July Clean-Up

Whole9Life has updated their Whole30 program to V.4 and lots of people are tackling 30 days of wicked clean eating starting tomorrow… including yours truly.

I’ve been eating about 85/15 for the last few months, and I’ve been feeling it. Sure, there have been fun times eating popcorn at the movies and indulging in cocktails here and there, but our trip to Paris and Prague begins in 97 days! It’s time to start making serious deposits in the Good Health Bank so I can make withdrawals in the form of an occasional dumpling in Prague and EVERYTHING my heart desires in Paris. I’m thinking about my approach to food and training while we’re on our European adventures; I’m pretty sure I’ll be handling it differently than last year.

But back to the Whole30! The program has been updated with a new Success Guide that includes a bunch of my recipes (which thrills me to no end) and some new guidelines. My favorite? All vinegars except malt vinegar are now approved! Hooray for red wine vinegar with pomegranate flavoring and rice vinegar (my Sunshine Sauce recipe just got tastier)!

How about you? You want to have a life-changing July?

Come on! Sure you do!

[Full disclosure: Melissa and Dallas are my dear friends, but I was their client first, and they helped me change my relationship with food. As I told them recently, my parents taught me to love cooking and eating; Melissa and Dallas showed me how to respect food and understand what it does for me. I believe one million percent in their recommendations and program.]



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  • Jules says:

    I’m in, and feeling uber-motivated! I started a Whole30 in January but I guess my heart just wasn’t in it and I fell off the wagon. So ready this time, and I’m sure I will be making many of your recipes!

    • Mel says:

      Let’s be stubborn together! Let’s absolutely refuse to give in to our brain trying to trick our body into doing something we don’t want to do.


      • Caroline says:

        I love your comment – “absolutely refuse to give in to our brain trying to trick our body into doing something we don’t want to do”. It’s a perfect description of how my brain operates! It is so easy to justify going off-road (my brain telling me that it is ok) even though we all know we will regret it.

        • Mel says:

          I think the hardest part for me is making sure the times I decided to go “off road” are my DECISIONS and not just a mindless nom-nom-nom. I’m getting much better at it, but I still slip sometimes.

      • Jules says:

        Heck yeah, I’m still master of my domain! I’m surprised how easy it’s been not giving in to sugar; I’ve only really had a hard time when my family is eating takeout. I’ve been ordering healthy stuff for myself, but those damn appetizers look so good! It definitely feels great to not give in though.

        • Mel says:

          Don’t you la-la-love when the sugar monster doesn’t come stalking around?! It feels so good. Glad you’re having a good experience so far!

  • Definitely stoked. YEAH for pressing “reset”!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’m doing it and kind of scared. I’ve been pretty strict paleo for the past month, but the no-honey and no paleo substitutions (like almond flour pancakes) will probably be a challenge for me! I love your attitude and I’ll definitely be following your blog extra closely over the next month.

    • Mel says:

      I think you’ll be amazed how different you feel after a few weeks without the paleo substitutions. Really slaying the sugar demon feels so good. Best wishes to you!

  • Really thinking about doing this! I have been feeling awful lately (horrible digestion). It can only help. I’m a little scared though (and by little I mean “aaack”). Time to stretch out my bravery muscle (next to my crossfit muscle insertion).

    • Mel says:

      Did you start on the 1st? Let me know how I can help you. We’re all in it together, sister.

      • I am starting today. The fourth is Independence Day and I need some independence from my crappy diet. Even black coffee this morning!

        Do you think the Whole 30 Success Guide is a good investment for a first time?

        • Mel says:

          Congratulations on starting! And yes, 100% the Success Guide is worth it. They just launched their new one, and it’s packed with useful stuff. I love that the Guide suggests proportions and has more guidance about good/better/best food choices. XO

          • Awesome! Thank you. I will get it. I wasn’t sure if I could do this. After finishing Colleen, I know I can do anything. Even give up Diet Coke.

            LET’S GET IT ON!!! GRRRRR!!!

  • Brooke says:

    I plan to participate. I am having shoulder surgery next week and feel the whole30 will be the best way to start my recovery. Thank you Mel for being so inspirational!

  • LIzzie says:

    oh, fooo … beach trip July 9-17 …. can I start mine July 18 ??? …

    I LUV the idea of deposits as I am going to Paris in November … was kinda wondering about that, in a gluten-free sort of way ! LOL!!!

    • Mel says:

      TOTALLY! In fact, you can eat clean from now ’til July 9, enjoy your vacation, and do a strict Whole30 when you get back. Two years ago, I started working with Melissa at Whole9Life, and said, “I’m going on vacation in two weeks; I’ll just start with you when I get back.” And she said, “Start now.” So I did. I ate super clean until my vacation, indulged on my vacation, and picked up again when I got back. I felt GREAT on vaca — even a few days of clean eating makes a difference.

  • Sara says:

    I started my Whole30 on Sunday, so I’m almost through Day 5. I’d already cut out sugar and flour, so am “just” eliminating butter, cheese, and artificial sweeteners. I thought it would be easy-peasy. . . but have had three DAYS of headaches.

    Frickin’ Splenda. That stuff is the debbil.

    I got coconut aminos from WF tonight, and will be making your sunshine sauce as a topping for some broccoli slaw and grilled chicken for my lunches next week!

    • Mel says:

      Congrats on your first week of the Whole30! I’ve done several in the last few years, and each time is different. Sometimes I don’t get headaches at all — sometimes they come in the beginning, sometimes halfway through. But if you can ride it out, you’ll emerge in great shape on the other side. Think of it as your body kicking out the bad stuff.

  • Meghan E. says:

    Yay for V4!!!! Beach trip on July 17th, so Whole30 will begin as soon as I get home… but in enough time to finish before the Warrior Dash (free beer after! woo!). haha, sometimes I’m so bad, but I do love me some Whole30s. AND I can’t wait to make some riceless sushi as part of it!

  • Julianne says:

    Love how I feel on the whole 30. Cannot wait to start.

  • Amanda J. says:

    Im in also. Had a rough fall out after my last W30 in Jan, actually W31! But I plan on being stringer in the brain this time W30 July and a proper ease into paleo with cheats after.

    • Mel says:

      You on board? How’s it going?

      • Amanda J. says:

        Not doing so well the first few days, all a fail. But pulled myself up today and got started proper. Even went to the movies and brought strawberries! Contraband! Thanks for all your support, looks like lots of folks are on board with you this round.

        • Mel says:

          I LOVE LOVE! sneaking my own food into the movies. I pack an entree-sized plastic container with a scoop of tuna, raw jicama and cucumbers, and nosh my way through the movie. Also good: carmelized coconut chips.

          Good for you, lady! Stay strong.

  • Shannan says:

    So happy I found your site. I made the Turkish salad last night to start my first day of the the Whole30 off right. Keep those recipes coming 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Yay for Turkish Salad. I’m working on a few new recipes to share soon — some tuna salad variations and some lamb stuff.

  • Kim says:

    I have been doing the Whole30 for 36 days. I went on vacation and “slipped” a little. I’ve noticed a lot less GI upsets. I’m a cardiac nurse, so the eating of saturated fats goes against everything I have been taught and have been practicing. After 36 days, I am a believer. I have lost 17 lbs without a change to my exercise program. I feel great! I’ve also noticed that I’m not hungry all the time. Continuing the Whole30 for another 30-60 maybe 90 days.

    • Mel says:

      Wow! Congratulations on your success. That’s wonderful! And yes, I can imagine the guidelines vs. your training has been an interesting experience.

      I’ve done Whole60-ish stretches before, and it really does feel good. Around day 50, there’s so little temptation to eat anything that’s not compliant. Much easier to make rational choices. Good for you!

  • Carrie says:

    Last night, just before turning out the light, I asked my husband if we could start Whole30 today. While responsive, but skeptical, he said he thought he needed more than 12 hours, of which he’d be asleep 8, to prepare for this. I conceded to this fact, but we made a plan! We are going to start upon return from a vacation on August 8th. I’m already so anticipatory – hypothyroid struggles are getting me down and I’m ready to find results. Thanks for always having sound advice, recipes, and reminders, Mel! What do you think about planning Whole30 around some sort of activity goal – we’re movie buffs and he proposed watching a different Criterion Collection film on our evenings at home to motivate us to stay in/assuage our tendencies to go out to eat and drink…

    • Mel says:

      Carrie, I’m so glad for you that you’re going to do a Whole30 — and as much as I do encourage people to start right away, there is something to be said for doing it when you are “ready” and can really commit. Best wishes to you and your husband for a smooth experience when you get started.

      I think it’s a GREAT idea to make new, fun activities part of the Whole30 — it’s a nice way to re-frame your focus from food to something else. Let me know how it goes!

      And have fun on your vacation!

  • amanda says:

    I started the Whole30 today. Wowzers; I am a little sad, won’t lie! I’m kicking a mean Diet Coke and sugar habit, hoping to lose a little weight, and needing to prove to myself that I’m stronger than my cravings, which defeat me daily.

    Tips and advice for surviving the first few days? My stomach isn’t that hungry, but my brain is literally throbbing for chocolate and caffeine. And aspartame.

    It gets better, right? And soon??

    • rockjock says:


      I’m on my first every W30 – day 5. Days 3&4 were the toughest so far, but exploring some of Mel’s recipes have helped me rally. Breakfasts are particularly tough (eggs, eggs, and more eggs), but it is easy to make your own nut butter with a food processor and I made a sweet potato fritttata this morning that was delicious.

    • Mel says:

      My only advice for the first few days is to promise yourself you will ride out the cravings. There is no way to make it pretty or elegant or comfortable, unfortunately. I wrote a blog post about being comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s about front squat, but it applies to mental discomfort, too.

      It does get better. I promise! Sometimes right away, sometimes in a week or two. But trust that you can handle the discomfort — because it will go away, and then you’ll be free from Diet Coke, caffeine, and other things that trick you into loving them. They are not on your side.

      But I am! Write back any time you have struggles and I’ll give you a pep talk 🙂

      Post on discomfort here:

  • Mel says:

    Jenny, you can TOTALLY do this — and I’m doing it along with you. YAY!

    I also recommend popping into the Whole30 comments section — lots of good support and ideas there.

  • Jos says:

    I just realized that you’re also doing this Whole30 for the entire July. This will be my first and overall I’ve been pretty good eating paleo 90/10..it’s just a part of me of being “perfectionist” want to push myself how far can I clean up my diet overall.