Plant-Based Can I Have
Plant-Based Whole30

The official “Can I have…?” guide to the Plant-Based Whole30

Discover the answers to the most popular “Can I have…?” questions for your Plant-Based Whole30.

Can I Have?

“Can I have this on the Plant-Based Whole30?” Find out here.

We get questions all the time about whether Larabars, natural flavors, or dark chocolate* are compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30. We get it! Nobody wants to mess up their elimination  because they didn’t ask, “Can I have…?” So we rounded up your most commonly-asked questions and answered them here—plus some tips to help you make the most of your Whole30.

*Read your labels, yes, and (sadly) no.

Note, this page applies only to the Plant-Based Whole30 program. To find answers to your Original Whole30 compatibility questions, visit the Original Whole30 Can I Have? guide.

Know before you scroll

Before you browse through the “Can I have?” questions on this page, start with these foundational Plant-Based Whole30 resources and tips.

Plan & Prepare
Read the Plant-Based Whole30 Program Rules

The food or ingredient in question may be specified right in the rules, so read them a few times and become familiar with each food group. Then, review supporting resources like the Pancake Rule for even more specifics around baked goods, treats, and comfort foods.

Read the Plant-Based Rules
Read
Read your labels

Before you ask whether Tabasco Red Pepper Sauce or Annie’s Organic Dijon Mustard are compatible (yes and yes), read the ingredient list. If all of the ingredients are compatible, feel free to enjoy during your Plant-Based Whole30 elimination. If it contains an off-plan ingredient like cane sugar, white wine, or cornstarch, then it’s out for 30 days.

Added Sugar
Remember, added sugar is about the ingredients, not the nutrition facts

The amount of sugar listed on the nutrition facts panel does not determine whether something is Whole30 compatible. Instead, look for any form of sugar (real or artificial) in the product’s ingredient list. If the ingredients include added sugar, it’s not compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30.

corn
When it comes to additives, only one is specifically out

The Plant-Based Whole30 eliminates corn starch (as a derivative of corn, which is a grain) on the program. You’ll find other common additives, like xanthan gum, natural flavors, or ascorbic acid, called out as compatible below.

During my Plant-Based Whole30 elimination, can I have…

Acetic acid is a sour agent, preservative, and flavor enhancer commonly added to vinegar, pickled foods, salad dressings, and sauces. It is compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30.

Yes, you can use almond flour during your Whole30 elimination, but it’s context-dependent. You can use it in place of breadcrumbs in your plant-based “meatballs,” to dredge a piece of tofu, or to thicken a sauce or stew. Just remember, baked goods, pancakes, waffles, tortillas, pizza crust, pasta, or noodles containing alternative flours fall under the Pancake Rule, and are not allowed during Plant-Based Whole30 elimination. See also: cassava flour, coconut flour, potato flour, tapioca flour/starch

Compatible almond milk is now pretty easy to find, but many versions contain added sugar, so read your labels. Look for a Whole30 Approved brand like New Barn Unsweetened or Malk, find an unsweetened variety in your local grocery store, or make your own at home. See also: soy milk

Alpha tocopherol is the fancy name for a form of vitamin E, and it’s perfectly compatible with your Whole30. Vitamin E is an antioxidant found naturally in foods like avocado, nuts, and seeds, and is a common additive in fortified foods.

Amaranth falls into the category of plants called pseudo-cereals. These products are not botanically grains, but contain compounds that may cause similar problems, which is why we rule them out during Whole30 elimination. See also: buckwheat, quinoa

Arrowroot powder is an effective thickener and can be especially helpful in sauces and gravies. Like almond flour, though, it is not appropriate for use in baked goods and other foods that fall under the Pancake Rule.

Ascorbic acid is the fancy name for vitamin C, and it’s perfectly compatible. Vitamin C is an antioxidant found naturally in foods like citrus, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, and potatoes, and is a common additive in fortified foods.

Both beans and the plant part (sprout) of beans are Plant-Based Whole30 compatible

All legumes are compatible on the Plant-Based Whole30. See also: lentils, peanuts, peas

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

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 traditional soy sauce (which usually contains gluten, rendering it non-compatible with the Whole30).

Bread is specifically called out in the Pancake Rule. All baked goods, breads, tortillas, or wraps made with alternative flours are eliminated for 30 days—even if the ingredients are technically compatible. Instead, sandwich your tofu in a lettuce leaf, portobello mushroom caps, sweet potato “buns,” or toasted sheets of nori. See also: tortillas

Buckwheat falls into the category of plants called pseudo-cereals. These products are not botanically grains, but contain compounds that may cause similar problems, which is why we rule them out during Whole30 elimination. See: amaranth, quinoa

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

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 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. See also: safflower/sunflower oil.

Tip: You are free to prioritize plant-based cooking oils with higher quantities of saturated/monounsaturated fats or higher smoke points on your Whole30. These options include avocado oil, extra-virgin olive oil, high-oleic sunflower or safflower oil, cultured oil, or coconut oil. But please don’t stress about using light olive oil in your homemade mayo, or the sunflower oil in your Chipotle Wholesome Bowl.

Carob is botanically a legume, and all legumes are compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30.

Yes, you can use cassava flour during your Whole30 elimination, 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. Just remember, baked goods, pancakes, waffles, tortillas, pizza crust, pasta, or noodles containing alternative flours fall under the Pancake Rule, and are not allowed during Whole30 elimination. See also: almond flour, coconut flour, potato flour, tapioca flour/starch 

Almond-based “ricotta” or “cream cheese,” cashew-based “queso” dips, and nut-based Alfredo sauces can be part of your Plant-Based Whole30 elimination, as long as their ingredients are compatible. These can be a great way to add creaminess, flavor, richness, and tang to a burger, 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.

These “seeds” aren’t the same botanical family of seeds that we eliminate with grains. Chia can add texture, healthy fats, and a small amount of protein to meals and smoothies during your Plant-Based Whole30 elimination.

Chickpeas are a legume, and a good source of protein on the Plant-Based Whole30. See also: hummus

While you can find potato chips made with simple ingredients, it’s not easy to consume those chips in a way that is true to the spirit of the Whole30—or your goal of eliminating cravings and mindless snacking. For most of us, salty, crunchy chips are a bonafide food-with-no-brakes, because these foods were designed to promote overconsumption. For that reason, do not consume any starchy chips during your Whole30 elimination, including potato, sweet potato, tortilla, plantain, cassava, or taro chips.

Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits, especially lemons and limes. It is commonly added to canned or jarred foods like tomatoes or olives as a preservative and pH buffer, and it’s perfectly compatible with the Whole30.

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, coconut aminos are allowed during Whole30 elimination.

Yes, you can use coconut flour during your Whole30 elimination, 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. Just remember, baked goods, pancakes, waffles, tortillas, pizza crust, pasta, or noodles containing alternative flours fall under the Pancake Rule, and are not allowed during Whole30 elimination. See also: almond flour, cassava flour, potato flour, tapioca flour/starch 

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 in the ingredient list out for Whole30 elimination.

Tip: Coconut water is essentially a “light” fruit juice with a good amount of potassium. If you’re involved in endurance athletics, work in a profession that leaves you prone to dehydration, or live in a hot climate, coconut water can certainly play a role in your overall hydration strategy. 

Yes, you can have your coffee. You’re welcome. You can drink it black; add unsweetened compatible nutpods, coconut milk, or almond milk; blend in Bub’s MCT oil; or add cinnamon or vanilla beans to the brew. Remember, Whole30 guidelines exclude milk, cream, non-compatible milk substitutes, and any form of added sweeteners.

Tip: Many coffee cups (like the popular K-Cups) contain added sugar, dairy, or other non-compatible ingredients. In addition, we have yet to find a coffee shop that offers unsweetened plant-based milks—they all contain sugar. Your safest bet is brewing your own coffee at home, or ordering a black coffee or Americano from your local coffee shop, then adding your own compatible creamer.

Corn starch is derived from a grain, which means it’s not compatible with Whole30 elimination. Try thickening your sauce or gravy with arrowroot powder or tapioca starch instead.

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

All fruit, including dates, can be part of your Whole30 elimination. Dates are a great way to add a hint of sweetness to a sauce, to bind homemade nut-and-seed bars, or to stuff with almonds and wrap in (compatible) bacon as a fancy appetizer. But please, no processed date syrup, as that’s part of our “no added sugar” rule.

Tip: Dates are about as close to candy as you can get on the Whole30. Use caution when using them as a “treat” to feed your sugar cravings—especially if banishing cravings was one of your Whole30 goals.

Ferrous gluconate is a common color-preserving agent found in canned olives. It is perfectly compatible with your Plant-Based Whole30.

These “seeds” aren’t the same botanical family of seeds that we eliminate with grains and legumes. Flax can add texture, healthy fats, and a small amount of protein to meals and smoothies during your Whole30 elimination.

Ordering fries with your (no bun, no cheese) burger really misses the point of the Whole30. Fries are specifically called out in the Pancake Rule, and ordering them pushes vegetable sides off your plate. Roast, air fry, or bake your own potatoes at home using coconut oil, duck fat, or ghee, or order them baked or mashed (no cheese, sour cream, or butter) if dining out.

All fruit is Whole30 compatible, which means their juices are too. You can both drink a glass of O.J. (or any juice that is 100% fruit with no added sweeteners), and use fruit juice in your recipes to sweeten dressings, sauces, or other dishes. Remember, Whole30 does not include fruit juice in our list of added sugars, so it is compatible with the program in any context. See also: smoothies, vegetable juice

Tip: Most juices—even those sold as “vegetable juice” or “green juice,” can have an awful lot of sugar in a small serving size. While that might be a great fit if you’re an endurance athlete, planning for a long hike, or otherwise active, you may find a big glass of juice doesn’t work well for your blood sugar regulation. Drinking a smaller portion with a meal rich in protein and fat can help modulate that response, but if you still notice blood sugar spikes with 100% fruit juice, switch to eating the whole fruit. (Bonus: The whole fruit contains more fiber, and you’ll get all the micronutrients found in the skin, too.)

All chewing gums contain some form of added sweeteners (including xylitol) that aren’t acceptable under Whole30 elimination 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. See our 9 Fresh-Breath Strategies for more ideas.

These gums are common thickening and stabilizing agents often found in canned coconut milk or non-dairy milks. They are all compatible with the Whole30.

These “seeds” aren’t the same botanical family of seeds that we eliminate with grains and legumes. Hemp can add texture, healthy fats, and a small amount of protein to meals and smoothies during your Whole30 elimination.

Traditional hummus is made from garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), which are a legume and Plant-Based Whole30 compatible. Just 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.

Inulin is a soluble fiber found naturally in a host of fruits and vegetables, especially chicory root, garlic, and onion. As a food additive, it’s a good source of prebiotics, and adds a creamy texture to foods and beverages. It’s often found in non-dairy milks or creamers, and it is compatible with the Whole30.

Tip: The amount of inulin that is well-tolerated varies from person to person. If you consume products with inulin regularly and notice gas or bloating, try reducing your intake, or search for alternative products without that ingredient.

Kombucha can offer health benefits like probiotics, and it makes for a fun, fizzy, festive drink on the Whole30. Just read your labels carefully, as 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.) For the in-depth behind-the-scenes on kombucha, read this.

Tip: Try our Whole30 Approved kombucha option from Humm. It comes in a variety of flavors, and that big Whole30 logo on the front means you can skip the label-reading.

Most (but not all) varieties of Larabars or similar fruit-and-nut bars are acceptable during your Whole30. Just read your labels, as some flavors contain peanut butter, buckwheat flour, or added sugar, which are not compatible with your Whole30.

Tip: We recommend using Larabars as emergency snacks, on-the-go food, or as fuel during activities or athletics. As with dates, use caution when using them as a “treat” to feed your sugar cravings—especially if banishing cravings was one of your Whole30 goals.

All legumes are compatible on the Plant-Based Whole30. See also: beans, peanuts, peas

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

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 extract, “juice,” and powder are forms of sugar 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 the store. (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 not compatible under the “no added sugar” rule during your 30-day elimination.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been a popular flavor enhancer in Asian cuisines for centuries. It’s also often added to canned vegetables, soups, deli meats and other foods. Just a dash can add a ton of umami (savory) flavor to sauces, soups, stews, salads, veggie dishes, and more. Despite what you may have heard in the media, the majority of recent research reveals that this flavor component simply isn’t cause for concern for most people. As such, MSG is a compatible seasoning on the Whole30. Read this article for details.

Many mustards are Whole30 compatible, but read your labels carefully. French’s Yellow is compatible, but beware some Dijons, which often contain white wine. Look to our Whole30 Approved partners for spicy, yellow, and Dijon options that work perfectly for your Whole30 elimination.

Natural flavors are common flavoring agents found in a wide array of products, from sparkling water to spice blends to non-dairy milks. Natural flavors are perfectly compatible with the Whole30.

Niacin is the fancy name for vitamin B3, and it’s compatible with the Whole30. Niacin is found naturally in foods like vegetables, fruits, fish, beef, chicken, and turkey, and is a common additive in fortified foods.

Nutritional yeast is a tasty and surprisingly cheese-like substitute for parmesan on a garden salad, over spaghetti squash and plant-based “meatballs,” or sprinkled over a white bean chili.

Pancakes are specifically called out in the Pancake Rule. All baked goods, pancakes, waffles, or crepes made with alternative flours are eliminated for 30 days—even if the ingredients are technically compatible.

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 or shirataki) 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 Whole30 elimination.

All legumes, including peanuts, are compatible on the Plant-Based Whole30. When selecting peanut butter, choose only those varieties with no added sugar. See also: beans, lentils, peas

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

All legumes are compatible on the Plant-Based Whole30. See also: beans, lentils, peanuts

Yes, you can use potato flour during your Whole30 elimination, but it’s context-dependent. You can use it in place of breadcrumbs in your plant-based “meatballs,” to dredge a piece of tofu, or to thicken a sauce or stew. Just remember, baked goods, pancakes, waffles, tortillas, pizza crust, pasta, or noodles containing alternative flours fall under the Pancake Rule, and are not allowed during your Plant-Based Whole30 elimination. See also: almond flour, cassava flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour/starch 

Most vegan protein shakes contain non-compatible ingredients (like rice bran) and added sweeteners. 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 sugar in any form. See our list of Whole30 Approved plant-based protein powders here.

Quinoa falls into the category of plants called pseudo-cereals. These products are not botanically grains, but contain compounds that may cause similar problems, which is why we rule them out during Whole30 elimination. See also: amaranth, buckwheat

Riboflavin is the fancy name for vitamin B2, and it’s perfectly compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30. The nutrient is found naturally in foods like meat, eggs, nuts, and green vegetables, and is a common additive in fortified foods.

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.

RXBARS contain egg white protein and/or oats, which means they are not compatible with the Plant-Based Whole30.

While we recommend prioritizing other oils on your program, we don’t expressly rule out sunflower or safflower oils for the 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. See also: canola oil.

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 Whole30.

It may seem strange to call out salt here, as almost every Whole30 recipe calls for it, and salt makes food delicious. But if you’re a rigorous label-reader, you’ll 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. Per the Rules, salt is a specific exception to the Whole30 “no added sugar” rule.

You can enjoy smoothies made with Plant-Based Whole30 compatible ingredients, like veggies, fruit, unsweetened dairy-free milk, and protein powder like Sprout Living Pea Protein or Epic Protein, or Nutiva Hemp. Read this article and follow our smoothie template to ensure a balance of macronutrients. See also: fruit juice, vegetable juice

Tip: Smoothies (especially if they contain protein and fat) are a helpful way to get additional nutrition when solid meals aren’t possible or convenient. In fact, smoothies may be necessary to ensure adequate protein intake on a Plant-Based Whole30, especially if you’re an athlete, highly active, or have an unpredictable schedule. Pairing a smoothie with a meal (not in place of) can help with satiety and blood sugar regulation, especially if the smoothie is fruit-heavy.

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.

Tip: Soy in any form is not part of the Original Whole30 program. See the “Can I have?” article for the Original Whole30.

Compatible Soy milk is now pretty easy to find, but many versions contain added sugar, so read your labels. 

While it’s not highly processed like its liquid or powdery cousins, the only purpose of stevia is to sweeten something that was not already sweet. As such, this rules out all forms of stevia during your Whole30 elimination.

Sunflower lecithin is a common emulsifier found in everything from almond milk to mayonnaise, and is compatible with your Whole30.

Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are compatible with the Whole30 program, so any plain tahini paste is too. If your paste is flavored, read the label to ensure all ingredients are also Whole30 compatible.

Yes, you can use tapioca flour or tapioca starch during your Whole30 elimination, 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. Just remember, baked goods, pancakes, waffles, tortillas, pizza crust, pasta, or noodles containing alternative flours fall under the Pancake Rule, and are not allowed during Whole30 elimination. See also: almond flour, cassava flour, coconut flour, potato flour

While there are alternative flour tortillas made with technically approved Whole30 ingredients, these aren’t compatible under the Pancake Rule. However, you can enjoy coconut pressed into the the form of wraps, or single-ingredient “tacos” made from jicama, plantain, or the cassava root. See also: bread

All alcohol-based botanical extracts (like vanilla, lemon or rosemary) are compatible with the Whole30, per this exception to the Program Rules. These extracts are used to boost flavor in food and beverages and also to preserve certain food products, like meat. Yeast extract is also fine during your program. It comes from yeast (which is a fungus) and has been certified as gluten-free.

Much like with fruit juice, if the vegetable is Whole30 compatible, so is the corresponding 100% vegetable juice. See also: fruit juice, smoothies

Tip: Lots of “vegetable juices”  or “green juices” are mostly fruit-based, and can have a surprising amount of sugar. While that might be a great fit if you’re an endurance athlete, planning for a long hike, or otherwise active, you may find a big glass of a higher-sugar juice doesn’t work well for your blood sugar regulation. Drinking a smaller portion with a meal rich in protein and fat can help modulate that response—or try juice from Whole30 Approved partners Midwest Juicery, which prioritizes vegetables like carrots, beets, celery, romaine and kale, and contains 40% less sugar than other juices.

Most coconut milk or almond milk yogurts contain added sugar, but there are some plain or unsweetened varieties that would be considered Plant-Based Whole30 compatible. These may also provide a source of natural probiotics.

Tip: Remember, these yogurt alternatives lack the high protein content of real dairy. If you’re including unsweetened yogurt as part of a meal, we recommend you include another protein source.