Whole30 Diet: What Is It?

Life Health HQ is reader-supported, which means we may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page. Here’s how it works.

What is the Whole30 diet?

The Whole30 diet is a month long, 30-day program revolving around clean eating.

The goal? To change your relationship with food and restart your metabolism.

The Whole30 program was designed by husband-and-wife tag team Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, with backgrounds in sports nutrition and physical therapy. To understand what Whole30 is all about, in their words:

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. – Whole30 Website

Whole30 Benefits: Why It’s Good For You

The benefits of the Whole30 diet are big – the month long healthy eating program is said to offer numerous health and emotional benefits, with perks such as:

  • More energy
  • Improve metabolism
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Better sleep
  • Better skin
  • Discovering food allergies
  • Less food cravings (especially with sugar and carbohydrates)
  • Illnesses eliminated (some have testified to having acid reflux, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, infertility, depression, among a host of other issues, reduced or cured).
  • And, of course, weight loss (many participants lose 10-12 pounds, with some losing significantly more).

What Foods Are Banned?

Whole30 is a very strict diet – foods are banned 100%, no exceptions, no cheating. But before we rain on your parade, let’s talk about what you CAN eat:

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Fats (from oils, nuts, and seeds)

The idea behind the Whole30 diet is to eat only real food. If something has an ingredient you can’t pronounce, it’s out. In fact, if it has an ingredient at all, it’s probably out.

The Whole30 diet is about 100% whole, real, natural foods.

Here’s what is banned on the Whole30 diet:

  • Grains
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Legumes

The reason for this is that going cold turkey on some of our bodies best enemies (like sugar and grains), you’ll be able to strip your body of the hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory foods.

Sadly these are foods we love, but the Whole30 diet argues that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The ultimate goal is to do a hard reset on your body and re-teach it to love what is good for it – whole, clean, simple foods over the processed crud we’re so addicted to.

If you’ve ever dipped your toe into the Paleo diet, you’ll find that it is very similar to Whole30. To understand the differences (and there are a few important ones), check out our post on the differences between Paleo vs. Whole30.

Is The Whole30 Diet Right For You?

Whole30 is a tough run, but it’s the kind of accomplishment you can feel great after. The Whole30 diet is strict to be sure (and it’s nearly impossible to eat out at a restaurant on Whole30) – but it’s only 30 days! You can do anything for 30 days.

This diet really could change your life. So why not have a go and give it your all?

Where to Start With Whole30?

Before you start tossing out your honey and burning those potato chips in a fast food bonfire, read  It Starts With Food. This book was written by the Whole30 creators and goes into great depth as to why the Whole30 diet is so important.

Many advocates of the Whole30 program have noted that reading the book has helped them tremendously in sticking to the diet because it helps them better understand how important clean eating is and how our food affects our bodies and selves.

Once you’ve decided to go ahead and try Whole30, be sure to check out our extensive Whole30 shopping guide to help you navigate the grocery store and figure out what you’ll need.

Have you done the Whole30 diet? What’s your take on it? Share your experiences in the comments!

Photo of author
about the author:
Meg Mars
Meg is a writer who is passionate about healthy eating. From Whole30 and South Beach Diet, to paleo and intermittent fasting, she's experimented with several healthy eating regiments and is passionate about helping readers find the perfect food plan match for their lifestyles.

24 thoughts on “Whole30 Diet: What Is It?”

  1. Hello, I am just checking out the Whole 30 plan and came across a couple of typos you may want to correct. 🙂

    Still, we won’t leave you hanging. Here’s a more comprehensive Whole30 shopping list. Feeling “LIST” and have no idea what Whole30 is? Check our our explanation of the Whole30 diet.

    If you’ve ever dipped your toe into the Paleo diet, you’ll find that “IT” Whole30 is very similar. To understand the differences (and there are a few important ones), check out our post on the differences between Paleo vs. Whole30.

  2. What if I have a 100lbs to lose and I have an under active thyroid but I take synthetic for it. I want to be successful.

    • Hey Yvonne – many people keep up their whole30 lifestyle longer than 30 days. Just remember, you don’t want to focus too much on weight loss – focus instead on how your body feels!

  3. I am sorry but how is meat, seafood and eggs “clean eating” eggs are not good for you at all, seafood is dirty and meat, don’t get me started on meat! But I guess when it comes to “clean eating” everyone has a different veiw on it.

    • Clean meaning, unprocessed. If you are a vegetarian or vegan you know meat and dairy isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. you will need to find your protein in other places.

  4. howdy – I’m sorry to find that my fave non dairy (almond) milk has gums; I have a sensitivity to coconuts. Can you advise a W30 compliant plant milk? thx

  5. I’ve been on tamoxifen due to breast cancer I gained 40 pounds in four months i’m really struggling to lose weight will this help me Like to see results keeps me motivated any help on this matter would be highly appreciated

  6. I am on my 8 day of the Whole30 and I feel great but I have been craving sweets like crazy. I am also back in the gym 3 days a week for now.

  7. My husband and I did a round of whole30 and loved the way we felt and feel. We pretty much made a lifestyle change because of it. We eat clean during the week and occasionally have a cheat meal on the weekend. I found that dairy effects me the most and now only have it in moderation. Great way to start a lifestyle change!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.