In this Plant-Based Whole30 resource, we’ll share the most common “Can I have…” questions you’ve asked, and share our answers all in one place. We’ll also include our best tips for success with the program in italics.

Please note, this list ONLY applies to our Plant-Based Whole30 program, as the rules are different than the Original Whole30. You can find the Original Whole30 “Can I Have” guide here.

Assume every ingredient listed here is 100% plant-based. So you’ll find “plant-based yogurt” under “yogurt,” and “vegan protein powder” under “protein powder.”

Do your homework

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

Read the Plant-Based Whole30 Program Rules.

Read the Rules thoroughly, followed by the Pancake Rule for even more nuance. Still have a question? Search or ask in our Plant-Based Whole30 forum. Need more help? Email us at [email protected]

Read your labels.

Before you ask whether Cholula hot sauce, French’s Yellow, or a Peanut Butter Larabar* is compatible, read the ingredient list. If all of the ingredients are compatible with the Program Rules, then the food is compatible with your Plant-Based Whole30 elimination. If it contains an off-plan ingredient, then it’s out for 30 days.

*Yes, yes, and yes, because peanuts are Plant-Based Whole30 compatible!

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 compatible. Look for any form of sugar (real or artificial) in the ingredient list. If it’s there, it’s out for your Plant-Based Whole30 elimination.

When it comes to additives, only two are specifically out.

The Plant-Based Whole30 eliminates carrageenan and sulfites on the program. Other common additives, like xanthan gum, natural flavors, or ascorbic acid, are allowed. Also, don’t buy into fear mongering that all additives are “toxic.” We’re not at all concerned with natural flavors in your sparkling water, and “ascorbic acid” is just vitamin C. See our Plant-Based Whole30 Common Additive Cheat Sheet for details.

On the Plant-Based Whole30 Elimination, Can I Have…

Almond Flour: Yes

Yes, you can have almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, cassava flour and other non-grain-based flours, but it’s context-dependent. You can use it in place of breadcrumbs in your Abbott’s Butcher “meatballs,” to dredge a block of tofu, 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; nor can you have it in pasta, noodle, or gnocchi recreations. Those foods fall under the Pancake Rule and are not part of the Plant-Based Whole30 elimination.

Almond Milk: Yes (read your labels)

Compatible commercially-produced almond milk is easier to find than ever before. However, many will still have sugar and few may contain carrageenan—rendering those off-limits for your Plant-Based Whole30. If you can’t find a compatible brand, like New Barn Unsweetened or JOI, the alternative is to make your own—but remember, no added sweetener!

Amaranth: No

Amaranth falls into the category of plants that we call pseudo-cereals. These products are not botanically grains, but contain compounds that may cause similar issues in sensitive individuals, so they are not compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30. (See also “buckwheat” and “quinoa.”)

Arrowroot Powder: Yes

These are fine choices as thickeners and can be especially helpful in sauces and gravies. Like almond flour, though, they are not appropriate for use in baked goods.

Bean Sprouts: Yes

Beans and the plant part (sprout) of any bean are both Plant-Based Whole30 compatible.

Beans: Yes

Legumes, including beans, lentils, and peanuts, are all compatible on the Plant-Based Whole30.

Note: Beans, lentils, and peanuts are not part of the Original Whole30 program. See the “Can I Have?” article for the Original Whole30 here.

Bragg’s Liquid Aminos: Yes

Bragg’s Liquid Aminos contain only soybeans and water, and are compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30. You could also use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce (which usually contains gluten).

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 issues in sensitive individuals, so they are not compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30. (See also “amaranth” and “quinoa.”)

Cacao (100%): Yes

Cacao (or 100% cocoa) is great when used as a savory spice or added to your coffee or tea. You’ll even find cacao in Whole30 Approved products like MUD/WTR coffee alternative. Note, your cacao must be 100%; that rules out even the darker dark chocolates.

Canola Oil: Yes

While we recommend prioritizing other oils on your program, we don’t expressly rule out canola for the Whole30. If we did, you’d never be able to eat outside of your own kitchen, as many restaurants use it in cooking, and we want those who travel or who enjoy dining out to be able to do so on the program.

Tip: If you are able, prioritize cooking at home with avocado oil, extra-virgin olive oil, high-oleic sunflower or safflower oil, cultured oil, and coconut oil. But please don’t stress about using light olive oil in your homemade mayo, or the canola or sunflower oil your favorite restaurant cooks with.

Carob: Yes

Carob is botanically a legume, and carob powder is generally made from the pod of the plant.

Cassava flour: Yes

Yes, you can have cassava flour, 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 Abbott’s Butcher “meatballs,” to dredge a block of tofu, 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; nor can you have it in pasta, noodle, or gnocchi recreations. Those foods fall under the Pancake Rule and are not part of the Plant-Based Whole30 elimination.

Chia seeds: Yes

These “seeds” aren’t the same botanical family of seeds that we eliminate with grains, and they contain healthy fats and a decent amount of protein (for seeds). That makes them fine to eat during your Plant-Based Whole30.

Chickpeas: Yes

Chickpeas are a legume, and a good source of protein on the Plant-Based Whole30. (See “hummus” for further clarification.)

Chips: Not if they’re store-bought

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 potato, tortilla, or plantain chips that are compatible with the Whole30 based on their ingredients. It is not easy, however, to consume those chips in a way that’s true to the spirit of the Plant-Based Whole30. For most of us, deep-fried, salted, crunchy chips are a bonafide food-with-no-brakes, because these foods are designed to promote overconsumption. For that reason, we don’t allow store-bought chips of any nature on the Whole30. That includes store-bought (or restaurant-made) potato, plantain, tortilla, apple, or kale chips. Feel free to roast your own kale, pan-fry your own plantains, or bake your own sweet potato spears at home, however.

Citric acid: Yes

This is a common and acceptable additive in canned or jarred foods, like tomatoes or olives.

Coconut aminos:  Yes

This soy sauce substitute is derived from coconut nectar, but brewed (and lightly fermented) with sea salt and water into a savory “umami” flavor. Per this ruling, all coconut aminos are allowed on the program.

Coconut flour: Yes

Yes, you can have coconut flour, cassava 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 Abbott’s Butcher “meatballs,” to dredge a block of tofu, 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; nor can you have it in pasta, noodle, or gnocchi recreations. Those foods fall under the Pancake Rule and are not part of the Plant-Based Whole30 elimination.

Coconut water: Yes (read your labels)

Most coconut waters are technically compatible, 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 Plant-Based 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 coffee. (You’re welcome.) You can drink it black, add unsweetened compatible nutpods, coconut milk, almond milk, or add cinnamon or vanilla beans to the brew.  But remember, Plant-Based Whole30 guidelines exclude non-compatible milk substitutes and added sweeteners—including date paste or stevia. (See “stevia.”)

Tip: Read your labels if you enjoy flavored coffees or use K-cups, as many contain added sugar (which would render it not compatible with your Plant-Based Whole30 elimination).

Dark chocolate: No

Anything less than 100% cocoa (cacao) is off-limits during your Plant-Based Whole30. Even the really dark chocolate still contains added sugar.

Dates: Yes

All fruit, including dates, are allowed on your Plant-Based Whole30. They’re a great way to add that hint of sweetness to a sauce, or to stuff with almonds and Kite Hill “cream cheese” as a fancy-schmancy appetizer. But please, no processed date syrup used as a sugar substitute.

Tip: These little sugar bombs pack a big punch—they’re as close to candy as you can get on the Whole30. If you’re trying to tame cravings and break the habit of dessert or something sweet every day at 2 PM, we’d recommend against using these as a “treat.”

Flax Seeds: Yes

These “seeds” aren’t the same botanical family of seeds that we eliminate with grains, and they contain healthy fats and a decent amount of protein (for seeds). That makes them fine to eat during your Plant-Based Whole30.

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

Fast food fries really miss the point of the Plant-Based Whole30. Fries are the epitome of “food with no brakes.” Make your own potatoes at home using coconut oil, avocado oil, or culture oil, and baking or roasting them in the oven instead of deep-frying them. You can also order them baked or mashed if dining out.

Fruit Juice: Yes

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

Tip: While drinking a glass of fruit juice is technically compatible, we don’t generally 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. Download the Plant-Based Whole30 Common Additives guide in our Prep Pack.

Gum (Chewing): No

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

Tip: See our 9 Fresh-Breath Strategies for other fresh breath ideas.

Hemp seeds: Yes

These “seeds” aren’t the same botanical family of seeds that we eliminate with grains, and they contain healthy fats and a decent amount of protein (for seeds). That makes them fine to eat during your Plant-Based Whole30.

Hummus: Yes (read your labels)

Traditional hummus is made from garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), which are a legume and Plant-Based Whole30 compatible. However, read your labels to make sure your hummus doesn’t contain dairy or other ingredients that aren’t a fit for the Plant-Based Whole30.

“Ice Cream”: No

While there are plenty of dairy-free ice creams in the freezer aisle these days, they all include added sugar, and are also not compatible under the Pancake Rule. The only purpose of these confections is to replicate the taste, texture and rewarding sensation of ice cream, which goes against the spirit of the program.

Kombucha: Yes (read your labels)

We love the probiotic benefits of ‘booch, and we think it makes a fine addition to your Plant-Based Whole30 menu. Just read your labels carefully—any mention of “sugar” listed in the ingredients means it’s a no-go.  Some varieties have fruits and fruit juices added, which are just fine. Click here for the in-depth behind-the-scenes on kombucha.

Tip: Try our Whole30 Approved kombucha option from Humm. It comes in a variety of different flavors, and that big Whole30 logo on the front means you don’t even have to read the label.

Larabars: Read your labels, and use with caution

Most (but not all) Larabars products (or similar fruit-and-nut bars) are acceptable during your Whole30, but read your labels, as some products contain oats or honey, neither of which are Plant-Based Whole30 compatible.

Tip: We recommend using Larabars as emergency snacks, or as fuel during activities or athletics. They’re as close to candy as you can get on the Whole30 (with dates as a binder), so employ with caution.

Lentils: Yes

Legumes, including beans, lentils, and peanuts, are all compatible on the Plant-Based Whole30.

Note: Beans, lentils, and peanuts are not part of the Original Whole30 program. See the “Can I Have?” article for the Original Whole30 here.

Mayonnaise: Read your labels

Most vegan mayonnaise contains added sugar, which rules it out for your Plant-Based Whole30. Primal Kitchen offers a Whole30 Approved vegan mayo options, but you can also use this recipe to make your own.

Monk Fruit: No

Monk fruit extract, “juice,” and powder are sneaky forms of sugar that are used as stand-alone sweeteners in food and drinks. Just like stevia, it is only used to sweeten something that was not already sweet. (You can’t actually drink a glass of monk fruit juice!) And unlike apples or other fruits, you can’t find whole monk fruit in your local Costco. (Even in regions where it’s grown, it’s rarely eaten fresh since it ferments and grows rancid quickly after it’s harvested.) For those reasons, monk fruit is considered a sweetener and not a true “fruit,” and is not compatible in any form during your 30-day elimination.

Mustard: Read your labels

Mustard is staple condiment on the Plant-Based Whole30; just read your labels carefully. French’s Yellow is compatible, but Dijon often contains white wine, which rules it out for the program. Look to our Whole30 Approved partners for spicy, yellow, and even Dijon options in line with the Plant-Based Whole30 program rules.

Nut or Vegan “Cheese”: Read your labels

Kite Hill “ricotta” or “cream cheese,” cashew-based “queso” dips, and nut-based Alfredo sauces are all Plant-Based Whole30 compatible, as long as their ingredients are a fit. (Look for rice bran, corn starch, added sugar, or other off-plan ingredients.) These can be a great way to add creaminess, flavor, richness, salad, or vegetable noodle “pasta” dish, and are great for dipping raw veggies as an appetizer or side.

Tip: Check out Whole30 Approved Kite Hill, who offers four different cream cheese varieties and a delicious ricotta, all of which are Plant-Based Whole30 compatible.

Nutritional Yeast: Yes

This is a great substitute for parmesan on a garden salad, over spaghetti squash, or sprinkled over a black bean chili.

“Paleo” or Grain-Free Bread: No

This goes back to the Pancake Rule. Baked goods, even those made with Plant-Based Whole30 compatible ingredients, are a no-go for the 30 days of your program. Just say no and make your “sandwich” with lettuce leaves, portobello mushroom caps, sweet potato “buns,” or toasted sheets of nori instead.

Pancakes: No

Yes, this is the food the Pancake Rule was named after! Pancakes (along with bread, muffins, tortillas, and other baked goods) are not compatible on the Plant-Based Whole30, even if made with technically Plant-Based Whole30 ingredients. Click on the link for more.

Pasta (or Noodles): Not unless it’s 100% veggies

Zucchini noodles (“zoodles”) or spiralized cucumber, butternut squash, or sweet potato are a fun way to eat your veggies. (In this case, “noodles” just represents the shape, not the taste, texture, or flavor.) But packaged pasta or noodle recreations that use alternative flours (like cassava, shirataki, or chickpea flour) or starches (like tapioca or potato starch) are a “no” under the Pancake Rule. Read your labels; if there is any form of alternative flour or starch used in the pasta, noodles, or gnocchi, it’s out for your Plant-Based Whole30.

Peas: Yes

All peas (which are botanically a legume) are compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30.

Pea Protein: Yes

100% pea protein is acceptable on the program. Pea protein is often used by functional medicine providers since it’s gentle even for sensitive patients (those with GI issues, allergies, or intolerances) and is considered a “hypoallergenic” protein source. However, many vegan protein blends also include other grains like rice, and/or have added sugar, sugar alcohol, or artificial sweeteners, which are not compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30.

Peanuts/Peanut Butter: Yes (if it’s unsweetened)

Legumes, including beans, lentils, and peanuts, are all compatible on the Plant-Based Whole30. When selecting peanut butter, choose only those varieties with no added sugar.

Note: Beans, lentils, and peanuts are not part of the Original Whole30 program. See the “Can I Have?” article for the Original Whole30 here.

Potatoes: Yes

All varieties of potatoes—white, red, Yukon gold, purple, fingerling, baby, sweet potatoes, yams, etc.—are compatible on the Whole30. Feel free to boil, bake, roast, pan-fry, grill, microwave, or steam them, but no store-bought potato chips or restaurant French fries! (That’s completely against the spirit of the Whole30.)

Protein Powder: Read your labels

Most vegan protein shakes contain non-compatible ingredients (like rice bran) and added sugars. However, protein powder from approved ingredients like 100% pea protein or 100% hemp protein are allowed on the Plant-Based Whole30, provided they contain no added sweeteners. See our list of Whole30 Approved plant-based protein powders here.

Quinoa: No

Quinoa falls into the category of plants that we call pseudo-cereals. These products are not botanically grains, but contain compounds that may cause similar issues in sensitive individuals, so they are not compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30. (See also “amaranth” and “buckwheat.”)

Rice: No, except in fermented soy

While grains (including rice) are not compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30 elimination, rice is often used for the fermentation and processing of certain forms of soy, such as miso and tempeh. In order to provide enough plant-based protein and include as many traditional and culturally significant foods during the Plant-Based Whole30, rice listed as an ingredient on miso and tempeh-based products is allowed.

Safflower/Sunflower Oil: Yes

While we recommend prioritizing other oils on your program, we don’t expressly rule out sunflower or safflower oils for the Plant-Based Whole30. If we did, you’d never be able to eat outside of your own kitchen, as many restaurants use them in cooking, and we want those who travel or who simply want to dine out to be able to do so on the program.

Tip: High-oleic safflower or sunflower oils are very different than their standard counterparts. The high oleic versions actually have a more favorable fat profile higher in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (similar to that of avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil). High-oleic oils are also encouraged on your Plant-Based Whole30.

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. Third, adding salt to your diet can be beneficial to many, especially if you live in a warm climate or are active, and too little salt leaves you at risk of an electrolyte imbalance. Adding salt to your Whole30 plate won’t push you over reasonable sodium limits, so 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” rule, because salt is in basically every packaged food and used in every restaurant meal.

Smoothies: Yes, with caveats

Smoothies made with unsweetened plant-based protein powder can be a great way to supplement your protein needs on the Plant-Based Whole30. This is important if you’re having difficulty digesting legumes and lentils at multiple meals a day, or are an athlete or someone with higher protein needs. We recommend your smoothies include at least 15 grams of plant-based protein (from pea, hemp, or other unsweetened sources); healthy fats from coconut, nuts and seeds, or avocado; and plenty of vegetables—not just fruit. See this article for our best-practice recommendations for smoothies on the Plant-Based Whole30.

Tip: Don’t replace your breakfast with a smoothie; instead use them as a supplement in addition to meals, or in places where you need on-the-go meals or snacks.

Soy: Yes (but not in all forms)

Soy is an important protein source on the Plant-Based Whole30, and can be used in whole food, minimally processed forms, like tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso, and natto. Highly processed forms, including soybean oil, textured soy protein, textured vegetable protein, soy protein isolate, or soy protein concentrate, are not compatible with the program, per the Plant-Based Whole30 Rules.

Note: Soy is not part of the Original Whole30 program. See the “Can I Have?” article for the Original Whole30 here.

Soy Milk: Yes (read your labels)

Compatible commercially-produced soy milk is easier to find than ever before. However, many will still contain added sugar or carrageenan, which are both off-limits for your Plant-Based Whole30. Look for an unsweetened, carrageenan-free soy milk, or use a compatible almond or coconut milk on your program.

Stevia (or Stevia leaf): No

While it’s not highly processed like its liquid or powdery cousins, the only purpose of stevia is to sweeten a product, and all forms of added sweetener are out for your Plant-Based Whole30 elimination.

Tahini: Yes

Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds, which are Plant-Based Whole30 compatible. If the product is a tahini dressing or dip, however, read your labels to ensure all ingredients are compatible.

Tapioca Starch: Yes

Tapioca starch is a fine choice as a thickener and can be especially helpful in sauces and gravies. Like almond flour or coconut flour, however, they are not appropriate for use in baked goods or in alternative pastas.

Tortillas: No (unless they’re made from one ingredient, without alternative flours or starches)

While there are alternative flour tortillas made with technically approved Whole30 ingredients, these aren’t compatible for any Whole30 program under the Pancake Rule. However, you can eat coconut meat pressed into the form of wraps, or single-ingredient veggie wraps like jicama “taco shells.”

Vanilla Extract and Other Botanical Extracts: Yes

Alcohol-based botanical extracts (like vanilla, lemon or rosemary) are allowed during your Plant-Based Whole30. These extracts are used to boost flavor in food and beverages and also to preserve certain food products. (Read this article for details.) Yeast extract is also fine during your program. It comes from yeast (which is a fungus) and has been verified gluten-free.

Water Kefir: Read your labels

See “Kombucha.” If you’re making it yourself, do what you can to ensure that the sugar is used by the bacteria (by allowing for appropriate fermentation time). If you’re buying your kefir, avoid those brands with added sugar in the ingredients list.

Yogurt: Yes (read your labels)

Most plant-based yogurts (from almond milk or coconut milk) contains added sugar, but there are some plain varieties that would be considered Whole30-compatible, and a source of natural probiotics.

Tip: While you technically could turn this into a breakfast bowl with dried fruit and shredded coconut, we find people fare much better when they eat a protein-rich breakfast—and these yogurt alternatives lack the protein content of real dairy. Instead, serve your yogurt on the side and focus on legumes, tofu, or Whole30 Approved meat alternatives as the main component.

Published by Lindsay Rhodes

Lindsay Rhodes currently lives in Chicago. She attended Butler University where she received her B.S. in Marketing and a minor in Strategic Communication. Previously, Lindsay has worked for management consulting firms as a marketing consultant and as a campus recruiter.