Like many of the other popular diets, you may have seen Whole30 come across your social feeds or searches. So what is Whole30 exactly? and is it right for you? Here’s what you need to know.
*I am not a doctor or nutritionist. If you are considering Whole30, consult with your doctor first to determine whether Whole30 is right for you. I am simply sharing my personal experience with the diet.
- What is Whole30?
- Are Whole30 and Paleo the Same?
- Are Whole30 and Keto Similar?
- Can Whole30 Make You Gain Weight?
- Can Whole30 Be Vegetarian?
- Is Whole30 for Kids?
- How Long Until You See Results?
- How Will I Feel on Whole30?
- Why Whole30 Works
- Who Created Whole30?
- When Was the Whole30 Diet Created?
- Is Whole30 Safe?
- Is Whole30 Gluten Free?
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What is Whole30?
Whole30 is a 30-day challenge in which you eliminate specific food groups and eat whole foods to grow and build healthy eating habits.
You basically follow these rules:
- No alcohol, sugar, soy, grains, gluten, dairy, legumes, or specified additives.
- Eat at least 3x a day
- Do not snack
After the 30 days are over, you re-introduce a series of food groups back into your diet one at a time to determine how your body reacts.
The goal is to figure out which foods cause bloating, discomfort, weight gain, etc. and eliminate those foods from your diet entirely (or greatly reduce your intake), while also building a healthy relationship with food.
Are Whole30 and Paleo the Same?
Whole30 and Paleo are VERY similar. Whole30 is meant to be a challenge which could easily turn into a Paleo lifestyle.
The idea of the Paleo diet is to eat the way that people ate in the beginning – sticking to whole foods like nuts, meats, fruits, vegetables and eggs, while also staying away from processed foods and sugars.
Whole30 is different, because it’s training you more to read the labels on the processed/boxed foods to ensure that it’s as whole as possible and doesn’t include the food groups that could be causing any discomfort or weight gain.
Are Whole30 and Keto Similar?
Whole30 and Keto have similar meals that could be used in both, but Keto has a different system entirely.
Most commonly with the Keto diet, your goal is to keep your carb intake at under 20g of carbs per day, while also hitting your personal protein and fat goals.
Many Whole30 meals are Keto-friendly, but the diets themselves are structurally different.
If you’d like to know more about Keto, check out all the great resources over at KetoDays.com.
Can Whole30 Make You Gain Weight?
Whole30 should not make you gain weight – although everybody’s body is different.
If you are doing Whole30 properly and are seeing weight gain versus weight loss, you want to make sure you are:
- Following the Whole30 rules very strictly
- Eliminating triggers
- Not letting any additional outside factors affect your diet
Make sure you check with your doctor to see if there may be an underlying cause to your weight gain.
Can Whole30 Be Vegetarian?
Definitely! As long as you are willing to still consume alternative protein sources, such as eggs – and even better if you would consider salmon, sardines or cod for the 30-day period.
Is Whole30 for Kids?
Your kids can definitely do Whole30, although you may not want to be as strict with them and may want to focus primarily on helping them eat as clean as possible.
When I was younger, my little sister had some discomfort that eliminating certain food groups may have helped, so if you feel you are in that situation and it’s doctor-approved, go for it!
I would recommend making sure your communication around it with your child is less focused around the word, “diet” and more around something like a meal plan, challenge, or lifestyle change.
How Long Until You See Results?
Results are going to be different for everyone. On Whole30, it’s not recommended to weigh yourself, take measurements, or do after photos until the full 30-days is done.
There’s tons of people who extend the 30-days in to 60-days to see more change.
For me personally, I was doing this for acne to see if there was a specific food group causing or flaring up my acne (there wasn’t – but it was still good to know!).
When I took my after photos, there wasn’t a huge difference (since I already lived a pretty healthy lifestyle before), but I did lose 2lbs in my butt, so that was interesting!
How Will I Feel on Whole30?
You will experience a series of feelings and emotions on Whole30 – and when I say a series, I mean it.
There was one week where I was zooming with energy one day, then crying on the couch with a banana and some nut butter the next day. You will feel it all – trust me.
Here’s a basic outline:
- Week 1 – You are going to feel awesome!
- Week 2 – You will likely get the “flu” from your body detoxing. Make sure you’re using salt on a lot of things since you’re cutting out a lot of processed foods that typically contain a high amount of sodium and you will be good to push through. Chicken soup was a life saver for me during this time.
- Week 3 – ENERGY! Exhaustion. ENERGY! Exhaustion. At this point, you may be absolutely sick of cooking and eating (I was). Keep pushing through, you’re almost there.
- Week 4 – This is the final stretch and you should be feeling pretty good at this point.
The Whole30 community hated me for this, but whatever – if you feel like you are having cooking exhaustion and this is NOT a trigger food for you, replace a meal with a nice hearty smoothie.
Im talking avocado, mango, spinach, kale, almond milk. Something that still encompasses your healthy fats, greens, and proteins all in a shake. Trust me – this saved my sanity.
I typically did these for breakfast or lunch.
Why Whole30 Works
There are a couple reasons why Whole30 works so well. One reason is that many people have allergies to certain food groups that they don’t even know about and don’t show themselves in the form of hives, itching, or swelling like allergies normally do.
These allergies show up in the forms of acne, bloating, discomfort, weight gain, etc. But if you’re eating everything out there, how can you know for sure what is causing those issues? You have to eliminate all the possible options, then re-introduce them one at a time to see what triggers those reactions again.
Whole30 also works to create a healthy relationship with food and provide solutions for you to have healthy, filling meals that won’t make you gain weight without you having to be strict with calorie counting, or any sort of tracking, really.
Who Created Whole30?
Whole30 was created by Melissa Hartwig. She was a drug addict who when leaving rehab in 2000, decided to make a complete lifestyle change and take up health and nutrition. The day she decided to go clean in both diet and health, was when her life changed for the better.
When Was the Whole30 Diet Created?
Whole30 was created in 2009 when Melissa heard of a challenge from her friend to only eat clean foods for 30-days. After trying it, seeing her own success, and receiving raving reviews on her blog when documenting her journey, she decided to create Whole30.
Is Whole30 Safe?
Whole30 is completely safe. I would recommend consulting with your doctor, still, prior to starting to make sure there’s no underlying factors that could cause Whole30 to not be right for you.
Is Whole30 Gluten Free?
It sure is! With eliminating grains, you are eliminating a whole slew of gluten products that you could easily consume on a regular basis.