The Whole30 | Book Review

The Whole30. I’ve heard this term tossed around a lot in conversations.

“That restaurant is primarily Whole30 based.”

“The husband and wife are both going Whole30 for a month or so.”

“That food isn’t on the Whole30.”

Which got me thinking…do these people know what they’re talking about?

You know when a television series comes out, like Honey Boo Boo or Game of Thrones, and everyone suddenly has an opinion…even when they haven’t seen the show (or in the case of GoT read the books or seen the series). I feel like this happens A LOT in the crazy, messed up world of diets.

In some ways, I feel bad for the inventors of the diet. They can’t control how their diets will get bastardized. Maybe they don’t care because if it makes it mainstream they are swimming in a room full of money like Scrouge McDuck. Who am I kidding? No one saves money like that anymore, these people are probably out there living large, and who can blame them?

Which brings me to the book The Whole30. Yes, the actual book. The inner page reads, “the 30-day guide to total health and food freedom.” Food freedom. That has a good ring to it.

The authors are Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig. They were married at the time the book went to print, but as I discovered online, the couple have since separated and Melissa now runs the

It’s Only 30 Days

In case there was some confusion regarding this point, the Whole30 program lasts 30 days.

FUN FACT: It was created in April 2009.

Taking Down The Sugar Dragon

The Sugar Dragon is what the authors refer to as our craving for junk food and sugar. The Whole30 program does not permit the consumption of foods containing added sugars and this in effect kills the Sugar Dragon living within you.

Say Goodbye To Some More Food Favorites

Here are some other foods you’ll be prohibited from eating:

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy (the exceptions are clarified butter or ghee)

The reasoning behind these restrictions? They don’t meet the ‘Good Food Standards’ of the diet.

You Can Eat This

Meat, eggs, fruit and seafood.

Most vegetables are ok, except for legumes (including peanut butter) and corn.

Apples, bananas, sweet potatoes and spinach are Whole30 friendly foods.

Here’s What I Like About The Book

  • Throughout this book the authors treat you like the responsible, grown-up that you are
  • They effectively remove A TON of common excuses for why you can’t succeed on their program

In fact, they put the onus of following the program entirely on you, the reader. If you’re ready to give the Whole30 a go, they are ready to help. If not, simply close the book and continue to eat and have the same relationship you did with food you held prior to reading about the Whole30. Because reading about the diet is not the same as accepting the 30 day challenge and completing it successfully by following all the rules.

If you start the program and want to cheat, cheat. But they say the only person you’re really cheating is yourself from having the true Whole30 experience. There is nothing quite like saying, “Yes, I did the Whole30. Except for the no sugar in my coffee bit. I mean, that’s just crazy. Right?” out loud to realize that you didn’t actually follow the program.

Ways to plan and prepare for your Whole30 take up several chapters. Commonly asked questions are answered. Convenient and free PDFs are made available for download to help conquer tasks like going to the grocery store, meal planning and knowing what produce is in season. Because the authors created the program and have shepherded thousands of people through it, they have a firm grasp on where people struggle, stumble and need an assist. They make a point to continuously remind the reader that they are not alone, even though it may feel as if they are, when they embark on their diet.

The authors remove a lot of the roadblocks (and excuses) for why you wouldn’t be able to survive 30 days following their program. You can choose to either follow their rules. Or not. Again, I appreciated this challenge to one’s adulting skills. Add to that, if you don’t follow the spirit of the program, you’re still bucking the program…I’m looking at you banana and egg pancake makers (pancakes are verboten on the Whole30).


The book comes filled with recipes. Gorgeous photos of the meals you can serve yourself and your family (should you choose to bring them along on your Whole30 journey) adorn the latter section of the book.

Pulled pork carnitas. Butternut squash soup. White Tea-a-Sangria. You get the picture. Real food.

And with that, I now know a good deal more about the Whole30 than I did prior to reading this book, which was the entire point of reading it in the first place. Hopefully you, my gentle and kind readers, also learned something new as well.