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The Whole30 diet book by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig: Food list

The Whole30 book by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas HartwigThe Whole30 (2015) is an elimination-reintroduction diet that has some similarity to paleo diets.

  • Eat vegetables, protein, some fat.
  • Eliminate alcohol, legumes, dairy, grains, sugars, processed foods, for 30 days.
  • Reintroduce alcohol, legumes, dairy, grains to see how you react to them.
  • Long term, eat mostly Whole30 foods (vegetables, protein, fat) with some conscious exceptions.

See below on this page for a description of the food recommendations in the diet.  What to eat and avoid at all times  |  Whole30 diet  |  Reintroduction diet  |  Lifetime habits.  There’s a lot more in the book.

Use this page as a cheat sheet alongside the book. Send this page to friends, family, and anyone else who you want to understand what you’re eating on this diet.

Get a copy of The Whole30 for planning and preparation, a timeline of what to expect on each day on the diet, details of why certain foods are allowed or not allowed, advice on supplements and prescription medications, grocery shopping guidelines, dining out guidelines, travel considerations, guidelines on medical conditions, pregnancy and breastfeeding, kids, troubleshooting suggestions, cooking tips, recipes, and resources.

Also, see It Starts With Food for general nutrition recommendations – the science behind the plan, and the background of the Whole30. The authors highly recommend you read that book first before tackling the program.

The reasoning behind The Whole30

For 30 days, the program eliminates foods demonstrated by science and the authors’ experience to promote unhealthy cravings and habits, disrupt your metabolism, damage your digestive tract, and burden your immune system. After 30 days, you carefully and systematically reintroduce those foods, and pay attention to how they impact your cravings, mood, energy, sleep, digestion, body composition, athletic performance, pain, and the symptoms of your medical condition. With that knowledge, you can then create the perfect diet for you; a nutrition plan that feels balanced and sustainable, grounded in new healthy habits, keeping you looking, feeling, and living your best.

The Whole30 diet plan – what to eat and foods to avoid

What to eat and avoid at all times  |  Whole30 diet  |  Reintroduction diet  |  Lifetime habits

  • First 30 days – follow the Whole30 elimination diet to avoid foods that commonly cause health issues
  • Either fast-track reintroduction or slow roll reintroduction to see how you react to foods
    • Fast track reintroduction: 2 weeks (where you may be pretty miserable as symptoms all blow up at once)
    • Slow roll reintroduction: no particular schedule, you have small amounts of non-Whole30 foods only when you feel they’re irresistible, and see how you react to them

The Whole30 Program – what to eat and avoid at all times

Meal planning  |  What to eat  |  Foods to eat occasionally or limit  |  Foods to avoid

Meal planning for all stages of the Whole30

  • Meal template
    • Have 3 meals a day, starting with a good breakfast. If you have really long days, you may find you need 4 or 5 meals – try to keep them around 3-4 hours apart
    • Base each meal around 1-2 palm-sized protein sources, and fill the rest of your plate with vegetables. Occasionally add a serving of fruit
    • Add fat in these amounts per meal:
      • All oils and cooking fats (olive oil, animal fats, etc.) – 1 to 2 thumb-sized portions
      • All butters (ghee, coconut butter, nut butters, etc.) – 1 to 2 thumb-sized portions
      • Coconut (shredded or flaked) – 1 to 2 open (heaping) handfuls
      • Olives – 1 to 2 open (heaping) handfuls
      • Nuts and seeds – up to one closed handful
      • Avocado: ½ to 1 avocado
      • Coconut milk: Between ¼ and ½ of one (14-ounce) can
    • Make each meal large enough to satisfy you until the next meal
    • Stop eating a few hours before bed
    • Avoid snacks between meals to help you figure out the right size meals – if you do snack, have snacks that are smaller meals with a variety of food types – at least 2 macronutrients, e.g. protein and fat, protein and carbs, or fat and carbs
    • If you find your meals are never big enough to last until the next meal, start making each one a little bigger. Start by slowly adding a little more protein and a little more fat to the vegetables on your plate, until you find an amount that will successfully get you from one meal to the next comfortably
  • Pre-workout
    • Eat 15-75 minutes pre-workout, as a signal to prepare your body for activity
    • If you train first thing in the morning, something is better than nothing
    • Choose foods that are easily digestible and palatable
    • Experiment with different foods, quantities, and timing
    • Include a small amount of protein (half a meal size or smaller), and (optionally) a small amount of fat (half a meal size or smaller)
    • Do not add fruit or carb-dense vegetables to your pre-workout snack
  • Post-workout (PWO)
    • Eat immediately following exercise (15 to 30 minutes)
    • Eat a meal-sized easily digestible protein, plus the appropriate amount of carb-dense vegetables (e.g. sweet potatoes/ yams, taro/ poi, butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, beets) based on the Carb Curve in It Starts With Food
    • Do not use fruit as your primary post-workout carb, and add little to no fat
    • Your post-workout meal is a special bonus meal— not meant to replace breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Think of it as a necessary source of additional calories and nutrients, designed to help you recover faster and more efficiently from high intensity exercise
  • Pregnant or nursing
    • Eat more small meals rather than grazing constantly on snacks
    • Try to have at least 2-3 hours between meals, if possible
    • Limit protein consumption to no more than 20% of total calories
    • Avoid fish containing mercury, raw eggs (including home-made mayonnaise), raw fish, raw or undercooked meat
  • Kids
    • Kids need more frequent, smaller meals or snacks between meals

Foods to eat in all stages of The Whole30

  • Proteins
    • Portion size is 1-2 times the size of your palm
    • Seafood – Best: wild-caught and sustainably fished; Better: wild-caught and/or sustainable; Good: farm-raised. E.g. catfish, cod, flounder, haddock, grouper, halibut, lingcod, mackerel, mahi mahi, ocean perch, orange roughy, pollock, rockfish, salmon, smoked salmon, scallops, sea bass, shrimp, snapper, swordfish, tilapia, trout, tuna, walleye, whitefish
    • Meat – beef, buffalo, elk, lamb, venison, other ruminants – Best: 100 percent grass-fed and organic; Better: grass-fed and/ or organic; Good: lean, fat trimmed/ drained
    • Eggs – Best: pastured and organic; Better: organic (omega-3 enriched optional); Good: store-bought
    • Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, pheasant, etc.) – Best: pastured and organic; Better: organic; Good: store-bought, skin removed
    • Non-ruminants (pork, wild boar, rabbit, etc.) – Best: pastured and organic; Better: organic; Good: lean, fat trimmed/ drained
    • Processed meats (bacon, sausage, deli meat, etc.) – Best: 100 percent grass-fed/ pastured and organic; Better: organic. Make sure it doesn’t contain sugar or carrageenan for the Whole30
  • Vegetables
    • Acorn squash, anise/ fennel root, artichoke, arugula, asparagus, avocado (listed as an “eating fat”), bean sprouts, beets, beet greens, bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli/ broccolini, broccoli rabe, brussels sprouts, buttercup squash, butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumber, delicata squash, eggplant, fennel, garlic, green beans, greens, jalapeño, jicama, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce (all), mushrooms (all), mustard greens, okra, onions, parsnips, potatoes (all), pumpkin, radish, rutabaga, rhubarb, scallions/green onions, shallots, snow peas, sugar snap peas, spaghetti squash, spinach, sprouts, summer squash, sweet potato, swiss chard, tomato, turnip, turnip greens, watercress, yams, zucchini
    • Fresh or frozen; canned vegetables are fine – just watch out for added ingredients like sugar or sulfites
    • Nightshade vegetables are fine unless you’re specifically eliminating them due to a known sensitivity – ashwagandha, bell peppers (aka sweet peppers), bush tomato, cape gooseberries, cocona, eggplant, garden huckleberries, goji berries (aka wolfberry), hot peppers (such as chili peppers, jalapeños, and habaneros), kutjera, naranjillas, pepinos, pimentos, potatoes (red, white, Yukon gold, baby, purple, etc.; sweet potatoes and yams aren’t nightshades), tamarillos, tomatillos, tomatoes; spices like cayenne, chili pepper flakes, chili powder, curry, paprika, and red pepper
  • Fruit
    • Start with 2 servings of fruit a day, eaten with meals (not by itself), but you can have more or less than that occasionally, for example more on hot summer days and less in the winter
    • Apples (all varieties), apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, fresh dates, exotic fruit (star fruit, quince), fresh figs, grapefruit, grapes (green and red), kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, melon, nectarines, oranges, papaya, peaches, pears (all varieties), pineapple, plum, pomegranate, raspberries, strawberries, tangerines, watermelon
    • Canned vegetables are fine – just watch out for added ingredients like sugar or sulfites and avoid fruits packed in syrup
  • Fats and oils
    • Best cooking fats – animal fats, clarified butter/ghee, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil – serving size is 1-2 thumb-sized portions
    • Coconut butter – serving size is 1-2 thumb-sized portions
    • Avocados – portion size is ½-1 avocado
    • Olives (all) – portion size is 1-2 open (heaping) handfuls
    • Nuts and seeds (see below) – portion size for nuts and seeds is up to 1 closed handful in a meal; for coconut (shredded or flaked) it’s 1-2 open (heaping) handfuls; for coconut milk it’s between ¼ and ½ of one (14-ounce) can. It does appear that nuts are more favored than seeds
  • Nuts
    • Nuts – cashews, coconut meat/ flakes, hazelnuts/filberts, macadamia nuts
    • Nut butters – macadamia butter
    • Nut milks – coconut milk (canned)
    • Nut flours – coconut flour (not for “paleo” baking during the Whole30 – pancakes, bread, tortillas, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, pizza crust, waffles, or anything of that nature)
  • Herbs and spices
    • Fresh or dried
    • Herbs – e.g. basil, bay leaves, chives, cilantro, dill, lemongrass, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme
    • Spices – e.g. allspice, black pepper, black peppercorns, cayenne pepper, chili powder, chipotle powder, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder (red and yellow), garlic powder, ground cloves, ginger root, ground ginger, mustard powder, nutmeg, onion powder, oregano, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, wasabi powder. For spice mixes, check ingredients
  • Pantry items / miscellaneous
    • Arrowroot powder as a thickener, tapioca as a thickener (note tapioca flour is usually a mix of tapioca and wheat, which should be avoided; also tapioca should be avoided if you’ve had metabolic dysfunction or inflammation)
    • Broth (beef, chicken, vegetable)
    • Capers, pickles (read the label),
    • Sauces, condiments, and vinegars – coconut aminos, fish sauce, hot sauce (read the label for non-Whole30 ingredients), mustard (read the label), vinegars without added sugar and without gluten (apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, white vinegar)
    • Tomato products – tomato paste, canned tomatoes (crushed and diced)
    • Other savory – nutritional yeast (read the label)
    • Cocoa powder (100% cacao) and carob – don’t mix with dates or other fruits to make chocolate-y dessert confections or sweetened “hot chocolate” drinks in the Whole30
    • Cacao drinks such as Choffy or Crio Brü – note that Whole30 rules apply for sugars and creamers
  • Beverages
    • Waters – club soda, mineral water, naturally flavored water, seltzer water, sparkling water (read the label)
    • Coffee and tea – coffee (no more than 1-2 cups a day are recommended, before noon), flavored coffee (check ingredients), tea (all varieties; read the label)
    • Vegetable juice – watch out for added fruit juice and other ingredients, and make sure they don’t take the place of eating real vegetables
    • Other – kombucha, water kefir (read the ingredients, look out for added sugar)
  • Additives acceptable for this diet
    • See http://whole30.com/downloads/additives.pdf
    • Acetic acid, alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), beta-carotene, calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, citric acid, ferrous gluconate, gellan gum, guar gum, inulin, lactic acid, locust bean gum, natural flavors, niacin (vitamin B3), pectin potassium chloride, potato starch, riboflavin (vitamin B2), salt / sodium chloride, sodium citrate, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, sodium pectinate, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, zinc gluconate

Foods to eat occasionally or limit in all stages of The Whole30

  • Fruits
    • Limit – dried fruit, e.g. dates – and don’t use it in a paste as a form of added sweetener
    • Fruit juices – apple cider, fruit juice, (orange, apple, pomegranate) – use as an ingredient, not as a drink – eat the fruit instead
  • Fats and oils
    • Sesame oil (listed as miscellaneous; assumed should be occasional but could be unlimited)
    • Limit vegetable oils – corn, rice bran, soybean, and peanut oils are out for the Whole30because they’re forms of grains (corn and rice) and legumes (soy and peanuts). However, canola (also known as rapeseed), safflower, sunflower, and grapeseed oils are all allowed (because you have to eat out sometimes) – just not encouraged. Don’t use them at home
  • Nuts
    • Occasional nuts – almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, pistachio
    • Occasional nut butters – almond butter
    • Occasional nut flours – almond flour (not for “paleo” baking during the Whole30 – pancakes, bread, tortillas, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, pizza crust, waffles, or anything of that nature)
    • Limit nuts – walnuts
    • Limit nut milks – almond milk (read the label, or make your own – and eating the actual nuts is better)
    • Limit coconut water (check the label)
  • Seeds
    • Limit seeds – chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds pine nuts, pumpkin seeds/pepitas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
    • Limit seed butters – sunflower seed butter, tahini paste (check the label)
  • Sweeteners
    • Products or recipes including orange juice, apple juice, or other fruit juices – don’t go overboard
  • Other
    • Fruit and nut bars, such as Larabars and RX bars – read labels to make sure there is no added sugar in any form, or other off-plan ingredients like peanuts or gluten-free grains. Use them only as emergency snacks, on-the-go or travel food, or as fuel for endurance athletes

Foods to avoid in all stages of The Whole30

There’s nothing to be absolutely avoided at all stages – there are a number of foods to avoid during the Whole30 elimination diet, but many are reintroduced in the reintroduction diet, and others are possible to have on occasion long-term as long as you do it consciously and preferably avoid foods you react to.

The Whole30 Program – elimination diet

General guidelines  |  What to eat  |  Foods to eat occasionally or limit  |  Foods to avoid  |  Vegetarians and vegans

General guidelines for the Whole30 elimination diet

  • Foods you eat should:
    • Promote a healthy psychological response
    • Promote a healthy hormonal response
    • Support a healthy gut
    • Support immune function and minimize inflammation
  • How long to follow
    • You have to follow the guidelines of the diet all the time for 30 days – no cheats, slips, or “special occasions”. If you have even a small amount of one of the foods within the 30 day period, you should start over again on day 1
    • If you want, you can continue for more than 30 days before starting reintroduction – especially if you’re managing diseases (e.g. arthritis, Lyme disease, diabetes), lifestyle conditions (e.g. allergies, eczema), or have serious cravings for sugar or junk food
    • If you really wanted, you could follow the Whole30 for the rest of your life. However, following the Whole30 rules 365 days a year could be pretty stressful, and you wouldn’t have the opportunity to try truly extraordinary off-plan foods – make your own decisions about whether eating a food is “worth it’ or not
  • Timing
    • If you have a special event, start your Whole30 40 days before the event so you’ve got 30 days to do the elimination and 10 days to do the reintroduction
    • If you’re an athlete, you’re encouraged not to do this program until your “prime” season is over, as your performance might suffer during the first few weeks of the program
  • You might get some of these symptoms when you start the diet:
    • Headache, sore, brain fog, general malaise – for a couple of days to several days – adjusting to new foods and going without sugar
    • Fatigue, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, crankiness, impatience, cravings, weird dreams – especially in week 2

Foods to eat in The Whole30 elimination diet

See “foods to eat in all stages” above

Foods to eat occasionally or limit with The Whole30 elimination diet

See “foods to eat occasionally or limit in all stages” above

Foods to avoid with The Whole30 elimination diet

  • Any approved foods that you can’t eat in a controlled fashion – for some people it might be nut butter, dates, or frozen grapes
  • Sugars and sweeteners
    • Sugar in the name – e.g. brown sugar, cane sugar, raw sugar, beet sugar, confectioner’s sugar, etc.
    • Syrup in the name – e.g. high fructose corn syrup HFCS, malt syrup, refiner’s syrup, rice syrup, etc.
    • Other names for sugar – e.g. dextrose, disaccharide, fructose, glucose, galactose, lactose, maltose, monosaccharide, polysaccharide, ribose, saccharose, sucrose
    • “Natural” sweeteners – agave nectar, coconut nectar, coconut sugar, date sugar, evaporated cane juice, honey, maple syrup, molasses, rice malt (extract), (sweet) sorghum, treacle, etc.
    • Artificial sweeteners – including acesulfame-K, aspartame (e.g. NutraSweet), saccharin (e.g. Sweet’N Low), sucralose (e.g. Equal, Splenda), etc.
    • “Non-nutritive” sweeteners – including stevia (e.g. Sweetleaf, Truvia, stevia leaves), sugar alcohols (e.g. arabitol, dulcitol, erythritol, glycol, glycerin, glycerol, HSH, iditol, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, polyglycitol, ribitol, sorbitol, threitol, xylitol), etc.
    • Check labels, as companies can sneak sugar into products you wouldn’t expect
  • Foods that contain sugar or sweeteners
    • All sweetened foods
    • Dark chocolate – even 90% dark chocolate is sweetened
    • Chewing gum, as all types are sweetened
    • Ketchup (unless you make your own without any sugar or sweetener)
  • Alcohol
    • On its own, or as an ingredient in cooking
    • Wine – all kinds, including champagne
    • Beer – all kinds
    • Liquors and spirits – all kinds, including rum, tequila, vodka, whiskey, etc.
    • Vanilla extract
  • Grains and pseudo-grains
    • Don’t eat any grains, including whole grains
    • g. barley, corn, millet, oats, wheat
    • Pseudo-grains including amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa
    • Sprouted grains
    • Fresh corn
    • Any form of wheat, corn, or rice, such as bran, germ, starch, etc. – read your labels
  • Legumes
    • Dried beans – e.g. black beans, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, fava beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, red beans, white beans
    • Dried peas
    • Fresh peas
    • Lentils
    • Soy and soy products, including Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, mayonnaise (unless you make your own)
    • Peanuts, peanut butter
    • Hummus
  • Dairy
    • From cow, sheep, and goat’s milk
    • Milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, sour cream, butter, buttermilk, kefir, etc. (note that clarified butter/ghee is an exception – it’s okay to eat)
  • Paleo substitutes for baked goods, cereals, ice cream, etc., even if made with approved ingredients
    • Foods that are designed to have the same look, texture, and flavor as an off-limit food
    • “Paleo bread” and other paleo baked goods recipes such as for tortillas, wraps, biscuits, English muffins, flatbread, pita bread, and any other breadlike products that you may see recreated with Whole30-compliant ingredients
    • “Paleo cereal” recreations with a base of nuts and seeds, usually sweetened to mimic your favorite childhood cereal – nuts and seeds should be limited, and you should eat more nutrient-dense foods like eggs, salmon, spinach, and berries for breakfast
    • “Paleo ice cream”, whether made from coconut milk, frozen bananas, or another Whole30-compliant ingredient
    • “Paleo pancakes”
    • “Paleo creamers”
  • Beverages
    • Smoothies – these may be technically compliant with the Whole30, but are recommended against because your brain doesn’t get the right feedback that you’ve eaten, and they’re likely to set you up for cravings
    • Tonic water – always contains sugar
  • Processed foods
    • Baked goods
    • “Treats”
    • Chips, even home-made fried starchy vegetables
    • Protein shakes – almost all protein powders contain off-limit ingredients like whey, casein, soy, pea protein, rice bran, or added sweeteners, and the authors would prefer you to get your protein from real foods. Protein powder from approved ingredients like 100 percent egg whites (like the protein found in Whole30 Approved RxBars) or crickets are allowed on the Whole30, provided they contain no added sweeteners
    • Commercial mayonnaise, salad dressings
  • Proteins
    • Processed meats with added sugar, MSG, sulfites, or carrageenan
  • Foods with additives – look for these additives
    • MSG / monosodium glutamate – common in canned tuna and broth
    • Sulfites as additives (sulfur dioxide, sodium bisulfite, potassium metabisulfate) – common in dried fruit or canned coconut milk
    • Carrageenan – common in almond milk and deli meat
    • Corn starch
    • Soy lecithin – found in everything from almond milk to tea bags
  • Other
    • Flavored vinegars with added sugar; malt vinegar which is thought to contain gluten
  • If you finish the Whole30 and still have digestive issues – try cutting out foods with these ingredients:
    • FODMAPs: fructose (found in various amounts in all fruit), lactose (found in dairy), fructans (found in wheat, garlic, onion, artichoke, asparagus, and the sweetener agave), galactans (found in legumes, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts), and polyols (found in many fruits like apples, pears, and peaches; and sweeteners like sorbitol or xylitol)
    • High-histamine foods
    • Try keeping a food journal to see which specific foods you’re reacting to

Tips for vegetarian and vegans who refuse to eat animal foods

The authors try to persuade you to eat animal protein if you’re not ethically against it, as they believe that it’s healthy for you.

It’s not possible to follow the full guidelines as a vegan, so there are some tweaks – technically not the Whole30 but a set of healthier eating guidelines:

  • Follow all the rules related to added sugar, alcohol, and baked goods or treats
  • To get protein in your diet – there’s no need to do protein combining. Your best choices are minimally processed, fermented soy products like tempeh or natto, or organic edamame (soybeans). You can also include non-fermented, organic soy (like extra-firm tofu) and various legumes in rotation. Pseudo-cereals like quinoa are another gluten-free protein source, and are less likely to cause disruption to the gut or immune system than other grains. A hemp- or pea-protein powder is also an option for you, although it doesn’t contain much protein
  • You’re strongly encouraged to avoid all gluten grain, including seitan (which is made from wheat gluten), non-organic soy, processed soy products (like soy-based “burgers” and “cheese”), and peanuts
  • Aim for as little protein as possible, to avoid eating any more plant-based protein sources than you have to. Aim for USDA RDAs: 46 grams a day for women, 56 grams a day for men

Reintroduction diet

Fast track reintroduction  |  Slow roll reintroduction

You can follow either the fast track or slow roll reintroduction – the fast track allows you to pinpoint your reactions to certain foods but may mean you have a lot of symptoms at once; the slow roll allows to you mostly stick to Whole30 and not get overwhelmed by symptoms, but it takes longer to understand your reactions to foods.

When reintroducing foods, look out for physical and non-physical symptoms – e.g. do any of your health issues reappear, are you getting digestive issues, do you find you can’t stick to only a small amount of the food and have cravings for more, did you previously like a food but don’t like it so much any more, how are your energy levels, how is your sleep, how is your mood, is your skin reacting, is your breathing affected, do certain foods give you short-term symptoms like headaches.

Fast track reintroduction

Reintroduce food groups into your diet, one at a time and a little at a time, to see how you react to them. See how you feel while eating the food, and following each introduction, pay attention to your body’s (and mind’s) reactions, evaluate, and decide how, how often, and how much to incorporate that food group into your regular diet— if at all.

  • Day 1 (optional – if you don’t want to reintroduce alcohol, go to day 4)
    • Evaluate gluten-free alcohol – e.g. red wine, 100% agave tequila, gluten-free beer
    • Have just a drink or two
    • Then go back to the Whole30 for 2 days and evaluate how you feel
  • Day 4 (or day 1 if you’re not evaluating GF alcohol)
    • Evaluate legumes, while keeping the rest of your diet Whole30-compliant
    • Try a thick slather of peanut butter on your green apple with breakfast, a bowl of miso soup and soy sauce on your sashimi at lunch, and a side of black beans with dinner
    • Then go back to the Whole30 for 2 days and evaluate how you feel
  • Day 7 (or day 4 if you’re not evaluating GF alcohol)
    • Evaluate non-gluten grains (corn, brown rice, white rice, certified gluten-free oats, quinoa, etc.), while keeping the rest of your diet Whole30-compliant
    • Eat a bowl of oatmeal, a serving of white rice, some corn tortilla chips, and a sandwich made from gluten-free bread
    • Then go back to the Whole30 for 2 days and evaluate how you feel
  • Day 10 (or day 7 if you’re not evaluating GF alcohol)
    • Evaluate dairy, while keeping the rest of your diet Whole30-compliant
    • Have plain yogurt in the morning, add milk or cream to your coffee, top your salad with cheese in the afternoon, and use ordinary butter and sour cream on your baked potato with dinner
    • Then go back to the Whole30 for 2 days and evaluate how you feel
  • Day 13 (or day 10 if you’re not evaluating GF alcohol)
    • Evaluate gluten-containing grains (anything made from wheat, rye, or barley – bread, cereal, pasta, crackers, beer, etc.), while keeping the rest of your diet Whole30-compliant
    • Over the course of your day, have a bowl of whole-wheat cereal or a muffin, two slices of whole grain bread, some wheat crackers, and a beer
    • Then go back to the Whole30 for 2 days and evaluate how you feel

The foods don’t have to be reintroduced in this order, but the authors recommend it – they’re in the order of the least likely to be problematic to the most likely.

If you have symptoms for more than 2 days after reintroducing a food, continue on the Whole30 until you no longer have symptoms (and for another day afterwards) before introducing another food.

If you have symptoms for a group of foods, you can go back and test each of the foods separately (e.g. breaking out soy from the rest of the legumes).

If you want to specifically reintroduce sugar, add a step (and another 3 days) to your reintroduction schedule. Keep the rest of your food Whole30-compliant, but add sugar to your morning coffee, drink a sugary fruit juice mid-morning, top your lunchtime sweet potato with ghee and honey, and pour a generous amount of maple syrup over poached peaches after dinner. See how the added sugar makes you feel— evaluate energy, mood, hunger, and especially cravings.

Slow roll reintroduction

This reintroduction doesn’t follow any particular schedule – you continue eating mostly Whole30 until something so special or delicious comes along that you decide you’re ready to indulge, and evaluate the effects.

  • Only reintroduce a small amount of off-plan food at once – one special occasion dessert, a glass of your favorite wine, your mom’s homemade bread)
  • Evaluate how you feel during and after eating this food

Lifetime habits

  • Eat Whole30-ish all the time – based on your reactions in the reintroduction phase, relax on some of the rules, reincorporating some desirable ingredients, foods, or drinks that you’ve determined have a negligible negative impact on how you look, feel and live. Plan on eating like this for every meal, all the time, forever and ever
  • Hit “pause” when something really special or delicious pops up – make exceptions only if the food is truly special, symbolic, culturally significant, or delicious, and eating or drinking it isn’t going to seriously mess you up, psychologically or physically – you really think the consequences will be worth it. Eat it savor it, then move on without guilt
  • If you get derailed, go back to the Whole30

Health benefits claimed in The Whole30

The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks for: acid reflux, acne, ADD/ADHD, allergies, alopecia, Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, bipolar disorder, bloating, bronchitis, cancer, carditis, celiac disease, chronic bursitis, chronic tendonitis, circulation issues, cirrhosis, colitis, constipation, Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, dementia, depression, dermatitis, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, diarrhea, digestive ailments, diverticulitis, eczema, edema, emphysema, endometriosis, essential tremor, fibroids, fibromyalgia, food cravings, gas, gastroenteritis, GERD, gingivitis, gout, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, heart disease, heartburn, hepatitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, hives, infertility, inflammation, inflammatory bowel syndrome, insomnia, insulin resistance, interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome IBS, joint pain, leaky gut syndrome, low energy, lupus, Lyme disease, migraines, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, myositis, nephritis, night cramps, night sweats, osteopenia, osteoporosis, overweight/obesity, Parkinson’s disease, PCOS, periodontal disease, PMS symptoms, polychondritis, psoriasis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, restless leg syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, scleroderma, seasonal allergies, seizures, sinus infections, sinusitis, Sjögren’s syndrome, skin conditions, sleep apnea, sleep issues, spastic colon, stroke, tantrums, thyroid dysfunction, trichotillomania, ulcerative colitis

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, not endorsing it.

Get a copy of The Whole30 for planning and preparation, a timeline of what to expect on each day on the diet, details of why certain foods are allowed or not allowed, advice on supplements and prescription medications, grocery shopping guidelines, dining out guidelines, travel considerations, guidelines on medical conditions, pregnancy and breastfeeding, kids, troubleshooting suggestions, cooking tips, recipes, and resources.

Buy now from Amazon
The book’s website is http://whole30.com – it includes testimonials, a forum, a blog, a nutrition guide, and a subscription to a daily newsletter that gives you tips for each day of the diet. You can see a list of downloads including a shopping list at http://whole30.com/pdf-downloads/. The diet is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Whole30, Twitter at https://twitter.com/whole30, and Instagram at https://instagram.com/whole30/.

How has this diet helped you? Please add a comment or question below.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Tomlinson September 10, 2015, 8:16 pm

    I really like that, i got gerd what are the food that i must strictly eat?

    • Penny Hammond September 11, 2015, 7:10 pm

      There aren’t any mandatory foods on this diet – as long as you’re meeting the general guidelines you can do some selecting of the foods that don’t trigger your reflux.

      Have a look at Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook for ideas on foods that may be triggers.

  • Madalyn Mueller January 25, 2016, 7:48 pm

    I am following the diet carefully. I am on day 6 and have been experiencing extreme insomnia since day 2. I am only sleeping about 4 hours a night. Please tell me your thoughts on what the cause may be.

    • Penny Hammond January 26, 2016, 4:47 pm

      Sorry to hear that.
      Are you seeing any other symptoms as well? I’m wondering whether it might be detoxification / “withdrawal symptoms” from foods that you were eating before.

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