What is a Whole30 and Why You Should Try It

a dish that is whole30 friendly

One of the hottest diets out there right now is the Whole30, which involves eating only whole foods and nothing else for 30 days straight. So what is this diet? And how does it work? Read on to find out everything you need to know about Whole30, including a list of foods you can eat (and those you have to avoid).

What Is the Whole30 diet?

Whole30 has recently become one of the most talked about diet plans out there.

This diet was developed in 2009 by two certified sports nutritionists who set out to help people to reset their metabolisms and improve their relationship with food.

Whole30 is known for its strict 30-day rules that require abstaining from sugar, grains, dairy, alcohol and legumes — basically everything that isn’t whole. The reason behind these rules? According to Whole30’s website, Whole foods must be limited in order to make room for better-quality foods: meats, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts.

Overall, this diet was not designed specifically for weight loss but rather to improves ones health.

Learn more about healthy eating.

Benefits of the Diet

There are many reasons why you should try the whole30 diet.

It helps kick-start your weight loss while teaching you how to eat real food (aka whole foods). By eliminating sugar, gluten, legumes, grains and dairy from your diet for 30 days—and then slowly reintroducing them one at a time to see what effect they have on your body—you become much more aware of how your body responds (good or bad) when you consume these things. For instance, do you feel bloated after eating bread? Or does cheese leave you gassy? It may sound extreme, but giving up those foods for an extended period of time can help you identify your personal triggers.

On top of that, wholefoods are rich in fibre which makes them great for your digestive health, energy levels, reducing cravings and appetite. Although there are no specific studies that discuss the Whole30 diet alone, consuming whole foods has been well documented over decades.

So how do you start? Keep reading!

How to Get Started

Don’t be surprised if you feel a little jittery when you first start. The whole30 diet consists of eliminating certain foods for 30 days, so you may experience withdrawal-like symptoms. Think: headaches, fatigue, crankiness (it’s okay to be a little irritable during a detox) and cravings. But don’t let these setbacks deter you! Commit to giving it your all for 30 days. During that time, not only will you likely experience dramatic changes in how you look and feel (and possibly reduce or eliminate an entire class of health conditions), but also in how healthy habits become just part of your day-to-day life.

So, firstly, there are foods you need to eliminate for exactly 30 days and then slowly reintroduce them into your diet. If you are the kind of person who suffers from regular digestive problems, it might be an idea to reintroduce foods one at a time. This way, you will be able to identify and eliminate that trigger those digestive problems.

Overall, this diet has quite strict rules to follow. Make sure to check out the original document!

If at any point you break the rules, the diet creators say that you must start it all over from day one. In addition, you do not need to calculate your calories and track them, you just need to make sure to consume the right type of foods.

Do’s and Don’ts

On a normal diet, when you eat more calories than you need, your body stores them for later as fat. This is true no matter how healthy you eat or the food choices that you make.

However, if you follow the rules correctly set out by the diet creators then it is highly unlikely that you’ll be hitting your maintenance calories or above.

The strict diet rules instruct the participants to avoid processed foods (including refined carbs and sugars) that inhibit healthy-eating habits and to choose high-quality proteins like grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, wild fish and seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds instead.This means no extra sugar in your coffee or cereal; no breads or pastas made with any special type of flour; no sugary snacks; no hidden sugars in sauces or dressings; no food additives or emulsifiers.

This makes things much easier to remain within you appropriate calorie intake. This is why you do not need to track your calories.

Some additional rules on top of the foods to eat and avoid have also been provided. For instance, participants are not allowed to smoke and you’re only allowed to step on the scales on day 1 and 30. You are not allowed to weigh yourself any day you want.

The reasons behind these additional rules is because this diet wasn’t designed for weight loss per se, it was designed to reboot your health and improve your wellbeing. By following the rules, you are likely to experience a change in mindset and improve your health over long-term.

Foods to eat and avoid

Foods to eat

  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Eggs
  • Some dairy products such as hard cheeses or plain Greek yogurt.

Foods to avoid

  • Sugars in any form (including honey)
  • grains (including wheat and corn)
  • legumes (including peanuts)
  • soy products such as tofu
  • Sweeteners including agave nectar
  • Alcohol. Beverages besides water
  • Processed foods
  • Anything with added sugar or artificial sweeteners
  • Fast food that isn’t grilled chicken/fish or a burger without a bun.

Learn more about carbs and grains as well as fibre.

Tips for Sticking with the Diet

When it comes to sticking with a diet, there are a few tips that can help keep you on track.

First, be consistent. Don’t allow yourself cheat days or permission to stray from your plan on special occasions. Not only will these cause you to lose faith in your ability to follow through on your plan but they also make it hard for you to determine what actually makes you feel good versus what doesn’t work for you.

Second, don’t punish yourself if you do give in once in a while; treat it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes rather than berate yourself for not being perfect.

Recipes

Here are three healthy recipes that are Whole30 friendly to get you started.

Shakshuka

Shakshuka

Ingredients

  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 x 14 oz. (400g) cans chopped tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup (15g) parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

Heat the oil a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers, stirring constantly, and cook, for 5 minutes or until the onion and pepper have softened.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook, stirring for a further 5 minutes.

Use a spoon to make 4 large holes in the tomato mixture, then crack an egg into each hole. Reduce the heat to low, and partially cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Sesame crusted miso tuna

Sesame crusted miso tuna

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. white miso
  • 2 tuna steaks (5 oz. /140g each)
  • 4 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • bunch spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 7 oz. (200g) green beans, halved
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat.

Rub the tuna steaks with miso paste and coat with sesame seeds on each side. Cook the steaks in the pan for 1 ½ minute each side, then place them aside to rest.

In the same pan cook the spring onions and green beans for 3-4 minutes, or until beans are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then divide between two serving plates.

Slice the steaks and place on top of the vegetables. Serve immediately.

Pork meatballs in tomato sauce

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. (400g) lean pork mince
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups (480ml) passata
  • ¼ cup (15g) parsley leaf, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

Place the pork in a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper. Add in the garlic and use your hands to mix thoroughly. Using 1 tablespoon of mince, form meatballs, roughly the size of a walnut.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and cook the meatballs, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Then take off the heat and set aside. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and cook the onion for 3-4 minutes until soft. Place the meatballs back into the pan and add the passata. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes and serve garnished with the parsley

Summary

The whole30 diet stands for a combination of healthy eating and mindfulness. It’s a new way of thinking about food—not just as fuel, but as information. The 30 days spent with whole30 will make you think hard about your relationship with food, which in turn makes it easier to make healthier choices later on. Just remember that it’s never too late to change your habits—even if you fail at first!

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this post, and let us know in the comments if there is any other way that we can help.

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