The Whole30, Version 4.0

Our original Whole30 program, touched up and rolled out fresh for summer 2011.

What is the Whole30?

Certain food groups (like grains, dairy and legumes) are probably having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it.  Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent?  Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury?  Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try?  Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped?  These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff.  So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?

Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the inflammatory, insulin-spiking, calorie-dense but nutritionally sparse food groups for a full 30 days.  Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing.   Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making.  Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health.  The most important reason to keep reading?

This will change your life.

We cannot possibly put enough emphasis on this simple fact – the next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. We know this because we did it, and thousands of people have since done it, and it changed our lives (and their lives) in a very permanent fashion.

Our Whole30 program, as outlined.

Eat real food – meat, fish, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats.  Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.  Don’t worry… these guidelines are outlined in extensive detail in our Shopping Guide.

More importantly, here’s what NOT to eat during the duration of your Whole30 program.  Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness  and quality of life. 

    1. Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc.  Read your labels (and your Success Guide FAQ), because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.


  • Do not eat processed foods. This includes protein shakes, pre-packaged snacks or meals, protein bars, milk substitutes, etc.



  •  Do not consume alcohol, in any form.  (NEW! And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)



  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, millet, oats, corn, rice, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa.  Yes, we said corn… for the purposes of this program, corn is a grain!  This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on.  Again, read your labels.



  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, kidney, lima, etc.), peas, lentils, and peanuts.  No peanut butter, either.  This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, tamari and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).



  • Do not eat dairy. This includes all cow, goat or sheep’s milk, cream, butter, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream.



  • Do not eat white potatoes. It’s somewhat arbitrary, but they are carbohydrate-dense and nutrient poor, and also a nightshade (refer to your Success Guide FAQ for details).



  • Most importantly… do not try to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold.  This means no “Paleo-fying”  less-than-healthy recipes – no Paleo pancakes, Paleo pizza, Paleo fudge or Paleo”ice cream.  Don’t mimic poor food choices during your Whole30 program!  Those kinds of food miss the point of the program entirely.


One last and final rule.  You are not allowed to step on the scale during your Whole30 program.  This is about so much more than just weight loss, and to focus on your body composition means you’ll miss out on the most dramatic and lifelong benefits this plan has to offer.   So, no weighing yourself or taking comparative measurements during your Whole30.  (NEW!  We do encourage you to weigh yourself before and after, however, so you can see one of the more tangible results of your efforts when your program is over.)

The Fine Print

A few concessions, based on our experience, and those of our clients. These are less than optimal foods that we are okay with you including during your Whole30.  Including these foods in moderation should not negatively impact the results of your Whole30 program.

    1. Fruit juice as a sweetener.  Some products will use orange or apple juice as a sweetener.  We have to draw the line somewhere, so we’re okay with a small amount of fruit juice as an added ingredient during your Whole30… but this doesn’t mean a cup of fruit juice is a healthy choice!  Refer to your Shopping Guide for clarification.


  • Processed Meat.  On occasion, we are okay with organic chicken sausage (those that are nitrate, sugar, gluten and dairy-free), and high quality deli meat, packaged fish (like tuna or smoked salmon) or jerky.  Read your labels carefully, because Whole30-approved processed meats, especially jerky, are hard to find.



  • Certain legumes.  We’re fine with green beans, sugar snap peas and snow peas.   While they’re technically a legume, these are far more “pod” than “bean”, and green plant matter is generally good for you. (Refer to the FAQ for details.)



  • Certain processed foods.  We’re okay with cans or jars of olives, coconut milk, sauces and spice mixtures like tomato sauce or curry, or vegetables like sweet potato or butternut squash, but only if the labels prove they’re “clean”.  (Refer to your Success Guide FAQ for details.)



  • Vinegar.  NEW!  All vinegar, with the exception of malt vinegar (which generally contains gluten), is allowed during your Whole30. This includes white, apple cider, balsamic, red wine, rice, and other non-malt vinegar varieties.


Ready to start?

Now that you have the basic plan, you need to know how to implement it.  It’s simple, actually.  Start now. Today. This minute.  Count out thirty days on your calendar.  Plan out a week’s worth of meals, using the Resources we’ve given you here.   Take our Shopping Guide to your local health food store, farmer’s market or grocer and stock up on things you’ll be eating.  And then… go.  Cold turkey.  Just start, using our MealSimple™ template to take all the guesswork out of meal planning.  But don’t put this off, not for one more day.  If you give yourself excuses or reasons to delay, you may never begin.  Do it now. 

Your only job for the next 30 days is to focus on making good food choices.  You don’t need to weigh or measure, you don’t need to count calories, you don’t need to stress about organic, grass-fed, pastured or free range.  Just figure out how to stick to the Whole30 in any setting, around every special circumstance, under any amount of stress… for the next 30 days.  Your only job?  Eat.  Good.  Food.

The only way this will work is if you give it the full thirty days, no cheats, slips or “special occasions.”  This isn’t Whole9 playing the tough guy. This is a FACT, born of education and experience.  You need such a small amount of any of these inflammatory foods to break the healing cycle – one bite of pizza, one splash of milk in your coffee, one lick of the spoon mixing the batter within the 30 day period and you’ve broken the “reset” button.  You must commit to the full program, exactly as written.  Anything less and we make no claims as to your results, or the chances of your success.  Anything less and you are selling yourself – and your potential results – short.

It’s only 30 days.

Here’s what you can expect.

The first week or two will be tough, as your body heals and adjusts to this new way of eating and your brain wraps itself around going without all those sweet tastes and sugar-driven energy spikes.  And while you may start to feel better after a week or two… the healing process takes significantly longer.  In addition, the mental addiction and emotional connections to sugary foods, large amounts of carbohydrates and over-the-top, chemically-altered flavors is going to take a lot longer to overcome.

Stick with it, and be patient with yourself.  You cannot reasonably expect to completely reverse decades of poor eating habits in just 30 days.  The good news, however, is that improvements are front-loaded, and you will start to see significant benefits within the month.

At some point, we promise you… the magic will happen.  You’ll go to sleep easier, and sleep more soundly through the night.  Your energy levels will increase and stabilize, and you’ll feel just as good first thing in the morning as you do at the peak of your day.  Your body composition will start to change – your clothes will fit differently, and you’ll feel less bloated at the end of your day.  Your performance, whether it be in the gym, while playing sports or during a hike, will improve.  Your recovery after exercise, a game or a hard day’s work will feel easier and more complete.  Conditions, ailments, aches and pains will miraculously start to improve.   And through all of it, you’ll be eating delicious, fresh, natural, real food… food that tastes good, and is physically satiating and mentally satisfying.

Refer to our Success Guide FAQ for more details about what to expect, or if you find yourself in a rough patch during your Whole30.

It’s for your own good.

Here comes the tough love. This is for those of you who are considering taking on this life-changing month, but aren’t sure you can actually pull it off, cheat free, for a full 30 days. This is for the people who have tried this before, but who “slipped” or “fell off the wagon” or “just HAD to eat (fill in food here) because of this (fill in event here).” This is for you.

It is not hard.  Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Giving up heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard.  Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”.  YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.

Don’t even consider the possibility of a “slip”. Unless you physically tripped and your face landed in a box of doughnuts, there is no “slip”. You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident.  Commit to the program 100% for the full 30 days. Don’t give yourself an excuse to fail before you’ve even started.

You never, ever, ever HAVE to eat anything you don’t want to eat. You’re all big boys and girls. Toughen up. Learn to say no (or make your Mom proud and say, “No, thank you”). Learn to stick up for yourself. Just because it’s your sister’s birthday, or your best friend’s wedding, or your company picnic does not mean you have to eat anything.   It’s always a choice, and we would hope that you stopped succumbing to peer pressure in 7th grade.

This does require a bit of effort.   If you’re cutting out grains, legumes and dairy for the first time, you have to replace those calories with something.   You have to make sure you’re eating enough, that your nutrients are plentiful, that you’re getting enough protein, fat and carbohydrates. You’ll have to figure out what to eat for lunch, how to order at a restaurant and how often you’ll need to grocery shop.  We’ve given you all the tools, guidelines and resources you’ll need in this Success Guide, but take responsibility for your own plan. Improved health and fitness doesn’t happen automatically just because you’re now taking a pass on bread.

In conclusion…

We want you to participate. We want you to take this seriously, and see amazing results in unexpected areas.  Even if you don’t believe this will actually change your life, if you’re willing to give it 30 short days, do it.  It is that important. We believe in it that much. It changed our lives, and we want it to change yours too.

There are plenty of  “nutrition challenges” and 30 day plans out there – things that sound a lot like the Whole30, that promise you’ll lose weight, have more energy, feel better.  They give you more of what you want – arbitrary points for eating junk food, or an exercise penance for cheating,  or acceptable alcohol choices “if you must drink”.

But here at Whole9, we’ve built our entire business around telling you what you need, not what you want.  We will not pander to you here.  We will tell you what we know to be true, based on literally thousands of testimonials and consulting clients’ real results.  Programs that offer built-in cheats or rationalizations for less than healthy food choices simply do not work long-term.  They don’t teach you anything about how the foods you are eating are affecting you, and they don’t do anything to help you change your habits, patterns and behaviors.  The Whole30 program has been in motion for almost two years, with participants all across the world – and has measurable, real-life, sustainable results to back up our claims.

Welcome aboard.


While most folks can follow the program exactly as outlined here with spectacular results, you’ve got two options if you need a little more help with your Whole30, or simply want to maximize your results.

  • Purchase our expanded and revised 85-page Whole30 Success Guide, which includes (in part) a detailed Shopping Guide, our MealSimple™ meal planning template, an extensive FAQ, over 40 delicious Whole30-approved recipes and a guide to help you manage the first few days after your Whole30.
  • Read (for free) old Whole30 comments (as posted in our new Whole30 Archive), where we practically guarantee we’ve answered all your questions ten times over. “How much should I eat?” “How much fruit is too much?” “Are headaches in the first few days normal?” All this and then some can be found in the almost 5,000 comments on the Whole30 Versions 3.11, 3.0, 2.0 and original Whole30 post.

To download the Whole30 Version 4.0

Click here for a printable copy of the Whole30 Version 4.0 program, exactly as written above.

To download the Whole30 Version 4.0 en Español

NEW! Click here for a printable copy of the Whole30 Version 4.0 program in Spanish!

Join our Whole30 discussion on Facebook

Join the current Whole30 discussion on our Whole30 Facebook page: Whole30 participants are sharing recipes, offering their best tips and tricks, providing motivation and support and holding each other accountable, so become a “fan” of The Whole30 page today.

Want to fly your Whole30 flags high and proud?

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  1. Shelly says

    @BeastGirl — I’m having the same problem. 5’5, 145, could stand to lose more belly flab that isn’t budging. My last whole30 didn’t do anything for me in the weight-loss department, either. I think it just really IS that hard to lose the last 10-15 pounds. So I’m experimenting with some other approaches to diet. I think the whole30 is great, especially for beginners who need to break food addictions and change their lifestyles. But once you’ve done that, maybe you need to move on and experiment with other guidelines. I’m definitely eating less sugar now overall even though I’ve added 85% dark chocolate back into my diet because I cut out fruit. So even if the sugar I’m consuming is “added” sugar (not allowed on the Whole30!) it’s less than the summer bounty (allowed on the Whole30!) I was consuming, and this is working out better for me.

  2. BeastGirl says

    @Shelly – thanks for the suggestions. I don’t really have a craving for sugar. I actually didn’t eat fruit at all until a couple of months ago. Not eating it had no impact on my weight, so now I eat some – like a handful of berries with breakfast. I’ve also tried cutting out nuts and nut butters… No result either.

  3. Laura says

    Mayo success!! My husband thinks I’m crazy for being so excited about it. I used 1 tbl lemon juice & 1 tbl vinegar (saw some comments about it tasting “lemony” and wanted to avoid that). Used a hand mixer on medium. It’s slightly thinner than I would want, but it worked either way. It’s in the fridge and maybe I’ll try mixing in a few hours, but I’m hoping to use it mostly to make some dressings, so the consistency is perfect at the moment!

  4. says

    @BeastGirl (and all): Resist the urge to tinker with your diet infinitely when things are stalled. If, as you say, you’ve been eating really well for a very long time, and your subsequent Whole30 didn’t do a thing to un-stall you, then there’s a good chance that IT’S NOT YOUR DIET.

    In your case, it could be a few things. One, perhaps you’re at the point where those last 10 pounds are going to take an entire year to come off, so you’re just going to have to be patient. If you’ve already grabbed all the low-hanging fruit, those last little things are tougher to accomplish. It also might require you to do things (dietary-wise) that you may not be willing to do. For example, if you knew that eating Whole30 perfect for the next 6 months straight would help you shed five of those pounds, would you do it? Would it be worth it?

    Most likely, you’ve got other stuff going on that can’t be fixed by diet alone. (Although your diet could certainly make things worse, if you let it go.) I’ve experienced this with clients – it’s why we’ve got a 9-point evaluation system when working with someone. Because sometimes, it’s your training program, or your sleep habits, or a medical condition, or your life stress that’s getting in your way.

    Go through your reintroduction period. Add back those foods you wish to evaluate, and figure out whether they’re still worth it for you. And then consider taking a look at factors other than diet to see whether they may be what is holding you back. (You may need help figuring that out.) That’s the best advice I can give you at this point – hope it helps.


  5. BeastGirl says

    @ Melissa: thanks so much for the reply. It does help. My situation is a bit more complicated, though. I lost weight in the past (pre-paleo) on a low-fat diet and 5-6 days a week cardio routine. But I was miserable doing it, constantly hungry, fighting cravings, physically and mentally exhausted. So I know that even though I was thinner I wasn’t healthier, and there’s no way I’m ever going back down that road. Once I started paleo I began feeling great physically, but in the course of this year I gained about 10 lbs. I’m pretty sure I’m not overeating, I tracked my calories for a time, and it turned out I’m eating even less than I did pre-paleo. I just don’t understand what’s happening.

  6. Ashley says


    I have been having horrible stomach pains for over a week now every time I eat so finally I go to the doctor today and he says I have a ulcer. :( so sucky!
    Can you please help me figure out what I should focus on eating to help heal my stomach and at the same time hopefully not make it flair. I am so freaked out to eat anything cause it seems no matter what I eat it hurts. I am currently on my 2nd Whole30 and don’t want to steer from that. I had a simple piece of kiwi and turkey yesterday for breakfast and that totally gave me horrible pain. It seems to be at its worst when I eat breakfast. I don’t really know what to do. thanks for your help.

  7. says


    I’m really sorry to hear it! Here are some tips for reducing discomfort when eating around an ulcer.

    1. Avoid antacids (like Tums). Chris Kresser wrote a good article about this – you can just read that. They are no bueno. Plus they can increase intestinal permeability – also no bueno.

    2. Continue eating Whole30. Robb Wolf talks about ulcers often being linked to grain intolerance.

    3. Have you been diagnosed with an H. Pylori infection? (Have you been tested for this yet? If not, ask your Dr. for a culture – you may need antibiotics.)

    3. Eat smaller meals – don’t over-feed.

    4. Avoid caffeine in any form (coffee or tea), alcohol and spicy foods.

    5. Veggies and fruits are your friend, but acid foods like tomatoes or citrus fruits may not feel so hot.

    6. Avoid nuts and seeds (they’re pretty rough on the digestive tract), but eat lots and lots of coconut products – really good for gut and intestinal health and healing.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  8. Ashley Rudolph says


    Guess what the first thing I did this morning when my stomach started hurting? Grab Tums… I had to eat almost 15 of them before they did anything. And to top it off I didn’t read the ingredients first. The first ingredient is stupid sugar. I will not have any more of them. I am not going to count it against my whole30 either. :0) I bought some papaya enzymes today at Whole Foods that don’t have any nasty stuff in them.
    Thanks for all the great advice. I did go get a bowl of Tom Kai Gai w/no spice at our favorite gluten free Thai restaurant and hopefully all that soothing coconut milk will help. I saved some for breakfast.
    So I have one other quick question that you would probably know the answer too. The doctors have my son taking tums as a supplement. He is suppose to have 1000mg of calcium a day. (I still need to write that article for you about my son’s bone issue and going gf and send it in to testimonals.) I promise I will do it soon, things got a little crazy here. So any how, I was wondering if you knew of a better supplement or way for him to get that much calcium in per day w/o having to take a basically sugar pill.
    thanks girl!

  9. Kathy says

    A suggestion for more weight loss might be to try Intermittent fasting (IF) in combination with Whole 30. I eat in a 8 hour window between 2pm and 10 pm and am completely satisfied (not struggling).

  10. says

    @BeastGirl: The last thing you need is to start IF’ing, so please don’t even consider that route. (For the record, that’s a tool not meant for everyone. Or, really, just about anyone. The majority of our consulting clients who come to us after IF’ing often takes 6-12 months to fix. Just sayin’.)

    I’m going to take a guess at what’s going on. You were over-cardio’d and under-eating and feeling miserable (but lost weight, because that works for a while). Then you switch to Paleo but continued to under-eat, and maybe even picked up some high intensity exercise along the way (did you?), and now your body is pissed because you’ve been stressing it out for so long without adequately recovering and all that stress just accumulates. Now as payback it’s going to make you gain wait and not lose any of it no matter how hard you train or how little you eat. It’s 90% of our clients’ stories.

    Without more details, I can’t be sure of anything – above is just a best guess. (But we can kind of smell this on people at this point.) We do offer an hour consult (which requires you to fill out an extensive questionnaire), which might help you get back on the right track. But at this point, you’ve got to let go of your weight loss aspirations and return your body back to a place of less stress and better health – and that may require you to maintain your current weight (or even gain a little more) to get there. Again, just an educated guess… but the best I can do without more details. Email me if you’d like to talk about a consult. (Melissa/Whole9Life/Com).


  11. Tabitha says

    New to the Whole 30 site, interested in starting this program on October 1 (forgoing Haloween candy) and have a question. Since corn is considered a grain and not an approved food on the Whole 30 program, is meat (beef, chicken, pork) that one would normally find in a grocery store off limits considering they are primarily fed corn? In other words, I should only eat grass-fed beef, free-range chickens, etc?

  12. Cate says

    @tabitha – i was just wondering why you were waiting until oct 1 to start? that’s three weeks away – it’s quite a while to put off/plan for something like this. my diet wasn’t too far off from what the whole 30 was anyways, and i realize if it was it might have been more difficult to start/make time for cooking, but waiting so long seems like it would just make it harder to ever begin.

  13. Tabitha says

    @ Cate, I’m a planner. Whereas I read the recommendation to start now – today. My budget doesn’t allow me to start buying the more expensive meats today so I have to plan ahead expecially since the meat purchased will be not only for me but for my family as well. This is the reason for my post. I want to confirm my understanding of what to plan to afford.

    I have a follow up question too… is it possible to eat at restaurants during the 30 days? If so, how? It’s a rare and expensive restaurant in this area that provides healthier meat options.

  14. says

    Tabitha, it’s not a requirement of the Whole30 to eat grass-fed meat during the 30 days. Melissa & Dallas recommend that participants eat the highest quality version of each food possible, but if you simply follow the guidelines above, you will be compliant with the spirit and the rules of the program. The Success Guide outlines good/better/best versions of protein, produce, and fat sources — but you don’t need to worry too much about details like that if you want to keep it simple. Just follow the guidelines above.

    As for restaurants during the 30 days –> It can be difficult to eat in restaurants because they can be sneaky with ingredients, and most restaurants cook with crappy industrially-produced seed oils. However, if you ask lots of questions and make smart choices, you can get away with a restaurant meal once in a while. I’ve done several Whole30 cleanups in the last few years, and honestly, I tend to avoid restaurants while I’m doing it because it stresses me out. However, if you can get a nice piece of protein with grilled veggies and a salad — or fajitas with veggies and guacamole — you can eat in a restuarant without worrying too much. It’s a personal preference thing.

    Good luck! And ask more questions if you’ve got ’em!

  15. says

    @Tabitha – There are 5 of us in the office doing the challenge and we did the same thing – picked a date a few weeks out to start. We wanted time to research, plan our menus, get past one office birthday party and psych ourselves up for the challenge.

    One of the guys in the office buys everything local, free range, grass fed, etc. Another guy buys the cheapest ground beef and veg he can find. Both have already lost a tremendous amount of weight eating Paleo and both are still seeing good things happening during this Whole 30. My personal opinion is to buy the best you can afford – and if that’s a 5lb. tube of ground beef for $5, then so be it. It’s better than any bag o’ bagels. I’m interested to see what the experts say, though. :-)

    Regarding eating out – I found it challenging because you really don’t know what’s going on in the kitchen. I found salad bars with olive oil and vinegar dressings pretty easy to navigate but without eggs, it’s hard to find much protein. There’s a Mexican joint with a buffet that contains the most awesome shredded chicken, beef and fresh pico and guac. I really just tried to avoid eating out during this time as much as possible.

    We’re on Day 25 today and all five of us are still going strong and enjoying the challenge!

  16. Laura says

    @Tabitha- I believe I read somewhere (maybe here) that if you can’t buy grassfed meats, look for the leanest cuts you can get. Another suggestion is to cut off the fat, drain it out from ground beef, etc because a lot of the “bad stuff” in grain fed animals collects in the fat, so if you cut the fat off, it helps a lot. Someone here may have a more intelligent way of explaining this :o). Good luck to you!!

  17. Amanda says

    Hi Melissa,
    Just wondering what’s problematic about Intermittent Fasting, as it’s advocated by Mark Sisson on marks daily apple. I did it all summer, eating in an 8-hour window, and saw some good results paired with primal eating, lifting heavy, and sprinting. Thanks!

  18. says

    @Amanda: The reason it can work so well is because it’s extremely stressful on the body. Problem is, when you’ve got someone with additional sources of stress (lack of sleep, high intensity exercise without adequate recovery, life stress, under-eating or eating too low-carb for their activity level), the IF can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    In addition, lots of folks SAY they’re IF’ing, but what they’re really doing is JNE’ing (Just Not Eating). It’s hard work to cram your normal 2,000 calorie diet into an 8 hour feeding window, so many times it ends up stressful both from the fast and from under-nutrition.

    We’ve seen it mess up more people than we’ve seen it help – and once you go too far down that path to cortisol crazytown, it can take months (if not longer) to fix. So we err on the side of caution, and don’t encourage folks without a perfect diet, loads of sleep, little life stress and all their other ducks in a row to add IF to their mix.


  19. cate says

    @tabitha – i definitely understand the challenges of choosing what you can afford and can’t afford. laura is correct, though, if you aren’t buying grass fed beef/organic free range chickens, turkeys, etc/ just go with the leaner cuts. pesticides, etc hang out in the fat so a leaner cut is better. also, if you google “the dirty dozen” you can find a list of what is best to buy organic and what you can get away with choosing non-organic. obviously, whether or not you buy organic period is up to you and what you have available. i try to buy organic as much as possible, but that has also meant if the organic version of something is super expensive (and it’s on the dirty dozen list – like all those sweet summer berries), i just go without. blueberries are amazing, but at $5/pint they are making it into my belly.

    also, this might be pointing out something you are already aware of, but farmers markets often have great produce that isn’t certified organic but the farmers will tell you how much (if any) pesticides they use.

  20. BeastGirl says

    @ Melissa: You’re probably right. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I’ll consider the consulting.

  21. Vic says

    I’m starting Whole30 today. I am a former Division 1 athlete who really just got burned out on the working out and eating right thing. My love for working out has finally come back to me and I need to get my eating habits back on track so I can feel better. Let’s do this!

  22. Tabitha says

    Cate, Laura, Sonya, and Melissa – Thank you all for your responses and experience. For this upcoming venture I will not fail to plan so I do not plan to fail. Coming up with menu ideas in advance will be helpful. Is there anywhere other than the Success Guide where I can find suggestions?

  23. says

    Hey, Tabitha. I don’t have meal plans on my site, but I do have a few posts about how I manage my kitchen that might be helpful– ideas about stocking up and how to cook once and eat all week.

    Stocking Up –

    The Method Behind My Madness –

    The Secret of Veggies –

    What’s in my Spice Cabinet –

  24. Laura says

    @Tabitha- there are hundreds of resources!!! Check out Melissa “Melicious” J’s blog The Clothes Make the Girl, check under the resources link here for a list of other sites, Mark’s Daily Apple, Robb Wolf, one of my favs and local to me is Laura Pappas “against the grain” blog, but just googling “paleo recipes” will yield so many options. Just check the recipes for things like butter and honey, some folks who are paleo add a few extra ingredients that aren’t on the whole 30 plan. Sometimes if I want to try a “normal” food paleo style I will google “paleo + meal”. I found an awesome coconut shrimp recipe that way! Best of luck, planning is key!!! I wasn’t successful my 3rd week in because I failed to plan meals that week and let life’s stressors get in the way. I started over this past Monday and I’m enjoying my second go around even more because planned my meals better, made some paleo mayo to add even more variety to my salads, etc.

  25. sandi says

    @ Beastgirl, I would take Melissa’s advice whole heartedly. I had some similar experiences and frustrations and the hands down BEST advice that I got from Melissa was to RELAX. We really dont realise the negative effect that stress can have on our bodies. Once I made the decision to just eat well and follow the whole9 (or whole30) guidelines, sleep well and train, and really not give any thought to my weight, magic happened. My body just began to respond and I have been able to maintain my current weight and my body composition continues to change as I get stronger.

    So, in a nutshell, eat well, sleep lots, train and RELAX.


  26. Laura says

    So I’m going to a wedding tomorrow night, its an evening wedding with dinner. There weren’t any options for meal on the reply card, so I assume buffet. I’m concerned its going to be meats and veggies drenched in a buttery dairy based sauces or something. Any suggestions??? I’m hoping for a carving station and plain veggies but not sure I’ll get that lucky.

  27. Cate says

    @laura – I recently went to an event with a similar set-up. I made sure I ate beforehand, and I packed a little veggie/olive snack pack in my purse just to be on the safe side. When others took cigarette breaks, I ate my munchies. One meat option was brisket, and there was salad that didn’t have any dressing on it. So as to not look completely nutty, I took a little brisket (cut off the parts where there was sauce on it) and salad without any dressing. I had club soda with limes and olives put in it to make me feel fancy while everyone else was drinking. I thought it was going to be hard, but it was actually nice not leaving one of these things feeling like I just ate a ton of sub-par food (which it often ends up being) and drinking all for naught. good luck!

  28. BeastGirl says

    @sandi – thanks, I know it’s important and I also had the same experiences in the past. The less I worried about weight and food the slimmer I looked. I think getting older (I’m pushing 40) contributes to the worrying, many days I feel like I’m no longer in control and my body just does what it wants regardless of how I treat it.

  29. Laura says

    The wedding I went to on Saturday was a complete bust. I was so rushed getting ready that I didn’t eat anything before I left, which I didn’t think would be a HUGE issue…but little did I know they wouldn’t feed us dinner until 10:00!!!! The wedding started at 4:30 and the ceremony was a quick 20 minutes. The cocktail hour at 6:00 was awful, not much but carrots and celery and the 3 pieces of shrimp I managed to snag. Everything else was fried or coated in what I assumed to be mayo (and not the delicious kind sitting in my fridge). There was nothing to drink except wine & beer- I couldn’t even snag a glass of water! We finally went into the reception room, after much delay the bridal party entered, following by blessing the food, dances, toasts, etc. and then they announced we should all dance and enjoy each other’s company and we would eat later. When I finally got to eat at 10pm, there was salmon, chicken & roast beef. The chicken was smothered in a white sauce, so I skipped that and went for the salmon and roast beef- not bad, but lots of oil I had to try to avoid (likely vegetable). And forget asking how things were cooked- I was answered with blank expressions. There were no fresh veggies, just collard greens- took one bite and new they were cooked in something I shouldn’t eat. Everything was SO salty! I managed to get some of my meat down and went home pretty miserable and feeling a bit sick. I would have left before dinner, but was worried about being rude to my friend, the bride, and I was someone’s ride who wasn’t itching to leave until after we ate. Anyway, glad that experience is over. I don’t think I have any other events coming up in the upcoming weeks where I will have such little control over my food.

    I hope you all had a great paleo weekend!!

  30. Kristin says

    Hello everyone! After poking around on this site I’ve decided to do the challenge. I’m not going to commit myself to a month — maybe I’ll go longer, maybe I won’t last that long, but I am going to do my best. Of course I’d love to lose a few pounds but I really want to achieve that optimal health goal.

    This will be the fifth day I’ve gone without sugar. By the end of the second day I asked my husband to put a bullet in my head. It’s funny; I always thought I had the salt tooth and my husband the sweet tooth. But when I took a real, hard, no-nonsense, tough-love look at my diet, I realized it was teeming with sugar and alternative flours. (I was diagnosed with celiac about a year and a half ago and have eaten gluten-free since, so at least that was already out of my diet.) That latte, that cookie, that ice cream, rice noodles, etc etc etc — it all adds up!

    By now I’m feeling mostly fine, no headache, but I have random body aches! My lower back will hurt for an hour, and a knuckle on my hand feels weird, and the outside of my left foot hurts if I step on it wrong, my legs get SOOO tired from walking up the stairs. Did/does this happen to anyone else? Are the muscle aches a result of my body learning to use fat as fuel, instead of carbohydrates?

    A side benefit to the challenge — this will also be the eighth day in a row I’ve prepared every meal for myself. So I’m spending a bit more at the grocery store on meats and veggies, but I make up for it by not going out to eat. I also spent a ridiculous amount at the farmer’s market Saturday… More than usual, even… =D

    So far, so good; I’ve got about 12-15 veggies in the meal rotation and try to mix it up. It was kind of weird eating beet greens for breakfast at first. Husband is loving all the bacon and eggs I’m cooking for breakfast. I’m hoping that me preaching about how addicted I really was to sugar and how much better I feel rubs off on him, too!

  31. Cate says

    @laura – sorry to hear the food portion of the wedding was a bust, but KUDOS to you for sticking it out. that’s even more of an accomplishment! i can’t imagine how i would have made it until 10 at night to eat. small children would have been in danger, smoke signals would have been required to alert the impending danger for all those around me. you are good inspiration!

  32. says

    I agree with Cate, Laura, great job of sticking it out. I’m learning to plan ahead and now keep a baggie of nuts in my purse just in case.

    Kristin, I think what you might be experiencing is a shift in what your body uses for fuel if you are switching from a primarily sugar, processed food, grain filled diet. It will pass if that’s what it is.

    Tomorrow is Day 30 for our office. We’re excited to get on the scale and to share the results of our experience!

  33. Stephanie says

    I’ve been doing Paleo for about a month, with the only time off the reservation being this past Thursday and Friday for my birthday celebration. BIG mistake…I felt terrible for 3 days. Headache and nauseated. It was not pleasant. Saturday, I started Whole30. Overall, I really like eating this way and have been pretty lucky to not miss breads, sweets, etc too much. My main issue is that I have to watch my fruit intake, especially during the summer. I’d rather have that than a bowl of ice cream any day.

    To be honest, I’ve been a bit frustrated with this whole process since nothing about the way that I look has changed. The scale hasn’t budged and my clothes fit no differently. I’m hoping to going a bit stricter will speed that process along. I have about 20lbs to lose & while I know that weight loss is not the primary goal here, it would be really nice to actually be able to SEE results. I have always held a significant amount of weight around my midsection, even at my lightest. I was hoping that a big change in my diet might help with that, especially since I know that is an indicator that I’m at a heightened risk for lots of stuff that tends to run in my family anyway (heart disease, breast cancer, autoimmune issues). I’m 30 and hoping that I can make some changes now that will give me the best chance of not running into those issues later.

    I do feel a bit paralyzed over the whole idea of training. I’ve looked over the PTP & it seems doable. However, I have no idea what half of those exercises are and am a little concerned that I will end up hurting myself because I’m doing something wrong. I know that physical activity is vital for my health and to this process, and I don’t mind putting in time at the gym. I’m just feeling a little frozen over making a change from what I was doing (4-5 days a week, mostly cardio with some strength training built into a couple of classes) to what is suggested here. The diet was a snap compared to what this transition is turning out to be.

    So this is me saying that I’m in for the Whole30 (day 3 down today), but needing some help and insight to how to get started with strength training without feeling like I’m walking in blind.

  34. Greg says

    I’m going in all the way, but have one question. I’ll be on a hunting a trip and spending a good time in the backcountry half-way through the challenge. I need ideas on keeping on track with foods that work in the wilderness. Traditionally, it’s Mountain House, oatmeal, and trail mix. I’m thinking soups I pre-prep at home, jerky, and freeze dried eggs. Any other thoughts? I need lightweight, quick meals that prep with boiling water.

  35. says

    Stephanie, I don’t know what PTP is, so I can’t help you there, but it sounds like you’re with a gym. Perhaps you could see if they have a complementary one on one training session where someone sets you up on the weight machines with the proper settings & weight – or walks you through some free weight exercises. Krista at has some great information for beginners.

    Greg, I’m not sure what you could take. Every “make your own” protein/granola bar I find has some verboten ingredient in it to hold it together. You could take tins of sardines, herring and packets of mustard. Possibly tuna or chicken but for those you’d need a can opener.

    Our office group of five finishes our 30 days today! We’ll be taking pictures tomorrow.

  36. Cate says

    @stephanie – a good, free download you can get is from Mark Sisson, the Primal Blueprint Fitness. i think it’s a good transition from constant cardio to an approach based on heavier lifting. plus, did I mention it’s free? i’m currently transitioning from constant endurance training into a happier medium of still running (but 10k runs rather than 1/2 marathons all the time) and more heavy lifting. sign up for his newsletter at and it will give you a link to download the free book.

  37. Gail Ann says

    Yesterday was my last day of Whole 30 and I feel AWESOME! It was a challenge at times but I held tough and I am proud of myself and the 10 lb weight loss was the best reward ever! Thanks to everyone here who posts…the motivation was greatly appreciated. I am nervous about going back to the “real” world but I feel better equipped to handle it than I was the first time I did the challenge in January. Thanks again everyone and to those of you just starting, hang in there! It gets easier day by day and NEVER EVER think of quitting…YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!

  38. Laura says

    I’ve had a terrible headache since I left work yesterday, not quite migraine level, but close to it. I’m a little bummed because I used to get some bad headaches a lot and was thinking the other day its been a while since I’ve gotten any. Normally at this point I would take tylenol or something, but I’m trying not to. I’m really hoping the headache is due to the poor sleep I’ve gotten the last few nights, the chaos at work yesterday and knowing its going to drag into today, or that my menstrual cycle began yesterday (or maybe all three). Since I can’t take a nap right now all of these things are currently out of my control. Does anyone have any suggestions on what might help alleviate some of the pain?

  39. LG says

    I have a confession

    I’m SO far off of whole 30 it hurts. It literally does! I am sitting here with a headache, sore stomach and I’m exhausted although I felt rested when I woke up this morning.

    Some of you wil remember me from the past Whole 30’s and I’ve done the whole 30 and I felt great. Somewhere along the way i got WAYoff track and this morning I ate a Rice krispie square for breakfast! Actually 2 of them. That explains me feeling like death right now but seriously I need to get my act in gear.

    Right here right now I am making a commitment to myself and my daughter that we are going back to Paleo.

    I’m at work and not prepared but thats ok. I will go to the grocery store for lunch and pick up veggies and meat.

    i wil try to check in at the end of the day and let you know how i made out.

    I seriously feel like a big bag of crap right now :(

    Can’t wait to feel great again

  40. says

    LG! Sometimes the really big stumbles (and falls way, WAY down the mountain) are just the reminder we need to come back stronger than ever. Good luck with shopping. It just takes one meal to get back on track — make the next time you eat, the big switch back.

    We’re all here for you!

  41. Colleen says

    So I’m back looking at the whole 30 plan again. I did 22 days back in May but got so sick that I had to quit. My body wasn’t holding on to anything, and I was literally sick for 5 days. I called my parents – dad’s an ER doc – and he said to try adding carbs and dairy back in to alleviate the symptoms. Obviously that worked, but here I am – 5 months later – and feeling ready to try this again. My life is filled with processed foods. Any idea what I might have done wrong? What would have made me so sick? How can I overcome the fear I have of getting so sick again? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Also – I don’t see much on here for endurance athletes. I have a 1/2 Ironman in a month and feel like adding Gu/Hammer/EFS products are essential for my ability to stay hydrated/nourished during training sessions and ultimately the race. What do the Paleo athletes out there think about this aspect of Paleo living?

  42. Jay says


    I’m on day 30 of my first Whole 30 and am also an endurance athlete. My experience, recovering from workouts was slow and tough for the first 2-21/2 weeks. My muscles were always sore and fatigued during most runs and bikes. I hung in there and by the third week I was feeling great and recovering from difficult workouts rather nicely. One month out from a HIM may be cutting it close but if your experience is similar to mine you’ll be feeling great by the time you hit the water on race day. The fact that you’re heading into your taper may workout very well for you while you adjust to both Whole 30 and endurance training.

    Now that I’m at the end of my Whole 30, I feel as though my fitness has improved and I’m running and biking faster. I’m also using less nutrition during long/hard workouts. I suppose I attribute that to my body being more efficient at using fat as fuel rather than sugar??

    For me, the key to getting through those first few weeks was sardines and sweet potatoes soon after training. Another treat after training has been a banana drizzled in coconut oil and sprinkled (covered really) with cinnamon. To be honest, there were also 2-3 particularly tough workouts where I had a serving of Hammer Recoverite immediately following my workout.

    Now I’ve been finding recipes for some paleo smoothies that I’m going to start trying as recovery drinks. I’ll let you know how it works after my long run on Saturday and long bike on Sunday.

    It may or may not be Whole 30 approved, not sure really, but do a search for Paleo for Endurance Athletes by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel, there are some good tips about incorporating paleo and endurance training.

    What HIM are you doing?

  43. Laura says

    @Jay- let me know what smoothies you try, share the recipes please!! I’m not using any smoothies, but love them and am hoping add some paleo smoothies back into my diet in a few weeks. I’m training for a marathon in Novemeber.

  44. Colleen says

    @ Jay – Thanks for your response! Does this mean you’re only drinking water while training? And you’re not eating anything while riding/running? Hmm. That might be too big of a change for me this close to my first HIM. I’m doing the Magic Mountain Man near Santa Clarita, CA. It’s going to be very hilly and hot and I sweat a lot.

    Perhaps a better time to take on the Challenge will be after the HIM, when my whole body is in a bit of a detox.

  45. says

    @Laura: What day are you on? Headaches are a very common side effect during the early part of folks’ Whole30 programs. You can certainly take Tylenol for the discomfort – or just get some extra sleep tonight, and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.

    @Colleen: I’d absolutely wait to start your Whole30 until your half-marathon is over, if you’re concerned about your performance. Most folks experience a drop in performance during the first 2-3 weeks of the program, and given your last experience, I suspect you may take a bit longer to adjust. If you’re more interested in completing your race at your “normal” pace, then put off the dietary program. If you’re interested in looking, feeling and living better NOW (perhaps at the expense of your race time!), then get back on the Whole30 wagon. Make sense?

    @LG: Welcome back! Sorry you’re not feeling well, but I know you’ll be feeling back to fantastic soon after getting back on the program!

    @Greg: We camped in Banff while doing the Whole30 last year. We took pre-cooked chicken sausage (eaten cold), canned salmon and tuna, jerky and hard-boiled eggs for protein. Egg white protein powder might also be a good solution… The rest (carbs and fat) should be pretty easy.

    @Stephanie: The PTP isn’t the right program for someone just starting out on the big lifts. I’d recommend finding a good strength and conditioning coach in your area to teach you to squat, deadlift, press and the like. You could also find an RKC (kettlebell coach) in your area to teach you the basics – that’s a fantastic place to start for a beginner.



  46. Amanda says

    Hey Melissa,

    I’m on Day 4 of my Whole 30, been eating mostly paleo for the past year, but want to see what cutting the chocolate/wine/butter will accomplish. 2 quick questions for you if you have a moment:

    1. I’m trying to figure out my programming and am kind of stuck on where to go; was thinking about your 603 ptp mentioned in an earlier comment. I did a round of starting strength/barbell training that ended about 2 months ago, and since then, have just been doing the primal blueprint fitness (all BW) and staying active. I’d like to get back to the barbell and keep working on conditioning, got a groupon for a month of crossfit so I could start there, but maybe I should get my lifts back up before trying it out? I also am not sure if this gym is more strength-oriented like you and Dallas advocate…

    2. I listened to your guest appearance on Robb Wolf’s podcast, and was wondering about the woman who complained about abdominal bloating on paleo. I have had the same problem recently – it seems like the stricter I am with my diet, the more irritated my intestines are! You thought that the woman on the podcast might have been having trouble due to her supplement ingredients (wheat bran etc). Have you heard of FODMAPS? Read about them on Kurt Harris’ blog, sounds like they could be the culprit since I eat a lot of them! I am going to try eliminating some of those foods and see if the bloating gets better, do you have any opinion on this? (kind of stinks, b/c means no avocadoes, brussels sprouts, peaches, coconut, etc!). Thank you!

  47. Amanda says


    One more question I forgot in my previous post:

    Would I follow the pre and post-workout meal recommendations in the success guide for any type of workout, or just high intensity/met-con? Like, should I have a pre/post workout meal when I’m lifting heavy weights or sprinting, or just for longer, intense crossfit-type workouts? I don’t want to overdue it on the sweet potatoes and such if I don’t need them. Also, do you have any easy & quick pre/post workout meal recommendations? Yesterday I did 2 deviled eggs w/paleo mayo for pre-workout, and some slices of turkey and sweet potato post, not sure what else would be good…Thanks again!

  48. says


    1. If you’re comfortable with all the big lifts, and you’ve got an established 1RM in the deadlift and press, then the PTP might be a great place to go for the next five weeks. Remember, that program is designed to function as stand-alone training – it’s NOT to be combined with CrossFit, endurance work or any other exercise program.

    2. We are familiar with FODMAPs, although in the case of the podcast question, that wasn’t her primary issue. (She was seriously gluten-sensitive, and the small amount in her supplements – of which she was taking copious amounts – was enough to do the trick.) As a rule, we don’t generally go to FODMAPs until all the most common sources of trouble have been ruled out – and within the first few months of changing your eating, bloating and digestive issues can be a normal par for the course as the body heals. You can certainly play around with eliminating certain fruits and veggies, however – it won’t hurt.

    3. We’re in the middle of writing a PWO carb post, but the short answer is that carbohydrates are used only to replenish glycogen stores lost during exercise. If you didn’t use much glycogen, you don’t need many carbs. As for PWO choices, just combine a light protein with your chosen quantity of carbs – it doesn’t have to be a meal, ingredients are fine for this one.



  49. Kristin says

    This is day eight, and I’m feeling wonderful. My sugar-withdrawal headaches are gone, I’m not tired when I walk up the stairs, etc. I got back to the pool starting this week and am not having any trouble preparing for or recovering from workouts, even though my diet has changed a bit. I go to my first CrossFit class tomorrow — EEEK! Actually, I’m very excited. I already lift pretty heavy for a girl, so I’m excited to bump it up and try something new. Also, this is the 11th day I have prepared every meal for myself. I am saving lots of $$$ by not eating out — it’s just easier to eat whole food when you prepare it yourself.

    I find that after dinner, I still want that sweet treat. Before, if I was feeling bad, I’d have ice cream or GF cookies. If I was trying to be good, I’d have fruit. Now, I’m asking myself — WHY do I want something sweet? Am I conditioned to want it? (yes) One night I had a piece of fruit, but otherwise I have successfully stayed away from anything sweet just for the sake of having something sweet.

    I’ve discovered a new, bizarre thing. Of course eating a more substantial breakfast is going to make me less hungry, but I have not been getting hungry for lunch AT ALL. Usually I make myself eat at about 2-2:30 (breakfast about 8 a.m.) so I won’t get a headache, if nothing else. I’m not eating a ridiculously large breakfast — today was a small nuked sweet potato, sauteed mushrooms and artichoke hearts, and some bacon. (and tea.) I do get hungry for dinner later. Weird, sugar spikes leveling out, or some other explanation?

    Other than that, so far, so good. I discovered that the last day of Whole30 is the day before my husband and I leave for a long weekend. Talk about perfect timing. I expect I will stray a bit, as we are going to watch football and partake in the city’s restaurants, but I don’t think I will overdo it. I usually bring a ridiculous amount of chopped veggies and other snacks with us when we take a road trip. =D

  50. LG says

    I feel much better already :) Perhaps that is just a mental game I play with myself but I have been strict for the past 24 hours and I feel 100 times better than I did at this time yesterday. MY favorite part about Paleo is Avacados. Before I started eating Paleo in Feb 2010 I’m not sure I ever ate an avacado as i was told they were so full of Fat. Now that fat keeps me sane and for soem reason helps me stay on track. Today for lunch I had leftover ham and veggies dipped in Guacamole.

    I did have 5 cups of coffee today which I know isn’t good but I wasn’t focusing on Coffee today.

    Thanks to you guys for your support :) It feels good knowing I can confess to completely falling off the wagon and having someone say its alright!

  51. Jodi says

    I finished my W30 two days ago and I am so thrilled with the results! I feel great and I have more energy than I have in years. I lost 16 pounds and four inches off my middle. I have a long way to go to reach my weight loss and fitness goals and this has been an excellent start!

  52. Maury says

    I am on Day 8, and am feeling really low. During the past week, I felt pretty good, but lightheaded during my runs (3-5 miles so not high mileage.)

    But today I am feeling kind of depressed, which surprises me, having eaten so well this week. I am at the end of my period, so I don’t think hormones should be an issue. I ate fairly well before this. Limited processed foods, not a lot of grains, but did eat some. Ate dairy, usu in the form of yogurt and some cheese. Chocolate was my addiction, and also occasional beer and wine.

    Could this be the detox part?

    One more question, b/c someone had referred to it in perhaps and archived post…are Larabars OK?

  53. says

    Maury – A lot of people feel bad in various ways during the first two weeks. What is going on with you may be part of the detox.

    Larabars are okay as emergency food, but should not be eaten routinely.

  54. Tabitha says

    I’m disappointed because the canadian bacon I eat every morning has sugar in the ingredients list. I decided to look for regular bacon thinking that would be easy to find without sugar. Boy, was I wrong. I never thought it would be so difficult to find bacon without sugar! I picked up every package at the grocery store and each had maple syrup, maple sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, and/or sugar. Thankfully, I found one package without any sugar -the store brand’s low-sodium option. Whew! Mornings just wouldn’t be the same without meat with my eggs.

    In my continued preparation for starting the Whole 30 on October 1, tonight I purchased oven-stuffer roasters and beef roasts to put in the freezer. They were buy one get one free! Such a deal.

    @ Jodi – Whereas I know my results will be unique, I sure hope I have results similar to yours! That would be awesome. :)

  55. Tabitha says

    A friend is considering joining me for the Whole 30. She has concern though about the lack of fiber such as is found in oats. Would you respond to that?

  56. says

    Tabitha – One serving of many fresh vegetables offer as much or more fiber than one serving of oatmeal. Spinach, kale, collards, artichokes, and broccoli are my personal favorites. Many vegetables come close on the fiber per servings. Anyone who eats a varied diet of fresh fruits and vegetables gets all the fiber our bodies need. And better, the nutritional content of vegetables beats oatmeal so badly, it’s not even a contest.

  57. LG says


    Do either of you know if it is safe to give Fish Oil to pre schoolers? I remember listening to a podcast with Robb Wolf and he said young children shouldn’t have Fish Oil’s because their bodies couldn’t digest them properly but i think that was for infants and I’m not sure about preschoolers. My daughter is 3 years old and I want to make sure before going ahead with it.

    I will also do some research on my own, just wanted to put the question out there


  58. Tommy says

    I’ve been W30ing since and on and with great success!…and I don’t have a “however” but I do have a question.

    I’m curious as to how much meat, fish and eggs is too much? Regardless of grassfed, rangefree, etc…..

    I’ve been doing some additional research on the effects of food on the body and how what we eat is the best medicine for us all and it has me raising my eyebrows a little.

    I’ve also came across several instances where heart disease has remained almost undetecable in a number of deaths until after the fact. Each of these studies I’ve came across the patient has maintained suitable cholestoral levels when tested and it refered to the patients as being healthy due to the lack of symptoms to diagnose with heart disease.

    Now I still believe W30 is the best thing since coconut wraps, just pondering the question of how much animal protiens are necessary for us to maintain a healthy heart and how much is too much! When eating W30, is it possible to eat too much meat?

    forgive my spelling errors

  59. says

    @Maury: A bit of depression (or lack of enthusiasm) is pretty common in the second week. The bright, shiny toy that is your Whole30 has worn off a bit, and you’re left wondering how the rest of your program will go, whether you’ll be able to keep it up, whether the magic is really going to happen for you. Just stick with the program, take good care of yourself with exercise and sleep and stress management and this feeling shall pass – usually within just a few days. (And Larabars are acceptable, but basically “nature’s candy”, so don’t use them as a regularly scheduled snack.)

    @Tabitha: Tom nailed the fiber question. The people who insist on whole grains as the only good source of dietary fiber are… the folks who sell whole grains! Plenty of fiber to be found in fresh veggies and fruit.

    @Stephanie: Not at this time, because you’re really unable to follow our program to any extent without the inclusion of any animal products. Vegans could still make improvements to their diets by eating less processed foods, grains and beans and increasing their vegetable and fruit consumption, but they won’t be able to experience the full benefits of a program like the Whole30 without eating some meat, fish or eggs.

    @LG: First, check with your doctor – always – on this stuff. Second, there is a lot of evidence that show kiddos do really well with a DHA-rich fish oil supplement, or lots of naturally-occurring EPA/DHA in their diets (like from wild caught salmon).

    Don’t give your kids the same dose we’d recommend for grown-ups, however. Again, check with your doctor, but assuming your kid is 50# (22 Kg), then a daily dose of 0.5g – 1.0 grams EPA/DHA seems reasonable to use, based on studies we’ve read and doctor recommendations we’ve seen. (one source:

    @Tommy: You’ll have a hard time eating too much protein from real food sources – especially animal sources that you actually have to chew. Your body has a built-in satiety mechanism that tells you, “Okay, that’s enough, don’t need any more in this meal.” (This is not the case of protein shakes and meal replacement powders, however… but you won’t find any of those around here.)

    If you follow our MealSimple template for protein recommendations, there’s no danger of you eating protein in unhealthy amounts. We’re not carnivores, and our recommendations are relatively moderate when it comes to protein.


  60. says

    I don’t eat meat (because I don’t like it for lots of reasons). Should I quit reading right now or or there ways to work around that? (I do eat eggs!). Thank you.

  61. says


    You won’t be able to do the Whole30 as written, because it’s impractical of you to get ALL of your daily protein from eggs. However, you can still experience some of the benefits of the program by eliminating sugar and processed foods, eating more vegetables and fruits and making your vegetarian protein sources as complete and unprocessed as possible.



  62. Samantha says

    @BeastGirl: Have you had your thyroid checked? One of the symptoms of an underactive thyroid is an inability to loose weight

  63. M says


    A friend directed me to this website after I told him about food allergies that have caused chronic atopic dermatitis on my hands for the last 7 years. I’m eager to do what I can to correct this, however, I don’t think it’s helpful to only list foods one can’t eat, along with a few “less than ideal” but still okay foods. What CAN I eat? Make a list for that! Reading this site is a major bummer. I don’t understand the point of this website if all it does is tell you to Google Paleo recipes and gives you a negative idea of what The Whole30 plan is about.

    So I can eat “most fruits.” Which ones can’t I eat? I can eat “most nuts.” Which ones can’t I eat? What do I eat for breakfast now that literally everything I ever liked is off the table? What do I use in place of milk? Xylitol is anti-inflammatory, so what gives on banning that from the diet? Give me something I can USE. Thanks.

  64. says

    M – Most anything in the produce department or meat department of your grocery store is what you can eat. The Whole9 Seasonal Produce Guide at points you to your best choices in the produce department. Pick something from the list and pair it with beef, fish, lamb, chicken, or pork.

    Eggs remain an excellent breakfast food, but it is useful to break the cultural mandate that there are breakfast foods and supper foods. Free yourself to eat anything at breakfast! I frequently eat leftovers from supper for breakfast because heating something for 3 minutes in the microwave is such a seductive approach to breakfast for me.

    If you want more detailed eating suggestions, my website features recipes of more than 200 Whole30 compliant meals.

  65. rradiomom says

    Starting the Whole30 tomorrow AM.

    A little girl told my six year old son that his mom is fat & it made him mad & hurt his feelings, esp. b/c my husband said, “Yeah, she is,” to the girl. *sigh*

    I have gained 80lbs in the past four years & I need to get healthy. Period.

    I’ve done Atkins with limited success, South Beach with limited success, and even a VLCD of no processed foods with great results (several years ago).

    Unfortunately, I have no self control and very low self esteem so it’s super easy for me to just eat to make myself feel temporarily better.

    ANYWAY, if everyone could just shoot prayers in my direction, I’m hoping that keeping in touch on the blog will also keep me grounded in the reality of getting healthy!


  66. DeAnne says

    @rradiomom: Good luck! Remember to keep lots of good food prepped (when I don’t is when I fail). Get in a lot of movement and just keep on keeping on! You can do it!

    @all you paleo cooks: Is there any reason to hold on to my $250 Kitchen Aid stand mixer? I haven’t used it in a couple years and I don’t see needing it in Paleo cooking. And I do have a hand mixer for any small jobs that come up.

  67. says

    Hey, DeAnne!

    I have a KitchenAid, too… I use it to turn coconut milk into whipped cream (YUM!), which can do with a hand mixer. But the big mixer is super useful for grinding meat and making sausage. It’s easy to buy large quantities of meat whole, then grind it to make your own ground lamb, pork, whatever… and if you use the mixer to blend ground meat with spices for meatballs or sausage, the texture is AMAZING.

    So… not essential, but nice to have, and since you already have it…

  68. Maury says

    Day 16 over. For the past couple of nights I have not had that craving for something “sweet” to finish the meal. Yay!!! Feeling good. So glad I was able to move through whatever it was last week, that had me in the dumps.

    @rradiomom: sending prayers your way. You can do this. In eating healthy and real food, you are choosing health. Just start there. Every morning, and every time you want something not on the list, affirm that you are choosing health.

  69. Kathleen says

    Yay! I finally started the Whole30 yesterday. I’m feeling fine so far. I’m 50 (!) and about 50 lbs overweight. I’ve been CrossFitting regularly since July and it’s really freakin’ hard to do the WODs hauling all this weight around. I’m very comfortable with the strict boundries of The Whole30, I don’t think of it as a cage I can’t wait to get the hell out of, but a safe arena in which to GET WELL.

    One question (so far) is Bragg’s Amino Acid ok?

  70. says

    Kathleen – Congrats on getting started. I love your image of the Whole30 as a safe arena.

    No to Bragg Liquid Aminos. It is a highly processed food and the Whole30 bans processed foods in favor of eating real, whole foods straight from nature. Also, it is made from soybeans and all soy products are out.

    I find it helpful to re-read the Whole30 guidelines regularly because even though they are simple, there is a lot of detail to take in. I ate white potatoes during the first month I was doing a Whole30 because I had not noticed they were banned in favor of more nutrient rich foods.

  71. Kathleen says

    OH DEAR! This is day 3 of my Whole30, but yesterday I sprayed some Bragg’s on my chicken, does this mean I should start with today as day 1? : (

    Is Nutiva Organic Coconut Manna an approved product? The only ingredient is: Organic coconut?

  72. Bo K. says

    @rradiomom: You can do this! I started my W30 this January and never looked back. Now, I am 60 lbs. lighter, and my health has improved greatly. I agree with DeAnne that preparation is key. Take one meal at a time and focus on how great you will feel after every healthy choice you make.

  73. says

    Kathleen – I wouldn’t worry about the spritz of Bragg’s on the chicken. Call it day 3.

    About CrossFitting… I used to say I won the Marathon Award most days because I took longer to do the WOD’s than anyone in the gym. Fire breathers finished in 10-15 minutes while I was huffing and puffing 45-60 minutes. Who benefits most – the person working 10 minutes or the person working an hour?

    My CrossFitting helped me lose about 10 pounds in 18 months. I began following the Whole30 and lost 30 pounds in 12 months while exercising the same amount I had before. However, the pull ups got a lot easier as I shrank.

  74. Mel says

    What’s the verdict on Korean yams? I’m on day 27 of my first whole 30 and loving it, feeling great and haven’t had any issues! My boyfriend roasted Korean yams today and I ate about 1/2 cup of the cubes. Quite soon afterward I felt very bloated and gassy, which was a noticeably different feeling! Are Korean yams more like white potatoes in their nutritional content? I figured a yam is a yam but now I’m wondering!

  75. DeAnne says

    @ Melicious I don’t have the meat grinder attachment, but maybe I’ll get one. Do you have any specific recipes?

    And speaking of lamb, try as I might, I don’t like it, as it has a musty taste to me. I talked to someone at our farmer’s market who was selling lamb (and rabbit!), and said they had a straight-haired breed that had a much milder taste. Anyone have experience with this? It’s pretty expensive so I’m afraid to buy and then not like it.

  76. BeastGirl says

    A little update for everyone – because I believe it’s pretty darn interesting.

    Background: female, 37, 5’5″. 145 lbs at the end of August. Couldn’t lose weight. Whole30 didn’t help. Constantly stressed, not enough sleep, feeling like crap about myself.

    I stopped my Whole30 on August 26. Since then I’ve been eating as much as I want, anytime I want (only paleo foods though), not worrying about the consequences, sleeping plenty, and just enjoying life.

    Result: in less that a month, 7 lbs gone. Felling better than ever.

    Bottom line? Health is not just about what you eat, it’s about your state of mind, too.

    So Melissa & Tom, your advice to relax and stop stressing out was probably the best one I’d ever gotten. THANK YOU.

  77. Kathleen says

    Thanks TOM for all your support and info!

    Day 4! : ) I’m feeling a little bummed about eating so much meat, how many servings of nuts per-day are recommended if one is tiring of flesh products? Eggs? Any other protiens I’m forgetting about?

    Also how many servings of fruit are optimal per-day? If I had my way it’d be 4 or 5,

    (I didn’t get to be 50 lbs overweight because I’m good at moderation!)

  78. says


    All of the answers to your questions (all!) can be found in either the comments of old While30 posts, or in one neat package in our Whole30 Success Guide. We’ve addressed all these issues and then some many times over, which is why we created the Guide in the first place! The comments are a treasure trove of information, skimming through old posts is super helpful, but if you need more personalized recommendations, I’d suggest the Guide.

    Try coconut aminos in place of Bragg’s – you can find a store that sells them near you by Googling “coconut aminos”.



  79. Maury says

    Quick question. I occassionally see posts referring to workouts. I am feeling pretty good on this…Day 19, and not missing anything. 3 kids keep me busy. Even when they are at school. I do run, and do Tae Kwon Do, pushups situps, squats, in addition to the traditional forms and training. What other kinds of workouts are suggested? I do not belong to a gym.

    Are there suggestions on line? I have always been fairly active…competitive swimmer growing up. Triathlete for a time, white water kayaker, and as an adult/parent mainly a runner, and tennis player (In Atlanta, tennis is huge)

  80. says

    Mel – Korean yams are the same as other types of yams – okay on the Whole30.

    Maury – we couldn’t possibly recommend a particular type of exercise for you in particular, but in general, some sort of regular movement – whatever that may look like – is a great start. If you’re interested in discovering some new forms of exercise, we really like kettlebell training. You can try to find an RKC Certified Trainer in your area to learn a bit more about the methodology. They’re easy to tailor to any activity level, and they’re a nice addition to a home exercise routine.



  81. Lisa says

    I’m a few days shy of finishing my second Whole30 (first was back in May). I feel like I’ve had great results through this Whole30. Sleeping better, more energized, feeling stronger in WODs, and sugar cravings are gone. I don’t even crave fruit. My one frustration is that I have not seen the body composition/fat loss changes like I saw in my first Whole30. My clothes fit about the same. Right now I just feel super fat around my midsection. I remember feeling a tight, thin stomach feeling after my first Whole30.

    My CF box is starting a Whole30 Oct. 10, so I’m planning on going Whole60. Is there anything I can change in what I’m eating to really kick up my fat loss? I’m changing the veggies I eat (cutting out green beans, celery, decreasing fats to thumb-sized amounts) and boosting protein consumption (as much as I can stand–meat has never been my favorite). I’m a womens size 8-10, and my goal is a 6. Hopefully by Christmas time if I can get this belly/hip fat to budge!

    Thanks Dallas and Melissa for helping to change my life!

  82. says

    Lisa – let’s back the truck up, please. This is a case of “if some is good, more must be better” – which rarely, if ever, works.

    I’m not sure what your strategy entails, but blindly ramping up protein, cutting fat and eliminating certain veggies (why celery and green beans?) is most certainly going to make your situation worse instead of better. I suspect during your last Whole30, you had some low-hanging fruit in terms of weight loss, and saw the water weight and pounds come off pretty easy. At this point, however, you’ve been eating in this fashion for a while, which means your weight loss is most likely going to fall into the slow-but-steady range. Losing 1-2 pounds a week is a reasonable, safe and sustainable goal – and if you’re exercising, you may not see any scale change if you’re building muscle, too.

    All of this means, first and foremost, you’re going to have to be PATIENT for those last 10 pounds. And if your food quality has been spot on for these last 30 days, I suspect that your limiting factor might not be your food.

    Give our recent Whole9 Health Equation a read, and Monday’s post on additional contextual factors, as your health history may be working against you as we speak. Ask yourself if you’re trying to solve a lifestyle problem with a food solution – and if your focus on weight loss is starting to take you off-track with bigger picture health and wellness goals. (Do you want to lose the weight in spite of your health, or in conjunction with improving your health?)

    In the meantime, continue with your Whole30 as part of your gym challenge, but stick with the MealSimple template for portion sizes – because that’s what WORKS. Dumping a ton of protein or cutting way back on fat isn’t the answer – it’s patience, and commitment to supporting your activity levels with enough high-quality food, and getting the rest of your life factors (like sleep, stress, training and recovery) in line.

    Finally, I’ll point you to our Whole30 Facebook page, where Tamra had the same questions and struggles as you did last month. I advised her to chill the heck out with the weight loss stuff, and just be healthy. Eat well, eat enough, exercise smart, recover well, sleep well and manage stress. Just do that for a month – and forget about obsessing with weight loss! In the following month, Tamra lost 7#. So sometimes, the less you try to control the situation, the better off you’ll be.



  83. Kathleen says

    DAY 6 and feeling groovy! I can definitely see a difference in my body, and my taste buds are readjusting, I taste more fully than ever.

    I ordered some Primal Packs from the recommended products list, (the large sized meat/fruit-nut mix) and I have to say to all who read this:

    STOP what you’re doing and order this product…do it now! It’s AMAZING; the texture and flavor are really special, and believe me, I’m a chef and food SNOB.

    Yes, they may feel a little pricey, but one large pack can serve as 1 mondo meal, 2 light meals or 3 fabu snacks. Shipping was fast and resonable. I can’t praise them enough!

    I also ordered some coconut wraps and some Cherry Chipotle jerky from the other recommended sites, happily awaiting their arrival.

  84. Lisa says

    Melissa, thank you! Especially for reminding me about the patience aspect. I had decided to up my protein and decrease my fat at the recommendation of my box owner. Apparently I am not eating enough protein.

    That said, I’m going to get your MealSimple template and rock it out these next 30 days, focusing on my overall wellness and not obsessing over fat loss. It will come if I’m looking at the big picture.

    I can’t thank you enough!

  85. Lisa says

    @CJ, heavens no! Certainly we all feel that “fat” or bloated feeling at times (especially women thanks to our reproductive organs and menstrual cycle). That’s all I meant!