti squash, eggs, bacon, cashews, seasonings

Final Thoughts

The Whole30 diet involves eating whole, unprocessed foods for 30 days.

Depending on what current ailments and symptoms you are experiencing, this way of eating may help you identify the source of your problems.

Go ahead and fill your shopping cart with the proper nutritious foods, plan out some meals, and enjoy your journey to learn more about optimizing your health!