Protection against obesity : Does one bite of pizza or one glass of beer really make a difference?

YES, IT DOES. That’s not us being the tough guys, that’s science. The point of any elimination diet is to completely remove 100 percent of the potentially problematic foods from your life for a full 30 days straight. Without the complete removal, your body won’t experience what life is really like without these triggers. You may think one bite or sip here or there won’t really make a difference, but if you’re sensitive to these foods,* you require only a tiny amount to break the Whole30 “reset”—to disrupt the gut, fire up the immune system, and potentially trigger the symptoms of your condition. Now, you might say, “But if I was sensitive, I’d know it.” Uh, no. You would not. Nobody knows they’re sensitive until something happens to make them realize they’re sensitive. We know people with celiac disease who walked around eating bread for decades before they realized there was a problem. The point of the Whole30 is to identify sensitivities. So until you’ve done the full Whole30 by the books (which means 100 percent compliance for at least 30 days), you may not know. *This is especially true of grains (especially gluten), dairy products, soy, peanuts, and alcohol. BACK I ate something off-plan. Do I have to start over? THE SHORT ANSWER IS YES, first and foremost because of the science. You introduce something inflammatory into your newly “clean” environment and you have to start all over again. In addition, those are the rules. The Whole30 program is black and white: no slips, no cheats, no special occasions. The program requires 30 days straight of complete compliance, otherwise it’s back to Day 1 for you. There, wasn’t that easy? But don’t start over because we want you to—start over because you promised yourself you’d see this through. Because you made a commitment to yourself. You decided to push the “reset” button on your health, your habits, and your relationship with food, and change your life through the Whole30. So see that commitment through, because you deserve it. I accidentally ate something off-plan. Do I really have to start over? SAY YOU FIND YOURSELF at Mom’s house for dinner on Day 22 triple-confirming the meal has no grains or legumes. Then halfway through the main course Mom says, “The secret ingredient in this meatloaf—soy sauce!” (Double whammy—soy sauce usually contains both soy and wheat.) In this context, you’ve done everything you can do. You asked the right questions, got the right answers, and proceeded exactly on plan with the Whole30, as far as you knew. We’d still tell you to start over. The rules are the rules, and you’ll only achieve maximum benefit if you give yourself a full 30 days on the protocol. However, if the stress of starting from scratch or the amount of resentment you’d feel toward your mother would do more harm than good, we could understand if you chalked it up to a learning experience and just finished out your program. Ultimately, you’re all grown-ups, and it’s always up to you as to whether or not to start over. Is the Whole30 low-carb? THE WHOLE30 IS NOT A LOW-CARB DIET BY DESIGN. We don’t count calories or carbohydrates, restrict carbohydrates, or give you any sort of guidance as to how many grams of carbohydrates you should be eating. (It’s also not a no-carb diet: people think of “carbs” as breads, cereals, and pastas, but vegetables and fruit contain carbohydrates, too!) By virtue of the nutrient-dense foods you’ll be choosing, your diet will likely include less carbohydrate than you used to eat, but that’s probably a good thing. Unless you’re incredibly active, do high-intensity activity or exercise a few times a week, or are in hard training for endurance sports, you don’t need piles of carbohydrates for energy. However, if you find yourself in one of these categories, you will have to purposefully include carb-dense vegetables and fruits into your daily diet, to ensure you have enough to fuel your activity level. Make it a point to eat potatoes, winter squashes like butternut and acorn, bananas or plantains, and other fruits every day, so your energy stores are sufficient to see you through your workout or long training run. Is the Whole30 like the Atkins Diet? NOT REALLY. Atkins is a deliberately low-carb, high-fat diet with the primary purpose of helping participants lose weight. Tracking your caloric and carbohydrate intake is a mandatory part of staying in compliance with the given carb-gram ranges for each phase. Participants are encouraged to eat real food, but are also offered a prepackaged line of meals, shakes, and bars to supplement their meals. Cheese, milk, artificial sweeteners, and diet sodas are also allowed on the program. By comparison, the Whole30 is not low- or high-anything— our meal template is actually quite moderate in terms of recommended amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. More significant, the purpose of the Whole30 is to reset your health, your habits, and your relationship with food. It’s not designed for weight loss, although participants do lose weight as a result of improving their health. Finally, the Whole30 has no required weighing or measuring (in fact, that’s frowned upon), a much stronger focus on food quality, and specifically targets cravings and food addictions. Is the Whole30 like Paleo? IN A GENERAL SENSE, YES. The Whole30 was originally based on a Paleo framework, and generally omits foods that aren’t part of a typical Paleo diet, like grains and legumes. However, we don’t focus on evolution or history (what our Paleolithic ancestors may or may not have eaten). Our program is primarily concerned with how food in today’s modern world impacts our health and habits. We exclude some foods that some would consider technically “Paleo” (like honey or baked goods made with almond flour), and allow some foods that aren’t usually part of a Paleo plan (like potatoes and green beans). However, there is an awful lot of overlap; many people come to the Whole30 from a Paleo diet, or find a more general Paleo template works well for them when their Whole30 is over. Why 30 days? HABIT RESEARCH SHOWS the average number of days to make a new habit stick is 66—but the harder and more complicated the change, the longer it will take you to really solidify the new behavior. Understanding habit research, we had a few choices to make when designing the program. We could have made it a Whole66 (or longer), but the idea of changing your diet in this fashion for more than two months would have scared a lot of people away. We could have made it short (like a Whole14), but we knew that wasn’t likely to bring you the stunning benefits of the program. So we chose a middle ground. Thirty days is long enough to create new habits and bring you stunning results, but not so long that you are afraid to take it on. Can I do the program for less than 30 days? UNDER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES, YES. We think inserting a “Whole7” or a “Whole10” into your life at key times is a great way to get an effective reset and get you back on track. The caveat? You have to have done a full Whole30 and be practicing your new, healthy habits more often than not in your everyday life to benefit. The more you do the Whole30 and the closer you live to these standards on a day-to-day basis, the faster you’ll be able to get through any negative consequences and jump into the Tiger Blood stage. (Remember “Tiger Blood” from our Whole30 Timeline?) Attempt a Whole7 on your first go-round or after six months of carb-a-palooza and you’ll end up with all of the unpleasant side effects, and none of the benefits! For the experienced Whole30 participant, we recommend throwing in a Whole7 or Whole10 in the week before or after a vacation, just before a holiday, or during a time of stress, when eating healthy will help you better handle the challenge. The rules are exactly the same, and don’t limit yourself to seven or ten days—keep going until you feel like you’re back on healthy ground and in control of your food habits. Should I consider extending my Whole30 to 45 or 60 days? WE TALK ABOUT THIS IN THE REINTRODUCTION SECTION, but if you’ve got a chronic medical condition, an autoimmune disease, or a long history of unhealthy food habits or addictions, you may want to plan on being on the program longer than 30 days. While the basic program is long enough to steer you in the right direction and bring you some of the results you’re hoping to see, you can’t expect to fully reverse years (or decades!) of medical symptoms or food-related habits in just a month. Autoimmune conditions are especially stubborn, often requiring six months or more of dietary and lifestyle intervention to bring significant healing and resolution of symptoms. If you feel like you can commit to a Whole45, 60, or 90 right out of the gate, go for it! You can also take a wait-and-see approach, and decide whether or not to keep going come Day 31. Can you do the Whole30 forever? IF YOU REALLY WANTED TO, you could absolutely do the Whole30 for the rest of your life. Unlike other “diet” programs, the Whole30 has no temporary induction period, doesn’t restrict calories, and provides you with an abundance of the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber essential for excellent longterm health, which means if you stayed on the program forever, you’d actually be optimally healthy. However, we don’t think you should make it a Whole365. From a practical perspective, following the Whole30 rules every single day could get pretty stressful. Plus, doing the Whole30 for the rest of your life would completely eliminate the opportunity to indulge in some truly extraordinary, really special off-plan foods. (You wouldn’t have to eat fresh pasta in Italy or toast with champagne at your best friend’s wedding, but we’d want you to feel like you could if you wanted to.) Remember, at some point, you have to take the things you’ve learned on the program out into the real world, and make your own decisions about what you think is “worth it” or not. If you never practice—if you always use the rules of the Whole30 to make those decisions for you—you will never truly attain food freedom. Should I do the Whole30 over the holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.)? WE DON’T RECOMMEND IT. First, the Whole30 is primarily about awareness. The only way to learn how certain foods are actually affecting your health is by paying close attention during the 30- day elimination and the subsequent reintroduction period. But during the holidays, nobody has time to pay attention to anything—you simply can’t give the program the energy and attention it deserves. In addition, the holidays are already pretty stressful with events, gifts, and travel—not to mention the treats and temptations! You could be setting yourself up for a fall if you try to take on a program as rigorous as the Whole30 on top of an already stressful season. Finally, the holiday season is meant to celebrate family traditions, honoring your culture and heritage, and that celebration almost always includes special handmade foods. That kind of food should be honored, savored, and shared in the company of those you love, and you’ll miss out on that once-a-year experience if you are doing a Whole30. That’s not to say you should dive face-first into every candy bowl you stumble across—feel free to throw in a Whole30 before the season to set yourself up for holiday success, and intersperse days of Whole30-style eating in between parties, gatherings, and events. (And make sure you join us at every year on January 1st for our official New Year Whole30 kick-off!) Where is the science behind your recommendations? THE SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND of our general nutrition recommendations and the Whole30 program is outlined in detail in It Starts With Food. In addition, we have included more than 400 peer-reviewed studies supporting our recommendations in that book’s references. CAN I HAVE? food “I was never a cook. I only craved sweets, and eating healthy to me was chicken and a vegetable—boring! The Whole30 has really inspired me in a whole new direction. It is so much fun using your guidelines and recipes and experimenting to see what flavors we like, and the Whole30 encouraged us to try more than just lettuce, green beans, and broccoli. My goal this year was to become ‘a cook’ and thanks to you, I am well on my way.” —AMANDA M., TOKYO, JAPAN ADDITIVES: read your labels Most processed foods contain additives to maintain color, preserve shelf life, stabilize, or emulsify. It’s not always easy to determine which are healthy and which aren’t, but we’ve simplified it for you during your Whole30 by excluding only MSG, sulfites, and carrageenan during the program. (See these individual entries to learn why we singled them out.) All other additives, including citric acid, ferrous gluconate, and guar gum, are acceptable—although we encourage you to try to find products with no additives whatsoever. ✪TIP: If you’re not sure what an additive is or does, Google it! Wikipedia is a pretty good source of basic information, and it may put your mind at ease to find that the scary-sounding “ascorbic acid” in your dried cranberries is really just a fancy word for vitamin C. ALMOND FLOUR/COCONUT FLOUR: yes Yes, you can have almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, and other non-grain flours, but it’s context-dependent. You can use them in place of breadcrumbs in your meatballs, to dredge a piece of chicken, or to thicken a sauce or stew. You may not use them for “Paleo” baking—to make pancakes, bread, tortillas, biscuits, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, pizza crust, waffles, or anything of that nature. Remember, these foods are expressly off-limits during your Whole30. (See “Treats, Food Fixations, and the Scale.”) ARROWROOT POWDER: yes Arrowroot powder is a fine choice as a thickener, and can be especially helpful in sauces and gravies. Like almond flour, though, it’s not appropriate for use in baked goods. BACON: read your labels It’s really, really hard to find bacon without any added sugar, but if you can, you’re in the clear. (Remember, if there is any form of sugar in the ingredients list the product is out for the Whole30, even if the label says, “Sugar = 0 grams.”) The best option is choosing one of our Whole30 Approved bacons, but you can also check with your local natural foods store, or ask a local farmer or butcher shop. ✪ TIP: For the healthiest bacon, look for “pastured” and “organic” on the label—or better yet, ask your local farmer if his pigs are raised in a natural environment and fed a natural diet. BEAN SPROUTS: yes The plant part of the bean (the sprout) is fine to eat. The problematic compounds are found in the bean (the seed) itself. BRAGG’S AMINO ACIDS: no Bragg’s Amino Acids are made from soy, and all forms of soy are out for your Whole30. A great Whole30-compliant substitute, however, is Coconut Secret’s coconut aminos. It tastes just like soy sauce, without the soy or gluten! (Available online, or in many health food stores.) BUCKWHEAT: no Buckwheat is a pseudo-cereal—not botanically a grain, but containing compounds that may cause similar problems. All grains and pseudo-cereals are out for your Whole30. CACAO (100 PERCENT): yes Cacao (or 100 percent cocoa) is great when used as a savory spice in recipes, like the Mocha Steak Rub found in It Starts With Food. Feel free to add it to your coffee or tea, or brew it on its own as a coffee substitute. However, per the rules of the program, we don’t allow the mixing of cocoa and dates or other fruits to make chocolate-y dessert confections or sweetened “hot chocolate” drinks. CANNED VEGETABLES AND FRUIT: yes While canned produce may not pack the same micronutritional punch as their fresh or frozen counterparts, we’re not going to discriminate. If canned veggies help you up your intake, we’ll take it. Just watch out for added ingredients like sugar or sulfites, and avoid any fruits packed in syrup. CAROB: yes While carob is technically a legume, carob powder is generally made from the pod of the plant and not the seed. Since all of the potentially problematic parts are contained in the seed, carob powder is fine on your Whole30, but the same no-makingchocolate-y-desserts concept applies. CARRAGEENAN: no Carrageenan is a concentrated, processed seaweed extract used to thicken processed foods, and is found in everything from deli meat to yogurt to chocolate. Carrageenan is inflammatory if it gets through the gut lining into the body, which could happen if you have increased gut permeability. (Carrageenan is actually used in laboratory studies to create inflammation in animals.) Furthermore, low-quality carrageenan may be degraded to components that can cross even a healthy gut barrier. For these reasons, we specifically exclude carrageenan on the Whole30. ✪TIP: Deli meats (like turkey or roast beef) may be hard to find without added sugar or carrageenan, but there are compliant brands in both health food markets and grocery stores. Be patient, read all your labels, and ask at the deli—sometimes, the prepackaged meats contain carrageenan, but the fresh-sliced meats at the deli counter don’t. CHIA: yes These “seeds” aren’t the same botanical family of seeds that we eliminate with grains and legumes, so that makes them fine to eat during your Whole30. ✪ TIP: Chia seeds aren’t likely to cause you any serious trouble, but they’re not the omega-3 superfood they’re made out to be, either. Chia should be treated like any other nut or seed and consumed in limited quantities. CHIPS: no While we recognize that potatoes are a real food, we also know that eating them in the form of fries and chips has turned them from “produce” into an adulterated commercial “product.” It’s easy to find sweet potato, beet, or vegetable chips that meet the Whole30 ingredient standards. It is not easy, however, to consume those chips in a way that’s true to the spirit of the Whole30. It’s hard to find a suitable place for them in our meal template (no, half a bag of “Sweets and Beets” is not an appropriate way to fill your plate with vegetables), and even harder to stop yourself from eating them when the designated serving comes to an end. For most of us, chips are a bona fide food-with-no-brakes, and fall into that deep, dark area of lesshealthy foods with technically compliant ingredients. For that reason we do not allow frying starchy veggies and turning them into chips during your Whole30. (However, if you want to roast some kale until it’s crispy, or thinly slice jicama into a scoop for your guacamole, be our guest.) CITRIC ACID: yes This is a common preservative and flavoring agent in canned or jarred foods, like tomatoes or olives. The addition of citric acid to your food won’t affect your Whole30 results in any way

COMMUNION: yes Let’s be clear: God > Whole30, and whether you decide to take communion during your program is entirely up to you. While most communion wafers do contain gluten, and that gluten may impact the “reset” process and your Whole30 results, we would never ask you to compromise your faith for our rules. ✪TIP: Some progressive churches do offer gluten-free wafers these days, which would have less impact on your Whole30 guthealing efforts. You might take this opportunity to speak with your church group or leaders to see if there are others in the community who would prefer a gluten-free offering. CONVENTIONALLY RAISED MEAT, EGGS, AND ANIMAL FATS: yes We want you to eat the best quality food you can afford, especially when it comes to animal products. In It Starts With Food, we discuss how the best meat, seafood, eggs, and animal fats come from animals raised in their natural environments (ideally organically) and fed their natural diets. This means looking for “grass-fed,” “organic,” “pastured,” or “wild-caught” on your labels. However, this is just a best-case recommendation, not a requirement of the Whole30 program. Conventionally raised (factory-farmed) animal products are also acceptable on the program. DARK CHOCOLATE: no Anything less than 100 percent cocoa (cacao) is off-limits during your Whole30. Even 90 percent dark chocolate is still sweetened —and therefore candy. DATES: yes All fruits, including dates, are allowed on your Whole30. However, please don’t try to turn dates into a form of added sweetener (like boiling them down into a syruplike paste)—while technically within the rules, that kind of thing goes against the spirit and intention of the program. ✪ TIP: These little sugar bombs pack a huge punch—they’re as close to candy as you can get on the Whole30. We strongly recommend against using them as a “treat” to feed your Sugar Dragon. FLAX SEEDS: yes These “seeds” aren’t the same botanical family of seeds that we eliminate with grains and legumes, so that makes them fine to eat during your Whole30. ✪ TIP: Flax isn’t likely to cause you any serious trouble, but it’s not the omega-3 super-food it’s made out to be, either. Flax should be treated like any other nut or seed and consumed in limited quantities. FRENCH FRIES: no It’s kind of like the argument against chips—anything deep-fried in vegetable oil is by default not that healthy, and fries are one of those foods-with-no-brakes we warned you about. For most of us, fries of any kind fall into that deep, dark area of less-healthy foods with technically compliant ingredients. For that reason we do not allow deep-fried potatoes, whether commercial or homemade, for the duration of Whole30. (Potatoes of any variety in boiled, baked, steamed, pan-fried, grilled, microwaved, or roasted form are good to go, however.) GREEN BEANS: yes The problem with legumes comes when you consume the seed. As with snow peas or sugar snap peas, green beans are mostly plant matter (the pod), with only tiny, immature seeds. As such, we’re not too worried about their potential downsides—if green beans are the worst thing in your Whole30 diet, you’re doing okay. GUAR GUM: yes This is a common vegetable gum thickener, often found in canned coconut milk, and should not pose any significant negative health consequences during your Whole30. (This also applies to other thickening, stabilizing, and emulsifying “gums,” like locust bean gum, xanthan gum, or gellan gum.) ✪TIP: Very few people report a sensitivity to guar gum, but if you notice any digestive issues after consuming coconut milk, first try reducing the quantity you consume in any one sitting. If that doesn’t help, switch to a brand without guar gum, like Native Forest. GUM: no All chewing gums contain some form of added sweeteners (including xylitol) that aren’t acceptable under Whole30 guidelines. ✪TIP: Chewing for hours and hours at a time sends a message to your body that you’re eating. If you spend a lot of time chewing but not actually eating, your body is going to get quite confused in its responses, including secreting stomach acid and saliva in the absence of incoming food. Consider brushing your teeth more frequently or eating small amounts of mint leaves or fennel seeds as a fresh-breath alternative. HEMP SEEDS: yes These “seeds” aren’t the same botanical family of seeds that we eliminate with grains and legumes, so that makes them fine to eat during your Whole30. HOT SAUCE: read your labels Hot sauce is a great way to add spice and flavor to your Whole30 dishes, just read your labels carefully, or choose a Whole30 Approved brand like Tessemae’s or Horsetooth Hot Sauce, both available online. (See Resources for details.) ✪TIP: Many national hot sauce brands include only Whole30 Approved ingredients, including Frank’s Red Hot (Original, Chili and Lime, and Extra Hot), Tabasco (Original, Buffalo Style, and Garlic Pepper), Cholula, Texas Pete Hot Sauce, Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce, Tapatio, Louisiana Hot Sauce, and Crystal Hot Sauce. HUMMUS: no Traditional hummus is made from garbanzo beans, which are a legume. Consider eggplant-based baba ghanoush instead. KETCHUP: make your own All commercial ketchups contain added sugar in some form, with the exception of Tessemae’s (the only Whole30 Approved ketchup). Otherwise, you can substitute salsa, or make your own with our recipe. Note, don’t expect these to taste super-sweet like your old ketchup. Whole30 ketchup tends to have more of a vinegar tang than a syrupy sweetness. LARABARS (and other fruit/nut bars): read labels and use with caution There are many brands and varieties of fruit and nut bars that are acceptable during your Whole30, but you have to read your labels. Make sure there is no added sugar in any form, or other off-plan ingredients like peanuts or gluten-free grains. ✪TIP: We highly recommend using these bars as emergency snacks, on-the-go or travel food, or as fuel during endurance athletics. They’re as close to candy as you can get on the Whole30 (using dates as a binder), so don’t use them to satisfy sugar cravings. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between a Snickers bar and a Larabar! MAYONNAISE: make your own You’ll be hard-pressed to find a commercial mayonnaise that doesn’t contain off-plan ingredients—especially added sugar. Even the “olive oil” mayo is mostly soybean oil. The good news is that making your own compliant mayo is easy! (See our Basic Mayo recipe.) MSG: no Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a common flavor enhancer in many processed foods. This chemically structured ingredient is shown to have neurotoxic effects and is also linked to obesity. Because we think it’s such noxious stuff, it’s specifically offlimits for your Whole30, so if you see it on the label (like with some canned tunas), find a healthier alternative. The good news is that most of the foods that contain MSG are already off your plate on the program, but you can download our Common Additive Cheat-Sheet at to learn other sneaky names for MSG. MUSTARD: read your labels Mustard is a fine choice, just read your labels carefully. Yellow mustards are generally compliant, but most other varieties often contain sulfites, which are out for the program. ✪TIP: Many national mustard brands include only Whole30 Approved ingredients, including Annie’s Naturals Organic Dijon and Horseradish Mustards, French’s Yellow, Nathan’s Deli-Style Mustard, and Gulden’s Spicy Brown. Be extra careful with Dijon flavors, as most contain white wine. NATURAL FLAVORS: yes The ingredient category “Natural Flavors” can stump even the most diligent label reader. It’s impossible to say what’s included in these flavors or where they come from, but they’re not explicitly ruled out on the Whole30. NIGHTSHADES: yes Nightshades are a group of plants that contain compounds that may be inflammatory in certain populations (like those with an autoimmune disease, or those with chronic inflammation or joint pain). While nightshades may prove inflammatory in special populations, they’re a healthy, nutrient-dense choice for most. Feel free to enjoy all forms of nightshades during your Whole30, unless you are specifically eliminating them due to a known sensitivity. ✪TIP: Nightshades include: ashwagandha, bell peppers (aka sweet peppers), bush tomato, cape gooseberries, cocona, eggplant, garden huckleberries, goji berries (aka wolfberry), hot peppers (such as chili peppers, jalapeños, and habaneros), kutjera, naranjillas, pepinos, pimentos, potatoes (red, white, Yukon gold, baby, purple, etc.; but not sweet potatoes or yams), tamarillos, tomatillos, tomatoes, and spices like cayenne, chili pepper flakes, chili powder, curry, paprika, and red pepper. NUTRITIONAL YEAST: yes Nutritional yeast can add a delicious texture and nutty flavor to casseroles, vegetable side dishes, and salads. Just consider your source carefully and make sure the option you choose is glutenfree. “PALEO” BREAD: no What we actually wanted to say here was, “Hell, no.” Buying (or baking) Paleo bread during your Whole30 is an exercise in missing the point. We’re asking you to change your food habits here, not just your ingredients. Bread is the very definition of nutrient-poor food-with-no-brakes, and is as off-limits as it gets, even if it is made from coconut flour. In addition, all bread pushes more nutritious foods off your plate. Just say no, and sandwich your meat in lettuce leaves, Portobello mushroom caps, or grilled eggplant instead. ✪TIP: This goes for tortillas, wraps, biscuits, English muffins, flatbread, pita bread, and any other breadlike products that you may see recreated with Whole30-compliant ingredients on a Pinterest board. We’d say sorry but we wouldn’t mean it—your bread-lovin’ brain will thank us when your 30 days are over. “PALEO” CEREALS: no Paleo cereal recreations are generally made with a base of nuts and seeds, and are almost always sweetened to mimic your favorite childhood cereal. While nuts and seeds are a fine inclusion in your Whole30, we recommend them in limited quantities because the kind of fat they contain isn’t the healthiest. In addition, eating a big bowl of “cereal” doesn’t leave much room for more nutrient-dense foods (like eggs, salmon, spinach, and berries) on your breakfast plate. Finally, replicating cereal—which many of us used to consume by the box—isn’t the habit-changing behavior we want to encourage on the program. You can do better. “PALEO” ICE CREAM: no It doesn’t matter whether it’s made from coconut milk or frozen bananas—the only purpose of this confection is to replicate the taste, texture, and reward sensation of ice cream. (Don’t tell us you’d get the same satisfaction from eating a frozen banana because we call your bluff.) Plus the addition of cocoa, nut butters, nuts, or other fruits to your creamy concoction takes this recipe straight into “sugar treat” territory, which is expressly forbidden during your Whole30. (See “Treats, Food Fixations, and the Scale.”) PANCAKES: no No, you can’t have pancakes. Yes, even if they’re just bananas and eggs. First, they are explicitly ruled out in the Whole30 program guidelines. This should be enough of a reason, but in case you’re still wondering why (they’re just bananas and eggs!) . . . Pancakes in any form do not facilitate success with the Whole30 program. Reaching your health goals depends on committing to the rules, spirit, and intention of the program. The Whole30 is designed first and foremost to change your relationship with food. And the psychological impact of eating pancakes as part of your healthy eating, life-changing plan cannot be ignored. Eating eggs, a banana, and some olive oil is not the same as combining those ingredients into a pancake. There are studies that show that how your brain perceives the food influences satiation. This is often cited with liquid food (smoothies or shakes), but experientially we see this with whole foods as well, depending on how they are combined. Pancakes bring up a totally different psychological response than frying some eggs and eating a banana. And it’s that psychological (and emotional) response that we are trying to target with the program. You may not have an affinity for pancakes, but we find that most people who complete our program do best without any of these comfort/trigger foods. So, because we need to create one program that applies to as many people as possible, we rule these Paleo recreations out. In our experience, this sets everyone up for the best Whole30 success possible. And, of course, what you choose to do after your 30 days are up is entirely up to you. (Also see “Treats, Food Fixations, and the Scale.”) PICKLES: read your labels Many big-name brands of pickles contain off-plan ingredients (like sugar) or chemical-sounding additives (like polysorbate 80). Just read your labels, and perhaps visit a local health food store if you have a craving for pickles. ✪TIP: Many national pickle brands are Whole30-compliant, including Cascadian Farms Kosher Dill, Bubbies Kosher Dill, Trader Joe’s Kosher Dill, and Whole Foods 365 Organic Baby Dills. Also, Rick’s Picks (a national brand sold at many health food stores) pickles some really interesting vegetables. Try the Whole30-compliant Mean Beans, Classic Sours, or Smokra. QUINOA: no Quinoa is a pseudo-cereal—not botanically a grain, but containing compounds that may cause similar problems. All grains and pseudo-cereals are out for your Whole30

Back to top