The Definitive Guide to Whole30 on the Internet, from Headmistress Melissa Hartwig Urban
The search term “Whole30” is more popular than ever, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s awesome when huge national media outlets like Women’s Health ask for my input in their Whole30-related articles, but sadly, they’re the exception. Most magazines/blogs/public figures/social media accounts aren’t actually interested in providing you with valuable resources… they’ve just figured out that attaching the brand to their write-up is guaranteed click-bait. Which means in general, all of the “Whole30” info floating out there today is LESS helpful than ever for you.
The good news is there are still sources you can trust—and now, you’ll know how to steer clear from all the bad info circulating.
A guaranteed go-to for Whole30 info is right here at Whole30 Headquarters. If we’re putting it out, you KNOW it’s 100% accurate and approved, so our resources should always be your first stop. If the only help you utilized for your Whole30 were things WE created or shared, you’d succeed beyond all measure, because we’ve been specifically creating resources for YOU since 2009.
- Our seven Whole30-related books (Look specifically for Melissa Hartwig in the author line. If she’s not listed, it’s NOT a Whole30 book! See “0% Trustworthy” for details.)
- Our website (whole30.com)
- Our social media feeds (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest: @whole30. Facebook: /whole30. Also on Instagram, @whole30recipes, @whole30approved.)
- My social media feeds (Instagram: @melissa_hartwig. Facebook: /hartwig.melissa. Twitter: @melissahartwig_)
- Our newsletter (you’re reading it!)
You can also trust anything put out by our Whole30 Certified Coaches. You’ll know someone is Certified if they are listed as a Coach on our website. If you spot someone calling themselves a “Whole30 Coach” without license, please report them to [email protected] immediately.
Finally, if you’re pregnant or focusing on preconception health, it’s more important than ever to rely on a resource you trust. Also 100% trustworthy for all things pregnant Whole30? Our newly-launched Whole Mamas website and Healthy Mama Happy Baby program (wholemamasclub.com, @wholemamasclub on Instagram).
There are a few friends of Whole30 who have been putting out such good resources for so long, they’re basically official. Furthermore, these are all people who will text me with a weird Whole30 question before they answer your question. They also have a lot of fantastic Whole30 resources from various perspectives.
NOTE: Not everything they do is Whole30, so unlike stuff you see on OUR site, you still have to critically think. (That’s why they’re not at 100%—that missing percentage point is just a reminder!) The good news is they’re all really careful about noting which of their recipes are and are not compatible.
- Michelle Tam, Nom Nom Paleo, who is devoting January on her blog to Whole30 support and resources!
- Bill and Hayley Staley, Primal Palate. Bill and Hayley are Whole30 Approved partners and Whole30 veterans, sharing all of their Whole30 resources in one place on their blog.
- Danielle Walker, Against All Grain. Danielle is well-known for her (non-compatible) baked goods and treats, but she has a TON of Whole30-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Our Whole30 Approved partners are Whole30 experts in their own rights—and if they tell you their product is Whole30 Approved, you can be 100% sure that it is. Whole30 Approved is a license granted ONLY to those brands and products that have been personally vetted by me and the Whole30 team, and we work closely with our partners to make sure they know the ins and outs of the program.
Their feeds might not be the best place to ask a question about the Whole30 rules or advice on troubleshooting (their social media intern may not know ALL the rules), but if you have questions about whether their product is compatible or how best to use it during your Whole30, they’ll get it right every time. Be sure to follow @whole30approved on Instagram for new announcement (and giveaways, contests, discounts, recipes, and more) so you’re always up-to-date on our official partner list.
The Whole30 Forum is generally a fantastic, reliable resource for all things Whole30, staffed by experienced moderators with a direct line to me for questions or issues. However, that doesn’t mean EVERYTHING you read in the forum is going to be accurate. Many threads are just Whole30’ers talking amongst themselves, so you have to pay attention to who is saying what.
Furthermore, the forum has been around for many years—and there’s old info in there, from before the “potato” or “plantain chip” rules changed. The info was right THEN, but it’s outdated NOW. Here are some tips:
- When searching in the forum, look for the most RECENT posts on the subject.
- When reading threads, look for responses from Whole30 Moderators.
- When in doubt, ask the question yourself in a new thread, and wait for a Moderator to respond… or let someone direct you to the answer in one of our official resources (like The Whole30 book).
Major media outlets are giving Whole30 LOTS of time and attention right now, publishing articles on staying compatible, meal prep, recipes, and more. Sometimes, they get it right! Other times, I read them and wonder, “Did they even VISIT our website before writing this article?”
It’s the same with bloggers, big and small. Just because you’re reading “Jenna’s Whole30 Journey blog” doesn’t guarantee Jenna actually did the program right. It’s nice to connect with other Whole30’ers on their journeys, but just because JENNA says pancakes are Whole30 doesn’t make them Whole30.
In general, read carefully and don’t just accept the article or blog post as gospel. Here are some additional guidelines:
- If we share the article on our social media feeds (“Here’s a great Whole30 resource from Pop Sugar!” or “Jenna shares her Whole30 journey, and we loved it!”) then we’ve given it our blessing, and you can trust the content.
- Greatist, The Kitchn, mindbodygreen, and Well + Good are all generally pretty reliable. I’ve worked with all of these outlets personally to make sure they know the background and philosophy of the program, and their resources have proven helpful (even if not every article words things the way I would have worded them).
- Other outlets are hit or miss—and sometimes one article is a “hit” while the very next one they write is a “miss!” (I’m looking at you, Men’s Health.) Reader beware, in general.
Sadly, you can no longer trust that something on a Whole30 Pinterest board or a recipe marked #whole30 on Instagram is actually compatible. Instagrammers and Pinteresters have figured out that #whole30 draws views, so they’ve started tagging EVERYTHING #whole30… vegan brownies, turkey sandwiches, waist-slimming wraps, and booty-twerking videos. I’m serious—those are all things I’ve seen in the last WEEK under #whole30.
It’s a shame, because that used to be pretty reliable, but no one owns a tag or hashtag, so there isn’t anything we can do to return #whole30 to its formerly-glorious status. What does this mean for you?
- If you’re new, DON’T follow the #Whole30 on Instagram. Since they rolled this new “follow a hashtag” feature out two weeks ago, I’ve seen 90% non-compatible items come through my feed, with just a few actual Whole30 meals squeaking through. This is simply not helpful for just about anyone.
- Don’t RELY on #whole30 or a whole30 tag. Review the source, read your ingredients like you read your labels, and when in doubt, consult an official resource.
HOWEVER, please DO KEEP TAGGING your compatible stuff #whole30! The Whole30 social media team and I still review this daily to see what you’re up to. The difference is, we’re experienced enough to quickly sort through the compatible vs. non-compatible stuff and not let the donuts/cookies/women in thongs distract us from our life-changing mission.
Finally, we’re seeing TONS of “Whole30” books pop up on Amazon—as fast as we can report them for trademark violation, three more pop up in their place. We’re always successful in getting these removed, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be checking out a book while we’re in the process of reporting.
Also, book copycatters are getting sneaky, ripping off our branding, logo, and book cover design to make it LOOK like a book is Whole30. (Case in point—this one. Feel free to leave a scathing review while you’re there, so more Whole30’er aren’t deceived by this jerkface.)
- I’ve written SEVEN Whole30 books: It Starts With Food, The Whole30, Food Freedom Forever, The Whole30 Cookbook, The Whole30 Day by Day, The Whole30 Fast and Easy Cookbook, and The Whole30 Slow Cooker.
- If you see a book with Whole30 in the title that ISN’T one of the above, please email the link to [email protected] so we can report it.
- If you see a book that LOOKS like a Whole30 book but doesn’t have me listed as an author, it’s NOT a Whole30 resource. Please report these as above.
The safe thing to do is read everything that doesn’t come straight from us with a critical eye, and ask US the question if you’re still not sure. We’re all-hands-on-deck in January to connect with you on social media, so do your homework, but please do reach out if you get stuck.
And with that… it’s time to #JanuaryWhole30! Looking forward to following all of you in your journeys.
Best in health,