Whole30 Beginner’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

The Beginners Guide to Whole30

This Beginners Guide to Whole30 can help set you up for success. Whole30 can be overwhelming. The rules are simple but it’s easy to mess up. But with a little planning and knowledge, you’ll dominate the Whole30.

Whole30 is an amazing program that can change the way you think about food. I have completed 5 rounds of Whole30 and each time I do it I have amazing results. I lose weight, sleep better, have glowing skin, and feel amazing.

This beginner’s guide to Whole30 is everything you need to know to dominate your first round!

This Beginners Guide to Whole30 can set yourself up for success. Whole30 is overwhelming. With some planning and knowledge, you'll dominate the Whole30.

What is Whole30

Whole30 is a 30-day elimination diet. Where you will cut out not-so-healthy foods from your diet for 30 days. Certain foods have negative impacts on your health. So for 30 days, you will be observing how different you feel when you do not eat these foods.

With this 30-day program, you’ll be hitting the reset button to how you fuel your body. You’ll focus on eating a healthy diet by incorporating whole foods and ditching junk food.

Whole30 is not a weight loss diet but losing weight is a potential benefit.

This 30 day program lasts 45 days. Because it consists of two phases. The first is the elimination phase. Next is the reintroduction phase.

Elimination Phase

Eliminate the following from your diet:

  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Whole Grains
  • Legumes
  • Dairy products
  • Soy
  • Specific additives Carrageenan, MSG, and added Sulfites
  • Processed Foods

Reintroduction Phase

After 30 days, you will start the next step, reintroduction. On day 31, the reintroduction phase begins. The reintroduction phase is to evaluate how the eliminated foods make you feel. Now that you have a clean slate. 

You may also learn about food intolerances you didn’t know you had.

You will be reintroducing the eliminated foods one at a time. Read more about Reintroduction here.

How to get started with Whole30

Read it Starts with Food

It’s important to read the book! You need to understand what the program is before you commit. It explains why the eliminated food groups are not so good for you and the science behind the diet.

Clean out your kitchen

If you can, throw out anything that would tempt you to fall off the program. Cookies, chips, soda, ice cream, wine, and beer. Whatever would tempt you, toss it.

I know you can’t always get rid of everything tempting. You may not be able to toss out the beer that your spouse drinks. Or the cookies and chips your kids’ snack on.

So try to put everything that might tempt you in a separate cupboard so you don’t have to see it. Or put refrigerated things that might tempt you at the bottom of the fridge. So you don’t always see it when you open the door.

Meal Plan

Plan out your meals each week so you’ll know what to eat ahead of time. This will help set you up for success.  Head to Pinterest to find some amazing recipes. Or check out some Whole30 food bloggers.

Go Shopping

Now that you have finished meal planning, make a shopping list and head to the grocery store. While at the store check the ingredients for sugar, soy, and the five off-limit additives.

Stock up on your proteins. Make sure you have plenty of meat, seafood, and eggs. Next, make sure to get A LOT of vegetables. You will have them with each meal.

Another important item to make sure you have enough of is healthy fats. Stock up on nuts, nut butter, avocados, olives, and coconut milk. And healthy cooking oils such as olive, coconut, avocado, clarified butter, and ghee.

Also, a good idea is to stock your pantry with compliant ingredients. That way you will have a supply of ingredients on hand. 

Meal Planning

Meal planning and prepping for the week will make life much easier. You’ll be less likely to fall off track because you’ll have food planned and prepared. You can go all out and make all your meals for the week. Or you can have items of your meals prepped. That way when dinner comes along you can quickly throw together a meal. 

This Beginners Guide to Whole30 can set yourself up for success. Whole30 is overwhelming. With some planning and knowledge, you'll dominate the Whole30.

Tips for a Successful Whole30

  • Start drinking your coffee black before you start
  • Find support (ask a family member or a friend to join)
  • Let everyone know you are starting the Whole30
  • Take your measurements and weigh yourself before you start
  • print out the common additives worksheet

Drink your coffee Black 

One of the reasons I started the Whole30 is because of my sugar addiction. Before my first round, I would scoop spoonfuls of sugar into my coffee cup. So about a month before I started the Whole30, I drank my coffee black.

I wanted to know if I liked coffee or if it was the sugar I wanted. It turned out I love coffee as it is. I don’t need to add anything to my morning cups. This is the one habit I kept after many rounds of Whole 30. My taste buds have changed and I no longer enjoyed the taste of sugar in coffee.

If you can’t go without having a cup of coffee in the morning. Start drinking your coffee black before you start a round. A lot of things will be changing when you start your first round. And if you are like me and need coffee in the morning it’s better to find out if you can drink it black before the 30 day program starts. 

There are compliant creamers if you can’t drink your coffee black. Nut Pods are a tasty option. You can find these in most grocery stores as well.

Find a Support System

Having someone doing the Whole30 with you can make it easier to get through the next 30 days. Ask a family member, spouse, or BFF to join you on this journey. But, if no one wants to take this leap with you join a Facebook group.

I have done all my rounds solo. And I found being a part of a Whole30 Facebook group helped me get through. Whenever I needed inspiration or struggled to continue I’d scroll through the feed. I would find that others were feeling the same. It was helpful knowing that I wasn’t alone.

Tell the World You’re Starting the Whole30

It’s helpful to tell the people in your life that you are starting the Whole30. That way they’re not surprised when you turn down dessert. Or pass on going out to get some drinks at happy hour. They might even want to join you once they learn what you’re up to!

Weigh and Measure Before You Start

Whole30 is not a weight loss diet. Though it’s not a weight loss plan, one of the potential benefits. Since you don’t want to focus on weight loss during this program, one of the Whole30 rules is not weighing yourself during the 30 day program.

The reason for this rule is that this is not a diet. You are not supposed to focus on how many pounds you will lose. The focus of Whole30 is to improve your relationship with food. 

So to follow the rules weigh and take your measurements before your first day. Tracking your weight during the next 30 days could be discouraging.

If you were to weigh yourself weekly you may find that you haven’t lost any weight. And once you discover that you haven’t lost a pound you may head straight to your freezer. Pull out a tub of ice cream and dive in face first.

Your weight can fluctuate for many reasons. So put away the scale and forget about weighing yourself.

Print out the Common Additives Sheet

I have failed several rounds. I didn’t search for the off-limit additives in the ingredients of different foods I was eating. 

The 5 off-limit additives are:

  • Carrageenan
  • Corn Starch
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Sulfites

Once you start reading labels you’ll find out how common these additives are. You can print out the off-limit additives sheet here. The off-limit additives sheet is a great resource to hang on your refrigerator.

Whole30 Rules You Need to Know


SWAPO is an abbreviation for sex with your pants on. You can’t recreate foods with compliant ingredients. Examples of SWAPO are brownies or banana pancakes.

Yes, banana pancakes only have bananas and eggs. These are compliant ingredients. But you are recreating a less healthy meal option. 

SWAPO can be a little tricky. But, if you are recreating a food you would binge on don’t do it. So banana ice cream is a healthier version of ice cream. But you’re substituting for the craving. Rather than conquering the unhealthy craving. 


Though smoothies can be made with compliant ingredients the creators of the program would rather you eat your food than drink eat. 


Make sure to eat enough during each meal. No snacking is not a rule. But eating between meals is not encouraged. If you do need to eat between meals consider a mini-meal. And make sure to have protein, veggies, and healthy fat. Don’t snack on vegetables or fruits alone. 

Fruit Juice

Fruit juice is allowed on the program as a sweetener only. So you can’t drink fruit juice but orange, apple, or other fruit juices can be used in recipes.

This Beginners Guide to Whole30 can set yourself up for success. Whole30 is overwhelming. With some planning and knowledge, you'll dominate the Whole30.

Health Benefits of Whole30

During the 30 days of the elimination phase, you’ll be swapping out processed foods you may be eating with nutrient-rich foods.

You’ll correct poor eating habits and start healthier new habits. Creating healthy eating habits will benefit you in the long run.

Some health benefits that you’ll feel and see are:

  • clearer skin
  • better sleep
  • a strengthened immune system

Common Questions About Whole30

What can I drink on Whole30?

Water is not the only option when doing Whole30. You have a variety of different drinks to quench your thirst. 

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Sparkling Water
  • Kombucha 
  • Nut Milk


Coffee is ok on the Whole30. But you can not add sugar or sweetened creamers. Don’t worry though if you can’t drink your coffee black you can try compliant creamers like Nutpods. Or try making bulletproof coffee.


Tea is a great way to change things up when you get bored with your beverages. It’s good hot or cold. Also, there are so many different flavors of tea to choose from. But be sure to check your labels. Many teas have added sugar and other additives, like soy. 


You can have Kombucha on the Whole30. But make sure you read the labels. Some brands of Kombucha have added sugar. Many brands add sugar to the drink after the fermentation process. So look for brands that don’t. GT Kombucha does not have added sugar and it is a popular brand.

Nut Milk

Different kinds of nut milk such as almond or coconut milk are compliant for the Whole30. But again check your labels. Many nut milks contain carageen, an off-limit additive. Also, some have added sugar. Nut milk is a good substitute if you normally drink a glass of milk. Or to add to your coffee and tea.

Check out my other post if you want more information about Whole30 Approved Drinks.

What’s not allowed on Whole30?

  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Soy
  • Dairy
  • Off limit additives

Eating sugar in any form is not allowed. That even means no natural sugars such as honey or maple syrup. Make sure to check your labels because sugar hides everywhere. I was most surprised it is in chicken broth. Why does chicken broth need sugar?

Sugar adds a lot of empty calories to your diet and is often over-consumed. Many of us crave sugar and it’s a habit that is hard to break.

Alcohol doesn’t make us any healthier. Also, it is easy to over-consume. Leading to poor food choices. No drinking alcohol for 30 days. Also, you can not cook with it.

Do not eat grains. That means no type of flour of any kind. This also includes rice and corn.

Legumes can provide less nutrition compared to vegetables and fruits. Do not eat beans of any kind. This includes chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. Peas were once excluded but are now allowed on Whole30.

Do not eat soy in any form. This includes soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, and edamame. Also, check labels for hidden ingredients like soybean oil and soy lecithin.

Avoid eating dairy products while on the Whole30. Do not consume animal milk products of any kind. Examples are cheese, butter, yogurt, kefir, sour cream, and cottage cheese.

One exception to the dairy rule is clarified butter and ghee are allowed. Clarified butter and ghee have the milk solids removed from the butter oil. So these items are dairy-free and a great option to use in place of butter.

The 5 off-limit additives are carrageenan, msg, add sulfites, corn starch, and soy lecithin. If any of these ingredients are in packaged foods don’t eat them while on Whole30.

What can you eat on the Whole30 plan?


If it’s in your budget choose proteins that are grass-fed and organic. For seafood try to buy wild-caught. 


You will be eating A LOT of vegetables during a round of Whole30. Plan on having a serving of veggies with each meal. All vegetables except for corn and lima beans are allowed on Whole30. 

Peas were once not allowed on the Whole30. But, a recent change now allows all peas. So you can have sugar snap peas, snow peas, green peas, yellow peas, and split peas.


You can eat fruit on the Whole30. But, how much you eat depends. In the summertime, you will most likely eat more fruit because it’s fresh and readily available. In the wintertime, you will most likely eat less because a lot of fruit is not in season.

Also, another factor to consider is why you’re reaching for that piece of fruit. If you’re grabbing a banana to tame your sugar craving you are not helping yourself overcome your sugar dragon. 

Healthy Fats

It is recommended to have a healthy fat with every meal. Healthy fats help to keep you feeling fuller for longer. That way you aren’t searching the cupboards between meals for something to snack on. 

This Beginners Guide to Whole30 can set yourself up for success. Whole30 is overwhelming. With some planning and knowledge, you'll dominate the Whole30.
Examples of Healthy Fats are:
  • Avocado
  • Nut (not peanuts)
  • Olives
  • Coconut Milk
  • Coconut Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Ghee

What are the benefits of Whole30?

Non-Scale Victories

While on Whole30 you will most likely experience many non-scale victories. This can include your improved physical appearance. Or feeling physically better on the inside. Also, your mood can improve meaning you could feel happier or less stressed. Here is a download for more examples of Non-Scale Victories.

Tiger Blood

Tiger Blood is when you experience increased energy levels. People usually start feeling it during days 16 to 27. Other than having more energy you may feel like you can focus better too. Tiger blood may not happen for everyone but it is something to look forward to when on the Whole30 program.

Can I do Whole30 forever?

You can choose to stay on the Whole30 forever if you want to. After the first 30 days, you can keep going for as long as you like. But CEO Melissa Urban, the creator of Whole30, recommends not going longer than 60 days.

Because Whole30 is to teach you how to make healthier food choices. You need to learn how less healthy food affects your body. You can’t figure that out if you stay on the Whole30.

The Whole30 program is to help you find food freedom. It can help you heal your emotional relationship with food, A potential benefit from Whole30 is learning how to take control of food and not letting food control you.

Will you lose weight on Whole30?

If you had a crappy diet before you started the Whole30 then most likely you will lose weight. You will be eating healthier foods. You won’t be making poor nutrition choices. Such as drinking alcohol and eating sugary treats that are full of empty calories. So most likely you will lose weight.

Is this Whole30 compliant?

If you are not sure if something is compliant ask Google. Google is your best friend when you want to find out if something is  Whole30 compliant.

Also, printing out the additives list and keeping it on hand will be helpful There were a couple of times I ruined a round because I had an off-limit additive.

The Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Whole30

I hope you enjoyed this beginner’s guide to Whole30. It’s a brief rundown of everything you need to know about the Whole30 program. Before your first whole 30 It’s a good idea to read It Starts with Food or The Whole30 book before you start.

Always check the ingredients before you eat it. Look for hidden sugars, soy, and additives.

Meal planning is a great way to stay on track. Having food prepared ahead of time will help you from making poor decisions.

Follow the meal template and have a vegetable, protein, and healthy-fat with every meal.

The Whole30 is hard but you can do it for 30 days! Remember why you’re doing it and how amazing you will feel at the end of it.

Sign up for my newsletter to receive a free Whole 30 planner. You’ll have a quick reference to the basics of the Whole 30. A meal planning page and list your groceries. Also, keep track of your non-scale victories. And take notes of your reintroduction.

More Helpful links for Whole30:

Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *