Can-I-Have-header

The Official “Can I Have…” Guide to the Whole30®

Header images courtesy of The Clothes Make the Girl and Paleo Spirit.

One of the most active sections of our free Whole30® Forum is the “Can I Have…” section. This is where Whole30’ers ask about ingredients that they wish to include as part of their Whole30 program—things like bee pollen, mesquite flour, or banana almond pan-fried discs.*

Sometimes, we wonder if people really want to eat these things, or if they’re just trying to stump us.

The forum is a great venue for these kinds of questions, but it can be a bit cumbersome to search, and as new people are joining every day, the same questions are asked over and over again. So today, we’re going to give you all of the most common “Can I have…” questions and answers all in one place, along with our most helpful tips to maximize your Whole30 success.

Note, anything in italics below are not official “rules” of the Whole30—they’re just suggestions from us to you, based on our experience, and the experience of the 100,000+ people who have done our Whole30 program in the last four years. So, you know, you don’t have to accept our helpful suggestions… but you probably should.

*Yes, yes but only if you’re not baking with it, and every time you ask us about pancakes on the Whole30, Ryan is sad. 

Before You Ask, “Can I Have…”

Before you even read this list, please make sure you’ve done the following: 

Read the Whole30 Program details.

No, really read it, a few times. Don’t ask if quinoa is okay, because we spell it out clearly right there in the rules.

Read your labels.

Before you ask whether Cholula hot sauce, Tessemae’s balsamic salad dressing, or a  Tanka bar* is compliant, read the ingredient list! If all of the ingredients are okay, the food is okay. If it contains an off-plan ingredient, then it’s out for your Whole30.

*Yes, yes, and no, because of the added sugar.

Remember, added sugar is about the ingredients, not the nutrition label.

The amount of sugar listed on the nutrition label has nothing to do with whether something is Whole30 or not. Nutrition labels round to the nearest full digit, so just because something says “0 grams” next to “sugar” doesn’t mean there’s no added sugar! Look for any form of sugar (real or artificial) in the ingredient list. If it’s there, it’s out for your Whole30.

On the Whole30, Can I Have…

Almond Flour: Yes

Yes, you can have almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, and other non-grain-based flours, but it’s context-dependent. You can use it in place of breadcrumbs in your meatballs, to dredge a piece of chicken, or to thicken a sauce or stew.  You may not use it for Paleo baking—to make muffins, pancakes, bread, cupcakes, cookies, waffles, biscuits, tortillas, pizza crust, or anything of that nature. We call those recipes Sex With Your Pants On (SWYPO) foods, and they are expressly off-limits during your Whole30.

Almond Milk: Make your own

Though it may exist somewhere, compliant commercially-produced almond milk is hard to find.  Ingredients  like sugar (in any form) or carrageenan will render store-bought almond milk off-limits for your Whole30. The alternative is to make your own—but remember, no added sweetener!

Tip: Nuts and seeds aren’t your best fat choice, in general, and drinking your food is always less healthy than eating it. So when it comes to almond milk, even if you make your own… we’d rather you just eat the almonds once in a while!

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. We’ll even help you out—you can order Whole30 Approved bacon from US Wellness Meats, check with your local natural foods store, or (even better) ask a local farmer or butcher shop.

Tip: Factory farmed pork is one of the unhealthiest and most mistreated animals in our farming system, and these animals tend to store toxins from their environment and feed in their fat. Since bacon is more fat than meat, that grocery store bacon is really not a healthy food choice. Want more info? We dish the details in our Bacon Manifesto.

Bean Sprouts: Yes 

The plant part of the bean is fine to eat. The problematic compounds are found in the seed (bean) itself.

Bragg’s Amino Acids: No 

Bragg’s Amino Acids are derived from soy, and all forms of soy are out for your Whole30. A great Whole30-compliant substitute, however, is Coconut Secret’s coconut aminos. Tastes just like soy sauce!

Buckwheat: No

Buckwheat falls into the category of plants that we call pseudo-cereals. These products are not botanically grains, but contain compounds that may cause similar problems, which is why we rule them out for your Whole30.

Cacao (100%): Yes

Cacao (or 100% cocoa) is great when used as a savory spice (our Mocha Steak Rub, found in It Starts With Food, is a great example), but you can also feel free to add it to your coffee or tea, or brew it Crio Bru-style. But per the rules of the program, it’s not okay to add cocoa to dates and other fruits to make chocolate-y confections. Read our Great Cocoa Debate for details.

Canola Oil: Yes, reluctantly (because sometimes, you have to dine out)

While we don’t think vegetable oils are a healthy choice (understatement of the century), we don’t expressly rule them out on the Whole30. If we did, you’d never be able to eat outside of your own kitchen, because all restaurants use them in cooking. We wanted to create the healthiest program possible, but we also need it to be do-able for those who travel for business or pleasure, or simply want to dine out during the month.

Tip: Eliminate the consumption of vegetable oils at home, even if you’re not on the Whole30, and make sure the rest of your diet is focused on the most nutritious choices possible, especially if you dine out frequently.

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, it’s A-OK to eat parts of the plant other than the seed during your Whole30.

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 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. We explain why in It Starts With Food, but in summary, chia should be treated like any other nut and consumed in limited quantities.

Chips: Not if they’re commercially prepared or deep fried

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 planning 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 bonafide food-with-no-brakes, and fall into that deep, dark area of less-healthy 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 and acceptable additive in canned or jarred foods, like tomatoes or olives.

Coconut flour: Yes

Yes, you can have coconut flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, and other non-grain-based flours, but it’s context-dependent. You can use it in place of breadcrumbs in your meatballs, to dredge a piece of chicken, or to thicken a sauce or stew.  You may not use it for Paleo baking—to make muffins, pancakes, bread, cupcakes, cookies, waffles, biscuits, tortillas, pizza crust, or anything of that nature. We call those recipes Sex With Your Pants On foods, and they are expressly off-limits during your Whole30.

Coconut Water: Read your labels

Most coconut waters are technically compliant, containing only natural sugars from the coconut. However, some brands add sugar to their ingredients, so read your labels. Anything with added sugar is out for your Whole30.

Tip: Coconut water is essentially a “light” fruit juice. If you’re involved in endurance athletics, work in a profession that leaves you prone to dehydration, or just want a refreshing treat, coconut water can be a fine choice for rehydration. Just don’t let coconut water take the place of plain old water in your daily routine.

Coffee: Yes

Yes, you can have your coffee. You’re welcome. You can drink it black, add compliant coconut milk or home-made almond milk, or add cinnamon or vanilla beans to the brew.  But remember, Whole30 guidelines exclude milk, cream, non-compliant milk substitutes, and added sweeteners—including stevia (more on that below). For more of our recommendations regarding your coffee consumption, read our Coffee Manifesto.

Tip: Regarding “Paleo” coffee creamer… sigh. We know there’s a recipe out there where eggs, coconut milk, dates, and some voodoo magic are combined with prayers to create a thick, creamy concoction that can take the place of your cream and sugar (or Coffeemate) and once again transform your undrinkable black coffee into sweet, dreamy caffeine. This is not okay–sugary creamer substitutes fall under the SWYPO rule. Instead, we’d encourage you to take a look at why you need this at all. Do you really like coffee, or are you drinking it for the hit of sugary flavor?

Dark Chocolate: No

Anything less than 100% cocoa (cacao) is off-limits during your Whole30. Even the really dark chocolate is still candy.

Dates: Yes

Dates are a great way to add that hint of sweetness to a sauce (like the Char Siu pork from Well Fed), or stuffed with almonds and wrapped in (compliant) bacon as a fancy-schmancy appetizer.

Tip: These little sugar bombs pack a big punch—they’re as close to candy as you can get on the Whole30. We 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. We explain why in It Starts With Food, but in summary, flax should be treated like any other nut and consumed in limited quantities.

French Fries: Not if they’re commercially prepared or deep-fried

Ordering fries with your (no bun, no cheese) burger and green salad really misses the point of the Whole30. Fries are the epitome of “food with no brakes,” and anything deep-fried in vegetable oil is be default unhealthy. Make your own potatoes at home using coconut oil, duck fat, or ghee, and baking or roasting them in the oven instead of deep-frying them; or order them baked or mashed (no cheese, sour cream, or butter!) if dining out.

Fruit Juice: Yes

Fruit juice is the only acceptable added sweetener on the Whole30. (We had to draw the line somewhere.) Use it to flavor sauces, soups, or entrees.

Tip: While drinking a glass of fruit juice may be technically compliant, we really wouldn’t recommend it, even if you juice it yourself. Juicing strips many of the nutrients out of the fruit, but still leaves all of the sugar. We’d much rather you just eat the fruit.

Guar Gum: Yes

This is a common and acceptable thickener, often found in canned coconut milk.

Green Beans: Yes

The problem with legumes comes when you consume the seed. As with snow peas or sugar snap peas, green beans contain a tiny, immature seed, and a big, green pod. As such, we’re not worried about the potential downsides—and if green beans are the worst thing in your diet, you’re doing okay.

Gum: No

All chewing gums contain some form of added sweeteners (including xylitol) that aren’t acceptable under Whole30 guidelines.

Tip: Chewing sends a message to your body that food is coming. If you spend a lot of time chewing, but not eating, your body is going to get quite confused in its responses. Consider brushing your teeth more frequently or chewing on mint leaves or fennel seeds as a fresh-breath alternative.

Hemp Seeds: Yes

See chia and flax.

Hummus: No

Traditional hummus is made from garbanzo beans, which are a legume. However, there are some really yummy hummus-like dip recipes out there, like this one from Jennifer at Living Grainlessly.

Kombucha: Read your labels

We like the probiotic benefits of ‘booch, and we think it makes a fine addition to your Whole30 menu. Just read your labels carefully—sugar listed in the ingredients generally means that it was added after fermentation, and that’s a no-go.  Some varieties, like GT Dave’s Enlightened flavors, have fruits and fruit juices added, which are just fine.

Larabars: Read your labels, and use with caution

Most (but not all) varieties of Larabars are acceptable during your Whole30, so read your labels. (The Peanut Butter and Jelly bar is out for obvious reasons.)

Tip: We recommend using Larabars as emergency snacks, or fuel during endurance athletics. They’re as close to candy as you can get on the Whole30 (with 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—generally, added sugar. (Even the “olive oil” mayo is mostly soybean oil!) The good news is that making your own compliant mayo is easy! Check this how-to video from Melissa Joulwan, author of Well Fed.

Mustard: Read your labels

Mustard is a fine choice, just read your labels carefully. French’s Yellow is compliant, but beware your Dijon—it often contains white wine, which rules it out during your Whole30.

Nutritional Yeast: Yes

Just consider your source carefully and make sure the option you choose is gluten-free. Also, please don’t use it to make vegan cheese.

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 the ingredients. Bread is as SWYPO as it gets, and is still a nutrient-poor food choice, pushing more nutritious foods off your plate. Finally, bread (even if it is made from coconut flour) is the very definition of “food with no brakes!” This extends to include coconut flour wraps as well. Just say no, and sandwich your meat in a lettuce leaf, portobello mushroom caps, or toasted sheets of nori instead.

Paleo Ice Cream (YoNanas): No

This. Is. Ice. Cream. Unlike plain frozen fruit, or fruit blended into ice cubes, 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 a frozen banana because we call your bluff.) Plus the addition of cocoa, nut butters, nuts, or other fruits to your creamy concoction… this is straight SWYPO, and it’s off-limits during your Whole30.

Pancakes: No

Sometimes, we feel like if we have to have one more conversation about pancakes, we might explode. 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 encourage success with the Whole30 program. Reaching your health goals depends on committing to both the rules and the spirit and intention of the program. The Whole30 is designed to change your relationship with food, first and foremost. 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, as we reference in the back of It Starts With Food), 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 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/reminiscent-of-the-SAD-stuff-you-used-to-eat 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 vast experience, this sets everyone up for the best Whole30success possible. And, of course, what you choose to do after your 30 days are up is entirely up to you.

Potatoes: Yes!

We changed the official Whole30 rules in August 2014 to include all varieties of potatoes—white, red, Yukon gold, purple, fingerling, baby, sweet potatoes, yams, etc. Feel free to boil, bake, roast, pan-fry, grill, microwave, or steam them, but no commercially prepared or deep-fried potato chips or French fries. (That’s completely against the spirit of the Whole30.)

Tip: White potatoes pack a whole lot of energy into a relatively small package. If you’re overweight, insulin-resistant or otherwise metabolically challenged, and not very active, you don’t need a lot of extra energy on your daily plate. If this is your context, use white potatoes sparingly in your Whole30 meal plan, if at all. Plus, if you eat mashed potatoes with every dinner, you’ll miss out on a world of colorful, nutrient-dense vegetables to explore. Bust out of your potato rut and discover a newfound love of Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or kale!

Protein Shakes: Almost Always No

Almost all protein powders (like whey, casein, soy, or pea) contain off-limit ingredients. Besides, anything you can get from protein powder (except maybe chemical extractives, added sweeteners and strange-sounding isolates) you can get from whole foods during your Whole30. In addition, formulated and processed meal-replacement shakes like Shakeology or Visalus are always off-limits. These products don’t even come close to our definition of real, whole food—and they’re packed with off-plan ingredients like pea protein and stevia.

However, protein powder from approved ingredients like crickets (in Chapul bars) or 100% egg white are allowed on the Whole30, provided they contain no sweeteners. As always, though, liquid food is still not encouraged. Got it?

Tip: We want you to spend a month learning to appreciate real food, how it tastes, the work it takes to prepare, and how it works in your body. You can have your shaker cup back in 30 days; for now, focus on starchy veggies and lean protein after a workout. Hard-boiled eggs, compliant deli meat, smoked salmon, or tuna are easy, portable protein sources to take with you to the gym.

Quinoa: No

Quinoa is another one of those pseudo-cereals. While it might not technically be considered a grain, it contains properties that could be similarly problematic to your body, which makes it off-limits for your Whole30. The same guideline applies to buckwheat, amaranth, and other gluten-free grain substitutes.

Safflower/Sunflower Oil: Yesreluctantly (because sometimes, you have to dine out)

While we don’t think vegetable oils are a healthy choice (understatement of the century), we don’t expressly rule them out on the Whole30. If we did, you’d never be able to eat outside of your own kitchen, because all restaurants use them in cooking. We wanted to create the healthiest program possible, but we also need it to be do-able for those who travel for business or pleasure, or simply want to dine out during the month.

Tip: Eliminate the consumption of vegetable oils at home, even if you’re not on the Whole30, and make sure the rest of your diet is focused on the most nutritious choices possible, especially if you dine out frequently.

Salt: Yes

First, salt makes your food delicious. Second, when you cut out processed and packaged foods, you remove the vast majority of sodium from your diet. Adding salt to your Whole30 plate won’t push you over reasonable sodium limits, and if you avoid salt altogether, you run the risk of an electrolyte imbalance (not to mention serious food boredom). We encourage a mix of iodized table salt and sea salt.

Tip: Did you know that all iodized table salt contains sugar? Sugar (often in the form of dextrose) is chemically essential to keep the potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost. But remember, salt is an exception to the Whole30 “no added sugar” rules. Without this exception, you’d never be able to eat outside of your own home, because iodized table salt is added to all restaurant and pre-packaged foods.

Smoothies: We’d rather you didn’t

This is a very popular question, with a very unpopular answer. Smoothies (generally made using lots of fruit) are technically compliant on your Whole30, but we strongly recommend against it. Food that you drink sends different satiety signals to your brain than food that you chew. So when you drink your meal, your brain isn’t getting the feedback it needs to tell your body that it’s had enough of what it needs. Plus, smoothies are generally really fruit-heavy, and starting your day off with a liquid sugar-bomb sets you up for cravings, hunger, and volatile energy levels throughout the day. In summary, we’d rather you just eat the food, and skip the smoothie.

Snap/Snow Peas: Yes 

Snow peas (and snap peas, and green beans, and romano beans) are fine during your Whole30 – even though they’re botanically legumes. The problem with legumes comes when you consume the seed. Snow peas contain a tiny, immature seed, and a big, green pod. As such, we’re not worried about the potential downsides of consuming these “veggies.”

Stevia Leaf: No

While it’s not highly processed like its liquid or powdery cousins, the only purpose of stevia leaf is to sweeten something that was not already sweet. This is something we want you to avoid during your Whole30. Instead, learn to appreciate the natural flavors of your foods, and don’t rely on sweet tastes to prop up sugar cravings.

Tahini: Yes

Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are compliant with the Whole30 program, so  tahini paste is too, if all the other ingredients in the paste are compliant.

Vanilla Extract: No

Honestly, we think this ruling is kind of silly (nobody uses vanilla extract for the buzz), but we must be consistent with the guidelines to avoid confusion. The vast majority of vanilla extracts you can purchase for home use (in-store and online) contain alcohol, and the rest contain sugar alcohols. And, since we ask you to exclude alcohol and all forms of sugar from your Whole30, vanilla extracts are non-compliant. (If you see vanilla extract listed as an ingredient, you can count that product out for your Whole30, too.)

Tip: You can  use 100% vanilla bean powder in place of vanilla extract. We use it in a 1:1 ratio in recipes (1 tsp. vanilla extract = 1 tsp. vanilla bean powder).

Water Kefir: Yes

Following the same logic as kombucha, we’re okay with water kefir.  If you’re making it yourself, do what you can to ensure that the sugar is used by the bacteria (appropriate fermentation time). If you’re buying, avoid those brands with added sugar in the ingredients list.

Want to Ask Your Own “Can I Have…” Question?

Post it in comments, and if it’s a common one, we’ll add it to our list.

Liked this article? Get even more FREE
Whole30 goodness!

Subscribe to Wholesome, our FREE bi-weekly Whole30 in review .

Comments

  1. says

    what sucks are the people with tree nut allergies, like me which cuts out even more of whole 9 stuff. like almond milk and almond flour and anything with almonds. i can eat legumes, but not on whole30. just a frustrating factor.

  2. Jenna says

    Do the “whole 30″ diet creators have ANY nutritional education or licenses? Because what I’m reading is a bunch of opinions with no studies backing up any of it.

  3. says

    Meg: We have more than 400 scientific references in the back of our New York Times bestselling book, It Starts With Food. (And that’s just our book – Robb Wolf and Loren Cordain have plenty of back-up too.) Happy reading!

    NKSL: We’ve created a program that works amazingly, stunningly well for the vast majority of the 100,000+ people who have tried it, in part because we pay such close attention to the psychological impact of our food choices. We’re comfortable with the rules we’ve created.

    Melissa

  4. Pickles says

    I love diced up pickles in my tuna. I can’t find any at the store without the preservative sodium benzoate – which I’m guessing is a no-no. Is there an approved pickle out there anywhere? lol

  5. Amanda says

    One thing confuses me — how does using stevia leaf as an ingredient vary from using fruit juice for the same intent and purpose?

    I swear I’m not trying to be a problem — I’m on day 20 and I don’t do artificial sweeteners like and including Stevia even when I’m not on Whole30 — but I’m really having trouble seeing the difference.

  6. says

    @NKSL: I’ve officially lost my patience. I’ve shut down your posts in the forum (at the behest of our community), and I’ll do the same here. My time is better spent on helping those who want to be helped.

    @Pickles: While we prefer pickles with no additives, we don’t explicitly rule out sodium benzoate for the Whole30.

    @Amanda: Because we had to draw the line somewhere. Remember, we made this program up. Some of these rules are just judgment calls on our part, based on our experience. We never said the program is perfect, and we admit above that some of the rules are based on our judgment. But we’ve done the best we can, and all we ask is that people give us 30 days.

    @AMFB: Arrested Development on the brain!

    Best,
    Melissa

  7. Amanda says

    No worries, Melissa! I did a foreshortened Whole30 (Whole3weeks? LOL) back in May when some friends of mine decided they wanted to do a full Whole30 that conflicted with some other plans of mine. And since I was doing it for 3 weeks I figured I wanted to do an actual Whole30, which is what I’ve been doing since I returned from vacation :)

    It’s been interesting, and I have no objections! Merely questions. Like I said, just curious on that because some of the arbitrariness is hard for me to work my head around, but that’s my issue completely. I’m honestly finding the whole process rather entertaining.

    Plus my husband said there was no way I could give up cheese for a month. Hah. Silly man… :)

  8. says

    @Amanda: I understand that for some who want 100% black and white rules, some of these guidelines might be troublesome. All we ask is that people follow our rules, as we explain them, for 30 days… and also take some responsibility for their own program. My favorite rule? When in doubt, leave it out! (It’s only 30 days!)

    Melissa

  9. Katelyn says

    I’m approaching my one-year anniversary of my first Whole30 and I am so glad I read this! When I’m still eating paleo but not “perfect Whole30″– I’m glad to know I don’t have to discount something if there’s a little canola/sunflower/safflower oil or guar gum in it. I feel my best when I’m eating within the Whole30 parameters and I fully understand why paleo pancakes are off-limits but a lightly “breaded” chicken cutlet is not. Thank you for all you do!

  10. Amy says

    Awesome official list! I am on day 28 of W30, so a great resource for next time. I did this with a group, so I am sharing the list now. I guess my only issue is the same as Amanda, I can’t wrap my head around Dates are okay but fresh or crushed stevia leaf is not. I would think stevia leaf would be a less insulin spiking source to sweeten sauces over dates (but I have no nutritional background). Although I am glad to know now that dates are okay for that purpose. I debated using them for homemade ketchup this time (but did not).

    For me, I did need to cut the stevia (used it everyday for coffee) and found it was really hard to not use it. But the rules on those two items just seems like a contradiction. Not trying to be argumentative, just expressing. I do get it: your rules, draw the line somewhere, etc. :) I just needed to put my thoughts in writing. Any other reasons that helped come to that conclusion (like the cocoa debate) I would love to hear!

    Thanks for the list!!

  11. Marti says

    Can I ask what compliant deli meat is exactly? I read that in the book and now on this blog and I’m confused. Doesn’t it(or shouldn’t it) be from grass fed animals? Or can you buy from your local deli? I feel like I’m making this harder than it actually is! Lol please help!

  12. says

    @becca: I’m sure it’s hard to do a program like this when you are allergic to one of the main categories of foods. But nuts and seeds aren’t your only good fat source! Just take our shopping list and cross them off–you’ll see you’re left with lots of good options. (LIke olives – healthy fat, totally portable!)

    @Katelyn: Thanks for your comment! Glad to hear you are feeling good.

    @Amy: Dates are fruit – a whole food, with fiber, water, and nutrients. We don’t rule out any fruit on the Whole30. Stevia leaf is used as a sweetener (its dry leaves are roughly 40 times sweeter than sugar) with little nutrative value. We do rule out added forms of sugar. That’s about as clear as I can make it. Trust me, I’m okay with the questioning. We appreciate this from our readers, and have actually changed or modified rules because of it. But ultimately, this is the best program we can come up with – and we just ask that people follow the rules, even if they don’t understand or agree with some of them. (Sometimes, I just want to write, “Because I said so” or “It’s for your own good.” That always worked with my parents.) ;)

    @Marti: Compliant deli meat means the ingredients are all Whole30 compliant. That means no added sugar, or carrageenan. Those are the RULES. Now, our best TIPS for healthy Whole30 behavior is to source your deli meat from a grass-fed, organically-raised animal. But that’s not a rule of the program, just a helpful tip we think makes people healthier. Make sense?

    We’re trying to do a better job separating the rules from our helpful hints – thus the breakout boxes above.

    Best,
    Melissa

  13. CindyL says

    @Pickles – Just wanted to let you know that I use capers in tuna salad and egg salad for that pickle taste. It’s a lot easier to find compliant capers than compliant pickles. Plus, you don’t have to chop them up.

    I understand that sodium benzoate is not prohibited, but many pickles in my grocery store have colorings or sweeteners added, and most preservatives are migraine triggers for me, so I gave up pickles long before W30.

  14. Amy says

    Thanks, Melissa! That makes total sense. I truthfully just want to justify using stevia, even if it were crushed stevia leaf I grew in my backyard and not the white powder stuff. :-p But, I recognize that for me, I did need to stop using it (at least for 30 days) since it was a daily item for me and it did satisfy that “sweet craving.” I did not realize that until my first few days of W30!

  15. Pam says

    Dang it. The idea of this program sounds great for me. I want to eat cleaner. However, I sadly have to consume at least 100g of protein a day(depending on activity and labs) because of malabsorption issues. I also have lost 3/4 of my stomach, so i’d be eating all day if I had to rely 100% on solid food for proteins. I cannot give up dairy (including whey protein powder).

  16. Sasha says

    Sooo… dark chocolate is off because of what? A few grams of sugar? But canola/sunflower/safflower oil are not ideal – but OK? Sounds legit

  17. Kimberly says

    Not for nothing, but I guess I don’t understand people who are pouting and arguing about the guidelines. If the Whole30 makes you sad, don’t do it. It’s only food. Set some stuff aside, see how it makes you feel, for a month. No one is trying to take away your birthday. I for one am more than willing to set aside things that I clearly recognize as binge triggers so I can get some clarity about what can stay when all is said and done and what really needs kicked to the curb. Dumping wheat and sugar alone quite literally saved my life. Sixty pounds lighter and without a crushing depression making every day a struggle I can walk around with gratitude in my heart for real, not just pretend. Was that worth giving up chocolate? You bet. If it makes you too sad or angry, reflect.

  18. Steve says

    How do you feel about a high quality extra virgin olive oil (like Lucero) and raw organic coconut oil?

    I was under the impression that these are two of the healthiest oils.

    Also, my wife and I each have 10 grams of 99% dark chocolate daily. Is that close enough to cacao?

    Thanks.

  19. says

    Pam, that amount of protein is easily attainable on the Whole30. Here’s an example: 3 eggs for breakfast, 6 ounces of chicken for lunch, and 6 ounces of beef for dinner, plus a few extra grams from non-meat food sources.

    Sasha, you might be missing the point here. The Whole30 is not the same as our lifelong nutrition recommendations; the Whole30 is a personal learning tool where each person can learn about what is in the food they buy and how it affects them. Part of the awareness is of how sugar is added to EVERYTHING, which is partly why all added sugar is excluded. We wrote in depth about vegetable oils in It Starts With Food, and we do not recommend them at all. But the Whole30 would literally be impossible for a large percentage of the population if we forcibly excluded all vegetable oils during the Whole30. I read your sarcasm loud and clear, and if you prefer to eat chocolate and exclude 100% of vegetable oils from your life, more power to you.

    Kimberly,

    I appreciate your perspective, and thanks for sharing.

  20. michelle says

    What do you think of the Tara Amen”Omni Diet”? I feel like it’s slightly similar to yours.

  21. Kai says

    Wow, do people really have nothing better to do than harass others?
    I think Whole30 is amazing! Introduced it to my boyfriend and a bunch of friends. They’re all benefitting (-bad symptoms, -weight, +health) from your hard work! Thank you so much for the additional guidelines/rules!

  22. says

    Steve, EVOO and coconut oil are both two thumbs up, and very healthy choices. The 99% dark chocolate, unfortunately, is a no go for your Whole30. The rules are the rules, and anything less than 100% is off-limits, no matter how close.

    Michelle, sorry, but I have never heard of that diet plan.

    Kai, you are welcome! Best of luck to you and your friends with the Whole30.

    Melissa

  23. Kristy says

    I saw that balsamic vinegar is Whole30 compliant, but every bottle I have looked at contains sulftes, whice are not compliant. I admit that I still have a lot to learn and I apologize if this has previously been covered somewhere, but it is leaving me a little confused. Is it that sulfites are naturally occuring in the balsamic vinegar that they are OK or are there actually balsamic vinegars that are sulfite free? If there are, what brands should I be looking for and where might I find them?

  24. Meaghan says

    Here’s probably a dumb one, I live in Japan, can I dip my raw ahi tuna slices into wasabi and/or soy sauce?

  25. Dawn says

    Why are paleo bread and paleo pancakes off limits but a paleo wrap endorsed as Whole 30 approved?

  26. Amanda says

    @Dawn, I think it’s because folks tend to “crave” bread and pancakes (and even if it’s made with whole wheat flour, a pancake is by its nature a vehicle for syrup), whereas I have yet to hear of someone grabbing a package of wraps and chowing down on them just for the sheer carby goodness. I mean, I’m sure there’s someone out there who has, but it’s a reasonably teensy portion of the population . If wraps are triggering to one’s carb monster, then it would be wise to leave even Whole30 compliant wraps out of the Whole30 for that individual in question :)

    Of course I could be wrong, and I bow to the knowledge of those who’ve been at this way longer than I.

  27. says

    I looked up the ingredients for the compliant vanilla extract that you linked, and it’s based on glycerin, a polyol…I thought that sugar alcohols were verboten??

  28. says

    @Kristy – This once can be kind of confusing, but you’re right. Vinegars with naturally occurring sulfites are good to go, but you should avoid those with added sulfites. Usually, those are specifically listed in the ingredients.

    @Meaghan – soy, in all its forms, are out for a Whole30. Wasabi is totally dependent on the ingredients in the paste.

    @Dawn – Amanda nailed it. It’s hard to explain to folks who haven’t had the Pure Wraps, but they are definitely not a food-without-brakes. Instead of fruit and syrup (like a pancake), they beg to be filled with meat, veggies and healthy fats.

  29. BZ says

    This may be a silly question but I can’t find anything saying yes or no to mushrooms for the whole 30

  30. Louise Driggars says

    I’m 3/4 of the way through “It Starts with Food” and I’m loving it. I read “Gut and Psychology” before it and had started a similar approach with my food. I’ve also read “Mastering Leptin” and and see some similarities. You make the book so readable and doable. You also take it to a new level (no stevia) but I’m doing great without it. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and am trying to reduce inflammation. I’ve lost weight and fat that’s been there for years. I was a little concerned with the “yes” for Nutritional Yeast in this list. You are so well researched. Dr. Russell Blaylock, in his book, Excitotoxins: the taste that kills, classifies it as “free glutamic acid” therefore it is an excitotoxin, like MSG which we should all avoid.

  31. says

    @Dawn: Think of the SWYPO rule as related to trying to recreate or replicate an off-plan food choice. If you make pancakes that are supposed to taste and feel like pancakes, that’s a problem. If you make “pancakes” out of shredded zucchini and carrots, well, that’s not a problem, because your brain will never take a bite of those pancakes and imagine them drizzled with maple syrup and whipped cream.

    The same with sandwich bread. If you try to recreate the taste, texture, feel of bread with paleo bread, that’s a problem. But if you “sandwich” your meat between two lettuce leaves, two portabello mushroom caps, a sheet of nori, or a Pure Wrap (which I assure you has neither the taste, nor texture, nor feel of bread or an actual wrap), well, your brain doesn’t think you’re pulling a bait-and-switch.

    @Erica: Dammit. Good catch, sister! Sorry about that – you’re absolutely right. We’ll edit the post immediately to say that grinding vanilla beans (or purchasing ground vanilla bean) is the best substitute for vanilla extracts.

    @Louise: We’ve experientially seen no issues with nutritional yeast (used in a typical context, in very small amounts). However, if you feel as though you would be healthier eliminating it, then please do so. Thanks for sharing.

    @Stuft Mama: Anything with soy in the ingredient list is out!

    Melissa

  32. Amanda says

    Oh, quick heads up on vanilla beans: one doesn’t need to grind a vanilla bean — one need to merely split and scrape the pod :)

    Or is there a use for the pod afterward, other than for creating the delicious evil that is vanilla sugar? Because if there is, I want to know! :D

  33. Amanda says

    @Louise: Glutamic acid (glutamate) is a naturally occurring enzyme in most plants and is the most common neurotransmitter in the brain. I use Lewis Labs nutritional yeast (from sugar beets) and it has one of the lowest amounts of glutamic acid in it. Glutamic acid is NOT the same as MSG, MSG is a salt derived from Glutamic acid and does not naturally occur on its own. Think of it as the difference between consuming a whole food and consuming a derivative thereof (like a protein isolate) – there are ramifications for taking something out of its natural context.

    Its also important to note that Lewis Labs is labeled as a Brewer’s Yeast but most Brewer’s Yeast are created as a by product of the beer industry and are NOT what you want to be consuming.

  34. Sara says

    Very interesting. For some reason, I thought coffee wasn’t Whole30, but I see that it is (along with bean sprouts and sesame seeds–two of my other favourites). It would be nice to see this updated every so often with other popular “Can I have…” foods.

    Re: 99% chocolate, I’ve never found a chocolate bar without *soy* lecithin as an emulsifier. I know they exist, but they’re rare…

    I feel like some people miss the fact that Whole30 is all-encompassing in terms of overall health: *mind* and body. There’s a HUGE psychological component to the program that doesn’t always seem to translate when people start thinking about food rules. Maybe you can write a piece about the psychology of food and eating (unless you’ve already done that, in which case I will eventually find it…).

  35. Steve says

    Sara,

    I don’t believe Michael Cluizel 99% chocolate contains soy lecithin:

    Michel Cluizel NOIR INFINI 99% Dark Chocolate, 30g (1.05 oz)
    Michel Cluizel (Paris, France)
    http://www.cluizel.com/
    Ingredients: cocoas, cane sugar, ginger, cinnamon, Bourbon vanilla pod. May contain traces of shelled tree nuts, milk and gluten.

    I realize there are other ingredients listed above which are not acceptable for Whole30, though.

    Lindt does list possible traces of soy lecithin in it’s 99% bar.

  36. Sara says

    “Lindt does list possible traces of soy lecithin in it’s 99% bar.”

    I know… sigh. I drive past a Lindt outlet store every time I go to a certain shopping centre, and I do that thing where I spend a little too long looking at the storefront. Seriously, can’t these guys make Whole30-compliant chocolate? Oh, wait… ;)

    (Dark chocolate with ginger?! Must try…)

  37. Beth says

    Hi! I am beginning my training for a marathon and wondering if I can use Nuun tabs for electrolyte replenishment?

  38. says

    @Beth – All the Nuun tablets I saw on their site have added sweeteners, so they would be out for your Whole30. However, we recommend Whole30 Approved elete Electrolytes for that purpose. You’ll find them in our Whole30 Approved section :)

  39. Karin says

    I am trying to find casava root to see if its compliant. Those “miracle” noodles that are made with that starch seem to have Whole30 compliant ingredients. Yeah?? or Nay!! I am wanting to start my whole30 and want to ensure I have what I need in the house besides meat, veggies and fruit.

  40. says

    I’m here because I’m on Paleo for like 10 months and I’ve actually gained some fat in some areas. I think it’s the going overboard with Paleo desserts (I have a blog and make them often) and not exercising enough. Anyway, I want to “detox” from the sugars and am trying to figure this out, as I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the Whole30 program. One thing that intrigued me were the banana-egg pancakes, which I’ve only started to do recently and kept thinking “oh they are just banana and eggs”. But I do see your point, although ironically, I hardly ever ate pancakes before going Paleo! So, I’m going to give this a try… and I’ll report back! Thanks!

  41. April says

    I’m on day 3 of the Whole 30. Is it normal to feel low of energy and just exhausted?

  42. Carly says

    So I thought sure I can drink black coffee…Kahlua cofee brand is good without cream. Then when I read the ingredients it said-Coffee beans, natural and artificial flavors. So I’m assuming that is out right? I mean are all flavored coffees out? Currently I’m drinking tea giving my boyfriend stink eye because my whole house now smells like amazing hazelnut Kahlua coffee.

  43. Erin says

    Quick question. Today was day one for me. And I’m just wondering (and yes I should have thought about it sooner) is this program breastfeeding safe? TIA

  44. Amanda says

    @Erin, I’m no expert (nor am I a physician of any sort) and my last go-round breastfeeding ended over 8 years ago, but I can’t think of any reason why Whole30 wouldn’t be safe for breastfeeding. As long as you’re getting sufficient calories so your supply isn’t impacted, I’d say you’re good to go. :)

  45. Kristin says

    I see that stevia leaf is out of the program, but I take green pastures FCLO/BO blend (cinnamon tingle) which has cassia oil (cinnamon) and stevia in the ingredients. As anyone who has taken it can attest, it is definitely not a treat or something that is sweet tasting. If there is a minute amount of stevia included is that acceptable? I would just eliminate it to be safe, but it is such a beneficial superfood and does a lot for me physically that I would hate to remove it for a month. Your opinion would be appreciated! Thanks!

  46. Kristina says

    I’m certain that the Sugar Dragon has two friends, the Comfort Eating Dragon and the Boredom Eating Dragon. Since I don’t actually like pancakes, I’ve interpreted the “paleo pancake” admonition as against any food that sates any of the three food dragons. For me, that’s things like Larabars.

    My Sugar Dragon also has a little idiosyncrasy: When I eat too much sugar, I become just as mean and nasty as when I initially quit it cold turkey.

    I’ve danced most of my life, so I’m pretty conscious of my body’s proper function, and I’m glad of the insight a Whole30 gives into how innocuous, everyday foods affect me. I’d hate to give up Haagen Dazs forever, but I can certainly give it up for 30 days, despite the fact that every time I think I’m going to do another W30 it goes on sale…

  47. Laura says

    How about unsweetened flavored sparkling water? Ingredients are carbonated water, natural flavor (whatever that is…)

  48. says

    Oh, this list is complete! I’ll delve into the guidelines before I pose any questions that may raise any ire. Off to do some reading…

    Happy to see that coffee made the list, even thought that is a new perk in my life (pun intended, of course) :)

  49. says

    Earlier this morning I posted on the W30 FB page about my rapid decline in energy and overall “feeling good” after ending my W30 a little over 2 weeks ago.

    For the first couple days, I added in foods to monitor their effects on me. Almost everything ended with me having adverse reactions, especially when it came to dairy and soy. Gluten wasn’t too unkind and non-gluten grains (rice, in my case) didn’t do much damage either. But, then it started; once I had some “no no” food, I wanted more, even though it made me feel awful.

    I ate ice cream and had 2 milkshakes (even though it was less than pleasant afterward); I had pizza a couple times (although I will say, I was satisfied with 2 slices instead of 4); I drank a few beers and had a couple glasses of wine; I enjoyed dark chocolate covered almonds (the soy KILLED me on those); I had chicken fingers and fries.

    Now, let me be clear…this has been over the course of nearly 3 weeks so it isn’t too incredibly horrible. But, after feeling so fantastic for a month (less the first few days of adjusting and detoxing) I no longer felt that way.

    I have done several W30s in the past but my last one…that is when the light bulb went off. I finally felt the “magic”, I had the “tiger blood”. I didn’t crave sugar, pancakes, junk food, etc. I even ate out a lot, spent a long weekend at the beach with friends, and attended several social gatherings and I stayed compliant. I am not tooting my own horn here. I am making the point that it can be done. It is all about mindset.

    I honestly looked forward to my W30 compliant meals every day. I got excited thinking about what concoction I could put together to create an interesting, healthy, delicious meal.

    Eating 3 meals vs 5 removed a lot of stress from my life and I found that I didn’t need more than 3; I was full from breakfast to lunch and then from lunch to dinner. A few days here and there I would feel a little hungry, but it was usually because I hadn’t had enough water. If I was super hungry, I would have some avocado or a bit of lean protein (hard boiled eggs are so good!).

    So, when I wrapped up and decided to add foods back in I noticed that THEY DID MAKE A DIFFERENCE! I also noticed my old mental habits trying to creep back in: “Order the LARGE ice cream, not the small!”; “What is the fattiest, biggest meal on the menu?”.

    Honestly though, I was able to block it out because I know what kind of food and how much of it actually satisfies me now. I even had feelings of guilt, like I had actually eaten ALL THE FOOD, and had to remind myself that, I didn’t; it was only a fleeting thought.

    While I did indulge, not once did I go off the richter scales and binge (something I have struggled with for most of my life). I am still working on breaking the mental attachment to food but am making progress every day. Food no longer controls me the way it did even a month ago. I am not going to tell you I am free from the stronghold, but I am definitely farther down the road from it than I was. And I am getting farther every. single. day.

    And this is why I am posting.

    Starting your first W30 can be tough but Melissa and Dallas have put so much time and effort into their plan, this site, and now into daily emails (which totally kept me on track and validated what I was feeling or experiencing from day to day). There is SO MUCH INFORMATION on this site that will answer all your questions. And, like someone else said, if giving up a food FOR 30 DAYS causes a negative EMOTIONAL RESPONSE, then maybe something else is going on there and you should take some time to look inward – not lash out at the very people who are trying to help you.

    They are not the enemy and neither are the rules.

    I am having a difficult time understanding why there is so much resistance to the rules. They are there for a reason. They are specified in advance. No one is forcing you to do this program.

    Don’t eat pancakes because they cause an emotional response; the point of this program is to mend your relationship with food and create a HEALTHY food environment. If a food reinforces a negative mental association, then it is unhealthy.

    Period; regardless of whether they are technically “complaint”.

    Get over it and move on! You have too many benefits awaiting you to get hung up on this!

    My suggestion – don’t get caught up in the particulars. Keep it simple. If you are really fighting the reasons why you can have fruit juice but not stevia, or why you can’t have 99% dark chocolate but can have sunflower oil….is it REALLY that important in the grand scheme of things?

    Don’t sell yourself short. You can do ANYTHING for 30 days. You can most derfinitely abide by the simple guidelines of the W30 and reap the wonderful benefits. It is about mindset too. If you are so focused on the fact that you “can’t have” you could possibly miss out on the wonderful things that you DO HAVE.

    Instead of “I can’t have…..” pay attention instead to your energy, your mental focus, your mood, how you feel, your clothing, your body composition, people paying you compliments, etc.

    This is exactly why it is so important to make goals in the beginning of your program. It helps you see why you are doing this when you are craving something that you (think you) are missing. Trust me, the cravings pass. Then you feel AWESOME.

    In all this (sorry for the extremely long post) I am beginning another W30; today is Day 2. I am definitely feeling ‘hungover’. I am tired. My throat hurts. I feel a little achy and I have a headache. But, I KNOW IT WILL PASS, so I am hanging in there. I once again have to heal from the damage I did in just a short couple of weeks. I will also be going back to read my daily emails to help keep me on track.

    But, I know that each bite of colorful whole food is making me healthier; better. I get to eat delicious food, cooked in glorious fats like coconut oil and ghee; I can flavor my food with salt and spices; I get to eat all types of meat, poultry, and seafood; my produce is fresh and wonderful and in season; my berries are ripe and sweet and full of rich nutrients and antioxidents. I get to eat texturally satisfying dishes and even rich and creamy ones!

    I am not stuck with a boring baked chicken breast and broccoli; a salad with no dressing; or a meal without salt or seasonings. My tastebuds are AWAKE AND ALIVE! No dull food here!

    To me, I am not giving up anything worth having. And, I know in the future, if I REALLY want something, then I can have it; I will also know how it affects me and whether or not it is really worth it. I am so eternally grateful to Melissa and Dallas for allowing so many of us to join together in this experience – FOR FREE.

  50. Amanda says

    Quick background: I started my first Whole30 experience with a “Whole3weeks” at the beginning of May with some friends, was interested by the process but had prior plans, went on vacation, and when I got back I kicked directly into a for-real Whole30 because I wanted to have officially “done” the entire thing.

    I am currently on Day 28.

    I do want to address why some of us question the program: it’s because Dallas and Melissa make so much sense overall, and sometimes there’s an area where logic fails… like my own mild peeve with vanilla extract, for example. I like what I do to make sense, and having that banned doesn’t overall make sense to me, objectively.

    And I want it to make sense — I want desperately to be able to explain this to people and not feel like an idiot, because it really is an excellent program. On the plus side I have found that I can do that simply by saying “it’s a matter of consistency, and it’s only 30 days.” But I wouldn’t know to say that if I hadn’t just… asked.

    Because ultimately yes. We can do without anything for 30 days and that’s good.

    I still have to ask questions, though… because for me and my specific life-background, not questioning would have cost me greatly. I could be dead now if I didn’t question, if I just went with what I was told, if I accepted that the life I was living was “normal,” that I was a weakling, behaving like a child, for questioning what I was given as the status quo.

    So please, for those of you who have seen the marvelous results with Whole30 and have truly bought in, I ask that you understand that not all questioning is attacking.

    I am uncomfortable when I feel that the fact that I ask questions renders me suspect. Over the past 28 days (and the 21 prior) I have learned that this is an amazing program and I will likely continue much of the Whole30 eating habits even beyond, and I am saddened that instead of having a supportive community with these new discoveries I’m making, I instead perceive myself as unwelcome, an outsider.

    All because I ask questions.

  51. says

    I think asking questions is a wonderful thing. And you are absolutely right – if we didn’t ask then we would be stuck with what we are given. We would be sheep.

    My post was not directed at anyone in particular. I read all the comments on this thread before I posed my own thoughts.

    Completing 21 or 29 or 100 days of eating this way is a great feat and you should be proud of yourself.

    I don’t know, nor do I assume to understand your personal background and I honestly meant no offense to anyone.

    My point was, just as I had explained, to keep it simple. If vanilla extract (which once it was pointed out that it was non-compliant, it was removed by Melissa) is that important to you, then by all means, ask away! No one is saying you shouldn’t ask.

    This is a supportive community and has been since 2009. This is an awesome community. I really hope you don’t perceive yourself as an outsider.

  52. Kristina says

    I love questions. It’s the instant “you’re all insane” type comments from people who haven’t bothered looking any further than “no [insert food group]” that bother me. Part of that is Internet culture… jumping in with negativity instead of using that time to ignore the offensive opinion and go enjoy something.

    I think blind adherence to guidelines–never asking why or how–is what got hundreds of people into the positions they’re in now. If you always ask questions, you’ll always get answers and be that much better informed. And some people wait around quietly in the wings for other people to ask questions, and they’re ultimately better informed too. For example, the alcohol in vanilla was something I never once thought about. You asked, and now I know better, too!

  53. Amanda says

    @ Kara, as your response wasn’t directly to me, mine wasn’t directly to you; more, it was spurred by your post because there are several times both in comments and in the forum where I’ve seen folks asking why some of us question why certain things are not compliant. None of us are aware of anyone’s background here, necessarily — and that was my point, that for some of us, questioning is important, perhaps even more important for varying reasons, both extreme and mundane.

    Also, to clarify, it’s not that vanilla extract in and of itself is of high importance to me; I bake as a hobby and do not lack whole vanilla beans by any stretch of the imagination so I’m good if I need a bit of vanilla in my java :) it’s the logic or lack there of regarding vanilla extract’s lack of compliance that disturbed me. Most everything else made sense; to me, this one item did not.

    Reason is incredibly, incredibly important to me. That’s why I, personally, tend to question probably more than the norm.

  54. says

    @Amanda (and all): First, I hope you believe that we welcome questions, criticisms, and open discussion. In fact, we’ve changed a few of the “rules” of the Whole30 along the way based on questions from our readers! We only get frustrated when people ask, we answer in as much detail as we can and to the best of our abilities, and then they challenge again. And again. And again. At that point, we’ll probably just say, “Eat the damn pancakes, then.” (Sorry, but we have our limits, too.)

    I’ll address the logic behind vanilla extract. We need the program to be as effective as possible, AND as easy to follow as possible. These two things are not always in 100% alignment. Vanilla extract is one such food. Eliminating vanilla extract because of the alcohol won’t help (or hurt) your Whole30 in any way. On its own, we agree this doesn’t seem super logical. (We pointed that out above, in fact, in the article itself.) However, the rules state, “No alcohol.” Period. And it would make the program harder to follow if we said, no alcohol, except oh, yeah, vanilla extract is fine. People would then be questioning alcohol in other foods (dijon mustard?), and we’d have to make judgment calls on that, too. And pretty soon, the program is, “No alcohol, except foods X, Y, Z, and ABC.” And then things get too complicated to manage.

    So, is it logical from a health perspective to eliminate vanilla extract? Perhaps not. But from a program simplicity, and a program management perspective, it’s as logical as we can get. No alcohol, period.

    I hope that helps to explain that particular food, and the conundrum we often face with making the program (a) effective and (b) simple. It’s a hard line to walk, and we do the best we can.

    Best,
    Melissa

  55. Amanda says

    @Melissa, thank you so much — you’d actually answered that for me previously, which I remarked on in my earlier comment. I understand the logic behind its exclusion now, and I get it. I also really appreciate that you state that really, excluding or including vanilla extract won’t do much for one’s Whole30 and that it’s more a matter of simplicity and consistency. THAT I can comprehend. I don’t think I would make the same call myself but it’s not my call to make; what I absolutely agree with is that it’s only 30 days, so ultimately it’s just not that a big deal.

    Also, you and Dallas have always been good with questions and I understand that we’re all human so occasionally one might snap. Rumor has it I might snap on occasion myself :) My concern was more a general community issue regarding questioning, because I have noticed on the forums that some questioning is met with “Why do YOU have an issue with Food X? You might want to explore that before you criticize a program that has helped so many…”

    Now it is possible that the person being answered is someone who’s just driven the forum members insane with endless questions and it’s been more of a “snap” issue. Unfortunately, that’s not been evident in the threads I’m specifically remembering themselves, and for newbies like me if we happen on enough of the wrong threads or in the wrong comment section, it can make one extremely cautious about voicing confusion.

    Anyway, enough from me. I didn’t mean to derail this in any way — just to raise the issue that not all questioning is adversarial. Some of us are just detail/ logic/ comprehension freaks :)

  56. Meghann says

    I’m starting my first Whole 30 on Sunday and I’m very excited! One thing does concern me though, and I wondered if you might have some advice for me. I suffer from acid reflux that causes nausea. Currently when I’m nauseous I either drink a little ginger ale or chew gum until the feeling passes, but I know both of those are not W30-compliant. I know pure ginger is good for settling your stomach, but I cannot stand the taste! I’m hoping W30 will help alleviate some of my acid reflux, but do you have any suggestions for other nausea remedies I could try while on the program? Are ANY carbonated/sparkling beverages allowed? Thanks in advance. :)

  57. says

    @Amanda, I am not surprised I answered the same question twice. I am quite sleep-deprived these days. ;)

    As for the forum (or any public message board/Facebook/Twitter), you are always going to have people in various stages of the program. You’ll for sure have a lot of early believers – these folks (like I was when I first discovered Paleo) are passionate about what they are experiencing, and tend to react kind of… strongly when others appear to be questioning the logic, rationale, or rules. I believe these folks really mean well, but are so enamored with the program and their results that they forget that others may not be exactly where they are (or miss the context/tone of the question entirely).

    We encourage people to give others the benefit of the doubt on the forum (assume people asking questions are coming from a good place–a place of genuine curiosity and a desire to do their best). That’s about as much as we can do in a public setting–well, that, and gently correcting folks who come out of the gate too strong (as our moderators are not afraid to do).

    The internet is a strange social place. If we all gave each other the benefit of the doubt in every interaction, I think it would be a much friendlier place, too.

    Melissa

  58. says

    @Kara: Love your story. Love the observations about the old mental tricks coming back into play (what’s the biggest, fattiest, most off-limits thing on the menu tonight?), as that’s the total truth, and not enough people pay attention to that when their Whole30 is over. I’m wondering if there is a blog post in there somewhere…

    Melissa

  59. Jessica says

    Hello. My husband and I are planning on doing a whole 30 cycle in the next few weeks but he has raised some concerns. He is a food service professional, read cook/chef, and he is required to taste the foods he makes. He is specifically worried about the fact he makes many sauces that include wine. Well we know that alcohol is not included on the whole 30, but he cannot avoid having to take a taste. It is required. I tried to go through all scenarios to avoid this but *sigh* sadly he is the only one in the kitchen till 11am and makes the sauces prior to then. So how much will this affect his whole 30 experince? Will this still benefit him to do outside of those tastings?

  60. Amanda says

    @Melissa, the sleep deprivation thing is understood — I still remember my sons’ newborn days (okay, the first four+ months of their lives) with a shudder and they’re now 10 and 14 years old. Sleep became my Holy Grail after the birth of the first and even now, nearly a decade-and-a-half later, it remains so.

    Thank you so much for your patience and understanding. May your sleep return sooner rather than later :)

  61. says

    @Melissa…I think a blog post about the old mental tricks is a great idea. For me, the re-introducing of foods was really hard. I had a slight tail-spin, but thankfully got a handle on it before it became out of control.

    With that I am on Day 4 of my W30 (continued after a short break in between my last one) and for the past couple days (day 2 – today) I have felt completely awful! So much so that I thought it was strep!

    It started Tuesday with a sore throat and an excruciating headache coupled with body aches and extremely inflamed lymphnodes. Wednesday was worse and I had broken a fever going into the morning. All day I was tired, my head hurt, and I was sore like I had worked out hard (trust me, I hadn’t). Eating, drinking, and speaking were painful. This morning I woke up and could barely speak. I called into the doctor’s to make an appointment.

    I looked back at my daily emails from May’s W30 and sure enough, Day 3 mentioned that I might get or be feeling sick. Right on time!

    As today progressed, I began to feel better and almost cancelled my appointment. I went anyway just to rule out strep and they did a throat swab.

    Now, as I write this, I feel much, much better. My sore throat is pretty much gone, as is my headache. My body still feels a tint bit sore but much better overall. My nodes are still tender to t he touch, but no longer inflamed.

    It seems as though my body is reacting just as it should. And, since dairy was the main culprit of my tailspin, it makes sense that I am now experiencing sinus/congestion/sore throat issues during my detox.

    Tomorrow, I am hoping for the Tiger Blood!

  62. says

    @Jessica: We’ve had many chefs (including some of the line chefs at French Laundry!) do the Whole30. They assigned tastes of off-plan things to others in the kitchen. If your husband cannot do that, then he is going to have to do the best he can, taking small tastes when necessary. I can’t say for sure whether it will affect his Whole30 results – a dish with a small amount of wine probably won’t, unless he has a serious sulfite sensitivity, but dishes containing gluten, dairy, or soy might. It is what it is, though, and I’m confident he will still experience a ton of benefits from the program.

    @Meghann: How about a ginger herbal tea? (Or peppermint, also designed to calm the stomach?) You can also drink carbonated water (mineral water, even flavored with natural fruit juices), if that would help.

    Melissa

  63. Amanda G says

    @Meghann – I think you’d have good luck w/ Traditional Medicinal brand Throat Coat. It has slippery elm and a number of other herbs that help build your stomach lining etc. You may also want to try Betaine HCl w/ meals (take one initially after a few bites and if you don’t notice any burning you are good to take another w/ a few more bites; any burning you experience you can deal w/ by drinking a glass of water w/ some baking soda); acid reflux is actually a sign you have too little acid so taking an acid to help just until your system gets back on track should be good. The brand I’ve used is TwinLabs and I got it at the Vitamin Shoppe.

  64. Sharlene says

    In the recipe for Mayo in the ISWF book, it calls for “light tasting olive oil (not extra virgin)”. I want to make sure I’m getting good quality oil, Can you recommend a brand PLEASE, because I really want to try this recipe! Thank you!

  65. says

    Sharlene,

    Unfortunately, there isn’t such a thing as a really high-quality light olive oil. The additional refining they have to do to make it “light” means it’s not as pure as an extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil. However, do not let that deter you from making your homemade mayo! Just do the best you can, buying the brand you can find at your local grocery store or health food market.

    You can also make homemade mayo using avocado oil, although the taste is heavier, and I don’t like it as much.

    Melissa

  66. Ali says

    Hi, I just wondered if this diet is good for candida? I have followed a diet very similar to Paleo/whole30 before (except without any fruit) and toned up/lost weight really fast/increased energy levels (because my problem is candida in my tummy) but find that eating that way is really hard to maintain long term. It would probably be easier if I could eat fruit (because fruit is awesome and gorgeous!) but I find that eating fruit makes my candida come back really quickly and my tummy swell up because I am so sensitive to the sugars….has anyone done this diet without eating fruit? or previously suffered from candida in their tummy and found this diet to help? (or would I have to do this diet with no fruit?) thanks for your help and sorry for the complicated question! I find that when I include fruits in my diet I always gain weight really quickly…

  67. Ape says

    I just bought a jar of coconut butter and have no idea what to do with it! Starting the Whole30 today….any ideas?

  68. says

    Can I have flavored carbonated water, like Deerpark lemon? It has no sugar or other non-compliant ingredients. It may be “bad” for my psychological relationship with food/beverage. however, i was looking for something that has a little flavor and is refreshing on a hot summer day. Is the carbonation bad for my gut?

  69. Sarah M. says

    First, my question: is sesame oil compliant? I thought I remembered seeing somewhere on the website or in “It Starts with Food” that the omega-6 ratio put it outside the rules for the Whole 30, but I just saw tahini on this list (which I also thought was non-compliant from what I read before on here). Could I use it in small doses?

    Second, anyone who thinks flour-free (egg+banana) “pancakes” are a good substitute for their Whole 30 is crazy. The taste and texture is not like a pancake at all – it’s more dense and egg-y. I haven’t eaten non-Paleo pancakes in almost ten years because of a lovely experience of not being able to keep them in my stomach shortly after eating them. Even almond or coconut flour pancakes have no appeal to me because flour-based pancakes make me nauseous just thinking about them. However, I love banana and egg “pancakes” (seriously, they need a new name) because the only thing they have in common with pancakes is they’re cooked in a skillet and have a disc shape.

  70. says

    @Ali: A modified Whole30 (leaving out foods which aggravate a candida condition, like fruit) is a very helpful way to treat the condition, along with targeted supplements like the right probiotic. Working with a naturopath or a functional medicine doctor is really the best way to proceed, but you can always do a Whole30, modified for a candida protocol. We’ve had several people report excellent results.

    @Ape: We like to just eat it with a spoon (it’s hard to over-eat, because it’s kind of dry, and really fat-dense) but some folks like to melt it over sweet potato.

    @Lisa: You sure can! Carbonated water or mineral water (even flavored) doesn’t even come close to taking the place of a sugary-sweet tasting caffeinated beverage (like soda). Enjoy!

    @Sarah: Sesame oil is compliant, but we recommend you limit use, like with vegetable oils, because of the kind of fat it contains.

    As for your banana+egg pancakes (or discs, or whatever you want to call them), I think they’re a lot like regular pancakes myself, but we all have our own tastes. Certainly the way you eat them (slathered in jelly/fruit/syrup) would make a difference to taste perception, too.

    Melissa

  71. JoseiTonbo says

    For me, banana+egg pancakes=total SWYPO. It will be one of my celebration meals when I have completed my Whole30. :-) I have been paleo for about 6 months now, but wasn’t feeling any of the promised extra energy or health benefits until I stumbled across this website. I had been using paleo substitutes to feed my sugar-dragon and was still riding the cycle of eating carbs & being monster hungry a couple hours later. I could see the logic and rationale in the Whole30 concept, an am now 4 days away from completing the challenge. The first three weeks were HELL, with headaches, brain fog, nausea, exhaustion, but I’m glad I toughed it out, because that elusive tiger-blood is kicking in. I have gone from eating 6 times a day to 4, and simply do not have an appetite for my usual boredom snacking – my body doesn’t want or need food nearly as often. Loving the journey, and thankful for Dallas and Melissa’s bold risk in putting RULES out there and sticking to their guns. You two are adorable!!

  72. Crystal says

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I’ve stalked the WHOLE30 online for years now. I was able to show you to my mother whom has MS, chair bound, unable to walk, unable to use her “right” hand, move her legs…for years now. She’s always told me “you are what you eat” but when it came time for her to care for her own health (raised 3 children on her own) she was forced to go for prepared food since her cooking abilities were no longer working. She is now on week 2 of her Whole30 and has become a believer in YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! Besides her weight falling she now is able to move her right hand, fingers wiggles, wrist moves…amazing! I’d guess that she’s doing a very basic, strict following since cooking is limited. But maybe this will lead her live in partner down a better path for them both! I’m so happy for her to see a difference in such a short time, and it will only get better for her.

  73. katieinthecity says

    I looked everywhere and I couldn’t find a definitive answer… is it okay to eat bee pollen if i don’t have allergies to it

  74. John says

    I’m just starting my Whole30, and I couldn’t find regular sweet potatoes at the store. Instead I bought “Jamaican sweet potatoes,” which seem like sweet potatoes in texture, but are white inside. Hope these are OK?

  75. Bet says

    I am wondering about split green peas. I’ve been making my own split pea soup (being careful to try to remove as much of the scum as possible) in a slow cooker, using my own homemade chicken stock and smoked ham hock (from Whole Foods). Is this ‘allowed’. I have IBS and the soup doesn’t cause any IBS symptoms, but I know technically peas are a legume.

  76. says

    Josei, your experience is not unusual. Thanks for your comment, and your support!

    Crystal, that is so wonderful to hear! I’d love an update on how your Mom is doing – would you email us at headquarters@whole9life.com? Keep sharing the Good Food word!

    Katie, bee pollen is fine.

    John, I’m not sure what family those belong to, but let’s just say if it’s labeled as a sweet potato or yam, you’re good to go.

    Bet, peas are specifically mentioned in the Whole30 rules. No legumes, sorry.

    Melissa

  77. Sara says

    I think I might be pregnant, and I want to take a multi-vitamin until I know for sure. Is this allowed?

  78. Mark says

    Couple of allowed-food questions:

    1) Someone (“Karin”, on June 13) asked about casava root/yuca, and I haven’t seen a response to that one yet — I’ve got the same question.

    2) On a similar tropical theme, how about plantains? They’re related to bananas but firmer and starchier.

    Thanks!

  79. Ana says

    Sara, so a search on the forums, the Yuca question has plenty of responses. Yes, both plantains and yuca are compliant.

  80. says

    @Sara: Of course. We recommend Pure Encapsulations Nutrient-950 with vitamin K as a multi. It says “contains soy/dairy” but unless you are extremely sensitive, these trace ingredients won’t pose a problem. (And even if you are on the Whole30, I’d venture to say the benefits of this particular formula outweigh the technicalities of the Whole30 rules, in the case of pregnancy.) Or, you can ask your doctor what they would recommend – we always defer to the opinion of the primary care practitioner.

    @Mark: Yuca and plantains are both fine.

    @Ana: Thanks for jumping in! You’re absolutely right.

    Melissa

  81. Becky says

    I read a post by Karin on June 13th that asked about the “Miracle” noodles that contain konjac root or glucomannan. I don’t see where that was answered on here, but I would like to know if they are considered Whole30 compliant. I like the fiber the noodles contain, plus I use the powder form to thicken liquids instead of xanthan or guar gum. It’s less slippery. Of course I can do without it for 30 days, but would like to know.

  82. says

    Becky, Miracle Noodles are technically approved, but certainly not encouraged, as they offer absolutely zero nutritional benefits. We’d much prefer you use zucchini or spaghetti squash or some other veggie base as your “noodles”, but they are not off-limits.

    Lindsey, the first few days can be rough as the body transitions, including nausea, headaches, lethargy, and general crankiness. Check this artlce for more of what to expect: http://whole9life.com/2012/06/the-whole30-timeline/

    Best,
    Melissa

  83. Rachel says

    So, I will be starting my first whole30 tomorrow (yay!) and am hoping it will help my asthma and allergies so much that I can get off the meds…but I’m wondering if I should keep taking them through the 30? I ask on this page because it links to my overall question: can I continue to take my prenatal vitamins (not preggo, just breast feeding still), vitamin D and acidophilus supplements, since they must have some thing(s) in them to allow them to sit on my shelf for so long….

  84. Rachel says

    Also, I know organic, grass-fed and pastured (I can’t keep up on all the right terms LOL) meats and fruits/veggies are optimal, but will I still see some results as I use the local grocers’ meats and only dirty dozen-organic f/v’s? I’m going it alone and need to keep it cost-effective since my husband won’t be doing it with me and will want his comfort foods…

  85. Erin says

    Not quite a question but a suggestion. My whole 30 starts in a couple days and I love smoothies and they may help me survive, but I get that chewing is important. So I freeze them into popsicles: Coconut milk and frozen fruit and a couple kale leaves from the garden. The only “problem” is my kids are always stealing them.

  86. Rachel says

    How about gellan gum? I found an almond milk that looks to be compliant, except for this ingredient, which I wonder about. Thanks.

  87. says

    Rachel, gellan gum is an emulsifier and thickening agent. It is not forbidden on the program, although in general, the fewer chemical-y ingredients in our foods, the better.

    Best;
    Melissa

  88. Sandy says

    I decided to do a Whole 30 the day after a trip to Costco. Not great timing. One item I picked up (frozen salmon burgers) has potato extract listed as an ingredient. I’m guessing this is a no go?

  89. says

    @Sandy: Technically, those would be off-limits because of the pototo extract, yes. This is one of those circumstances where we have to keep the rules consistent, but I hate to make this “ruling” because potato starch in your otherwise healthy whole-food salmon burgers really won’t make a lick of difference to your Whole30 results.

    Melissa

  90. Sarah says

    What’s the official word on medications, especially painkillers? Like, is it okay that I took 3 advils for the worst headache of all eternity on day 3?

  91. says

    Sarah,

    Medications, especially those prescribed by your doctor, trump all Whole30 rules. If you feel as though you are in distress and need to take some medication to ease your symptoms, or if your doctor recommends that you take something, please follow that advice.

    However, some painkillers are better than others. If you have to use a painkiller, we recommend Tylenol, as it does not have the same negative impact on your gut as NSAIDs.

    Best,
    Melissa

  92. Chris Salp says

    My wife and I have been eating the Wild Planet brand canned tuna quite a bit, but we are currently in a spot where we need to cut expenses.
    Looking at the ingredients in the Kirkland (Costco) brand white tuna/albacore (which is about half the price of the Wild Planet brand), it contains “pyrophosphate.”
    Should this ingredient be avoided?

    Thanks.

  93. Shenelle says

    Are plantains allowed? I have been told they can be starchy like white potatoes.

  94. Shenelle says

    Never mind, I looked over the comments again and found out the answer.Thanks! I am really enjoying this program!

  95. Jason says

    Is wild rice allowed? From my understanding, it’s not actually in the rice family. For practical purposes in the Whole30 program, is it just lumped in with rice?

  96. Abby says

    Hi there,
    Two questions:
    Daikon?
    Dandelion root? (It makes a great coffee-like drink)
    Thanks!

  97. Deb says

    I’m just wondering if there is a website like this specifically focusing on those who are following the autoimmune guidelines. I have some questions about time lines for the elimination/re-intro of foods like eggs and tomato. I’m on day 5 and am exhausted and suffering a bit but oh so hopeful and excited about what this my mean for some relief of my symptoms. And might I add…grateful to you for some hope!

  98. Elizabeth says

    Melissa,

    I am seeking advise about pre-natal vitamins. I am not currently pregnant but hoping to be soon. Is there a brand or anything I should look for that be compliant.

    Thanks,
    Elizabeth

  99. says

    Elizabeth, we like and recommend Pure Encapsulations Nutrient 950 with Vitamin K as the best prenatal. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0017O5N3W?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B0017O5N3W&linkCode=xm2&tag=whole9-20)

    It does contain traces of soy, I think – probably lecithin in the capsule. However, the compliment of micronutrients in this blend is the best of any we’ve found, and that’s more important (in my mind) than a tiny amount of soy. Taking these won’t compromise your Whole30 in any way. Pregnancy and baby’s nutrition > the technicalities of Whole30 rules.

    Melissa

  100. says

    Deb,

    You might want to pop into our forum to ask this question – there is a spot for “special populations” that might even have addressed this already.

    There are autoimmune protocol reintroduction schedules floating around on the internet, but I find them to be extremely complicated–unnecessarily so. If you are on the AIP, we recommend sticking with the full Whole30 + AIP restrictions for 60 days or until your symptoms improve. You can then just add food groups like eggs, nightshades, and nuts and seeds (in that order) back into your normal reintrodiction schedule. It stretches your reintroduction out by quite a bit, but that’s what you’ll need to do to make sure that you are evaluating each individual food group by itself.

    In addition, you may want to break out nightshade vegetables in special “test cases.” Tomatoes tend to be more problematic than other nightshades, and often spices can be tolerated, but the actual vegetables cannot (or can, but only in specific doses or frequencies). This is all about trial and error and carefully paying attention to what happens when you reintroduce certain foods. It may take you a while to figure out what’s okay (for example, you may discover that eating two eggs twice a week is fine, but if you try to increase that to two eggs four times a week, that’s not fine), but in the end it’s all worth the effort.

    Hope that helps,
    Melissa

  101. Deb says

    Thanks Melissa! That does help to answer my questions; I’ll take a look at the forum for additional insights. Much appreciated!

  102. Stacy says

    Sorry, I found the answer. Sad… I like peas. Oh well.

    I have one more question that I couldn’t find the answer to: what macronutrient ratios (carb pro fat percentages) do u recommend? It helps to know this bc it aids in knowing how to build and plan meals

    Thanks so much

  103. Katelyn says

    Melissa,

    My husband and I are just starting our whole 30 and reading the book. I know it says you can have coffee, which has caffeine in it, but in the book it also says caffeine raises cortisol which is something we don’t want to be raised. So my question is more about caffeine than coffee. My husband is a coach and works long hours and has been using a product called “Spark” from a company called Advocare. He has been trying not to drink it but really is having a hard time without the caffeine. So I wanted to get your expert opinion. Should he stay away from the caffeine or is it ok?

  104. says

    Katelyn,

    I seriously doubt that product is compliant with Whole30 standards, but as for the bigger question of whether your husband should consume caffeine, that’s going to have to be his decision. We have a Coffee Manifesto here on the site that may help, but ultimately we say if you NEED caffeine to get you through the day, that’s a good sign that you’re way too dependent on it (and that you’ve got other hormonal/metabolic issues going on, which you really should address).

    Best,
    Melissa

    http://whole9life.com/2011/01/the-coffee-manifesto/

  105. Katelyn says

    Thank you Melissa! I will be sharing this info with my husband and hopefully he will be able to get off the caffeine for good!

  106. vickie lee says

    Hello, I have been a nurse for 25 years and have been active and athletic most of my life. I have develop a lot of hip pain and arthritis so, my daughter (cross-fit box owner) suggested I get really serious and try this. Love it- and the concept. My question is: is there a place of infor. where I can see 3 breakfast choices, 3 lunch choices, etc??? I have been reading the book and am on day 5, but work A LOT and am looking for meal plans I don’t have to put together. I know, I know I have to take the initiative, and will, but to get started, that would be most helpful. Thank you so much, Vickie

  107. Megan Riek says

    Hi,

    Starting Whole30! I know it repeatedly says you can have coffee, black with no added cream or sugar, but it doesn’t really mention if you mean flavored coffee or not, which makes a big difference for me! Can I have my caramel flavored coffee if I don’t add anything to it, or do I need to stick with “medium roast” plain black coffee if I want to indulge?

  108. says

    Megan,

    Flavored coffee depends on the ingredients. If it’s just a hazelnut flavoring to the beans, no problem. If it’s one of those Starbucks Via flavored coffees where the very first ingredient is sugar (!), then it’s off-limits. Read your labels with everything!

    Best,
    Melissa

  109. Danielle says

    So I was on day 19 and at some deer meat from my husbands deer that was locally processed. He assured me that they don’t process with any of the bad stuff. After a couple of bites. I thought it tasted really sweet (never noticed that before). So I stopped eating and called them, And they use sugar. Do I have to start over? :(

  110. says

    Danielle, I would just chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. You did the best you could with that particular food – it’s not like you deliberately ate something you knew you shouldn’t have. No harm, no foul – move on. Melissa

  111. Danielle says

    Just thought of this. My father in law raises cattle, no antibiotics or hormones they have hundreds of grassy acres to range and their only stress is the annoying flies that won’t stay away. But he does feed them grains on top of that and we can’t justify buying from someone other than family since is halfway there. So do you need to trim that fat, or is that still considered good fat even though it’s grain fed? I live in a farming community in a small town, I do not know of anyone to ever allow their pigs to range in more than a two acre field because they tear land up so bad. In those two acres, they pretty much have it down to dirt and rock because they are so hard on it. Is it common to really be able to find, free ranging pigs that actually have a good living environment? The cows around here are all treated so well, but I always was grossed out by the pigs living environment and felt sorry for them. They don’t call it a pig sty for nothing. Btw, I love your book! Thanks for adding humor and putting the sciency stuff in laymans terms.

  112. Danielle says

    Thanks for the reply on the deer with sugar, you book mentioned that only tiny bite could throw off the healing process so I just wanted to check. I may turn it into 45 days just to make sure. Thanks!

  113. calee says

    How bout all kids of spices? If I’m cutting out sweeteners I want something to make plain food more exciting.

  114. says

    Danielle, studies show that even a small amount of grain-finishing negates many of the healthful properties of grass-fed/finished meat. While these cows seem to be living an excellent, healthy, natural existence, I would probably trim the fat from the majority of the beef I ate from this source. Nevertheless, I would still feel good about purchasing beef from such a source.

    As for pork, it’s darn near impossible to find truly 100% pastured pigs, but finding a source where the pigs are allowed access to their natural environment, and where they are able to express their natural tendencies (rooting, socializing, etc) is a good place to start.

    Calee, spice and herbs are all great on the Whole30. You just want to watch out for spice mixes (like “taco seasoning”) as many will contain off-plan ingredients. Read your labels, and check out Whole30 Approved Spicehound, with more than 100 compliant offerings. http://whole9life.com/2012/04/whole30-approved-spicehound/

    Melissa

  115. Deb says

    I am starting the Whole30 on August 1 to coincide with the LiveWell Challenge in Colorado. I have been using XClear for allergies and it is made with Xylitol. Do I need to stop using that for 30 days?

  116. says

    Deb, technically, xylitol is an off plan ingredients for the program. However, we always say to follow your doctor’s orders, even if they disagree with the Whole30. If you are taking this medication for allergies, and need it to sustain a healthy quality of life, then please keep taking it. I don’t know anyone who takes allergy medication for the sugar hit. I do hope the W30 helps with your allergies, though!

  117. Audrey says

    Melissa,
    Is watching The Bachelorette allowed on my Whole 30? Pretty sure it’s not mentioned in ISWF, but just thought I’d check because it might be the mental version of eating a fried, double frosted cupcake :)
    Audrey

  118. Shannon says

    I’ve seen vegetable oils are allowed, but I wondered if soybean oil is included? I did read the “No Legumes” (This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin)

    I noticed that sometimes “vegetable oil” says things MAY contain canola, sunflower and/or soybean oil! While I’m traveling for work, I’m finding it difficult to even get salad dressing!

  119. Judy McDonald says

    Duck fat…is it allowed on Whole30? Can’t find it in any of my searches. It’s pure rendered, 100% duck fat, no sugars.

  120. says

    Shannon,

    Soybean oil would be out, due to the “no soy” clause. I know this makes dining out really difficult, so if you have to travel a lot for work, just do the best you can. (Ask for a bottle of olive oil and some lemon for dressing – easy and really tasty. Or look for Tessemae’s at the local Whole Foods – Whole30 approved!)

    Melissa

  121. Pamela says

    In a few weeks I am starting the 30 day challenge. I just bought the
    book: It Starts with Food, and have been reading stuff from this website as well.
    It is stated clearly, no exceptions that yogurt is NOT allowed, NO dairy but, what
    about Siggi’s yogurt? I just read Mark Sisson’s blog:
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-it-primal-sunflower-oil-wheat-germ-skyr-and-other-foods-scrutinized/#axzz2akegDwVI
    He says Skyr yogurt is primal, (perhaps primal eating is different from
    Paleo eating). However, you did say no sugar and look at the label even if it states no grams of
    sugar, but it does have agave. Damn, think I just answered my own
    question.

  122. says

    @Audrey: Whatever gets you through the 30 days, sister. Watch away! (But not too close to bedtime, because the blue light really smucks with your sleep quality.)

    Melissa

  123. Vicki Sparrow says

    How about applesauce made from concentrate? Is that allowable? That’s the only ingredient mentioned.

  124. Michelle says

    I am having a really hard time finding deli turkey that doesn’t have added sugar and/or carrageenan. Can you recommend a brand?

  125. says

    Michelle,

    You’ll have to look at your local health food stores, co-ops, etc. for brands without sugar (read all the labels!) but some of the Applegate Farms varieties are clean. Sometimes, however, you have to get the Applegate Farms stuff that they cut for you at the deli, not the pre-packaged stuff. For some reason the ingredients in the pre-packaged and deli meats are different.

    Best,
    Melissa

  126. Katelyn says

    I have a question about Kombucha. This is a new thing to me, I had never heard of it before. So I found some at my local health food store (Sprout’s) and I was wondering if you could tell me if they are ok to drink. I did look at the labels and all the ingredients are ok (does contain organic fruit juice-labeled as organic cranberry juice) I think. The brand names are Reed’s culture club and Synergy. Both say they are raw and organic. But it does say they have trace amounts of alcohol, which I’m guessing is a part of the fermenting process? Anyway, they really do help with moving things along in the colon we have found! So are these a yes or a no for the Whole 30?

  127. says

    Katelyn,

    As long as the ingredient list is clean, kombucha is totally fine for the program. You are correct, the trace amounts of alcohol are part of the fermentation process, but very little if any are left in the final product. That’s why it’s not a concern for the Whole30.

  128. Michelle says

    Melissa,

    Thanks for answering my question about deli turkey. Applegate Farms was the one I was talking about! But I was looking at the pre-packaged label. It has carrageenan in it. Next time, I’ll look at the ingredient list on Applegate Farms turkey at the deli counter.

    By the way, Boar’s Head has an “All Natural” line of deli meats. Roast beef is great! The turkey has a small amount of sugar, though. I was at my wits’ end trying to find “clean” turkey — thanks for the tip about looking at the deli instead of pre-packaged!

  129. Lisagrace says

    Hi! My husband and I are almost halfway done with our Whole30, yay! My husband LOVES beverages and that is the hardest part for him. I haven’t been able to find anything about Tea – can we have tea as long as it has no added sugar or weird stuff? It makes sense to me that we’d be able to, but I wanted to make sure.

  130. Lorelei says

    Hi There!

    I take a combination of probiotics, fish oil, and stress B complex. I will be starting on the first with the whole30. Should I discontinue use?

    Thanks!

  131. kate says

    I just started my whole 30 today and have run into a few bumps in the road. I am currently training for a marathon and after my 18mile run today I felt frustrated with my refueling options. Usually I will take a “gu” or eat sour patch kids during my race and will rehydrate with Gatorade or something very similar. Any suggestions on what I can have mid run and to rehydrate.

  132. kelley says

    i just noticed on the whole30 approved list that olives (all) are included…not sure how i missed this. so are we talking canned black olives?? green olives???

  133. Kristin says

    I needed clarification on the one-page meal planning guide. When it says to add fat in the following recommended amounts per meal and then lists 7 different items (oils, butters, coconut, olives, nuts/seeds, avocado, coconut milk)…are we picking one fat item per meal, or picking a few of any of these options in the recommended portions?

  134. says

    @Lisagrace: Tea is totally fine – just read your ingredients. Some tea brands use off-plan stuff (like barley) in their teas.

    @Lorelei: No need to discontinue your supplements, unless there are off-plan ingredients. Generally, though, the ones you listed should be fine.

    @Kate: Check our “athletes” section of the Whole30 forum (http://forum.whole9life.com). There are a ton of discussions of this nature posted there!

    @Kelley: Yes, all olives are fine, as long as you read your ingredients. Most canned olives are A-OK, but make sure there aren’t any sulfites listed on the label. (Citric acid or ferrous gluconate, common additives in olives, are fine.)

    @Peggy: Yes, you need to read your labels. We look for tuna with only tuna and water as ingredients, or canned salmon that is JUST salmon.

    @Kristin: Choose one fat item per meal, and add in that amount. Or, choose multiple items, and titrate down the amount you use. For example, if I cook my eggs in butter, I’ll use a tablespoon or so (one “thumb”), and then eat half an avocado with it. If I eat hard-boiled eggs for breakfast (no oil used), I’ll eat a whole avocado.

    Melissa

  135. says

    Any good recommendations for kefir recipes. Been paleo/primal for years, but have allowed some bad foods lately. Looking forward to going through a whole 30.

  136. Peggy says

    I have yet to find a tuna without vegetable broth in it,
    I buy the Bear and Wolf brand of salmon at Costco.
    I want to try this diet, but chicken and turkey are not appealing to me at all.
    I am very allergic to soy so I don’t get to eat out often.

    And eggs…I saw a friend who was raising her chickens and allowing them to roam free toss the supplements which had soy in them. Eggs are something I miss. I don’t buy them anymore because even the organic ones have something I react to.

  137. jcqwerty says

    Hi. I’m taking Vasalat (10mg/day) for my hypertension. Is it okay to still take these during the Whole30 program? Thank you.

    JC

  138. Jenni says

    I am breastfeeding and have low milk supply. All the lactation pills I have tried give me stomach upset, so my doctor recommended a lactation “cookie” that I have been using. It is fully compliant except it has cane sugar as the last listed ingredient. I have spoken with my doctor and can find no suitable alternative and am not willing to let my little one suffer by having my milk supply drop. My question is can I do a Whole30 program now with that one minor exception? Or will the small bit of sugar make the program not work? I am being very honest when I say I do not enjoy the taste of the cookies at all (I dislike them so much I freeze them and eat them frozen to diminish their taste) and they do not taste sweet, so I wouldn’t be mentally indulging any kind of sweet craving by eating them. I know doctor’s orders outweigh Whole30 rules, but I’m mostly interested to know whether I can get the benefits of Whole30 even if I keep eating the cookies.

  139. says

    JC, of course you can, and you should. Doctor’s orders always take priority over Whole30 rules. You should, in fact, work closely with your doctor during your program, as we have seen blood pressure improvements happen so fast as to necessitate a change in medication before the 30 days are up.

    Jenni, I’d be interested to know what’s in the cookie. Regardless of what I think about how to maintain supply, your doctor’s advice should always trump Whole30 rules. If the only off-plan ingredient in the cookies are added sugar, know that won’t affect your Whole30 results (as it applies to gut integrity, hormonal balance, or immune balance) in any way. Good luck!

    Melissa

  140. Carleton Cornish says

    Green or red peppers? Or peppers at all? I haven’t been able to find these on the shopping list or any of the comments above. Are they allowed?

  141. Alyssa says

    What about cauliflower pizza crust? No off plan ingredients but would it be out due to the same reasoning as banana pancakes?

  142. says

    Alyssa, that’s a tough one. We’re okay with “meatzza” (a “pizza-like” pie with ground beef as the base), but that’s because it in no way replicates pizza dough – it’s just a substitute. (Like using lettuce as a wrap, instead of a tortilla.) However, I feel like a cauliflower pizza crust may be meant to mimic the texture and feel of a bready crust?

    Honestly, some of these things are just going to be a judgment call. If you feel like making a cauliflower crust is too bread-like, and violates the spirit and intention of the program, don’t do it. If you feel like the veggie crust is just a substitute, and in no way makes you crave the bread in a real pizza crust, it’s probably okay. Sometimes, the SWYPO rule is a grey area, and those who do the program have to own their own decisions.

    But you still can’t have banana + egg pancakes. ;)

    Best,
    Melissa

  143. Karen says

    I was planning on starting to take Hope for Health mega multi vitamin and it has wheatgrass, oat bran and sprouted barley juice. I assume that this would be off limits and I would need to wait until after my 30?

  144. Amy says

    I’m curious about Fennel seeds. There are no additives in a jar that my boyfriend’s mom gave me, but I know seeds are typically a no-no. Just want to know if I can or not before I try to make them in a meal.

  145. Amy says

    I also have a question about anti-nausea pills… while my dr. says I should take them to curb my post-chemo cruddy feeling… the label of them says they have sugar in them. :( I asked if there were any other options and the pharmacist said most pills have sugar as an active ingredient…

    while I’m all for my dr. and the pharmacist advice, I’d rather go without and feel crappy for the 6-8 hours then have sugar still floating in my system somewhere and possible hinder my current W30 experience :(

    any suggestions?

  146. says

    Is corn ok too eat on the whole 30? I’m at day 25 and have been eating corn regularly (it’s fresh and
    in season..local farmer). Yesterday someone asked if corn was even on the whole30 list. Of course I didn’t see it on the approved list, answering my question….but I’m hoping its a typo. Haha. ???

  147. says

    I just came across a comment from Melissa stating the rules say “no corn”. Can you share a link that talks about corn? I dread to think I need to start over on my whole30, since I made the corn mistake /:

  148. Peggy says

    Amy, a lot of companies have replaced the sugar in meds with artificial sweeteners, like manitol and sorbitol. You can google it to find out what is in them.

  149. Peggy says

    Kimberly, http://whole9life.com/2013/08/the-whole30-program/

    Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. Yes, we said corn… for the purposes of this program, corn is a grain! 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.

  150. says

    Karen, you are correct – omit that because of the ingredients.

    Amy, fennel seeds are A-OK. As for the anti-nausea pills, doctor’s orders always trump Whole30 rules. The tiny amount of added sugar in the pills aren’t going to negatively affect your Whole30 in any way, so if they help you feel better (and your doctor prescribed them), please continue to take them during your program.

    Kimberly, our grain manifesto explains why even non-gluten grains may be problematic on the Whole30: http://whole9life.com/2013/02/grain-manifesto/

    Best,
    Melissa

  151. Brittany says

    What about coconut milk? You mentioned coconut water is ok, but what about coconut milk? The ingredients list coconut and water…Thanks!

  152. AmandaC says

    I just started the Whole30 on Sept 1. I love it so far! But I’ve been taking fermented cod liver oil/butter blend from Green Pastures. I stopped taking it this week because it has butter in it…but is it enough to throw off results? I’m missing that energy and sun tolerance help.

  153. says

    Brittany, coconut milk is fine. Make sure your brand contains no sulfites.

    Amanda, the fermented cod liver oil in butter is fine for the Whole30. (Technically, I’d probably have to say it’s off limits because the butter isn’t clarified, but honestly, it’s not going to affect your results, and the benefits definitely outweigh the potential insignificant downsides.)

    Melissa

  154. Lisa says

    Hi Melissa, your thoughts on water chestnuts? They provide good crunch and would be good in so many meals. Thanks, Lisa

  155. monica says

    I’m so sorry if this is already on here, I’ve been searching but I can’t find an answer! Can I use Sesame oil? If so, only cold or can I put it in a dish I am cooking? Thank you in advance!!

  156. enya says

    Hello, i have just started the Whole30 but just subscribed today. So online i officially start tomorrow. I am doing it with my whole family and i have a question about dried snack for the kids. It is called Humzinger – i don’t know if it is available in the US but it is in England. It is made of dried fruits, berries, apples, orange etc. It also lists sulphur dioxide as a preservative and the only other ingredient that is not a fruit. Can they have this? I feel it is not in the spirit of enjoying fresh food and fresh ingredients but i also want to keep them onside. So far they are trying really hard. They seem to crave a snack when i pick them up from school but this is just the sort of habit i am trying to correct.

  157. says

    Lisa, water chestnuts are great for crunch!

    Monica, sesame oil is fine for use as a flavoring, but it’s far better to use it cold. I wouldn’t cook with it (like, saute veggies in sesame oil), but I have thrown it into a hot dish while it’s still in the pan at the last minute.

    Enya, the sulphur dioxide would technically rule that out for the Whole30, and I’d hate to see you giving something to your kiddos that may provoke a sensitivity or allergic response. (Many are sensitive to sulfites.) However, it’s up to you – if the convenience of that snack (and the fact that your kids will eat them) outweighs the potential downsides of the sulfites for you, then that’s entirely your call. Plantain and yams are both good choices on the Whole30.

    Cari, raisins are allowed, but we caution you to use dried fruit sparingly – it’s basically nature’s candy! But they are a good choice for flavoring in a dish or salad, or for use during an athletic activity like a half-marathon or a long hike.

    Best,
    Melissa

  158. enya says

    Hello, we ( myself + 10 yr old, 7.5 yr old and my husband) are all doing okay. Just after dinner is the best time. I finally found some almond milk to combine with raw cacao for the kids on a cold day after school but it has locust bean gum which is from the carob seed to that will have to go. I still have not found a coconut milk that is compliant. My question is about using this jam – http://www.stdalfour.co.uk/index.htm
    I would like to use the strawberry jam to substitute for the peachy sauce used in a nom nom paleao school lunches recipe. The ingredients listed on the jar are strawberries 51%, unsweetened fruit juice concentrates, gelling agent fruit pectin and lemon juice. The jar goes further to say there are only naturally occurring sugars contained in the jam. My youngest daughter is the one struggling the most but her relationship with food is one of the reasons i am doing this.

  159. Fiona says

    Are we allowed canned products if we check the labels.
    E.g. sardines that just say Sardines, Water
    or salmon says salmon, salt
    or tomatoes says tomatoes, tomato juice, citric acid calcium chloride.

    Are there things on the cans we need to be wary of.

    Are there ingedients that we need to watch out on cans

    • says

      Fiona, yes, canned products are fine as long as the ingredient list is “clean.” The sardines you have listed would be totally fine for the program, as would the salmon and tomatoes. Just watch out for anything that adds MSG, sulfites, or carrageenan. Those would be off-limits during the Whole30. Melissa

    • says

      Ire, the program rules are clear – no added sugar. Unfortunately, this recipe would be out (unless you eliminate the molasses). However, post-Whole30, I think it would be a fine substitute. Melissa

  160. says

    Enya, you can make your own jam with fruit and chia seeds. Just process the fruit in a bullet mixer and add your chia seeds. Refrigerate overnight to thicken.

    • Martha says

      I smoke tons of marijuana and am still losing a lot of weight. If that’s your goal, I say yes.

  161. Shannon says

    Ok, I know there has been much discussion about vinegars. I recently bought a balsalmic vinegar and asked the guy about what was in it. He said there was no added sugars however he did say that it did have sulfites that occurred naturally from the process. I am assuming because of it being part of the process this is different than just adding them as an additional ingredient? I know very little about sulfites.

    Could you please explain if this is ok, or is there such a thing as sulfite free balsalmic vinegar. I want to start my Whole 30 off on the right track. :-)

  162. says

    @Julia: Nope, no marijuana for 30 days either.

    @Shannon: The naturally occurring sulfites in balsamic are fine. You just want to avoid anything that ADDS sulfites as an ingredient.

    Best,
    Melissa

  163. Shannon says

    Ok great, thank you for the clarification and your quick response. Reading the Whole 30 book too!
    Have a great weekend!

  164. says

    Katie, read your labels! Most herbal teas are fine, but some contain sneaky off-plan ingredients like stevia or barley.

    Ire, technically that would be fine as a sweetener, but it’s really pushing boundaries of our intentions (no added sweeteners). If you want to use a little fruit juice in a dish, that’s fine, but we’d strongly discourage you from making a homemade syrup. (Of course, it would also depend on how you were using it–in what quantity and context.)

    Melissa

  165. Sabrina says

    Is Rice Bran Oil allowed? It looks like this is what Chipotle uses to cook most of their meats, etc.

  166. Rachel says

    Honey? It’s a sweet thing so I wasn’t sure about it making the list or Agave Necter.
    What is the take on these two?

  167. says

    Rachel, not to beat a dead horse, but the first paragraph of the article says:

    Before You Ask, “Can I Have…”

    Before you even read this list, please make sure you’ve done the following:

    Read the Whole30 Program details. (http://whole9life.com/2012/08/the-whole30-program/)

    No, really read it. Don’t ask if quinoa is okay, because we spell it out clearly right there in the rules.

    (We’ve spelled out honey and agave there too.)

    Melissa

  168. says

    Hi. I am planning on starting my Whole30 in a couple of days. I am a vegetarian (not vegan) so was planning on using the tempeh as a protein source. All the tempeh I found seemed to have other things listed. Ie: there was a 3 grain version, 5 grain version. Even the plain/original had brown rice listed in the ingredients. Is this right? Is there a more pure one out there?

    Thx

  169. says

    Michelle,

    Ideally, you’d want to find an organic, 100% soy-based tempeh. However, I’m not sure how easy that is to find – I’m not as up on vegetarian food sourcing as I am meat sourcing. Perhaps you could contact your local health food store? If you can’t find 100% soy-based organic tempeh, then choose the one with the least number of grain-related ingredients. For example, I’d choose the one with brown rice over the 5-grain version.

    Hope that helps,
    Melissa

  170. says

    After your Whole30 is up, you can have anything you want! Just reintroduce foods carefully, to make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions.

    Best,
    Melissa

  171. says

    How about poppy seeds? I saw where fennel seeds are ok, so am thinking it is similar. As for the Tessemae’s dressings–they look like they all have red wine vinegar which I thought was a no go (red wine)?

  172. says

    Michelle, poppy seeds are A-OK, and the Whole30 rules say that all vinegar (with the exception of malt vinegar, which is presumed to contain gluten) is fine.

    Best,
    Melissa

  173. eva says

    How about sauerkraut? I cannot find any information on raw sauerkraut. I am concerned as ist is kind of processed food?!

    Thanks for your reply!
    Eva

  174. Joey says

    No marijuana!
    Melissa you are mean!
    Just joking.
    I need a reset so I’m going to follow this program to the letter.

    • jenn says

      Oh my gosh….I just finished cleaning out my kitchen and hiding away all the non compliant things (since I am the only one of five in the house that is doing this thing) in cupboards I just won’t even open for the next 30 days…And I realized that almost all the stuff I am ‘hiding’ away are things I don’t eat anyhow. And yet here I am sitting, sorta with a lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes. And I’m not sure why. Panic? Fear of failure?
      then I come across the no marijuana bit …. and … and … and I mean it’s LEGAL here now! ;)
      Man. take away all a girls vices and all that’s left is the girl, ya know?
      I think, after the pouting and tears and lump in my throat go away, I might like this…

  175. Kathleen L. says

    On the whole 30, am I able to have Julian bakery almond thin crackers. The ingredients seem to be ok but does it break the “don’t use almost flour for a treat- like item” rule?

  176. says

    Regarding ” reading the label”: what about when it lists several things, followed by “and spices” Can we assume that sugar is not one of those spices because it would have been listed seperately? Thx

  177. Sean says

    Is xanthan gum okay? It looks like it’s derived from glucose, so I’m assuming not, but I figured I’d ask.

    It seems like it’s present in pretty much every salad dressing ever.

  178. says

    Sean,

    It’s impossible to tell the source from which xanthan gum is derived. However, as an additive, we are not concerned. It is fine for your Whole30.

    Best,
    Melissa

  179. Michelle says

    Hi!

    I am currently taking hydrocodine among other medications for some neck injuries. Is this going to mess up my Whole30 plan?

    Thanks so much!

    Michelle

  180. Maya says

    Hi, I don’t eat meat, but fish, eggs and dairy are ok. I do not touch soy productus. for my protein intake, can I keep kefir on my list or no, since I do eat the occational fish? if yes, are there any other dairy products ok? like heavy cream? i use ghee for cooking already.
    thank you

  181. says

    Michelle, please follow doctor’s orders and keep taking your prescriptions. You may notice some effects from the meds during your program (for one, hydrocodone can be very constipation-inducing), so perhaps drinking some prune juice (small sips throughout the day), taking a magnesium supplement before bed, and drinking lots of water can help to counteract those effects.

    Maya, check out this article on Whole30 for vegetarians and vegans: http://www.whole9life.com/2012/03/paleo-nutrition-for-vegetarians/ We also lay out our program for vegetarians/vegans in our book, It Starts With Food (in the special populations chapter). You can find the book at http://bit.ly/whole9iswf. You can also search on our forum for Whole30 for Vegetarians–there are several threads with lots of support.

    You’ll have to decide for yourself which protein sources are right for you Though it’s not a true Whole30, we encourage you to embrace as much of the program as you are able within your own set of restrictions. Good luck!

    Best,
    Melissa

  182. Tony Batya says

    I’m on day 24 and have been strict on my adherence to allowable items. I was hoping to see some improvement to my moderate psoriasis but no change so far. Should I eliminate any other approved Whole30 foods?

  183. says

    Tony, psoriasis is an autoimmune condition, so you may experience benefits from eliminating additional foods as per our AIP, like eggs, nightshades, and nuts and seeds. (See our AIP shopping list for details: http://www.whole9life.com/2013/06/expanded-iswf-shopping-lists/

    For a condition like that, it’s not unusual to need longer than 30 days to see benefits. You can either start an AIP now and continue for another month or so, or just stay on the original Whole30 for longer and see if that helps. I’d probably go with the AIP for a few weeks, though… you’re already in it this far, so what’s another few weeks if you discover dietary changes really improve your condition?

    Best,
    Melissa

  184. says

    Kelp noodles are fine, but they can be nutritionally barren, depending on which “brand” you purchase. A better, more nutrient-dense alternative would be spaghetti squash, sweet potato noodles (made with a spiralizer), or zucchini noodles.

    Melissa

  185. Jess says

    Hi Melissa,

    Apologies if this has been covered, but are fresh herbs ok? I tend to use a lot of mint, parsley, basil and corriander/cilantro in salads and rosemary and marjoram when cooking meat.

    Thanks,

    Jess

  186. Rana says

    Sooooo…I suppose the words “not technically” is a pretty good indicator, but it’s not technically ice cream. You have a ripe banana and cut it into chunks and freeze it. Then throw those chunks into a food processor for about 5 minutes, and tada! 1 ingredient banana ice cream, made of bananas and air. Mmmmmm bananas and air. Soooooooo? Yes?

  187. Christina McCoy says

    How about flavored club soda — ingredients “Carbonated water, natural flavorings”?

  188. says

    Fresh herbs and naturally flavored club soda/mineral water/sparkling water are all fine on the program. Ice cream made from frozen bananas, not so much, as we outline in the article above.

    Best,
    Melissa

  189. Duane says

    I have a question about dates. On the Whole30 “shopping list” it shows dates as being OK. However, on the right hand side of the “shopping list” it says that dried fruit should be “limited”. Are you talking about “fresh” dates in the accepted category? The box of dates that we typically buy at the grocery store (not fresh) have dates listed as the only ingredient. A friend of ours who is almost through the Whole30 program said that this type of dates would be considered dried fruit and would thus be in the “limited” category. However, I was reading some of the content above and you have one post on dates that doesn’t really say they are “limited”. Can you clarify this as my wife and I are on Day 3 and we want to be sure that we are following the program correctly.

  190. says

    Duane,

    You can buy fresh dates (they’re delicious), or dried dates. We recommend limiting dried dates, as they’re ridiculously sweet–basically candy. We don’t want those taking the place of your mid-afternoon Snickers bar, or satisfying sugar cravings in other ways. In general, limit all dried fruits (because of the concentration of sweetness and sugar), and choose whole, fresh fruits more often.

    Best,
    Melissa

  191. Dorothy says

    I am confused about the “It Starts with Food” Cookbook. It says it is for people following the WHole30 Program. But the first recipe is almond hotcakes – specifically a no-no. other recipes use cheese.

    How is this suppose to help me on the program if therecipes have ingredients are not on the program?

    • says

      Dorothy, did you read the description or any of the 100+ reviews of the cookbook? This is NOT associated with The Whole30 or ISWF in any way – someone decided to copycat our name and profit from unsuspecting people like yourself. It’s shameful, but there is nothing we can do, unfortunately. I’m glad you did some critical thinking before you purchased!

      Best,
      Melissa

  192. patty says

    Can I get most of the information that is in your whole 30 success guide from your book” it starts with food” ?

  193. Noelia says

    Hello!
    So far so good on my 2nd day with the program (dragged my hubby with me too! Not much of a choice due I’m the one cooking!)
    Are plantains ok with the whole30? We are from the Caribbean and plantains are in most of our dishes!
    Thanks!

    • says

      I assume you’re talking about flax seeds, in which case you can eat them on the Whole30. However, their consumption is not encouraged, because of the kind of fat they contain. Use them as a condiment, not as a main source of fat. Best, Melissa

  194. Mirella says

    Dear Melissa,

    I use every day 2 dinerspoons of flax seeds for my
    intestines. To keep things flowing. If you know what I mean. ;-)
    Is there everything else what I may use and is’nt so fat?

    Thanks Mirella

    • says

      Mirella, that shouldn’t be an issue. You can also try using a magnesium supplement like Natural Calm – it has a gentle regulatory effect. The Whole30 should also help with keeping things “regular.” Best, Melissa

  195. PaleoLissie says

    Hi. Do you consider sesame seed oil in the same category as sunflower/safflower oil or is it more like walnut/macadamia nut oil? ie Is it allowed or not allowed on Whole30?

  196. says

    Sesame oil is in the same category as the rest of the seed oils, but it is allowed on the Whole30. Don’t use it for cooking, only use it cold, and treat it like a condiment (for flavor).

  197. Angela says

    Melissa,

    Does edamame fall into the same category as green beans and snap peas? I start Whole 30 tomorrow and want to make sure I’m not cheating!!!!

  198. PaleoLissie says

    Thanks for that response on the sesame oil. Aren’t edamame also soy and therefore doubly not allowed? :)

  199. Rachel says

    I haven’t started Whole 30 yet (considering it) so I’m not up to speed on everything. Therefore, I apologize if this question has been asked an answered repeatedly: Is peanut butter (the kind where “peanuts” is the only ingredient) allowed on Whole 30? At first I thought yes, and then I started wondering if peanuts are legumes….

  200. Rachel says

    Another question :) I know that fruit is acceptable on Whole 30, so I can have it, but my understanding is that there are some guidelines about fruit. Can you direct me to where I can read those? I haven’t been able to find them on the Whole 9 website.

  201. says

    Rachel, we discuss fruit in detail in our book, It Starts With Food (http://bit.ly/whole9iswf). In short, start with two servings a day, and adjust up or down depending on the season (we eat more in summer), your goals (are you using fruit as a substitute for sugar cravings? Don’t do that…) and how you’re feeling.

    Best,
    Melissa

  202. says

    Walnut oil is fine on the Whole30. We recommend using it cold (never heating it), and preferably in relatively small amounts, as it doesn’t contain as healthy a fat profile as olive oil.

    Melissa

  203. Luann says

    I have 2 questions: First, I noticed you mentioned fruit juice is ok but doesn’t that have sugar in it? Does it need to be 100% juice? Second, I was wondering about canned tuna. I usually eat the kind with water but can I eat the kind with oil on the whole30? Thanks!

  204. says

    Fruit juice is permitted on the program, but only if there isn’t any ADDED sugar in the ingredient list. Of course there is sugar in fruit (and in other foods, like sweet potato), but it’s ADDED sugar that the Whole30 eliminates. And remember, while a glass of fruit juice is technically okay on the program, it’s highly discouraged.

    As for tuna in oil, that’s just fine–again, read your labels to make sure it’s not soybean oil (which is off limits), or that there aren’t other off-plan ingredients like MSG.

    Melissa

  205. Stephanie says

    Is it ok to have medicines like cold medicine? I just started the Whole30 and came down with a bad cold. I was trying to get rid of it with eating my good foods especially with high vitamin C. However, I am just miserable in the meantime!

  206. says

    Stephanie, medications as prescribed or recommended by your health care professional are always appropriate on the Whole30 – doctor’s orders always trump Whole30 rules. If you are considering an over-the-counter medicaiton, just read your labels, as most cough/cold medicines won’t be Whole30 compliant. At that point, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether reducing your symptoms is more important than our program rules. Please make the call that is best for your health! As for OTC pain relief, you can take Advil, aspirin, etc. but we recommend Tylenol, as NSAID medications can mess with your gut.

    Best,
    Melissa

  207. Rachel says

    What kind of preservatives and additives are allowed on Whole30? Things like xanthan gum, alum, polysorbate 80, etc?

  208. says

    Rachel, the only ingredients we specifically forbid are MSG in all forms, sulfites in all forms, and carrageenan. Things like xanthan gum or citric acid are not likely to present any issues or problems. Ideally, you’ll find things with no additives.

    When in doubt about whether you should okay an additive for yourself, use Wikipedia. Generally, you can find enough info on an additive to make a decision.

    Melissa

  209. Elizabeth says

    I highly recommend everyone read the book as it covers every single detail that you need to know about this program. I bought it thinking I wasn’t going to get much information out of it but that’s all it is is useful information and is answering every question in the comments. I’m on my second roung of reading the book bc I’m always finding something that I missed. I refer to the book almost every day and during my meal planning. Please if you can read the book! Best resource there is!

  210. Rachel says

    I just noticed that the garlic powder I’ve been using since I started W30 contains partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, cottonseed and soybean specifically. :( I’ll try to find a brand that doesn’t contain this but meanwhile, does this mean I need to restart my W30?

    • says

      Rachel, we recommend people start over if (a) they ingest one of the “big three” (gluten, dairy, or whole forms of soy) or (b) they really want to have 30 days of perfect Whole30 meals. The tiny amount of soybean oil in your garlic powder (or the other stuff in there) isn’t awesome, but it’s also not going to affect your Whole30 results in any way, so it’s really up to you if you want to start over. If you just wanted to chalk it up to a learning experience, I think that would work just fine.

      Melissa

  211. Annie B says

    If you are in the UK and need Coconut Aminos, you can get them on Amazon UK but they are only available occasionally. I think they must get a single case or something. Make sure it is the Coconut Secret one you order as often it will bring up Braggs Aminos which are not compliant ( I have read the book and the rules ha ha)
    Day 6 for me and I am tired, not that hungry but fully realizing I may be still in the ‘carb flu’ stage. My 15 year old is doing it with me and despite moaning and complaining not be able to eat ‘anything good’, I hasten to add this is 100% her decision and I am happy she is complaining since it means she is compliant. Not a darn thing to eat in the house even if she wanted it. Good luck everyone.

  212. Valerie says

    I loved your book – so easy to understand and LOGICAL! My husband is reading it now and will soon be a convert!

    What do you think about ferrous gluconate (added to canned olives to stabilize color)? I’m guessing this is bad but I’m hoping not because I love black olives and the canned ones are great for cooking (I add them, some olive oil and some crushed red pepper to spaghetti squash and it’s delicious! Olives from the olive bar, like Kalamata, just don’t taste right in this concoction.).

    Thanks!

  213. says

    Valerie, thanks so much! We’re not at all concerned with ferrous gluconate in olives. It’s used to make the olives look darker (more black). I’ve read that the process of “fixing” the color MAY reduce the nutritional benefit of the olive, but I can’t confirm that. Ideally, you’d find olives without (they definitely exist!) but if you can’t, you can certainly enjoy these on your Whole30.

    Melissa

  214. Jan says

    My daughter has been doing the Whole30 and has never felt better, so I’m starting next week. Should I continue prescription meds like atorvastatin, low dose Paxil and omeprazole (which is actually now over-the-counter) during the 30 days? Thank you.

  215. Leis says

    Hi sorry if these questions have been asked before, I may have skipped over the appropriate post.

    Is plain coconut milk yogurt (I’m sure the flavoured ones are out due to coconut sugar) ok and can I have konjac noodles?

    Thanks!

    • says

      Leis, our forum moderator Tom Denham said this best: “Yogurt made from coconut milk and other 100% compliant ingredients would be okay during a Whole30 with one proviso: anyone eating it should be able to go 30 days without eating yogurt without suffering withdrawal or getting cranky about it. Yep, Sex With Your Pants On is the issue. That means, some folks could eat coconut yogurt during a Whole30, but some should learn to eat other foods.”

      As for these “fiber noodles,” they are technically compliant but nutritionally barren–the very definition of empty calories. We highly recommend you find something more nutrient-dense to serve as a side dish, preferably a vegetable.
      Melissa

    • Leis says

      Thanks for your reply. I normally eat paleo but went on a sugar/wheat binge over Christmas. Since then I found that while I’m sticking to paleo I’m eating allot of SWYP foods that I usually limit to once a week as my cheat meal so will probably cut the yogurt for the next 30. I’m resetting my habits with the Whole 30 as I have you guys to thank for being the catalyst for my initial lifestyle change.

      Thanks so much for all your great advice and for continuing to support people into great health!

  216. Charissa says

    Hi! The new thing I’ve been seeing is to use a fried plantain to recreate a hamburger bun. It’s not bread, but it’s acting to recreate bread and could possibly be reinforcing bad eating habits? Whole30 compliant or not? Thanks in advance for your help!

    • says

      Charissa, this wouldn’t be off limits for the Whole30, technically. You can “substitute” all kinds of vegetables or fruit for a bun–portabello mushroom, lettuce, even granny smith apple slices. However, if you feel like this is too reminiscent of bread, or the fried plantain stirs your sugar dragon, then maybe it’s best to leave this off your plate (as a personal judgment call).

      Melissa

    • says

      Keri, no, these are not allowed. The ingredient list for Egg Beaters is ridiculously long (and contains maltodextrin):

      Egg Whites, Less than 1%: Natural Flavor, Color (Includes Beta Carotene), Spices, Salt, Onion Powder, Vegetable Gums (Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum), Maltodextrin. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Sulfate, Iron (Ferric Phosphate), Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol Acetate), Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamine Mononitrate), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin D3

      You would be much, much healthier if you just ate the whole egg.
      Melissa

  217. Valerie says

    How detrimental is it to the diet if you make an accidental mistake during the first 30 days but correct it as soon as it realize it? For instance, to get in sufficient water, I drink 1-2 cups of tea every day. I forgot to check the labels, and yup, you guessed it, it has “natural flavoring” in it. I immediately started making my own tea with some organic fruit (a little lime and a couple of ripe raspberries) for flavoring, but do I need to reset my 30 day count now? Thanks!

    • says

      Valerie, “natural flavors” are not excluded on the program. Ideally, you’re buying products that contain ingredients you recognize, but this isn’t at all problematic, and doesn’t require you to start over.

      Best,
      Melissa

  218. Megan says

    Hi, I have been looking to see is pectin powder is ok to have on the whole30. Haven’t seen any information on it.

    Megan

  219. Ehren says

    I know that olive oil, avocado oil, and macadamia nut oil are ok. What about pecan oil? It is not listed as either good or bad. Thanks for your help!

    • says

      To be honest, I’ve not seen pecan oil before. Pecan oil would fall into the same category as other seed oils – not enocouraged to use in large quantities, and use cold only (never heat).

      Melissa

  220. says

    @Colleen, as the article says, read your labels. If every single ingredient in your Kind bar is okay on the program, then the bar is okay. Make sure there is no added sugar in any form in the ingredient list.

    Melissa

  221. Matt says

    Is the flavored muscle egg ok to have I don’t know what all the ingredients are

    Pasteurized egg whites
    Natural Flavors
    Konjac Gum
    Xanthan Gum
    Sucralose

  222. sabrina says

    So it says you can have balsamic vinegar, however the ones I saw all contain sulfates. So can you have it?

    • says

      Sabrina, naturally occurring sulfites (as a result of the fermentation process) are fine. You just want to avoid brands that add additional sulfites (in the ingredient list). Organic balsamics by default have no added sulfites.

      Melissa

    • says

      Lisa, you can continue to take over-the-counter supplements on your program. We just ask that you make sure the ingredients are all compliant. However, we strongly discourage taking OTC laxatives or fiber supplements during the program. The Whole30 is designed to balance and improve digestion (and you’re getting plenty of fiber with all those fruits and vegetables), so supplements of that nature should not be necessary. If you need a little help in the BM department, a natural laxative like prune juice or a magnesium supplement is much better than an OTC laxative pill. Melissa

  223. sabrina says

    I found chicken sausage and chorizo at whole foods and all the ingredients where allowed but I am wondering if the sausages and things like that are not allowed because they are processed? It was in the meat case not pre-packaged

    • says

      Sabrina, “processed” food is fine on the program–after all, hamburger, applesauce, and mashed sweet potato are all technically “processed!” We just ask that you avoid foods with off-plan ingredients during the program. If all of the ingredients in your chicken sausage and chorizo are approved, then go ahead and enjoy them during your Whole30. Melissa

  224. Alicia says

    Hello! I’m wondering about Epic bars on Whole30. The bison bacon cranberry one is no good for the Whole30, as it states brown sugar is added to the bacon. However, for the other three flavors, all the ingredients seem okay. The only ingredient I don’t know about is lactic acid. There is an asterisk indicating it’s not from milk. But I’m just not sure what to do with lactic acid as an ingredient. Is it okay?

    Thanks!

  225. Annie says

    I just bought MaraNatha All Natural Roasted Almond Butter. The ingredients only list Dry Roasted Almonds but are followed by a disclaimer that the product may contain “traces of Peanuts, Soy and TreeNuts.” Would this void it’s Whole30 approval? Thank you!

  226. Bryan says

    Can you expound on the reason(s) why marijuana is not allowed? Or only certain forms? Thank you!

    • says

      Bryan, marijuana in any form is not allowed on the Whole30. Like alcohol, pot directly influences decision-making processes, undermining Good Food choices, and altering satiety mechanisms that allow us to moderate food intake. There is no moral answer here, only one that takes the “set yourself up for success” slant. And if a person has difficulty without pot for 30 days, that should be a signal that there’s a bit of a problem there. Good luck on your Whole30! Melissa

  227. Carolina says

    I’m wondering if I can still take my multi vitamins and fish oil supplements or is it off limits?

    • says

      Carolina, as long as the ingredient list on your supplements and fish oil are compliant, you are more than welcome to continue taking them while on the Whole30. And as always, if your health care practitioner recommends or prescribes a certain supplement or medication, their recommendation always trumps Whole30 rules. Melissa

  228. Katie says

    I LOVE fruit? I there such a thing as too much? What is the balance of fruits and veggies in the Whole30 plan?

    • says

      Holly, if all of the ingredients on the label are approved, then the food is approved. So if your nut butter is just nuts (like Organic Sunbutter) it’s good to go, and if your drief fruit have no added sugars or sulfites, they’re good to go too. Just be careful with both of these foods, as they tend to be the more “addictive” of the foods allowed on the Whole30.

      Melissa

  229. says

    Maria, green tea is fine, just read your ingredients as some teas contain off-plan items. As for how much is too much, I can’t answer that for you. Green tea does have some caffeine, so you may need to be careful with how much and when you drink it.

    Best,
    Melissa

  230. says

    Everyone keeps telling me no tomatoes. I swear I’ve read everything. I have no clue how to find that rule. Can you shed some light on this?

    • says

      Kindra, we recommend against tomatoes only if you are doing an autoimmune protocol. Otherwise, tomatoes and tomato products (as long as the other ingredients are clean) are 100% good to go.

      Melissa

  231. April says

    There’s a W30 debate in my house right now based on different understanding the answers about smoothies and juices answer. I know this may seem nitpicky, but knowing what you think would help tremendously.

    In the past I’ve regularly made kale/cucumber whole juice as part of a midmorning snack to support energy levels and up my veggie intake. It was usually about 12 oz., always water based, used a 1/2 of small apple (about 1/2 c) to 2 c. of kale and 1c+ cucumber (about a 1: 5 ratio of fruit to veggies). I’ve only used a high powered blender (no juicer) to make these. That means the fiber is still in there.

    On occasion, I would like to add this to our snack options with a snack size portion of protein.
    The Hubby says it is a smoothie/juice and not OK. I say that it is more a whole vegetable juice–different that what I think you are describing in the book, on the site and here, in the comments.

    Can you clarify this?
    Thanks!

  232. says

    April,

    According to the technicality of the rules, any smoothie or juice (as long as it included approved fruits and vegetables) are allowed. We discourage against fruit smoothies or drinking your vegetables for a number of reasons, but it’s just a recommendation, not a rule.

    If your blended drinks are mostly veggies, and are included in addition to the vegetables and fruits you are eating with meals, I don’t have any issue with you including these as part of your regular diet. Sounds like you are just using them to get a little extra nutrition in your day, not in place of actually eating your greens.

    Hope that helps,
    Melissa

  233. Carina says

    Hello,
    Are chestnuts ok to eat? I can’t find any reference to them. The packaging label (they’re peeled roasted chestnuts) mentions no other ingredient besides chestnuts.
    Your advice is much appreciated.
    Carina

  234. Alicia says

    Hi! I’m asking again about the lactic acid not derived from milk as an ingredient in Epic bars–is this okay on Whole30?

    Thanks!

  235. Annie says

    I found an unsweetened almond milk that also claims to be lactose, gluten and soy free. It has:almond milk, sea salt, locust bean gum, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, and natural flavor. Will it work for the program?

  236. Kathleen says

    Hi Melissa,

    Sorry if it’s been brought up already – I bought refined Coconut Oil, is that definitely a no-go? Or is it OK?

    Thanks!
    Kathleen

  237. Rachel says

    After eating a carrot souffle, I noticed that the ingredients in my pumpkin pie spice read cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and sulfiting agents. Is this the same as sulfites? Does this mean I need to start over? (Day 13)

    • says

      Rachel, yep, that’s the same as sulfites. Unless you are exquisitely sensitive, the accidental ingestion of minute quantities in your spice won’t affect your Whole30 results, so chalk it up to a learning experience and move on.

      Melissa

  238. Blythe says

    Can you please explain why cooking with alcohol is off-limits, such as a wine reduction? Doesn’t the alcohol cook out? Thanks!

    • says

      First, not all the alcohol cooks off. Second, wine contains sulfites, beer contains gluten… it gets complicated in a hurry. Because we want to be consistent with our rules and eliminate all possible exposures to some of these compounds (especially gluten), our rule is no alcohol, even for cooking.

      Melissa

  239. Samara says

    I notice that some of the “Nuts to You” nut butters say “May contain traces of peanuts, other tree nuts and seeds.” Are these okay, as long as the ingredients are 100% nuts? Also, one nut butter of this brand says it contains sunflower oil in addition to the dry roasted nuts. Is sunflower oil in this context okay to eat? Also, another brand of almond butter (ingredients say it contains only dry roasted almond) says it may contain soy. Is this okay also?

    • says

      Good question. That’s just an allergen warning, for those folks who are allergic to certain nuts or other ingredients. As long as the ingredient list is clean, and you aren’t allergic to the potential “may contain” ingredients, you’re good to go. Sunflower oil isn’t an issue as an ingredient, either.

    • Samara says

      I noticed that in the ingredient list for my cocoa powder, there is “sodium carbonate.” I did a search to see if this was okay, but didn’t come up with anything. Other than that, the only other ingredient is cocoa.

  240. Peggy says

    It is getting so hard to find Chicken to eat that has not been fed soy. Do you have any suggestions? I can find eggs but even the antibiotic free chicken hurts my stomach. Having a soy allergy is the pits now a days!

    • says

      Peggy, you’re going to have a really hard time finding chicken or pork where their diets are not supplemented, usually with grains and soy. These animals are omnivores, and it’s extremely rare that a farmer will be able to raise and grow them living solely on the land–there aren’t many areas of the country where that is possible. You may have to avoid chicken altogether with a soy allergy, and stick to animals that can be 100% naturally fed, like beef, lamb, elk, and seafood.

      You could also use a source like Eat Wild to help you find farms in your area (or online providers) who don’t supplement their chickens with soy.

      Melissa

  241. Lauren says

    I can’t find this specifically…sorry if it should be an obvious answer:
    You say citric acid is okay, but what about malic and ascorbic acid, calcium citrate, and ferrous gluconate, which also seem to be common in canning? Thanks.

    • says

      Lauren,

      As long as the food doesn’t contain MSG, carrageenan, or sulfites, the additives are fine. It’s always best to find food without additives entirely, of course, but none of these are of any concern to me health-wise.

      Melissa

  242. Jen says

    What about Prenatal Vitamins? I am trying to concieve and my doctor perscribed a prenatal. I just saw on another forum about it having Gluten in it. I looked up the ingredients on mine the inactive ingredients are: Gelatin, Glycerin, Soybean Oil, Purified water, Lecithin, Yellow Beeswax, Natural Creamy Orange Flavor, FD&C Red #40, Titanium Dioxide, Ethyl Vanillin, FD&C Yellow #6, FD&C Blue #1.

    I read this list and say no way, but I’m on day 14, should I stop taking them? Start over?

    • says

      Jen,

      First, your doctors orders always trump Whole30 rules. That having been said, I don’t like those ingredients at all–especially the artificial colors. Can you talk to your doctor about taking a more natural prenatal? We like Pure Encapsulations Nutrient 950K. There is a bit of soy in the ingredient list, but we’re not worried about that in the scheme of things–the benefits you’ll get from that particular formulation far outweigh any potential downsides associated with a tiny bit of soy.

      Melissa

  243. Karen says

    Can I use Vanilla Beans straight from the pod? Well Fed 2 has a Pina Colada Chicken recipe that calls for vanilla extract. I have whole vanilla pods that I was going to splice and pull the beans from. Thanks

  244. Mary says

    As I enter week 3 of the Whole 30 Challenge, I am trying to arrange meals without fruit & I wanted to know if a plantain is considered a fruit or “vegetable” on the plan? I am under the impression that fruits such as avocado, tomato, etc are okay as they act as vegetables…but I am curious if a plantain acts the same way.

    • says

      Mary, it really depends on why you are trying to arrange meals without fruit. Is it a candida protocol, or do you have some other reason?

      Plantains are just like bananas–fruit.

      Melissa

  245. HeatherS says

    With the New Year beginning, my IG and FB feeds are rife with those doing all sorts of challenges and inviting others to join in. It’s disappointing how so many of these challenges require the investment of some serious $$ to buy things marketed by the company that are in fact *gasp* less healthy for you than just eating real food. Thanks to you guys I can always feel good asking others to join in a W30 with me, knowing they don’t have to buy any special mystery mixes, drinks or supplements to do so or to come up with a few extra hundred dollars to do it. Thanks for always keeping your program free and focused on Good Food.

    • says

      Heather, we think this kind of sucks too. Especially those challenges who make themselves SOUND a lot like the Whole30 (cough, cough, Whole LIfe Challenge) but have nothing to do with our rules or philosophy. Thanks for your support–the Whole30 will always be free, and every year we keep adding to the free resources we offer.

      Melissa

  246. Lisa says

    I bought Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream (not coconut milk). Is this okay to have in my coffee or for cooking?

  247. Rachel says

    I’m am SO upset! I have been taking Natural Calm made by Natural Vitality since before Whole30 because I have trouble sleeping and wanted to get away from the OTC PM meds. The label only states “Ingredients: Ionic magnesium citrate (created from a highly absorbable proprietary blend of citric acid and magnesium carbonate)”. I decided to look at the website out because of something I’d heard about some varieties containing steevia and sure enough, the website states: “Ingredients: Ionic magnesium citrate (created from a highly absorbable proprietary blend of citric acid and magnesium carbonate), organic flavor and organic stevia”. I have avoided sugar and sweeteners completely for the past 16 days. In fact, I threw out a pan of sauteed veggies last night because I saw that my garlic salt contained sugar moments after I added it to the pan. I feel duped because steevia was not on the label. I need to stop taking it (too bad, because it has helped me sleep), but do I need to start over? :(

    • says

      Rachel, glad to see you got this straightened out with the manufacturer. The unflavored version of Natural Calm does not contain any added sugars, and is Whole30 compliant.

      Melissa

  248. Maia says

    Hi,
    This morning I mistakenly took a small bite of a peanut butter cookie larabar, and realized my mistake when I’d swallowed. I threw out the rest.

    Do I have to start over? Today is my 12th day and I’ve followed the W30 rules religiously.
    Any advice is welcome!
    Thank you.

    • says

      Maia, we would generally recommend it, especially if you have any health conditions or digestive issues you are trying to improve… but it’s up to you. Peanuts are one of those foods that directly impact the integrity of the gut, and may “reset” your healing process. Whether you choose to start over or just move on is your choice, however.

      Best,
      Melissa

  249. Donna says

    I haven’t seen any mention on using glycerin on the Whole30. Can I use Frontier non-alcoholic vanilla extract? The ingredients are: glycerin, fair trade certified vanilla bean extractives, water.
    Donna

  250. Rachel says

    Please disregard my previous post about Natural Calm. I contacted the manufacturer and they assured me that the unflavored variety does not contain Steevia, only their flavored versions do. The website that stated otherwise told me they will correct the error.

  251. David says

    Bought the book after seeing you respond to all the questions
    AMAZING .. truly impressed with the follow through ….amazing

  252. Lori says

    Hi there, very impressed with your program and spent the last several days preparing to start tomorrow. Labels scrutinized, fresh organic veggies bought, fresh side bacon sliced at the butcher. Bone broth cooking, ghee made, mayo made….”last supper” down and ready to go. Problem: my awesome mayo i made with hot and sharp German mustard contained dijon, which in turn was made with white wine. I wanted to be perfectly compliant and being somewhat of a perfectionist, am feeling like i must go without mayo and throw this out, which makes me want to cry before i even start! Ugh. How do i find mustard without wine to make mayo, or can i use this mayo with (its tiny teaspoon of dijon containing) German mustard? Thanks!

    • says

      Lori, it’s hard to find dijon without white wine as an ingredient, but it’s out there–you just have to read a lot of labels. You could also sub mustard powder for dijon in your mayo recipe.

      I can’t tell you what to do about the batch of mayo you made–it depends on whether you want to start the program off with a non-compliant item, and how important it is to you that you complete all 30 days at 100%. Alcohol is one of the things that directly impacts gut permeability, but I can’t say whether the amount in the mayo you made would be significant.

      Best,
      Melissa

    • Lori says

      Thanks so much. I do have mustard powder (a lot) so will probably make a new batch using that to start out right. Thanks for the quick response!!

  253. Erin says

    Hello! Finishing up day 7 today and I’m really am having trouble adjusting to avocado oil as my mayonnaise component. Other suggestions for making mayo? I have both sunflower oil and olive oil at home, but I know that vegetable oil consumption should be reduced/eliminated. Thanks!

  254. Kat says

    Hi Melissa!

    Thank you so much for the awesome resources- your website is great!! I have a food question (and apologies if this has already been asked): is yeast extract okay on Whole 30? I’d like to use a bit of Vegemite, but it says the yeast is grown from barley and it has malt extract (from barley as well), so I’m guessing this is a no-go for the next month…

  255. Kay says

    Dear Melissa
    I have just started this program after stumbling across your website. I have just finished Day 5 and my headache has subsided. I wanted to say how great it is that you have so many free resources and that you respond so quickly to people’s queries. With regards to the mayo… I have made the mayo without mustard and used macadamia nut oil because I don’t like the sometimes strong taste of EVOO or Avocado oil. It still tastes great.

  256. says

    Alright, all… unfortunately, we don’t have time to continue to address each of your questions one by one on this thread. That’s why we’ve created so many amazing (FREE) resources for you! So in an effort to teach you how to fish, I’m closing comments on this article.

    If you have a question about the Whole30 program rules or other aspects of the program:

    1. Go to the home page and click, I need support during my Whole30.There are a number of GREAT tips and tricks there for easily finding answers to your questions.

    2. For a quick question like, “What about XX food?” visit our Whole30 Forum. I guarantee your question has been asked (and answered) there at least once before.

    Best,
    Melissa