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The Whole 30: What, Why and How

You’ve probably heard about the latest health challenge going viral. I’m here to tell you it’s not just a craze, that the Whole 30 actually works and it gets the job done in just 30 days.


The Why:

It’s important to know that this is not intended to be a weight loss diet! (Although weight loss is a very rewarding side effect.) The Whole 30 is meant to help curb cravings, eliminate mindless eating, increase energy, and increase awareness of what you’re consuming and the effects it has on your body. This is a metabolism reset and will decrease internal inflammation. You WILL feel different. After a few days I felt physically lighter, not weighted down by whatever meal I had just eaten. I didn’t sit there bloated or full but by no means will you be left hungry like a lot of depriving diets.


The What:

Only 30 days. No counting calories, no prescribed frozen meals, no weird sugar alternatives, just clean natural eating. Also no stepping on the scale for the entire 30 days, weight does not equal health and the scale will only control your self-esteem during this process.

Do eat:-Meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits and natural fats. The fewer ingredients the better, nothing processed or refined. 

Do NOT eat:-Sugar. Real or artificial, avoid all sugars. This includes agave nectar, coconut sugar, and stevia/Splenda/Nutrasweet/xylitol.-Alcohol.-Dairy. No cheese, milk (from any kind of animal), yogurt, sour cream, and ice cream, etc.-Grains. No wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.-Carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites.-Legumes. No beans of any kind, no peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy(sauce, bean and tofu), or peanuts.

I know, the ‘do not eat’ list makes this seem impossible. It’s really not as hard as you’d think and you’ll be shocked by how much you won’t miss cheese!


Check out this more comprehensive list, more detailed rules, and the “Can I Have…?” FAQ.

The How:

Utilize the Internet, specifically Pinterest and don’t be afraid to experiment with vegetables.

Good news! You can eat at Chipotle. You can order a salad, with carnitas or barbacoa, any of the salsas except for the one with corn, pico, and guacamole. YES YOU CAN HAVE THEIR GUACAMOLE.


Costco is loaded with Whole 30 friendly food with lot’s of variety. Here’s my Whole 30 Costco shopping list:

-Fruit! Load up on the really good berries Costco has.

-Cranberry raspberry juice.

-Wholly Guacamole/Chunky Guacamole singles. Can put on lettuce for a salad, on a burger, or dip veggies in it.

-Smoked Pulled Pork. No sugar added! You’ll need meat variety after a whole month of this. This is also good with mustard or homemade paleo BBQ sauce.

-Sugar free Bacon! This will help your breakfast feel more normal.

-Organic Ground Beef.

-Frozen Chicken Breast.

-Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausage. These are SO good; great in eggs for breakfast or sliced in with stir fried vegetable.

-Vegetables. Bulk veggies will come in handy because you’ll be eating them literally everyday. I suggest pre slicing and freezing them, that way you can just toss in a pan for breakfast omelet or quick dinner.

-Cashews/Almonds/Macadamia Nuts. A Whole 30 friendly salty snack.

-Canned Chicken breast. This goes great on salads, mixed with paleo mayo and grapes, or in soups.

-Canned Tuna. Mix some paleo mayo and pickles and boom you’ve got yourself some tuna for lunches.

Other things to purchase:


RxBars or certain Larabars (check the ingredients)

-Turkey Burgers (no sugar added)

Pace Salsa

-Almond/Cashew Butter


Whole 30 Official Shopping List


Some great recipes to get you started:

Paleo Mayo


Golden Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Coconut Energy Bites

Chocolate Chili


This challenge takes some planning and going out to eat is difficult, but it’s only 30 days and you will never look at food the same again!

Danika is a student at Western Washington University where she is majoring in English Creative Writing and minoring in Writing Studies. She's an avid reader and aspiring young adult/children's literature publisher. Her interests include intramural sports, traveling, Harry Styles, and all things Disneyland. Follow her on twitter or check out her website.
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