Yes! You most certainly can have vinegar on the Whole30 Program!
Pretty much any vinegar such as white, rice, apple cider, or balsamic vinegar is allowed. The exception to this rule is malt vinegar, which is not allowed due to the fact that it is derived from barley, a glutenous grain.
Even though alcohol is not allowed and it seems like vinegar may fall into this category as a fermented liquid, there is no residual alcohol left in vinegar and there are plenty of health benefits that make it a great addition to your diet!
Label-Checking Your Vinegars: What to Watch Out For!
There are, however, things you have to look out for when perusing the vinegar section at the grocery store. When you’re considering whether or not a particular vinegar is okay to eat on your Whole30 Program, make sure to always read your labels.
Reading labels for sneaky non-compliant ingredients is a great habit to get into on Whole30 anyways—people sneak some crazy things into the foods that we eat!
Look out for additives like “caramel color” or sulfites when shopping for vinegar—many types of vinegar contain these added ingredients and neither are allowed.
What’s The Deal with Sulfites in Vinegar?
Sulfites occur naturally from the fermentation process in things like red wine, balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar.
There are often additional sulfites added to these foods (along with many others) in order to keep them fresh for longer and to keep their microbial growth to a minimum.
Along with these vinegars, look out for added sulfites in things like dried fruit, bottled lemon or lime juice, and many processed foods. The longer things stay fresh, the longer a company can sell them! As a general rule, however, if a food is commercially prepared to sit on a shelf for a long time, it’s probably not Whole30 compliant. Again, read your labels!
Many people run into a sort of ‘sulfite dilemma’ when it comes to balsamic and red wine vinegars in particular—almost all balsamic and red wine vinegars contain sulfites because of the process of making it. Don’t fret! According to many Whole30 forums, as long as the sulfites are naturally occurring, you’re good to go. It’s the added sulfites you want to look out for.
You’ll know if sulfites are naturally occurring or added because if they’re used for preservation purposes, it will say so on the ingredients list on the nutrition label. When sulfites occur naturally, it was often say “contains sulfites” somewhere on the label, but it will be left off of the ingredients list.
Ideas on How to Use Vinegar During Whole30
Are you a salad fan? Good, hearty salads are an amazing Whole30 staple—what better way is there to get that many vegetables into one meal and make it portable to take to work with you?
A Whole30-approved oil (a good, flavorful olive oil is a favorite here!) paired simply with a vinegar and maybe some salt and pepper makes a pretty solid salad dressing.
If oil and vinegar is getting old, though, we have your back. Feel like you’re stuck in a not-so-interesting salad rut? Check up this awesome roundup of Whole30-safe salad dressings that will keep your salad rotation interesting. After these, it’ll be tough to go back to those store-bought dressings from your pre-Whole30 days!
After these, it’ll be tough to go back to those store-bought dressings from your pre-Whole30 days!
How do you like to incorporate vinegar into your Whole30 program? Share your thoughts in the comments!