This Whole30 food list (printable!) is your quick guide to knowing which foods are Whole30-compliant and which foods are not Whole30-compliant! This guide puts it all in one place, making it easy to do a round and find food freedom forever. This Whole30 food list (printable) can be printed out and tacked onto the fridge, and a smaller version is the size of a dollar – perfect for your wallet! Download your Whole30 food list printable here.
I get the question all the time.
Is it compliant?
I run a Whole30 support group on Facebook, so I see this question pop up time and time again, often frenzied from the grocery store, snapping a photo of the ingredient list on a carton of almond milk, holding the glass refrigerator door open with your knee.
It’s confusing; I totally get it! There are so many weird additives in any remotely processed foods these days that it’s hard to keep up with what’s Whole30 compliant and what isn’t. I see things that I’m sure are illegal in the program, only to be reminded that, nope, those are actually OK, though maybe not encouraged. AKA don’t funnel sunflower lecithin and you’re probably still on the wagon.
So if I have trouble remembering what’s compliant and what’s not? The woman who wrote a book about the program, who’s coming out with a paleo Instant Pot cookbook full of over 30 Whole30-compliant recipes? If I still have trouble remembering all those little tiny ingredients that can throw you off track or keep you on course? Then I figured there might be a need for a Whole30 food list (printable!).
This is your Whole30 food list (printable – did I mention that yet?!) to help make a round even easier.
As we ease into the new year, punctuated by gluttonous holidays and day-after pledges to do better, it’s time to start thinking about a 2018 Whole30! Will you be doing one in January? My family and I will be, and I hope you’ll join us! This Whole30 food list (printable – for reals, so cool) will make your first round even easier and your third (or fourth or fifth) round a breeze!
But before we dive into what’s compliant on a Whole30 and what’s not, let’s talk about this question:
What is Whole30?
Whole30 is a 30-day elimination diet focused on nutrient dense, unprocessed, whole foods to reset your body back to factory settings (Joking… sort of). The idea is to avoid allergenic and nutrient-poor foods long enough for your body to be totally free of them, so you’ll know how you feel without any trace of these potential triggers. After the 30 days are up, you reintroduce foods one at a time, observing how different (or worse!) you feel than before. This way, you see what foods your body is sensitive to, and you avoid those in future. And if you’re like most of us, you continue eating nutrient-dense whole foods, avoiding grains, gluten, and a lot of dairy, because it makes you feel damn good.
So what can you eat on a Whole30?
Before we talk about what you can’t eat, let’s talk about what you can. When we’re on a Whole30? We do not suffer. We eat flat-iron steak with homemade béarnaise sauce, bacon-wrapped dates,
It took me years to try a Whole30 because it seemed so restrictive. But once I felt so bad that I knew I had nothing to lose, doing a Whole30 really changed my life. I’d always been a “healthy” eater, getting off and on a vegetarian and vegan diet for decades, eating “real food” (Whole wheat tortillas, anyone?), and eschewing processed junk. But nothing could have prepared me for how intensely wonderful I felt after about day 14 on my first Whole30. That round, my chronic jaw pain absolutely disappeared, I started sleeping better than I had since I was a teenager, I had no headaches, and I lost 7 pounds (Taking me 7 pounds below my pre-baby weight. Whoa).
It’s just 30 days, and you can absolutely do it. I also tend to believe that you won’t miss these foods after you’ve cut the cord. I always lament my 30-day divorce from wine, but by day 3, I’m asking myself, “Why did I ever drink so much pinot? I feel amazing without it.”
So let’s get right into our Whole30 food list (printable!). I’m super excited about the printable part, obviously, because I’ve designed them in a way that they should be easy to tote around. There’s a half-page version, perfect for tacking on the front of fridge, and a smaller version. The smaller version, folded lengthwise, is the size of a dollar bill, making it super easy to stick into your wallet. Pull it out when you’re at the grocery store, and boom! Compliance problem solved.
- Meat, seafood, poultry, eggs. Moderate amounts. The Whole30 is not an excuse to eat a cowboy ribeye for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 30 days.
- Vegetables. Tons of these. Super nutrient dense and rich in minerals and fiber, you’ve gotta eat plenty of veggies!
- Fruits. Some. You can eat fruits, but they shouldn’t be a cornerstone of your diet. The high natural sugar content makes it easy to simply keep the “Sugar Dragon” at bay, rather than slaying him altogether. I integrate some fruit into my rounds, but I don’t eat that much to begin with. Keep it moderate.
- Natural fats. Plenty! Make sure you’re eating enough good fats, like ghee, avocados, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, tallow, bone broth, lard, chicken fat, etc. If you’re not eating enough healthy fats, you might complain that you’re feeling hungry the whole time; up your healthy fat intake and I bet you’ll feel much more satisfied.
- Coffee. Coffee is fine in moderation, as long as you use compliant creamer, like coconut cream, Nutpods, Califia Unsweetened Creamer, etc.
- Ghee. The exception to the dairy rule, ghee is essentially clarified butter and has no potentially allergenic lactose. So, so good on a Whole30.
- Vinegar. All vinegars are allowed, unless they include sugar (like some rice wine vinegars do). Even vinegars, though, that have non-compliant ingredients in the title, like white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar, are OK.
- Spices and seasonings. So long as your spice blend doesn’t include non-compliant preservatives or sugars, use these plentifully!
- Fruit juices as sweetener. This is OK on a limited basis.
- Green beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas. The exception to the no-legumes rule.
Whole30 Noncompliant Foods
So what’s not allowed on a Whole30?
- Dairy, except ghee. But even cultured dairy like yogurt is not allowed.
- Added sugars, in any form. This is, to me, the hardest part. Sugar seems like it is in everything. I even used some jarred minced ginger on a Whole30 once, and after cooking, looked at the back on a whim. I was horrified to find that there was fructose in my ginger. Like, why?! Alas, you’ve gotta check your labels on pretty much everything. No added sugar in any form is allowed, all the way from regular “sugar” to honey to maple syrup to dextrose.
- Grains, like rice or wheat.
- Pseudo-cereals, like quinoa.
- Gluten. Thank me later.
- Alcohol at all, even in cooking. Sorry, no white wine sauce on that chicken! This goes beyond what you’d expect, though: no Dijon mustard or vanilla extract. Intense, but they have to draw the line somewhere, right? There are a couple Dijons that don’t have alcohol in them, though: Annie’s is a common brand. Otherwise, skip the Grey Poupon for a month my friend!
- Legumes like lentils, garbanzo beans (AKA no hummus!), black beans, and peanuts.
- Soy. Nada, not even fermented.
- Junk food, even technically compliant
- Paleo-ified baked treats or recreations of non-compliant foods. NO DAMN PANCAKES, even if they’re made just eggs and pumpkin!
Whole30 Sugars List
Keeping track of all the names for sugar can be difficult, so I’ve written (most of) them down here for you. Read your labels! None of these are compliant.
- agave nectar
- beet sugar
- brown sugar
- (evaporated) cane juice
- cane sugar
- coconut nectar
- coconut sugar
- confection’s sugar
- date sugar
- date syrup
- glycerin (glycerol)
- high fructose corn syrup
- malt syrup
- maple syrup
- monk fruit extract
- raw sugar
- refiner’s syrup
- rice malt (extract)
- rice syrup
- (sweet) sorghum
Some additives are Whole30-compliant. If they’re on this list, they’re alright.
- acetic acid
- agave inulinalpha tocopherol
- ascorbic acid
- calcium carbonate
- calcium chloride
- citric acid
- ferrous gluconate
- acacia gum
- gellan gum
- guar gum
- locust bean gum
- xanthan gum
- lactic acid
- natural flavors
- potassium chloride
- potato starch
- sodium citrate
- sodium nitrite
- sodium nitrate
- sodium pectinate
- sunflower lecithin
- zinc gluconate
Whole30 Non-Compliant Additives
Some additives are Whole30-compliant, and some are not. Here’s the no-no list. If the item in question has one of these? No dice, my friend.
- corn starch
- monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- potassium metabisulfite
- sodium bisulfite
- soy lecithin
- sulfur dioxide
That’s it in a nutshell! Make sure you do a few things if you’re planning a Whole30: download my Whole30 food list (printable!), of course. And make sure you join my Whole30 Support Group on Facebook!