Welcome to my ultimate guide to the Whole 30. In this blog post I will be sharing with you everything you possibly wanted to know about the Whole 30 but was too afraid to ask. Full of information and recipe ideas it can help you in the survival of completing the Whole 30 challenge.
Me & The Whole 30
I originally completed the Whole 30 in the summer of 2015 and again last month (May 2017). It is a great way to reset your body clock especially if you eat a lot of chocolate or carbs and make your body feel like it is brand new again.
Both times while being on the Whole 30 I have been shocked by my willpower and my desire to see it through to the end. For the first few days you’re really thinking about what you’re missing. But come the end of it, you realise how much you enjoy the Whole 30 and that you could live without all the non-Whole 30 foods if you had to.
I am also amazed at the end of a round of the Whole 30 by how flat my stomach feels and how the bloating has suddenly passed.
How Does The Whole 30 Diet Work?
The Whole 30 diet is a low carb diet that allows you to fill your face with vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, good fats along with meat and fish. It is very anti sugar produce, pulses, processed foods and carbs.
It promotes healthy clean eating and is very similar to Paleo. In other words it is a stricter version of Paleo.
You also stick to it for a full 30 days (without cheating) and don’t weigh yourself during that time, which is great if you are one of those serial weighers!
Though for a complete guide to it please see the infographic below:
Whole 30 Approved Foods
For foods that you can have on the Whole 30 you have rather a good choice of foods. All of them we should all have in a balanced diet anyway, and none of them are foods that you can’t get hold of. There is nothing obscure or holistic about them, just normal regular food.
In a nutshell they are made up of:
- Fruit & Vegetables
- Meat & Fish
- Good Fats
- Herbs & Spices
- Herbal Tea & Black Coffee
It is always a good idea to have vegetables as the star of every meal that you have during the Whole 30. The more vegetables you have the healthier you will feel.
Potatoes are also allowed on the Whole 30 (both white and sweet) so if you want a jacket potato for dinner, then go ahead and have one!
Meat, fish and seafood is fine just as long as it is not processed. So forget those cheap deli cuts of corned beef and those cheap sausages or those horrible looking bright red crabsticks.
Also with your good fats remember that they are still all high calorie, so if you want to enjoy weight loss then use them in moderation. (says me that eats avocado with pretty much every single meal!!!)
And of course herbs and spices are freely used to make food interesting. Just make sure none have brown sugar in them or other related things.
And last but not least, enjoy your coffee (though minus the milk and sugar) or enjoy plenty of herbal tea.
Whole 30 Banned Foods
We have mentioned all the lovely food you can have on the Whole 30 but what about what you can’t have? Well there are loads and many of these foods you will be sad to see go but it is for the greater good of your health and I am sure you can manage just 30 days of your life without them.
In a nutshell they are made up of:
- Added Sugar
- Processed Foods
- Junk Food
Well the banned list is not that big but think about it for a minute for what you are not allowed. You have lost your bread, cereal, chocolate, ice cream, bags of crisps, beans, lentils, quinoa, couscous and of course the fast food that we all love.
You will probably find that after a few days there will be some foods that you will not miss very much and others that you will miss a lot.
For me I can live without bread and other grains, I don’t drink alcohol because I am breastfeeding and my main cravings were cheese and chocolate. Now these were hard to go without. Though after a couple of weeks you will find that you don’t think about them as frequently as you used to.
Plus if you do get desperate for a sugar kick there is always a sliced apple with cinnamon on top. Its not as good as the real thing, but it gives you an alternative to focus on instead.
30 Best Ever Whole 30 Recipes
Over the last 30 days what we did was cook something different everyday. That way we could experience lots of new and exciting recipes and not get bored of eating the same usual things. We have put together all the recipes below for you so that you can pin them for later or click through and print off the recipes.
We started the month with a delicious set of breaded chicken with a Tuscan herb crust. It was delicious and served with potatoes it is a dream meal for when you start the Whole 30 and are missing fast food.
As well as breading chicken, prawns are also really good. They make a brilliant lunch especially served with lemon juice and a big salad.
If you miss your Indian food then give these a go. Full of veggie goodness and rolled in a gluten free marinade they make a great starter if you want to make a family Indian takeaway at home.
If you’re bored of traditional bacon and eggs for breakfast or want something that you could take to work with you, then nothing beats these breakfast muffins.
This used to be one of my favourite starters at the Indian restaurant. I would have this before the curry arrived and it always helped when you arrived in the restaurant and you were starving hungry.
If you are missing your pie and mash while on the Whole 30 then try this instead. A delicious creamy sauce with chicken and vegetables. The best Whole 30 alternative meal ever!
This shouts out Mediterranean food and gives you a delicious low carb alternative. This is really a genius thing if you want to have pasta but can’t. I have become hooked on this and it tastes even better in a coconut oil sauce.
This can either be a main meal or a side dish. It is so flavoursome and is full of Brazilian goodness. Loads of tomatoes make up the sauce making it full of vitamin C.
I love this because you can spend hours peeling sweet potatoes to lose loads of the potato. In this recipe though you cook them in the skins and then they just fall off when cooked.
This is a lovely spicy king prawns recipe that is perfect for the Instant Pot. It suits the Whole 30 for all you seafood fans out there that want something different for their protein.
This is just so good you wont want to share it with anyone. Its easy to make and cooks in no time in a Dutch Oven or in a casserole dish. It is also perfect for Sunday dinner with your family that you can load up with vegetables.
We wouldn’t be on the Whole 30 if we didn’t have a love for burgers. Well you can still have your burgers on the Whole 30 and they are so delicious. Cook these in the Airfryer and you will never cook a burger another way again.
This is a fully loaded chicken casserole full of Brazilian flavour. It is perfect for something different and for when you want to cook something Whole 30 friendly in the crockpot. A family favourite of ours that also works well with white fish.
When you’re on the Whole 30 the bacon is a must. In this recipe we will show you how to make fast back bacon in the Airfryer for a quick snack. Though we cook our bacon in the Airfryer and then use it in salads.
You can bake a whole chicken in the Airfryer in just 40 minutes. It comes out truly crispy, full of flavour and never dry. A great staple for the Whole 30 diet. And once you have chicken like this once, you won’t want to go back to the old way of doing things.
Have a quick lunch of pork chops and salad. A great meal for if you are in a rush and just want to throw some pork chops in the Airfryer. You can then serve it up with a nice salad and a salad dressing.
For a Mexican meal how about this? Spicy + citrus = pork carnitas. I also like to serve it with plain omelettes used as an alternative to wraps and so good for you too. You just need to add salad to your wraps and some homemade mayonnaise to complete the meal.
Enjoy a delicious big fillet steak with potato wedges, a mushroom sauce and a mustard dressing. This is food of your dreams and completely Whole 30 compliant.
When you’re on the Whole 30 you need sauces. You need an alternative to the processed foods and to be able to make your own. Here are the three best Whole 30 sauces that you could possibly want.
We all know that bacon and eggs is a necessity. Well in this recipe they are combined together to make an amazing little breakfast. They cook fast and with hardly any washing up!
This is one of those quick meals that we should all have for the Whole 30. Just throw into the Airfryer chicken and potatoes (plus some seasonings) and you have lunch or dinner.
Just add rosemary to some sweet potatoes and you have a really good side dish for your dinner. A crowd pleaser too and perfect for Sunday dinner with the family.
We all love Shepherds Pie but it is far from being Whole 30 compliant. The classic dish comes with lots of butter and gravy granules. However in this recipe both ingredients are left out and replaced with better alternatives.
We all love some sticky chicken but on the Whole 30 most products to make it happen are banned. You can’t have maple syrup, honey or brown sugar to crust the top of your breasts. But you can have quality balsamic vinegar and it makes a fantastic marinade.
For a quick salad then add together prawns, avocado and a green salad. A lunch that is perfect for filling up the gaps during your Whole 30 and making you look forward to eating salad. You could also take it with us to work.
We all love bangers and mash don’t we? Well what about making it into a Whole 30 meal for yourself? With this recipe it is incredibly simple using a couple of gadgets and a real time saver.
For a healthy alternative to French Fries try these pumpkin fries. No oil is required, they cook quick and you don’t need to worry about eating your five a day. Just buy a pumpkin during your Whole 30 and you have can make these fries whenever you like.
Or instead of fries how about some pumpkin wedges? They taste much better because the pumpkin is cooked in its skin and they taste as good as the real thing. Then load them up with spices and make chicken fajitas.
A slow cooker isn’t the same if it hasn’t had pulled pork made in it. In this recipe I will be sharing with you my favourite Whole 30 friendly pulled pork and spuds. A real family pleaser too.
Saving the favourite until last here is a delicious avocado and egg boat. Just crack the egg into the avocado, add some fresh herbs and hey presto you have an amazing Whole 30 breakfast. You could even add bacon to the mix!
Whole 30 Tips & Tricks
Before you go we decided to put together our top tips for getting the most out of the Whole 30:
#1 – Do It One Day At A Time
To say that you are following a plan for 30 days sounds hard work, it sounds too difficult to do and it sounds impossible. Take each day one at a time. If you last to just 9 days well that is still a Whole 9 and you can pat yourself on the back and maybe try 10 days next time.
#2 – The First 72 Hours Is The Worst
They say that the addiction to sugar is worse than giving up heroin or quitting smoking. I remember how hard it was for the first three days after I gave up smoking. I replaced this time with chocolate directly after meals and I think that’s why the sugar cravings are driving me so potty. But get through the first 3 days and then the rest of it will be a breeze.
#3 – Regularly Eat The Proteins
The proteins is what will fill you up so make sure as well as the vegetables that they play a big part in your lifestyle. Otherwise you might find that you become over hungry or want to snack in between meals. My favourite thing was to cook a whole chicken in the Airfryer and then I could have lots of chicken salad or use it as a main meal too.
#4 – Always Read The Labels
If you are normally buying products by the can or the jar then it is very important that you read the labels and make sure that you stay Whole 30 compliant. We didn’t do it that much as we lived off completely fresh food and there is no labels to read on a large pumpkin or a tray of strawberries.
#5 – Cauliflower Is Your Soul Mate
The beauty of cauliflower is that you can use it with everything and anything. Puree it and have a cauliflower sauce or have it as a really creamy soup. Alternatively throw it in the Airfryer as a chips option. Or like the rest of the world make it into cauliflower rice.
#6 – Pumpkin Is A Fantastic Side
Pumpkin can also be great for the diet. Put it in the Airfryer without oil and in wedges (still in its skin) and it makes a fantastic side without fat. I also love it as a potato alternative as it is much lower in calories and as it carries water is great for hydrating you.
#7 – Plan Eating Out
If you are going to be eating out then plan where you go and what you’re going to be eating. Avoid places that specialise in high carb and find something nice that suits your food habits. I like a buffet because then there is choice without putting everyone else out.
#8 – Spices Will Rock Your World
You have a herbs and spices cupboard now use it. Add seasoning to all your favourite dishes and you will soon find that they are no longer boring and that they rock. I like to season chicken in different ways each day for a totally different dish.
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Mix together coconut milk with your choice of seasoning and you can go from Thai food one day to Jamaican the next to African food the day after.
I also recommend that you fill up your pantry with foods that will help you with your cooking.
These are the pantry items that we use the most:
And this is where we sourced them from. Without these we simply wouldn’t have been able to cope with the Whole 30, so make sure your kitchen pantry is well stocked before you start.
#9 – Sign Up To Pinterest
There are loads of recipe ideas on Pinterest to get you inspired for your Whole 30. You can then pin which ones appeal to you and then go back for the ingredients list when you go grocery shopping.
#10 – Cook For The Family NOT Just YOU
Get the family involved in your Whole 30 as it is so much harder to cook separate meals. You could say to them that you cook Whole 30 for them for lunch and dinner, then they choose their own breakfast, drinks and snacks.
We have a 15 year old boy that eats everything so he never minded the Whole 30 food. He also had spending money to top up on chocolate with.
Please Remember It Is NOT That Hard
Just think of every plate of food that you eat, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner like this:
My Whole 30
So I did it and made it through 30 days of Whole 30 food and was completely strict and didn’t even cheat once. NOT ONCE. I have now finished it and wanted to share everything with you.
First of all you have the Whole 30 recipes above that I used for each of my 30 days on the Whole 30. They are all easy recipes and of course use up my favourite kitchen gadgets. They can also give you variety of the Whole 30 without you feeling like you’re eating the same things every day (well that is unless you want to!).
Then secondly I have put together my Whole 30 diary of everything that I have eaten over the last 30 days:
As well as this I have also put on the pages that follow in the PDF all the grocery shopping lists. There is 6 shopping lists and that way what we can do is print out each set of 5 days and go shopping for fresh food every 5 days like we did. It stops your fruit and vegetables from going stale and keeps you interested about fresh food.
Though you can also view my full menu below and then pin it for later:
You can also follow my diary of everything that I did over the last 30 days. Starting from day 1 and onwards, showing the recipe that I made for that day, what my thoughts were and you will also read some funny quotes along the way:
- Whole 30 Day 1
- Whole 30 Day 2
- Whole 30 Day 3
- Whole 30 Day 4
- Whole 30 Day 5
- Whole 30 Day 6
- Whole 30 Day 7
- Whole 30 Day 8
- Whole 30 Day 9
- Whole 30 Day 10
- Whole 30 Day 11
- Whole 30 Day 12
- Whole 30 Day 13
- Whole 30 Day 14
- Whole 30 Day 15
- Whole 30 Day 16
- Whole 30 Day 17
- Whole 30 Day 18
- Whole 30 Day 19
- Whole 30 Day 20
- Whole 30 Day 21
- Whole 30 Day 22
- Whole 30 Day 23
- Whole 30 Day 24
- Whole 30 Day 25
- Whole 30 Day 26
- Whole 30 Day 27
- Whole 30 Day 28
- Whole 30 Day 29
- Whole 30 Day 30
My Whole 30 Results
So you’re probably wondering how I did?
If you have been reading along with my previous blog posts you will know that I did the Whole 30 two years ago and lost just 5 pounds. Many would consider this a failure but I didn’t.
In that summer I binged on figs because the neighbour kept bringing loads of fresh ones and as nobody else in the house liked them, I just kept eating them until I felt sick as there was that many of them!
I also joined the Whole 30 after doing 100% Paleo and found going on the Whole 30 meant my calories increased rather than decreased.
Yet this time around I am starting off a lot heavier than last time, have no figs in binge on and the results.
Dominic my husband has also joined me for the ride. He has loosely followed the Whole 30 but I made him give up weighing for 30 days and to partly join me. He still had cereal for breakfast, the odd biscuit (well what he told me about), still had his milk in his cereal and coffee. But he did give everything else up. He gave up chocolate (and he told me about it a million times), his cheese, his processed foods and of course his trips to Burger King.
For him he lost a whole 4 kilos and then went on to tell me how he had consumed secret chocolate and stashed it in the office. I never actually asked him to join me on it so for him to 90% give up his chocolate and lose 4 kilos (8.8 pounds) is pretty impressive.
I lost 5.4 kilos (11.9 pounds) so it shows that if you don’t cheat you do lose more ?
But I did find it amazing to say that we lost 9.4 Kilos (20.7 pounds) between us in just 30 days, that is like just short of a pound a day + we had a lot of olive oil!
What We Learnt From The Whole 30
If you wonder what we got out of it and what a difference it made to us then here are the highlights:
Energy Levels Change – I had just started running and found as the days progressed I had a lot more energy. I am also someone that likes her sleep and will often stay in bed until 8.30am. But when doing this I was getting up at 6.45am and not feeling tired from doing so. But by day 25 because my blood pressure/sugar dropped so low I found that it was hard just to get out of bed.
Less Bloated – I have always had a huge stomach and found that after doing the Whole 30 that this was not the case and my stomach felt good compared to when I have a high carb diet.
My daughter no longer has night terrors – our 2.5 year old used to wake up with the screams 2 to 3 times a week. Apart from some plain biscuits and the odd portion of pasta she has followed the Whole 30. This means that cheese and added sugar has left her diet and her sleep is now perfect.
Dizzy Spells – this has to be the main negative for me. The Whole 30 is a diet that reduces your blood pressure and is perfect for those suffering from high blood pressure. But in my case my blood pressure has always been low and this diet has made it super low. I have dizzy spells and the light headed feeling and my blood pressure often reads 90/55. If I was to stay on the Whole 30 it would mean I would need to take medication for my blood pressure which is crazy.
Join The Whole 30
Now how about joining me in your own Whole 30? Join me in the whole 30 diet challenge and have 30 full days of delicious home cooked meals. Get better, get rid of the health problems associated with a bad diet and fall in love with food all over again.