Protection against obesity : what are the best healthy foods and how to provide the standards for this food

“I have been living the Whole30 lifestyle for over a year, and it has completely changed my life. In 15 months, I went from 300 pounds to 179 pounds, and from a size 22 to a size 10. I no longer let food control me. I no longer have sugar cravings and can totally bypass anything that I know my body doesn’t need. You gave me the inspiration to believe in myself and turn my life around so that I could play with my daughter without getting tired. I am now running five days a week to help maintain my healthy lifestyle and this spring finished my first half marathon. I can’t say enough good things about the Whole30. It has changed my life for the better!” —KATIE K., DAVENPORT, IA he success of your Whole30 depends in large part on the 100 percent elimination of the “less healthy” foods (and beverages) we rule out for the duration of the program. We’ve chosen these foods because they fail some (or all) of the four Good Food Standards we outlined in It Starts With Food. We’ll talk about specific foods in a minute, but first, let’s talk about how the Whole30 targets each of those key areas of health. TARGET: An (U with food, helping you break free of cravings and bad habits. We eliminate nutrient-poor, calorie-dense, low-satiety foods that promote overconsumption—the stuff that once you start eating, you just can’t stop. These “foods with no brakes” are the cookies, crackers, chips, chocolates, ice creams, and other comfort foods to which you find yourself irresistibly drawn when you’re stressed, lonely, anxious, or unhappy. Over time, overconsumption of these foods rewire reward, pleasure, emotion, and habit pathways in the brain, promoting a vicious cycle of craving, overconsumption, guilt, and remorse. The simple act of giving in to a craving (again) also stresses you out—and emotional and psychological stress have physical consequences that, in part, further exacerbates your desire for sugar. The Whole30 rules are carefully crafted to quash your cravings (specifically for sugar and empty carbohydrates), identify your food triggers, and teach you to find other sources of comfort and reward, so that you are in control of your food, and not the other way around. OUR GOOD FOOD STANDARDS The foods that we eat should: Promote a healthy psychological response. Promote a healthy hormonal response. Support a healthy gut. Support immune function and minimize inflammation. TARGET: A Sluggish Metabolism The Whole30 rules and meal recommendations also target a sluggish metabolism, helping you restore a healthy hormonal balance, effectively regulate blood sugar, and become “fat adapted” (able to use dietary and body fat as fuel). Over time, the overconsumption of foods with no brakes conditions your body to rely on sugar for energy, leaving you unable to burn the fat stored on your body, and requiring you to eat every few hours to maintain energy, focus, and a pleasant demeanor. It also disrupts your body’s ability to manage your blood sugar, the delicate balance of key hormones like insulin and leptin, and how well those hormones’ messages get through to your brain. These changes not only promote energy dips, excessive hunger and cravings, and weight gain, but start you down the road to chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes. The foods you’ll eat during your Whole30 will promote stable blood sugar levels, teach your body how to utilize fat as fuel, regulate your hormones, and improve their communications with your brain. As a result, during your Whole30 you’ll likely experience an increase in energy, a reduction in hunger between meals, weight loss, and an improvement in biomarkers like blood pressure, “good” cholesterol, and fasting blood sugar. TARGET: A Disrupted Digestive System One of the most important targets of the Whole30 program is your gut—specifically, the small intestine, where the vast majority of your food is digested and absorbed. Certain foods promote a “leaky gut,” a condition where the small intestine is no longer able to properly absorb the nutrients you eat. This means the healthy foods you chew and swallow aren’t actually nourishing your body, and things like partially digested food, bacteria, or other toxins are allowed to “leak” from your intestines into the bloodstream, where they don’t belong. This triggers an immune reaction, and promotes chronic systemic inflammation everywhere in the body, not just in the digestive tract. The Whole30 eliminates the foods shown to cause or promote this leaky gut, allowing your digestive tract to heal and your immune system to calm. This helps to resolve a host of digestive issues (like heartburn, acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and related pain) and reduce or eliminate the wide-ranging systemic effects of chronic inflammation. PUT YOUR SUGAR DRAGON ON NOTICE We refer to your brain’s unrelenting demand for sugar, junk foods, or simple carbs as your “Sugar Dragon.” The more you feed it, the more fire it breathes, and the stronger it gets. The only way to slay your Sugar Dragon is to starve it, which is why the Whole30 allows for no added sugar—not some, not less, but none. We’ll explain more in the official rules, but for now, know that your Sugar Dragon’s fire-breathing days are numbered if you follow our program to the letter. TARGET: An Overactive Immune System Last but certainly not least, the Whole30 is an antiinflammatory diet, designed to calm an overactive immune system and reduce or eliminate the symptoms of inflammation —aches, pains, and medical issues you may not have ever associated with your food choices. Systemic inflammation starts in your gut, but because the immune activity goes everywhere your bloodstream flows, the symptoms may appear anywhere, in any form—even in the brain. This kind of inflammation is often referred to as “silent inflammation,” but we believe it’s not really silent if you know what you’re listening for. This is a comprehensive (but not exhaustive) list of conditions and diseases linked to systemic inflammation or having an inflammatory component. If you experience any of these conditions or symptoms, there’s a pretty good chance you have some of that “silent” inflammation. By removing the foods most likely to contribute to both an impaired gut and chronic systemic inflammation, the Whole30 can reduce or eliminate the symptoms related to any number of lifestyle-related diseases and conditions, dramatically improving how you look, how you feel, and your quality of life. WHAT IS CHRONIC SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION? Your immune system’s top priority is defense against outside threats, like fighting off a cold or healing tissues when you trip and sprain your ankle. This immune activity is aggressive but short-term—your immune system recognizes the threat, rapidly ramps up to deal with it, and then returns to a “resting” baseline when the job is done. During this resting baseline, your immune system plays a critical role in the repair and maintenance of various body structures. Chronic systemic inflammation is the full-body, long-term upregulation of immune system activity. Think of chronic systemic inflammation like being a little bit sick all the time; when certain factors (like your food choices) overload the system and keep it working hard all the time, it is less effective at doing its other jobs, like healing that stubborn tendinitis or keeping your arteries clear of plaque. Chronic systemic inflammation is at the heart of an endless number of lifestyle-related diseases and conditions, like allergies, asthma, eczema, autoimmune diseases, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Related to Silent Inflammation acid reflux/heartburn eczema multiple sclerosis acne edema myasthenia gravis allergies emphysema myositis alopecia endometriosis nephritis Alzheimer’s disease essential tremor obesity anemia fibroids osteopenia arthritis fibromyalgia osteoporosis asthma gastroenteritis Parkinson’s disease atherosclerosis gingivitis PCOS bipolar disorder gout periodontal disease bronchitis Graves’ disease polychondritis chronic bursitis Hashimoto’s thyroiditis psoriasis cancer heart disease Raynaud’s phenomenon carditis hepatitis rheumatoid arthritis celiac disease high blood pressure sarcoidosis chronic pain high cholesterol scleroderma circulation issues high triglycerides seizures cirrhosis infertility sinusitis colitis inflammatory bowel syndrome Sjögren’s syndrome Crohn’s disease insulin resistance spastic colon dementia interstitial cystitis chronic tendonitis depression joint pain trichotillomania dermatitis lupus ulcerative colitis diabetes (types 1 & 2) Lyme disease vasculitis diverticulitis migraines vitiligo Now it’s time we talk about the foods. You know, the ones that mess with your cravings, tank your metabolism, disrupt your gut, and aggravate your immune system. We’re just going to come right out and name them. Added sugar and artificial sweeteners. All alcohol. All grains (even whole grains). Legumes, including peanuts and soy. Nearly all forms of dairy. Don’t freak out. We know there are a lot of fun foods in this list. Maybe some of your favorite foods. Maybe all of your favorite foods. You may be panicking. You may be thinking, “No way can I do this.” You may believe you can’t live without ________. You may also be saying things about us that aren’t very nice. It’s okay. We can take it. We assure you, you can do this. And you will. We will walk you through it. We will give you all the information, support, and resources you need. We will teach you how to live without the foods you thought you couldn’t live without. We will bring you new favorite foods—foods that are just as delicious, even more satisfying, and won’t promote that awful craveoverconsume-guilt-remorse cycle from which you are so desperate to be free. The Whole30 can bring you food freedom. Just keep reading with an open mind. WHAT ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS? Since the inception of our Whole30 program in April 2009, we’ve made one thing abundantly clear: This is not a weightloss program. It’s not a diet, it’s not a quick fix, and it’s certainly not a “17 Day Get Skinnier Than Your Friends” kind of approach. But that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize or value your weight loss goals. We know most of you want to lose weight, and we want to help you do it—healthfully and sustainably, by encouraging you to focus on your health. When you make yourself healthier from the inside out, improved body composition, self-esteem, and happiness generally follow, but it doesn’t work the other way around. In addition, scale weight is one of the fastest ways to lose motivation, even if you thought you were making great progress in other areas. (“I only lost half a pound today. This program isn’t working at all!”) It’s okay to take on the Whole30 with weight loss in the back of your mind. Just don’t allow that focus to take you to an unhealthy place with the program, mentally or physically. See Part 2 for more on weight loss and the Whole30.

foods that make you less healthy “I am in my third round of Whole30. Rather than thinking of sugar, cookies, bread, or chocolate bars, I now think of protein, veggies, and fruits. I am now a master salad mixer, a creative whiz with the blender, and am enjoying food prep in the kitchen. I am amazed at the change and the fact that I have a very different perspective on food. I’ve lost 13 pounds, dropped a dress size or two, and feel terrific. I know I’m on the right track with the Whole30.” —ETHEL LEE-MILLER, TUCSON, AZ ere is a big-picture view on why these five food groups fail our Good Food Standards, and why they’re out for the duration of your Whole30. (For a much more detailed analysis, read Chapters 8, 10, 11, and 12 in It Starts With Food.) Slay the Sugar Dragon Added sugars in your diet do not make you healthier . . . but you already knew that. Added sugars, whether from table sugar, honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup, do not contain the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that contribute to your overall health, but they do contain lots of empty calories. Added sugar promotes overconsumption via pleasure and reward pathways in the brain. This creates an unhealthy psychological relationship with your food and creates hard-tobreak habits, leading to further overconsumption and sugar “addiction.” Overconsumption leads to hormonal and metabolic dysregulation, which are inflammatory in the body, and promote disorders like insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity. In addition, sugar disrupts the delicate balance of gut bacteria, which promotes digestive issues and inflammation in the gut. LESS HEALTHY To be fair, we’re not saying there’s nothing good be found here; grains and beans contain fiber, and dairy has calcium. However, there is no vitamin, mineral, or phytonutrient that you could get from these foods that can’t be found (often in a more bioavailable form) in high-quality meats, vegetables, fruits, and natural fats . . . without the potential metabolic, digestive, and inflammatory downsides that come with these “less healthy” food groups. Read on. . . . Artificial or “non-nutritive” sweeteners (including Splenda/sucralose, Equal/NutraSweet/aspartame, Truvia/stevia, Sweet’N Low/saccharin, xylitol, maltitol, etc.) may also promote ongoing metabolic dysfunction. In fact, studies show people who switch from real sugar to artificial sweeteners don’t lose weight or improve their hormonal balance. New research suggests some artificial sweeteners may even disrupt gut bacteria just like real sugar! And from a psychological perspective, artificial sweeteners are not a solution for banishing your sugar cravings; in fact, they only continue the cycle of craving, reward, and overconsumption. It’s the Alcohol Alcohol (like sugar) does not make you healthier. It is neurotoxic, which is why your brain doesn’t work quite right after a few drinks. It is a very concentrated source of calories (nearly twice as calorie-dense as sugar, gram for gram!) but contains no actual “nutrition.” In addition, consumption of alcohol often sets us up to make poor choices*—the after-effects of which can turn one late-night pizza into a whole weekend of carb-a-palooza. In addition, alcohol makes it harder for your body to properly control blood-sugar levels, and directly promotes changes in your intestinal lining which contributes to “leaky gut,” promoting inflammation that starts in the gut, but travels everywhere in the body. Whether your vice is red wine, tequila, gluten-free beer, or potato vodka, the common denominator—and what makes you less healthy—is the alcohol itself. *Poor choices with food. We’re not even going to touch those other poor choices. BACK Not Even Whole Grains This section is referring to grains and grain-like seeds—wheat, oats, barley, corn, rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, and the like. (Yes, we said rice and corn!) Both refined and whole grains promote overconsumption, which creates hormonal and metabolic disruption. They also contain inflammatory proteins (like gluten) and fermentable carbohydrates that can promote an imbalance of gut bacteria and provoke inflammation in the body. The inflammation that starts in your gut, often causing a plethora of digestive issues, also “travels” throughout the body, as the inflammatory components of grains allow various substances to improperly cross your intestinal lining and go everywhere your bloodstream goes. This often manifests itself as things like asthma, allergies, skin conditions, fertility issues, migraines, joint pain, and other symptoms that you might never have associated with the food that you eat. Grains also contain “anti-nutrients” called phytates or phytic acid that make valuable minerals like the calcium, magnesium, and zinc found in the grains themselves unavailable for use in your body. In part because of these phytates, all grains (even whole grains) are relatively nutrient-poor, especially compared to vegetables and fruit. Pass on the Peanuts (and Beans, and Soy) Legumes (beans, peas, lentils, soy, and peanuts) have similar issues as those with grains. First, they are generally nutrientpoor when compared to vegetables and fruit. In addition, they contain anti-nutrients (phytates) that can’t be completely neutralized by usual preparation methods of prolonged soaking and rinsing, cooking, sprouting, or fermenting. These antinutrients rob the body of valuable minerals, and if cooked improperly, could even cause damage to your intestinal lining and provoke systemic inflammation. More significantly, legumes also contain fermentable carbohydrates that can disrupt your gut bacteria, and commonly cause gas, bloating, cramps, pain, and other digestive issues when consumed. Another concern, specific to soybeans and even more so with processed soy products, is the content of compounds that behave like estrogen (that female sex hormone) in the human body. These compounds, classified as phytoestrogens or isoflavones, bind to and stimulate (or in some tissues, block) estrogen receptors. And while the overall research on soy products is inconsistent, in our view there are some alarming issues related to the consumption of soy and soy products. We think you shouldn’t mess with your delicate sex hormone balance, and ingesting phytoestrogens in an unknown “dose” via soy products does just that. Finally, peanuts are especially problematic, as they contain proteins (called lectins) that are resistant to digestion. These lectins can cross into our bloodstream, and promote inflammation anywhere and everywhere in the body. These lectins may be why the incidence of peanut allergies are so prevalent today. Milk (and Cheese, and Yogurt) Don’t Do a Body Good Dairy (from cow, sheep, and goat’s milk) contains factors designed to help little mammals (like calves and human infants) grow fast. But the growth factors found in milk and milk products, along with some immune factors and inflammatory proteins, may not do our adult bodies any good. The carbohydrate portion of milk (lactose) together with the milk proteins produce a surprisingly high insulin response, which could be inflammatory in our bodies and further promotes disorders like obesity and diabetes. In addition, high levels of insulin along with other dairy growth factors promote unregulated cell growth. (Makes sense if you are a calf trying to triple your body weight in a matter of months, but not so much sense for us human adults.) In fact, unregulated cell growth is the underlying cause of cancer (the uncontrolled reproduction of mutated cells), and is why, in some studies, dairy consumption has been shown to be associated with some types of hormonally driven cancers. Dairy proteins can also be inflammatory in the body (especially casein, which is concentrated in cheese), and have been associated with an increased risk of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, immune factors and hormones in the milk proteins can cross-react with our immune system, leading milk drinkers to report a worsening of their seasonal allergies, asthma, acne, and other related conditions. The Wrap-Up Now, hear us clearly. We’re not saying these foods are “bad.” There is no morality when it comes to food—foods aren’t bad or good, and you’re not bad or good for eating (or avoiding) them. We’re not even saying these foods are bad for you. We don’t know that yet. The thing is, neither do you. Until you eliminate these foods, you won’t know how these foods have been impacting how you look, feel, or live. Is dairy making you stuffy or wheezy? Are grains making you bloated or sad? Is your diet in general what’s keeping you in chronic pain, making your joints swollen, or harming your thyroid? Science suggests they could be, but the truth is, you don’t know. But you can, in just 30 days. Commit to pushing these foods off your plate completely for the next month. Not one bite, not one sip, not one taste. Give your body a chance to restore its natural balance, heal, and recover. Give your brain a chance to change your tastes, create new habits, and find new rewards. Pay attention. See what changes. Take good notes. Be brutally honest. At the end of the 30 days, you’ll reintroduce these foods one at a time, carefully, systematically, evaluating if or how they push you off your healthy balance. Pay attention. See what changes. Take good notes. Be brutally honest. Now you know. In just a few weeks, you’ve figured out what mainstream media, other diets, nutrition coaches, even your own medical doctors haven’t been able to give you—the perfect diet for you. The diet that feels sustainable, satisfying, deliciously freeing. The diet that keeps you looking and feeling your best, while still enjoying less healthy foods when, where, and how often you choose. The diet that was specifically created for you, because through our protocol, your awareness, and your determination, you created it. Now that is food freedom. And now, you’re ready for the Whole30. T the whole30 program rules “Here is the truth: six weeks ago, I weighed 346 pounds, walked with a cane because of terrible joint pain, and took 16 units of NovoLog (injectable insulin) three times a day. I started the Whole30 and committed. Today I weigh 294 pounds, my sugars are level with no insulin, and I have tolerable pain with no cane!” —DAVE S., CHANDLER, AZ he first step in your journey is to familiarize yourself with the Whole30 program rules. These are the guidelines you’ll be following for the next 30 days, and the better you know the rules, the easier it will be to make good food choices out there in the real world. We’ll spend the vast majority of this book, from our shopping list to our recipes, explaining in great detail what you will be eating for the next 30 days. We’ll even simplify it here: basic cuts of meat, seafood, and eggs are always compliant. All vegetables except for corn, peas, and lima beans are compliant. All fruit is compliant. Healthy fats are outlined in detail on our shopping list. And if you have more questions about specific foods or drinks, we’ll go through them one by one in our Can I Have? section. Now, let’s get the “no” items out of the way. Read through this list in detail a few times, so you’re crystal clear on exactly what to avoid during your Whole30. HERE ARE THE MOST BASIC GUIDELINES: YES: Eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and natural fats. NO: Do not consume sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, or dairy. Do not consume baked goods or “treats.” Do not weigh or measure yourself. The Whole30 Program Rules We ask that you dedicate yourself to following these rules 100 percent for the duration of your program—no slips, cheats, or special occasions. DO NOT CONSUME ADDED SUGAR OF ANY KIND, REAL OR ARTIFICIAL. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, NutraSweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize. DO NOT CONSUME ALCOHOL IN ANY FORM. No wine, beer, champagne, vodka, rum, whiskey, tequila, etc., whether drunk on its own or used as an ingredient—not even for cooking. DO NOT EAT GRAINS. This includes wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like amaranth, buckwheat, or quinoa. 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 all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like soybean oil or soy lecithin). The only exceptions are green beans, snow peas, and sugar snap peas—refer to Can I Have?. DO NOT EAT DAIRY. This includes cow, goat, or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, and sour cream. The only exceptions are clarified butter or ghee— refer to Kitchen Fundamentals. DO NOT CONSUME CARRAGEENAN, MSG, OR ADDED SULFITES. If these ingredients appear in any form in the ingredient list of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30. DO NOT RECREATE BAKED GOODS, “TREATS,” OR JUNK FOODS WITH APPROVED INGREDIENTS. No banana-egg pancakes, almondflour muffins, Paleo bread, or coconut milk ice cream. Your cravings and habits won’t change if you keep eating these foods, even if they are made with Whole30 ingredients. (Refer to Treats, Food Fixations, and the Scale for more information.) DO NOT STEP ON THE SCALE OR TAKE MEASUREMENTS. This is about so much more than just weight loss, and to focus on your body composition means you’ll miss out on the most dramatic and lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So, no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat, or breaking out the tape measure during your Whole30. (Start on Step 5: Toss that Scale for details.) The Fine Print These foods are exceptions to the rule, and are allowed during your Whole30. CLARIFIED BUTTER OR GHEE. Clarified butter or ghee are the only sources of dairy allowed during your Whole30. Plain old butter is not allowed, as its milk proteins could impact the results of your program. FRUIT JUICE AS A SWEETENER. Products or recipes including orange, apple, or other fruit juices are permitted on the program, although we encourage you not to go overboard here. GREEN BEANS, SNOW PEAS, AND SUGAR SNAP PEAS. While these are technically legumes, they are far more “pod” than “bean,” and green plant matter is generally good for you. VINEGAR. Most forms of vinegar, including white, balsamic, apple cider, red wine, white wine, champagne, and rice, are allowed during your Whole30 program. The only exceptions are flavored vinegars with added sugar, or malt vinegar, which is thought to contain gluten. DEEP BREATH We know this seems like a lot to remember, but we promise you’ll get the hang of it fast. It’s easy to avoid big categories of foods, like bread, cereal, pasta, and beans, and if you’re buying foods without a label (like ground beef, spinach, or apples), you know you’re in the clear. The key to success with pre-packaged foods or processed meats that may or may not be compliant is learning how to read your labels. If you’re buying broth, canned tomatoes, turkey burgers, or coconut milk, take a look at the ingredient list. If it contains anything off-plan, it’s out for your program. This may require a little detective work, though—companies sneak sugar into products under a variety of names, and chemical-sounding ingredients may be unhealthy or totally harmless. Download our Guide to Sneaky Sugars and Common Additives CheatSheet at to help you translate your labels with ease. Give Us 30 Days Your only job during the Whole30 is to focus on making good food choices. You don’t need to weigh or measure, you don’t need to count calories, you don’t need to stress about organic, grass-fed, pastured, or local. Just figure out how to stick to the Whole30 in any setting, around every special circumstance, under any amount of stress, for 30 straight days. Your only job? Eat. Good. Food. The only way this will work is if you give it the full 30 days: no cheats, slips, or “special occasions.” You need such a small amount of any of these inflammatory foods to break the healing cycle—one bite of pizza, one splash of milk in your coffee, one lick of the spoon mixing the batter within the 30-day period and you’ve broken your health and healing “reset,” and have to start over again on Day 1.* You must commit to the full program, exactly as written, for the full 30 days. Anything less and we make no claims as to your results, or the chances of your success. Anything less and you are selling yourself—and your potential results—short. It’s only 30 days. *This isn’t us playing the tough guy, attempting to ruin your life, or trying to turn the Whole30 into a hazing. There is science behind this. See the FAQ for details. BACK It’s for Your Own Good Here comes the tough love—perhaps the most famous part of the Whole30. This is for those of you who are considering taking on this life-changing month, but aren’t sure you can actually pull it off, cheat free, for a full 30 days. This is for the people who have tried to make lifestyle changes, but “slipped” or “fell off the wagon” or “just had to eat _______ because of this ______.” We say this with love. IT IS NOT HARD. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black is. not. hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only 30 days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime. DON’T EVEN CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY OF A “SLIP.” Unless you physically trip and your face lands in a box of donuts, there is no “slip.” You make a choice to eat something unhealthy. It is always a choice, so do not phrase it as if you had an accident. Commit to the program 100 percent for the full 30 days. Don’t give yourself an excuse to fail before you’ve even started. YOU NEVER, EVER, EVER HAVE TO EAT ANYTHING YOU DON’T WANT TO EAT. You’re all big boys and girls. Toughen up. Learn to say no (or make your mom proud and say, “No, thank you”). Learn to stick up for yourself. Just because it’s your sister’s birthday, or your best friend’s wedding, or your company picnic does not mean you have to eat anything. It’s always a choice, and we would hope that you stopped succumbing to peer pressure in seventh grade. THIS DOES REQUIRE A BIT OF EFFORT. Grocery shopping, meal planning, dining out, explaining the program to friends and family, and dealing with stress will all prove challenging at some point during your program. We’ve given you all the tools, guidelines, and resources you’ll need in this book and our website, but you also have to take responsibility for your own plan. Improved health, fitness, and quality of life doesn’t happen automatically just because you’re now taking a pass on bread. YOU CAN DO THIS. You’ve come too far to back out now. You want to do this. You need to do this. And we know that you can do this. So stop thinking about it, and start doing. Right now, this very minute, commit to the Whole30. We want you to participate. We want you to take this seriously, and see amazing results in unexpected areas. Even if you don’t believe this will actually change your life, if you’re willing to give it 30 short days, try it. It is that important. We believe in it that much. It changed our lives, and we want it to change yours too. Welcome to the Whole30. CHANGE YOUR LIFE? It’s funny how many of our testimonials start with, “When you told me the Whole30 was going to change my life, I thought, ‘Yeah right. Whatever.’ But it totally did!” Our own stories were pretty dramatic, and we have hundreds of readers’ stories and testimonials on our website (, but if you’re still skeptical about the whole “life-changing” thing, that’s OK. Just keep reading

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