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The Whole30, by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig

The Whole30: The 30-DAY Guide to TOTAL HEALTH and FOOD FREEDOM, by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig.


Whole30


I'm a huge proponent of the Whole30 program, having had darn near miraculous results my first time. What I love best about Whole30, though, is that they offer the program for free online to anyone who wants it. You don't have to buy their books and products, which makes me more inclined to support them by buying their books and products. I've not yet read the predecessor It Starts With Food, so this is my first Whole30 book.

The Whole30 is a 30-day elimination diet designed to help you discover your individual sensitivities to certain foods – and, yes, we all have them, from gas to skin and attitude problems. The Whole30 is unapologetically strict. For 30 days, you eliminate:


  • Added sugar of all kinds (fruit sugars are okay)

  • Alcohol

  • Grains

  • Legumes (excepting green beans, snow peas, and sugar snap peas)

  • Dairy

  • Carageenan, MSG, or added sulfites

  • Healthy “baked good” alternatives

  • The scale/weighing oneself



This book reviews the rules of the program as well as the rules of food group reintroductions, which I'll admit that I didn't really find much good info online when I first started the program. Perhaps that's changed now. Regardless, I found it helpful to have step-by-step suggestions for a successful reintroduction phase.

The book has a fantastic balance of science, friendliness, and tough love. It's strict but encouraging, and the authors give us all the tools needed to make a successful Whole30. I loved the section on basic kitchen fundamentals – I thought I knew all that stuff, but I learned a few things. And I appreciated the authors making sure to cover every bit of ground so newcomers, especially people like me who hate cooking (and there is A LOT of cooking on the Whole30), don't feel lost or intimidated.

They cover real-life scenarios like travelling for work, dining out, grocery shopping, professional athletes, pregnancy and nursing on the program, adapting its meat-heavy paleo-esque diet for vegetarian and vegan Whole30-ers. They include a fantastic recipe section that will definitely be a great help in switching up my usual health food fall-backs/ruts.

I definitely recommend the book and the product to everyone, but especially those who are tired of being stuck in an unhealthy relationship with food or those who have chronic health issues and would like to free themselves from medication dependency.