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Whole30 ultimate guide to what you can and cannot eat

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What can you really eat on the Whole30 diet, and what do you have to avoid?


The Whole30 diet often creates confusion because it severely restricts your food choices for 30 days. If you are wondering what is safe to eat on the diet, then you may want to consider the following tips. You can still feel satisfied and stay active on the Whole30 diet.

What to avoid on the Whole30 diet

The founders of the Whole30 diet, Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, recommend that you cut out all dairy, soy, alcohol, sugar, grains and legumes. Although it is easy to stop buying and get rid of beer or other alcoholic beverages, it is trickier to figure out which vegetables and fruits have to be eliminated.

For example, bananas are healthy and recommended by many dieticians, but they also have a lot of sugar. A medium-sized banana can have 14 grams of sugar. The Whole30 diet restricts sugar, so you may be wondering if it is safe to keep bananas on the list. The answer is that you can eat bananas, but there are other foods you will have to eliminate.

Foods you cannot eat on the Whole30 diet

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Sugar. This includes artificial and natural sugar. You cannot have honey or maple syrup.
Alcohol. All alcohol ranging from vodka to beer has to be eliminated. You also cannot cook with wine.
Legumes. This refers to all beans.
Soy. You cannot eat tofu, edamame or other soy products on the Whole30 diet.
Dairy. You must remove all dairy such as cheese, yogurt, milk and ice cream.
Grains. You have to eliminate wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn, rice and all other grains.
MSG, carrageenan and sulfites. These are common additives and preservatives in processed foods.

Foods you can eat on the Whole30 diet

Bananas and other fruit. Although they have sugar, bananas and other fruit are allowed.
Eggs. You can eat eggs, and they will probably become a big part of your breakfast.
Potatoes. They have starch and carbohydrates, but they are safe on the Whole30 diet.
Meat. You can eat a variety of meat ranging from chicken to bacon.
Seafood. There are no restrictions on seafood.
Vegetables. Most vegetables are allowed, but you have to avoid legumes.
Ghee. Also known as clarified butter, it is allowed on this diet.
Coconut oil. You can use in a variety of ways including cooking.
Extra virgin olive oil. This is allowed on the Whole30 diet.
Nuts and seeds. Almonds, pecans and pistachios are allowed.
Alternative flours. You can have coconut, almond, tapioca and arrowroot flour. However, you cannot use them to make baked goods.

Exceptions you need to know

There are several exceptions to the rules that you should know about as you try to follow this diet. First, the founders of Whole30 do not recommend that you try to use the safe ingredients to recreate common junk food such as pastries even if you use healthy items like bananas and coconut flour to bake them. The reason behind this recommendation relates to the need to change how you look at food.

There are other exceptions such as being allowed to eat certain legumes like green beans. In addition, vinegar and salt are not restricted. You simply have to avoid vinegars that have extra sugar in them. Also, coffee and cacao are allowed, so you do not have to worry about your caffeine addiction.