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What is the Whole30?

Whole30 is a 30-day elimination eating plan. The point is to remove entire food groups and known causes of inflammation to see how your body reacts. It is NOT a weight-loss plan, although MANY people will lose weight. That's the icing on a very awesome cake.

My History with Whole30

After seeing some weight loss from eliminating gluten, I did what any person would do. I found gluten-free recipes and cooking methods for my favorite baking, pasta, and bread recipes.

It was during the holiday season and I enjoyed my favorite treats! Almost all of them had a ton of sugar. Sugar is my major downfall. I love Cokes, sweet tea (Southern girl, hello?), ice cream, and any kind of chocolate dessert.

But when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t see my eyes. They were squished between cheeks, eyelids, and forehead fat. Sugar doesn’t contain gluten and I felt I “deserved’ it since I had to refrain from bread and gluten.

For some reason, something clicked within me in January 2013. I started the Whole30 plan, and yes it was hard. 

The publisher sent the book, It Starts with Food to do a blog review and I jumped in with both feet on a miserable Monday in January. I couldn’t believe the results after just 1 week. I felt so much better after the first few days of sugar withdrawal. The mental clarity was off the charts!

My Whole30 results: I lost 18 lbs in one month, and best of all, I could see my eyes again. I was running better, lifting more, and actually waking up with more energy. I continued the Whole30 for 2 more weeks.

6 weeks of Whole 30 (so…Whole 40-ish?) and I knew I was going to be very comfortable transitioning to full Paleo for 90% my meals. The other 10% involves dark chocolate, occasional wine, and eating at other tables besides my own. It involves bringing my own food my Momma’s house, but it will not include turning down a good roast with white potatoes and carrots. And her basket of Dove chocolate will not be safe from me.


The Rules of Whole30

  • Do not consume added sugar, real or artificial. This includes (but is not limited to) maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, monk fruit extract, stevia, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, and xylitol. If there is added sugar in the ingredient list, it’s out.

  • Do not consume alcohol, in any form, not even for cooking. (And ideally, no tobacco products of any sort, either.)

  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat. 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, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy: soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy lecithin.

  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.

  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label, it’s out for the Whole30.

  • Do not consume baked goods, junk foods, or treats with “approved” ingredients.* Recreating or buying sweets, treats, and foods-with-no-brakes (even if the ingredients are technically compliant) is missing the point of the Whole30, and won’t lead to habit change. These are the same foods that got you into health-and-craving trouble in the first place—and a pancake is still a pancake, even if it’s made with coconut flour.

  • Do not step on the scale or take any body measurements for 30 days. The Whole30 is about so much more than weight loss, and to focus only on body composition means you’ll overlook all of the other dramatic, lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat, or breaking out the tape measure during the 30-day elimination period. (You may take photos and/or measurements on Days 0 and 31, however.)


Whole 30 begins!

Normally, everybody is all geared up for January 1st to start a new program, new lifestyle, new habit. I have great intentions, but I find that January 1st excitement is fleeting. I know how January can be for me. Stale. Dark. Way too busy at school trying to get through mid-year testing, setting up intensive …

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6 Books for your Whole30 Bookshelf

It’s time for Whole30! With January quickly approaching, many people are getting ready for their first (or 5th) Whole30 program. The Whole30 has been the most effective approach to healthy eating but it has done much more than that. My first round of Whole30 taught me so much about sustainable food, functional movement, the mind-gut …

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Well Fed Weeknights

Weeknight meals are about to get a whole lot better! Mel Joulwan has Well Fed Weeknights ready to release on November 1st. I have been a huge fan and follower of all things Mel since her first book held my hand and led me through my first Whole 30. Back then, I was sure I …

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Whole Foods Favorites

Vacation is over, so it’s time for the post-vacay, return-to-real-food, shopping spree at Whole Foods. Traveling an hour to the closest store is a great excuse to visit Pepper Place market, Trader Joes, and Lush. A girl’s gotta have some me time, you know. I did pull out an older shirt that now fits me! …

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Sunday Get-it-Together Day

We have a new store in town. I have heard of Fresh Market but I have never been in one. I wasn’t sure if this was an alternative to Whole Foods Market or if it was another store that would compete with Publix, my “regular” grocery store. On this rainy Sunday morning, I took a …

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Whole30 Meal Prep and Paleo Game Changers

Routine is a good thing. That’s what I’m telling myself lately. With school starting back this week, I decided to get industrious and do my Sunday meal prep. I went to the farmer’s market and then stocked up on much-needed staples from the grocery stores. I was wondering through the produce section at Target, intending …

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The Whole30: 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Freedom

This book review originally written for US News Health Eat+Run By now, anybody who has heard anything about the Whole30 Diet has probably read or heard these unforgettable words by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig from their book “It Starts With Food.” “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting …

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Weekly Menu March 30

Another week, and time to buckle down on Whole 30. I plan to start Tuesday. I had a rough run of a few weeks with flu and pneumonia and while I did have my fair share of sweet coffee and tea, I had WAY too many white potatoes and rice soups. I have puffed up …

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Whole 30 2015 is FINISHED!!

I made it the entire 30 days without falling off the soda/sugar wagon. I even attended a Paleo baking class and saved my treats that had Coconut sugar for after the 30 days. Not 1 drop of soda or sweet tea. And I don’t want to start drinking them again. What were my results? Weight: …

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My eyelashes are sore.

Actually, that is about the only thing on my body that is NOT sore right now. I did a body weight circuit last yesterday and this morning and I just want to crawl in a tub and wallow for awhile in my shame. It took me way too long to do some basic moves that …

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Whole30 Shopping List

  One of the best tools for a journey through a Whole30 plan is having a well-stocked kitchen. Get rid of the cravings (if possible) and fill the fridge, freezer, and pantry with compliant ingredients.  This means 80% of your grocery cart should be meat, fresh/frozen vegetables, and a few fruits. The middle of the …

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If Monday Had a Face…

I didn’t get my coffee this morning. Last night, all the drainage and all the medicine left me extremely sick. When Stephen made a pot of coffee, he wisely suggested I stay far away from it. I drank some broth and ate an orange instead. I wasn’t hungry anyway. What is it about Monday that …

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The Midnight Train

Happy FRIDAY!!! When I’m on summer break during the 8 weeks of June and July, I freely admit that I take Fridays for granted. During those weeks, Friday is just another day with the same 24 hours wide open for the opportunity to be a fantastic parade of awesome or a soul-ripping bad gravel road. …

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