30 Reasons To Do A Whole30

Over the years, I’ve done a handful of Whole30 re-sets, and everyone of them has (a) been different from the others and (b) incredibly eye-opening and helpful in some way. Sometimes I take on the Whole30 because I desperately need to clean up my act (after a European vacation fueled by schnitzel and beer, for example). Sometimes, like now, I go after it because I want to make progress. There are all kinds of good reasons to embark on a Whole30; feel free to share your motivation in the comments below!

If you’ve never tried giving up your evening glass of wine or your Saturday morning pancakes—or you live in a household where other people don’t eat paleo or aren’t taking on the Whole30—I know it probably seems very daunting. And I’m not going to lie: it can be very uncomfortable at first. But change is always uncomfortable—and we can’t evolve if we don’t ride out the discomfort.

Giving up some of your favorite foods—and having to explain to others over and over again why you’re doing it — might very well be uncomfortable. But I encourage you to do it because you will heal your body; you will learn new things about how and why and what you eat; and you will ultimately, feel so much better than you do right now.

These are the things that I’ve experienced myself and loved about the Whole30. Not everyone’s experiences are the same, and you might not enjoy all of these things during your month (and I can pretty much guarantee you won’t experience them every day of the month… some days are just hard). But I can pretty much promise you, if you tackle a Whole30 and really commit to the spirit of the whole endeavor, it will change you and your perceptions of yourself and the world for the better. That’s a tall order, I know! But it’s also true.

In no particular order…

1. You’ll sleep longer & more soundly.

When sugar is out and protein/fat is in, you sleep the sleep of the righteous.

2. You’ll enjoy consistent energy.

Forget energy that peaks and drops like a roller coaster, you’ll become a bullet train.

3. You’ll wake up feeling optimistic and alert.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, better than waking up with a smile and open heart.

4. You’ll say goodbye to digestive distress.

Forget about farts and tummy rumbling and… let’s call them “uncomfortable bathroom experiences.” You might have a little discomfort at first if you’re not used to eating lots of veggies, but after that, it’s smooth sailing.


5. You’ll be happier.

No joke. When blood sugar is stable, life is happier. Period.


6. You’ll be more peaceful.

The swirly thoughts and anxiety that can be brought on by the sugar joyride vaporize and leave calm in their wake.


7. You’ll be more clear-headed.

Goodbye, brain fog and tip-of-the-tongue syndrome! Hello, Mensa!
In no particular order


8. You’ll drink more water.

Sugary drinks are out, so you’ll naturally find yourself drinking more water – which is a brilliant thing for making your body function at optimal capacity.


9. You’ll eat more vegetables.

Get ready to eat like a bunny! You’ll be eating about two to three cups of veggies per meal. Per. Meal. Think of all the nutrients!


10. You’ll savor your food more.

For me, shining the spotlight on quality food makes me appreciate its nutritive power and flavor more than usual. I slow down, enjoy every bite, and think about how it’s making me strong while it tastes so damn good.


11. You’ll feel the difference between emotional appetite and real hunger.

You know that mindless eating that happens when you’re stressed or distracted? That’s emotional appetite, and it’s junky. During the Whole30, as your body gets off the sugar high and settles into better insulin management, your appetite starts to diminish, but real hunger – the need for quality food that signals when it’s time to eat – kicks in. It feels so good.


12. You’ll find new favorite foods.

Who knows which vegetables, spices, and meat preparations will become your favorites?! It’s exciting to think about, no? There’s so much room in your kitchen and on your plate for new taste sensations when you banish the grains, beans, and dairy.


13. You’ll have fun experimenting in the kitchen.

The Whole30 is essentially what got me into the kitchen and playing with recipes. I was inspired to see what I could do with veg+meat+fat, and I encourage you to do the same. Let the Whole30 and Well Fed 2 help you play with your food!


14. You’ll become more organized.

To some degree, the Whole30 requires you to embrace planning to ensure your success, and that level of organization can trickle into other areas of your life, too.


15. You’ll Know True “willpower.”

Most of us tend to blame ourselves for “lack of willpower,” but the truth is that much of our mindless eating is driven by our hormones. When we manage our hormonal response by eating the right foods, the correct messages about hunger are delivered through our bodies. No superhuman, self-control required!


16. You’ll learn about yourself.

By focusing on your habits for 30 days, you’ll learn all kinds of things, including what triggers your appetite, who’s part of your support system, what you need for self care, what time of day you go to the bathroom, and more!


17. You’ll slay the Sugar Demon.

Vanquish that bad guy! And then, later, if you tangle with the Sugar Demon again, you’ll know that it’s within your power to take a sword to his carotid when the time comes.


18. You’ll make new friends.

There’s a huge community of Whole30 participants online and offline, and during your Whole30, you can tap into their support, knowledge, sense of humor, successes, and challenges.


19. You’ll positively influence others.

Yes, you’ll inevitably get the “You need to eat whole grains.” argument from some well-meaning acquaintances, and that will be annoying. But if you quietly stick to your program, you’ll also have a positive impact on the people around you when they see your results. I can’t tell you how many people were envious of my Whole30 packed lunches in my office, and that’s a non-combative way to open the door to a great conversation.


20. You’ll learn more about how your body works.

This is a two-fold win. First, by understanding the principles of the science behind the Whole30, you’ll learn a bit about how human bodies function, and second, you’ll learn how you – a special, special snowflake – work in particular.


21. Your skin will be brighter.

Sleep + water + vegetables + fat + protein + no sugar = clear, younger-looking skin.


22. Your hair will be shinier.

Sleep + water + vegetables + fat + protein + no sugar = glossy hair. (And stronger nails, too.)


23. Your tummy will be flatter.

The end-of-day bloat from dairy and legumes is gone, baby, gone!


24. Your workouts will feel invigorating.

Workouts fueled by real food are the best.


25. You might get a PR.

PR stands for “Personal Record,” and it’s cause for celebration. Sleep + water + vegetables + fat + protein + no sugar = a physically stronger, faster you.


26. You’ll feel accomplished (Or maybe even smug).

I’ve stopped pursuing discipline for discipline’s sake, but
I wholeheartedly believe that committing to a short-term program like the Whole30 helps develop mental toughness that is valuable in all aspects of our lives. And yes, I do enjoy feeling smug about that once in a while.


27. You might lose weight. or gain muscle. Or both.

If losing body fat is your goal, a Whole30 can be a great way to start that process. Just don’t cheat yourself out of a lot of joy by making that your only focus. Look for the fresh glow on your skin, the smile on your face in the morning, the disappearance of afternoon headaches – as well as looser jeans and the return of cheekbones.


28. Your body image will improve.

There is an undeniable connection between treating ourselves well and how we feel about our bodies. If you look at the Whole30 as an act of self care, then affection, love, acceptance, and celebration of your body – how it feels, what it can do, the amazing things it carries you through every day – will surely follow.


29. Food will become both more important and less important.

I used to be very attached to food. I was sad at the end of the day when eating was over until tomorrow, and when faced with my favorite foods, I wanted to eat them until I was stuffed, just in case I never saw them again. But when I got my blood sugar under control with the Whole30, that changed. Food is both more sacred: It nourishes and sustains us. And less sacred: We get to eat again in a few hours! The emotional triggers attached to the food on my plate are gone. Don’t get me wrong: I still feel deep affection for favorite foods, and I love to eat, but now I feel that there’s a world of abundance out there. Fear of food – and fear of not having favorite foods – is gone.


30. You’ll stop dieting and just eat.

This might be the best reason of all. When you take out the non-food food and replace it with real food, you can stop over- analyzing how much you eat, when you eat, and where you eat. Yes, quantities still matter to some degree, but you can throw off the shackles of calorie counting and denial, and just eat. Peacefully. Healthfully. Robustly. With joy and pleasure and laughter. And cumin.

More Ideas & Support: Free

My Whole30 Experiences

If you want to travel back in time, you can browse through all of my Whole30 experiences (in reverse order) by hitting this link. If you’re more interested in specifics, here are direct links to previous Whole30 daily updates and recaps.

October 2012: Whole30 + Autoimmune Wrap-Up: Links to my daily recaps of my Whole30 Self-Care Edition

My Autoimmune Protocol Experiment: The recap of what I learned doing a strict Whole30 + autoimmune protocol in October 2012

August Whole30: This post explains my motivations for tackling the Whole30 over the summer while I was experimenting with my thyroid hormone medication.

Holly Would If She Could: 10 Tips To Make Your Whole30 a Success
Holly is a Whole30 veteran and this list of advice is enormously helpful.

Nom Nom Paleo: Whole30 Rundown
Recipes and support from Nom Nom Paleo, another kickass Whole30 vet.

More Ideas & Support: Whole30 Daily

Once you’re committed in your heart, you might want to load up on some additional resources to help make your Whole30 an even better, more rewarding, more fun experience. Here are some not-too-pricy investments that can make the whole month feel a little bit easier. (But not easy, am I right?!)

Whole30 Daily
Have you ever wished that someone would check in on you every day to see how you’re doing with your goals? Someone to ask… What’s your motivation like today? Did you sleep OK? Are you having trouble with cravings, or are you kicking ass? Someone to offer just the right piece of advice — or a kick in the keister — when you need it?

That’s just what the Whole30 Daily is designed to do. If we want to get all official about it, it’s like this:

The Whole30® Daily is a newsletter and daily check-in system to prepare you, motivate you, and ensure your success, every single day of your Whole30 adventure.

The content in the daily emails goes beyond the rich information already found on the Whole30 website (for free). With Whole30 Daily, you get 32 robust emails—one every day of the 30 days, plus a kick off and close out message—and it costs less than 50-cents a day.

More Ideas & Support: Well Fed Cookbooks

Both of my cookbooks are Whole30 approved. Between the two of them, there are more than 250 recipes that are compliant with the guidelines of the Whole30. (The books include just three recipes that are not Whole30 approved, and those are clearly marked so you won’t accidentally eat something that’s off-program.)


Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat
My cookbook Well Fed is packed with recipes to make you want to smash in your face with joy and all but one of the recipes are Whole30 approved for use during your Whole30. In addition to recipes for dishes like Shepherd’s Pie, Scotch Eggs, Chocolate Chili, and Bora Bora Fireballs, Well Fed also includes lots of information for how to cook without a recipe — lots of ideas for ways to combine basic protein, veggies, and fats into something special that ensures you won’t get bored and you won’t spend all of your free time in the kitchen. (If you’re curious, the “offender” recipe is a fruit crisp that uses Whole30-friendly ingredients, but is too dessert-y to comply with the spirit of the Whole30. That recipe, however, is just fine for when your Whole30 is complete, and you want a sweet treat.) Help yourself to a free 30-page preview of Well Fed—or just go ahead and but it now!

Well Fed 2: More Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat
Well Fed 2 is packed with even more recipes and ideas to keep your taste buds happy and all but two of the recipes are Whole30 approved for use during your Whole30. In addition to recipes for dishes like Deconstructed Gyro, Buffalo Chicken Salad, Old School Italian Meat Sauce, and West African Chicken Stew, Well Fed 2 also includes tons more “no recipe required” meal ideas, 15 meatball recipes, 8 dressings and dips based on my homemade mayo recipe (the most popular recipe on my site!), and adaptations to make more than 100 of the recipes compliant with the autoimmune protocol (AIP) of paleo. Help yourself to a free 35-page preview of Well Fed 2—or just go ahead and buy it now!

Context Matters

Context matters, so if you’re not familiar with my checkered past, you might want to read these previous posts about my hormone situation and how the Whole30 helps me manage it all:

Whole30: Week 1 Meal Plan

I really don't understand meal plans. I mean, conceptually, I get it. When you're starting a new eating plan, an expert tells you exactly what...

Read More
My Whole30 Story

It occurred to me that new readers might not be familiar with my long, loving track record with the Whole 30. It's not a success...

Read More


  • thatgirljj says:

    I gotta say, I’m a huge, HUGE fan of the “special snowflake” reason for doing a Whole30. It gives you so much power to understand what really DOES affect you, and what might be important for other people but makes no difference for your individual, amazing body. I did 2 of them over the last year and learned 2 important things:
    1) Artificial sweeteners are not harmless for me personally, they were bad news, and I gave up a 24 year addiction.
    2) In my personal paleo template, dairy is A-OK. I still cook non dairy paleo much of the time, but I’m free to enjoy some cheese along side because it’s not a problem for my body.
    Those two lessons were well worth the price of admission. 🙂

  • Kate Dutton-Gillett says:

    I am in. May the Force be with us. Always.

  • Tammy says:

    Count me in! Reasons #2, 9, 11, and 29 are my personal motivators. I’ve been on a Whole 30 and I can say, it’s all true, everything you talk about, and I’m ready!!

  • Lisa G. says:

    Excellent article! I can relate to every single one of these reasons.. starting my second W30 today!

  • Anita says:

    Love. Cumin.

  • Carol Crow says:


    your rock! love your website and can’t wait to get your book well fed. i will be ordering your new book too! i am doing my second whole 30 jan 2. there are about 5 friends joining me. yesterday we cooked up 2 weeks worth of meals to freeze to help us get ready for this thang! all of our recipes except 1 were from your website and are fantastic! thanks! i have a question, since i’m doing a 2nd w30 would it be beneficial to sign up for the emails again? are they different? i have them stored in my email for reference. i tried to sign up but it says my email is already taken so i’m thinking it’s a one shot deal.

    thanks again!

    carol jean

  • Susannah says:

    Great post, Mel! I will be re-reading this for sure during this (my very first!) Whole30. I have and I LOVE your cookbook – friends, you will not be disappointed with Well Fed – it is fantastic! – that will be a big help. My eating habits have taken a big downward turn to the evil sugar infested highway and I am ready to get off of it for good. I want to wake up in the morning ready to enjoy my day instead of thinking “Why can’t I sleep more”? I am looking forward to exciting changes.

  • I just pulled out “It Starts With Food”, so I am IN! I have been eating on the far flung fringes of Paleo all during the holiday season, time to get back to me.

    Thanks Mel!

  • Janet says:

    I will be doing my 2nd Whole30 and am so excited to feel all of the things you listed above. Your mayo recipe literally got me through my first Whole30 so thank you for that and all of the other goodness you share!

  • Brandy says:

    Love your list!!!
    I can relate to all of this!! I will be doing my 4 th whole30 on Jan 1st. Anyone out there who is thinking about a whole30, JUST do it! I promise it will change your life, forever!!

  • Valerie says:

    I am in! This will be my first “real” effort at the Whole30 & my hope for it is that it will ease my transition into being more committed to the paleo/primal way of eating overall.

  • Phoebe says:

    Love the cook book! I am in for another W30. I am actually a W30 mentor for my Crossfit, and I will be referring all my mentees to your list.

  • Noëlle says:

    Thank you for all of this awesome info!! You’re good to us :).

  • Katie says:

    I’m going the January Whole30 as a re-set. I’m 16 weeks pregnant with our second child and had very severe nausea for the last 3 months. We’re not talking run-of-the-mill morning sickness; I needed antiemetic medication just to function semi-normally. I was eating whatever I could keep down that didn’t make my nausea worse – which tended to be really processed carbs like crackers and pasta. Our 2.5 year old has been eating the same stuff way too much because I didn’t have the energy to make her anything different.

    Now that I’m into my second trimester and am slowly starting to feel better and taper off the anti-nausea meds, I want to get back to eating foods that I know are better for me, my growing baby, and my family. My husband’s a junk food junkie and our toddler is rapidly becoming picky, so a re-set will be good for all of us. This will be my third Whole30.

  • Jennifer says:

    Started my first Whole30 today! And looking at all these reasons has just motivated me even more! I got your Well Fed book as a Christmas present and have already made the Shepherd’s Pie:) Loved it. Tomorrow…scotch eggs!

  • Allison says:

    I’m in!Starting this year off on the right foot

  • Alissa says:

    I read It Starts with Food in late November and it really hit home with me. Currently I am moving across country and have been without a frig since early Dec. The first day we move into our new apartment my husband and I will be starting our Whole30 Challenge. I LOVED your reasons above and shared them with my husband. I can’t wait to read about your challenge to push me for my challenge. Love your site and all of your recipes!

  • Cynthia says:

    Marvelawesometastic post! Good luck with your Whole30 Mel! I start my second one on the 4th and this time I’m armed with my new Well Fed book. Happy New Year!

  • Lisa says:

    I’m in! Worried about giving up my morning coffee with cream and raw sugar.

  • Julie Abel says:

    Thanks Melissa for the inspiration. The Abel family will be starting our 2nd full family Whole 30 with you guys. Can’t wait to get started!

  • Julie says:

    I’m in! Starting my second Whole30 on Jan. 2. I’ll be doing a cooking WOD tomorrow to get prepped 🙂

  • Loved your 30 reasons. I’m totally in. I’ve done several Whole 30’s and always, always get something positive out of it. I shared the link to this article on the Swiss Paleo facebook page. How many people (around the world) do you think are starting a Whole 30 on Jan 1st? 🙂

  • Kitty says:

    I am IN and excited! I have wanted to do one for a very long time but needed to get the smoking under control and I’m happy to say I’m over ten weeks smoke free as of yesterday! Bring on the Whole 30!

  • Anne says:

    Okay, I give. #25? I’m with ya on everything else, but PR? Explainy?

    • romanlily says:

      “PR” means you set a “Personal Record.” For example, if you’re into weight lifting, maybe you find you can lift a little more weight than you did the month before. Or maybe you discover that you can run a mile a little bit faster than you could last week. Setting a PR = a nice gold star day.

  • Thanks for the encouragement, Melissa. I’m doing the January Whole30 although it is not a huge step for me as I’ve been living most of it for the past 18 months. The only thing left to give up is dairy, which will go on Tuesday. I know how much better I feel from my healthy diet, so I’m really curious what doing without dairy (and no cheating for 30 days) will do.

  • delaina says:

    I am all in. Had planned to do anyhow, but now have lots of fellow whole 30’ers to do it with!! YAY!!!

  • Starting my 2nd Whole30 on Jan. 2 (gotta have the black eyed peas on New Years!). Can’t wait – I need the reset, and it’ll help me return to healthy eating after a bit of a bumpy holiday season. 🙂

  • Jill Joscelyn says:

    Hubby and I are attending the Whole 30 seminar in Philly next weekend. Do you recommend us starting before or after the seminar. I want to start before cause I feel yucky from all of the sweets, but he wants to start after so he understands the program. Advice?…

    • Mel says:

      Why wait?! My advice: start now with the info from the site, then learn more and fine-tune as necessary after the seminar. If your body is craving clean food or you’re mentally ready now, DON’T WAIT!

  • Kathleen says:

    After my first Whole30 I never felt the need to do another one ever again. Mostly because I truly loved the Paleo lifestyle and planned on keeping my diet 99% grain-free, legume-free, sugar-free and dairy-free. But I didn’t want to cut myself off from meals out where butter may have touched my eggs – and I definitely never wanted to go another 30 days without wine. Ever again.

    But that said… after a particular celebratory Christmas loaded with sugar I’m looking forward to doing another Whole30. I was going to start Jan. 1 but decided to get a head start on it TODAY. One of my favorite things about doing it is knowing that 100% of the time I’m making good decisions about what’s going in my body. It completely eliminates any sort of food guilt and instead I can use that mental energy to be more creative elsewhere.

    Lots of love and thanks to you, Dave, Melissa, Dallas and all the other Paleo champions out there. XO

  • Jo G says:

    Just stumbled across your blog via a facebook link, glad i did!

    I am about 90% paleo, I have the occasional peices of cheese and a daily latte. Looking forward to ditching the dairy as I relate so much to point 23! Look forward to reading through many of your older posts today!

  • Jo G says:

    OMG I just realised I have your book, got it for Xmas!

  • melissa says:

    i’m in! I am still waiting on my latest med tests to come in, to look at my adrenals, but I am desperate to feel better!

    I have no issues adjusting my diet for eel better, I am already gluten free and mostly dairy free. i’m ready for the next step!

  • mspickle says:

    I’m in. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time.

  • Christine says:

    This post was so inspiring! I’m following you, Holly, and Nom Nom Paleo. I think I want to try it myself when I get home from my winter vacation next week.

  • Tammra says:

    I am giving this a try again. Last time I did not succeed 🙁 It is difficult to follow when I’m the only one in the house who is doing it but I am even more determined this time. My Zumba class is starting the Whole 30 as well and the instructor started a facebook wall even that may help keep me focused. I want this!! Goal: to “feel” healthier! Good luck to all of those who are starting!

  • Sofia says:

    Good luck!! For me I’ve found that I feel better about creating a sustainable lifestyle rather than going real intense for a few months only to give up and go back to where I used to be.

  • Kelly R says:

    Thank you. This post brought back the perspective that has been lacking for me since I decided to commit to the W30 Autoimmune Protocol. I have been having a pity party about not eating eggs and tomatoes (goodbye winter soups and chocolate chili)for the month of January. This post helped me to refocus my energy and accept the reasons for doing this. I am done with the “uncomfortable bathroom experiences” from #4 and the adult acne. After two years of living paleo, there is still something that isn’t quite right. I am resetting my body and hope to find the culprit(s) still causing distress come February.

    And so, the whining stops here. The excitement for better sleep, consistent energy levels and finding answers begins now.

    I wish joyful eating to all of those participating in the January Whole30!

  • Wendy says:

    Psyched to be in such good company. Looking forward to day 31 when I can say “Sugar, I ain’t yo beeyotch.”

  • Cate says:

    Hi there Melissa! My husband obtained your book for me for Christmas, and I am so very glad he did. I’ve been spiraling a bit out of control on my health journey. After the birth of our son in 2011, I lost 45 pounds through Weight Watchers and have kept it off, but have still been struggling with eating habits, and energy. We have eaten paleo for a period before our wedding in 2009 and felt great, but unfortunately, fell off the wagon.

    I just want you to know how appreciative I am of your blog. I’m a busy mom, wife, and daughter, working and going to school full time and your words of encouragement on your blog are so inspiring to me! Sometimes all we need to hear is that we can do it.I’m really looking forward to being in better health – mind, body and spirit – so January 2nd can’t come soon enough!

    Thanks again,

  • Valerie says:

    My co-worker and I are starting Jan 2nd, me for the first time and she for the second. I’m looking forward to feeling better. Have the shopping done, working on the cooking ahead.

  • Madison L says:

    Starting my first Whole30 today, and I’m pumped! My mom and close friend are doing it, too, though my husband is not… I am confident I can ignore his candy and chips and focus in cooking delicious, nutritious food for us (I cook, so he will be eating Whole30 dinners at least).

  • Pingback: Whole 30 Challenge
  • Linda says:

    Thanks for the inspiration, Mel! My friend, niece, son and I are all starting tomorrow! The plan is to do this Whole 30 then spend the rest if the year being 90% compliant. I’m looking forward to feeling great all the time!

  • MakingSpace says:

    I’m so in! Third time for a Whole30 and this time going for a Whole100. The sugar/dairy/grains connection to my emotional/mental wellbeing has become undeniable. It’s not so much about slaying the sugar dragon anymore, it’s about re-setting my brain and body and my entire way of looking at life. Living from my own core values. It’s huge. Thanks for the list.

  • Julie says:

    Happy New Year! I posted this over on the Whole9 Blog but I just wanted to share the “Cooking WOD” I did in preparation for the January Whole30!

    Following the directions from Melissa Joulwan’s “Well Fed” cookbook here is the “Cooking WOD” I did yesterday.

    As a working mom, I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my kids as it is, so in the interest of saving time but still putting in the effort to get as much of my meals prepped for the week ahead, I did a “Cooking WOD”. I chopped, cooked, grilled and sauteed as much as possible in 60 minutes – just like a Crossfit WOD. I managed to get the following done:

    2 pounds chicken thighs roasted
    Roasted spaghetti squash (at the same time as the thighs)
    browned 1 pound ground beef with onion and garlic browned
    Steam sauteed:
    baby bok choy
    1 head red cabbage
    1 head broccoli
    1 bag baby carrots
    made homemade olive oil mayo
    boiled 1 dozen eggs

    Having all of this on hand will save me between 30-60 minutes of meal prep most nights this week (I use the ideas from “Well Fed” to do hot plates most nights. I can also use these pre-prepared ingredients for breakfast and lunch as well!

  • I’ve already started my own “whole100” so I guess I’m in too.
    I love the tough love daily email idea, very original and I bet it works wonders.

    Good Luck to Everyone

  • Vickie says:

    Question for you. What is the major difference in your normal paleo eating habits and the Whole30? I’ve been looking at it and the only thing I can find for me is the “paleo approved” sweetners, ie: honey and maple syrup. While not a staple for me, it is used for Saturday mornng banana or pumpkin pankcakes and the occasional marinade. Our box is about to do a challege as well and I just can’t figure out what would be any different from what I have already have been doing for the last 6 months. Weightloss isn’t an issue for me. Is this to get you back on track from the holidays? Or to do a 30 day challege, does that mean that you normally allow yourself non paleo treats on a more regular basis (NO JUDGEMENT :)Just wondering what the biggest difference for you is? I think I HAVE to be missing something, there is always room for improvment and I want to find it.

    • Mel says:

      My normal eating habits are 90% compliant with the Whole30. I just feel better physically and mentally when I eat super clean, so I stick with their picky-pants guideline almost all the time. Over the holidays, I went completely off the rails (hy choice, and I enjoyed it), so I’m doing a Whole30 now as a way to “detox’ from all the sugar, cheese, etc.

      When I’m not doing a Whole30, my “treats” tend to be french fries at my favorite Tex-Mex place for brunch on the weekend, and popcorn at the movies. I don’t buy anything that’s not Whole30 compliant for our house, and when I eat out, I follow Paleo guidelines: no gluten, no grains, not legumes… but at restaurants you can never be sure what’s sneaking into the food.

      When I’m “officially” Whole30-ing, I try not to eat out in restaurants, and if I do, I eat very plain food: burger, no bun, salad.

      I think for people who are Paleo, the biggest difference with the Whole30 is being VERY STRICT about packaged food (is there sugar in that hot sauce?) and restaurant eating. But if you feel good, you’re happy with fitness performance, and you don’t want to lose weight or body fat, it sounds like you’re where you need to be and don’t need a Whole30.

  • Thanks for sharing this. I just finished day 1 of my Whole30 program and reading all these reasone motivated me. How long does it take for the good sleep to kick in? I didn’t know the tip about 2-3 cups of veggies per meal. Is there somewhere I can get that info?

    I have several goals on my whole30 that I’m keeping track of on my blog but the main one is to just stick to it and devote myself to my health for 30 days. I mean, what’s 30 days right?

    • Mel says:

      Melissa and Dallas of WHole9 say to “fill your plate with veggies.” That roughly translates into 2-3 cups per meal. If you download their meal template, you can see their recommendations.

  • Mel says:

    Hey, everyone! Thank you so much for joining the conversation about the Whole30… it’s so much fun to read the comments from everyone taking on the challenge.


    I’m on Day 8, and I’m pretty glad to say that as soon as I set my mind to it, the eating part felt easy. Not so easy: I got super sleepy yesterday afternoon. But that’s to be expected in the first week.

    Hope y’all are doing great! If you hit a rough patch, ask for help in the comments here or on any post, and I’ll do what I can.


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  • Tambra Means says:

    I started the Whole30 on January 1st and I am still so amazed at the transformation in such a short time and how great I feel. I am so happy that I found the program and look forward to more months of real food and a better me. I blog about it each week and more and more people seem to be catching the “feel better” bug! Love your blog and love your recipes and your book! Thanks for sharing all your wisdom and insights. 🙂

  • Colleen says:

    So I went into this with a lot of hesitation. I’ve had tummy troubles since grade school. I’ve been through unnecessary colonoscopies and many uncomfortable doctor visits with the diagnosis that I have IBS and to just get fiber and drink lots of water. I now believe my diet prior to Whole30 was the issue. Let’s just say my diet consisted of ALL processed foods and an occasional piece of fruit and some veggies on the side (if you count french fries as a veggie). I actually tried a vegetarian diet for two months – became Iron deficient and my body was covered in bruises. I’m two weeks into Whole30 and I feel great! I’m not going to lie, the first 1 1/2 weeks sucked. I was so used to SUGAR and processed foods that I went through major withdrawal. I haven’t had a diarrhea episode the entire time on Whole30. I actually talked my husband into doing it with me. First I’ve discovered I love cooking AND what I was doing before was just opening up a package and heating it up. I can’t believe how spices really enhance your food. I did a make over of my spice drawer and I catch myself admiring it on occasion. Both my husband and I are down a pant size and my husband hasn’t had an acne breakout since starting Whole30. We’re trying to introduce the concept with our kids but have a big challenge ahead of us as they’ve picked up our poor eating habits prior to Whole30. Any suggestions for getting REALLY stubborn and picky eaters that are hooked on pizza, fried chicken, chips, and candy to eat a more Paleo diet is APPRECIATED!

  • Susan Stivers says:

    I’m so impressed that you do regular whole 30s. I did one last May and it truly helped me stay clean for months. I’m due for another but the biggest problem I have is how excruciatingly boring it makes eating out! My husband and I have a hobby of restaurant-hopping when we get our occasional dates. How in the world can I keep eating out fun without feeling like I have to sacrifice every restaurant experience?!

    • Mel says:

      This is going to sound really Pollyana, but when I’m Whole30-ing, I try to focus on the fun of eating out that doesn’t have to do with the food: someone else is cooking, I get dressed up, I relish being waited on, I try to turn all my attention to my husband Dave… and I eat a hamburger with no bun and salad.

  • Susan says:

    I’m doing it–started my Whole 30 yesterday! The sugar demons are absolutely the worst for me. I can do without the other unnecessary grains/carbs, but cookies, cupcakes, etc, etc are really hard for me. I wasn’t necessarily committed to paleo as a lifestyle on my last Whole 30 last May–it was more of a way to lean down and increase my athletic performance. So I’m working on a new mindset!

    • Mel says:

      CONGRATULATIONS! You can totally take down the sugar demon. Keep us posted on how you’re doing and if you need encouragement!

      I’m starting a Whole30 today, too, because it helps me improve ALL of my self-care behavior, and I’ve been eating too much chocolate and not drinking enough water during our busy days of cookbook production. Looking forward to eating lots of collard greens and herbal tea.

  • Jen S says:

    I consider myself a foodie, but I am overweight and have developed high blood pressure. I always thought I ate pretty well, but my doctor suggested Whole 30. I have just completed my first Whole 30, and feel transformed! I am happier, more energetic, less mentally sluggish, 10 pounds lighter, and, amazingly, my blood pressure is coming down! Well Fed is an excellent cookbook and I have had no difficulty preparing meals fit for any foodie. (I hope someday you do another.) Thank you. Thank you. Tomorrow I begin my second Whole 30 and may just choose to stay on it – for health and happiness.

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations on Whole30-ing! Sounds like you’re in the midst of a totally awesome transformation — that is wonderful! I’m really glad Well Fed is a small part of your success; thanks for letting me know!

      Well Fed 2 will be out in October… just in time for a fall Whole 30 😉

      Best to you!

  • Sarah says:

    Hi there,

    I’m 13 days in and I have to say that instead of feeling all the benefits you list, I actually feel the opposite. I went from waking up early and feeling normal energy levels pre Whole 30 to having trouble getting out bed in the morning, then feeling groggy and in a fog, unfocused at work. The first few days felt fine, but I’ve had sort of constant state of that low blood sugar feeling for days now. It’s incredibly frustrating because I’m investing a lot of time and money in preparing healthy whole 30 meals for myself to only end up feeling really crummy. And I wasn’t someone who ate junk food before this so I can’t imagine I’m still detoxing. Am I not getting enough calories maybe? Eating too much fruit maybe? Not enough protein? Any ideas would be much appreciated. I want to stick with it because I’ve made a commitment and the food I’m eating is great and the temptations aren’t at all difficult–I just feel awful!

    • Mel says:

      I’m really sorry to hear that! You ask good questions: it might be too few calories, or less fat/protein than you need. It might also be too few carbs. Are you eating any dense carbs like sweet potatoes or butternut squash? I found that i need to eat about 1/2 – 1 cup sweet potatoes per day to keep my energy levels where I want them — I just don’t get enough carbs from all the veggies I eat. Without knowing your exercise, sleep, and eating habits, I can’t really help you pinpoint which nutrients might be lacking.

      And unfortunately, I’m only an expert on MYSELF on a Whole30 — so I recommend that you visit the Whole9 forum to get help from the Whole30 experts: http://forum.whole9life.com/

      Please let us know how you’re doing and what tweaks you’re making… I’ll be thinking about you.

      • Sarah says:

        Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for your support. I started eating more fat and protein at breakfast (just a bigger breakfast all around) and having a sweet potato at lunch and it’s made all the difference. I am back to my happy whistling self and the challenge feels easy and doable again! Onto Day 20 tomorrow. Thanks again!

        • Mel says:

          I’m SO glad! That’s awesome. And thank YOU… I haven’t been sleeping well the past few nights, and I realized it’s because I’ve been skipping my daily sweet potato. Guess I need that extra little bit of carbs, too!

  • Julie says:

    I am on about day 5 of Whole30 after having read the book. I feel great but was wondering how long it takes before “righteous sleeping” starts happening. My sleep is out of whack and I suspect it has to do with the abrupt stop of sugar and grains. I am functioning ok with out the good sleep, but I sure miss it.

  • Kate says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this with me! I am starting tomorrow after a friend shared that she and her husband were doing the same. Once she told me some of the benefits, i was sold! I am nervous because I live alone and sometimes going out for food/drinks can “seem” like the only way to get out, but I know this is worth it!

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  • Jodi says:

    I am stressing! I want to feel good about going Paleo–and I’d declare myself Paleo as of 5 days ago. NO hard carbs (that’s what I call breads, wheat, grains, etc.), no refined sugar, and very limited veggie-fruit carbs (around 100g per day.) Trying to — in faith–trust the lots of fat and amp up the protein. Moderate aerobic exercise and doing squats, weight lifting. Sounds about right, right?
    I am sleeping great, by the way. But I am HUNGRY. I am sticking to it but even while not doing what would be classified at the Whole 30 I am truly trying very hard, feeling the “pain” of transition. Do I really have to do a Whole 30 to benefit? Will I still drop the 8 lbs I want to lose and keep or gain muscle, will I possibly reverse some of the health issues I might have (no major ones come to mind but there is stuff.)

    What do you think?

    • Mel says:

      No reason to stress! If you’re stressing yourself out, you’re undoing the good of eating well.

      #1. If you’re hungry, you need to eat more. It’s that simple. My advice would be to try adding a bit more protein and you might even want to up your carbs to 110-120 per day. Not everyone thrives on a very low carb diet, especially women who are exercising.

      The 30 days to two things for you: 1. It takes at least that long for any gut issues to heal, so if you’ve previously been eating gluten and other grains, you might have some inflammation that needs time to heal — and that takes at least 30 days. 2. To truly changes habits and make this a lifelong way to eat that supports optimal health and happiness — rather than a “diet” — you need time… and 30 days seems to be just about the right amount of time to really solidify these new habits.

      But the choice is ALWAYS yours.

  • Show'Chi says:

    I stumbled upon your web site looking for alternatives to salad dressing and found myself absolutely hooked on everything. I started my first Whole 30 campaign on the strength of the information on here as well as a recommendation from a good friend. I’ve always been comfortable in the kitchen in regard to the creation of recipes and I see that this new challenge will provide a great opportunity to further spread my creative wings. (I used the Paleo Mayo recipe this morning, then altered the flavors a bit and it came out WONDERFUL.) Will definitely look into buying Well Fed as soon as the budget allows me to. Thank you for the great site; looking forward to visiting often!

    • Congratulations on tackling the Whole30. It sounds like you’re going to do great — especially if you like playing in the kitchen. Once you get comfortable with the guidelines, it’s really easy and fun to be creative with your food. Happy cooking to you!

  • Nate says:

    I started doing Whole 30 for the benefit of eating healthier. In the process I lost 25 lbs. Wow! So, in addition to feeling a lot better, I also look better. I heard of people losing weight, but I didn’t expect to lose 25 lbs. I start my second Whole 30 on April 1st after coming off for 1 week.