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The Whole30 Diet

Photo Credit: Anna Hermes

Photo Credit: Anna Hermes

Photo Credit: Anna Hermes

Photo Credit: Anna Hermes

The Whole30 Diet

My family did it, and so can you!

Photo Credit: Anna Hermes

Last April my family embarked on a new and exciting adventure by way of our diet. We decided to try out Whole30. If you’ve never heard of it, Whole30 is basically a diet during which you eat no gluten, dairy, sugar, or legumes. You may be wondering what you CAN eat! Any meats, veggies, and fruits are okay, as well as any nuts (other than peanuts), and any spices that do not contain gluten or sugar. To be quite honest, it sounds a lot harder than it actually is! You will definitely need dedication and perseverance, but it pays off in the end! My family learned a lot during the diet and will be going on it (or, rather, the Whole40) again throughout Lent!

In this article I will discuss the goal and benefits of Whole30, some tips and info from our first Whole30 experience, and will share a few of my family’s favorite recipes!

The goal and benefits of Whole30:

“Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be 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 chronic pain, that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms are often 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. Eliminate the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory 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 health, habits, and relationship with food, and the downstream physical and psychological effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day-to-day life, long term health, body composition, and feelings around food. The most important reason to keep reading?

This will change your life.

I 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 will restore a healthy emotional relationship with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. I know this because I did it, and millions of people have done it since, and it changed my life (and their lives) in a dramatic and permanent fashion.” ~Co-Creator Melissa Hartwig

Tips and Random Information:

  1. For my family, apples and just about all fruits, almonds, Lara bars, avocados, almond butter, almond milk, any veggies, sweet and regular potatoes, etc. were staples. We also eat lots and lots of eggs! (Scrambled with onions, spinach, avocados, tomatoes, and sugar-free ham makes a delicious breakfast!)
  2. With Whole30 you can eat anytime and however much you need to fill yourself. For snacks my family often had almonds, apples with almond butter, veggies, smoothies (with almond milk, fruits, spinach, almond butter, chia seeds, etc.), and Lara bars.
  3. Believe it or not, there is a recipe for Whole30 approved ice cream! It is very simple and quite delicious! (This is not against the rules, as it is simply frozen bananas and almond butter.)
  4. Be mindful that dinner prep will probably take a bit longer than normal, and that groceries will tend to be a bit more expensive than usual.
  5. Still want to eat your favorite dishes? There is most likely a Whole30 approved recipe for it! Whether it’s chili, ranch dressing, breaded chicken, etc. recipes are quite accessible via the internet!
  6. Don’t overload on fruits! However tempting it might be (as they will become like dessert to you!), it’s better to eat more veggies and to regulate your natural sugars.
  7. Don’t do this diet with the primary goal of losing weight. While you will lose weight, this program is to make your whole body healthy and get rid of all the bad fats, sugars, etc.
  8. Read over ALL of the rules and benefits BEFORE starting the diet.
  9. Don’t make exceptions or give up! You can do it!
  10. Offer all of your sacrificing during the diet for someone or something in particular! This will keep you motivated 🙂
  11. Don’t immediately go back to your old eating habits once the 30 days is over! This defeats the whole purpose of the diet! Try a less restrictive diet such as Paleo. I know several people who eat strictly Paleo during the week and “cheat” on the weekends.


My family found most of our recipes on Pinterest. There are a wealth of recipes for all meals and for snacks on Pinterest to cater to anyone’s tastes! If you don’t have Pinterest, simply search Whole30 recipes on Google and you will receive a lot of results! There are also guides to grocery shopping and lists of Whole30 approved products that can be found at your local grocery stores!

Here are a few of my family’s favorites:

  1. Chicken Tortilla-less Soup
  2. Chili 
  3. Roasted Veggies (we liked roasting cauliflower, brocalie, carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes together)
  4. Taco seasoning  
  5. Chicken, Apple, Sweet Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Skillet 
  6. Banana Chia Pudding (great with all sorts of fruits!)
  7. Chicken Tenders 

We also enjoyed lots of salads (you can use balsamic vinegar or make your own dressings!), hamburgers (just without the bun; we liked adding avocado slices, sugar-free bacon, fried eggs, tomato, sautéed onions, etc.), eggs of many types, baked potatoes, etc. Chicken salad with an avocado substitute for the mayonnaise was also a big hit and quite easy to make!

Check out my Whole30 Pinterest board and others for more ideas!

Visit the Whole30 website for the rules and more details! Have questions? Comment below or send them by way of the Letter to the Editor!

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