Kicking Off Whole30

No time to read? Scroll down to the end of the post for my shopping list or jump over to this post for my meal plan.

The goal of Whole30 is to restore and revive your relationship with food.  Throughout the 30 days, your goal is to eliminate certain foods that have a negative impact on your body, both externally and internally.  I have not completed the program yet nor do I think that I have a bad relationship with food, but I’ve heard so many great things that I am excited for the journey (and challenge)!

Whole30 was started by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig in 2009.  They have written 4 best-selling books about the Whole30 lifestyle.  Check out the official website. Everything you need can be found on the official website and blog.  I purchased two of their books –


Whole30 Rules:

  • No Sugar, alcohol, grains (of any kind), legumes, dairy
  • No recreations of your favorite desserts with substitutes or “paleo desserts” even if they are technically allowed by program rules
  • If it’s artificial, don’t buy it.  Read the ingredients carefully
  • Stick to the compliant ingredients listed on the Whole30 website and books – compliance comes down to the ingredients – some things may seem compliant but aren’t
  • Ditch the scale for the duration of the program

I have tried to start Whole30 multiple times but have never made it past the first week.  After spending a few months inactive while I was recovering from hip surgery, I definitely felt my body change.  I used my injury as an excuse to eat EVERYTHING as “comfort food.”  Although it still barely noticeable on the outside, I definitely felt pretty crappy during the entire time.  I am ready to get back into my usual exercise and eating routine.  I find that when I do one, I am motivated to do the other and each day gets a little easier.

What is your motivation? Write down your goals for  these next 30 days.  Pin them to your refrigerator so you are reminded every time you walk into the kitchen.

The cravings will be strong.  I am NOT an expert at healthy eating [at all].   I’m the type of person that will eat KFC just because I feel like it or go to McDonald’s whenever I am craving something salty. Starbuck’s Frappuccinos find their way into my hand at least 4 times a week [how did it get there?!]. I am French so the thought of not eating bread or cheese for a month is terrifying!
I’ve finally decided that just because I am not gaining weight, does not mean that I should ignore my eating habits.


  • I am using my blog as a way to keep myself accountable and also to hopefully help some people who are starting Whole30 during February [starting day does not matter!]
  • I plan to keep myself accountable with very strict meal planning – Sometimes after a long day of work, it is tempting to order take out.  I put together my 30 day meal plan.  The meals are subject to change if I discover new recipes, but I did not want to start day one with a blank canvas.


  • Official whole30 website and books
  • My favorite whole30 blog: Olive You Whole.  How cute [and informative] is this website!? Caroline covers everything you could possibly need to know about whole30.  Definitely take 20 minutes to browse through her site before starting your journey
  • Nom Nom Paleo: My colleague successfully completed whole30 and swore by this blog.  I took a look, and Michelle’s recipes look amazing!  She has a whole30 section, and even includes a meal plan for 2 rounds of whole30.
  • Pinterest! Over the past few months, I have been gathering inspiration from Pinterest.  I did not write any of these so many sure that they are actually whole30 approved before following them.
Where to buy?
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Whole Foods
  • – recommended by my coworker.  I couldn’t believe how much compliant pantry items they have. The first order is 15% off and first month is free and then you can decide if you want to pay a yearly subscription fee.  I just made my first order and can’t wait for the goodies to arrive! 🙂 UPDATE: I just found out that you can get 35% off if you order through their Facebook link (next time!)
  • Whole30 approved vendors [Pricey]
  • Epic Whole30 collection.  They have starter kits available [Pricey]

My Kitchen Tools and Gadgets:
I do confess that I have already collected most [ok, all] of these over the years as gifts and splurge purchases.  I have provided pictures of the exact models that I own, but I bet you can find cheaper options on Amazon.  In fact, I encourage you to look for the cheapest options on Amazon….they all do the same thing.  I have labelled them according to how useful they will be for the program.

Recommended: Very useful

  • Cutting Board
  • Food Processor
  • Measuring Cups
  • Ovensafe 9 x 13 dish or cookie pan (recommended)
  • Pots and Pans
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sharp knives
  • Slow Cooker
  • Tupperware/Portion Control Containers (storage and food prep)
  • Veggie Peeler
  • Ziploc bags (for portioning snacks)

Optional: Might be useful

  • Apple Corer
  • Oven Safe Cast Iron Pan
  • Spiralizer

Luxury: Definitely not necessary

  • All Purpose Chopper/Kitchen Cutter
  • Blender
  • Electric Hand Mixer/KitchenAid
  • Food Scale
  • Fruit Infuser Water Bottle
  • Mandoline Slicer
  • Mason Jars (1 Quart)

Portion Control? [what if you don’t own a kitchen scale?]
I can easily see myself eating 500 calories of seeds in one sitting and justify is as a “healthy snack.”  This is a common Whole30 mistake (there are more). I did some research on portion control and will be using my kitchen scale to help me create healthy portions.  I will be portioning my nuts into 1-2 oz baggies.

If you do not own a kitchen scale, you can still follow approximate portion sizes! Here are some resources with easy to read pictures for portion control:

Substitutions/Approved Lists
Caroline from Olive You Whole has a great post about food substitutions.
Whole30 approved vendors

Shopping List Resources:
Trader Joe’s Whole30 Shopping List
Whole Foods Whole30 Shopping List
Costco Whole30 Shopping List
General Shopping List
Walmart Whole30 Shopping List
Target Whole30 Shopping List
Extensive Whole30 Shopping List
Note: I have not verified all of these items so be sure to always check the ingredients list!

My Shopping List [for 2 people]: There is also a full shopping list on the official whole30 website or page 192 of “The Whole30”
I ended up making a large order from Thrive Market (my wallet hurts but it was satisfying) – First order is 15% off and the first month is free!  After I ordered, my colleague sent me this link to get 35% off + Free Shipping…I missed it but hopefully someone can use it.

I got the fresh/frozen produce, and meats from Wholefoods, Trader Joes, and Safeway.  I could have just gone to Wholefoods but I gathered items over many days so I didn’t mind.  We keep our fridge stocked with many of these items regularly, so we did not need to buy a lot of it (especially pantry).

Do not feel pressured to break the bank – Organic and Grass fed is great but not necessary

SW = Safeway, WF = Whole Foods, TJ = Trader Joes, TM = Thrive Market ….Wholefoods will have everything you need.


  • Garlic Powder
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Onion Powder
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Black Pepper
  • Cilantro (fresh)
  • Basil (fresh)


  • Avocados
  • Kale
  • Lettuce Beds
  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini
  • Garlic
  • Cucumber
  • White Mushrooms
  • Mini Brussel Sprouts (Frozen)
  • Brocoli Florets (Frozen)
  • Butternut Squash (Frozen)
  • Cauliflower
  • Brocoli Slaw
  • Carrots
  • Bell Peppers

Fruits: All from Safeway

  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Cherries
  • Kiwi
  • Melon
  • Pears
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Meats (Freeze Immediately)

  • Organic Grass Fed Chicken Breast (WF)
  • Organic Pork Loin (WF)
  • Organic Grass Fed Beef (WF)
  • Mary’s Free Range 99% Lean Ground Chicken Breast (WF)
  • Wellshire Sugar Free Uncured Bacon (WF)
  • Applegate Chicken & Apple Sausage (WF)
  • 365 Fresh Young Whole Chicken (WF)
  • Grilled Chicken Strips (TJ)
  • Deboned Skinless Salmon (TJ)
  • Frozen Turkey Burgers (TJ)
  • Frozen Angus Beef Burgers (TJ)
  • Jennie O’s Ground Turkey Breast – lean (SW)


  • Avocado Oil (TM)
  • Organic Coconut Aminos (TM)
  • Organic Coconut Oil (SW)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (SW)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Kirkland)


  • Mamma Chia Organic Black Chia Seeds (TM)
  • Sunflower Seeds (TM)
  • Pumpkin Seeds (TJ)
  • Walnuts (TM)
  • Cashews (TM)
  • 365 Sliced Almonds(WF)


  • Fruit Bliss – Dried Plums and Apricots (Other)
  • Justin’s Almond Butter Packets (TM)
  • Mission Meats Original Graze Sticks – Jerky (TM)
  • Dried and Frozen Figs (TJ)
  • Rosemary Flackers (TM)
  • Unsweetened Organic Coconut Flakes (TJ)


  • Almond Meal Flour (TM)
  • Clover’s Organic Cage Free Eggs (WF)
  • Organic Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce (TM)
  • Organic Tomato Basil Tomato Sauce (TM)
  • Mighty Leaf White Orchard Tea (TM)
  • Mighty Leaf Chamomile Citrus Tea  (TM)
  • Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk – contention about compliance (WF)
  • Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing with Avocado Oil (TM)
  • Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette with Avocado Oil (TM)
  • Imagine Organic Beef Broth (WF)
  • Imagine Organic Chicken Broth (WF)
  • Vinegar (WF)

Some Other Foods, Drinks and Snack Compliant Items:
I kept track of some other foods that are compliant as I was researching.

Whole30 Snacks
Most can be purchased online through Thrive Market or in person at Whole Foods.
100% Cocao
RX Bars
Epic Bars
Some Lara Bars
Some Beef Jerky Bars
Seeds, Cashews, Walnuts
Fruits with (a small amount) of almond butter
Fruit Bliss Dried Fruit

Whole30 Drinks:
La Croix
Sparkling Water
Tea (Black, Green, White, Herbal) – Add some lemon for extra flavor
Lemon Water
Fruit Enhanced Water – Use a fruit infused water bottle with any whole30 fruit
Coconut Water

Salad Dressings: 
Primal Kitchen Dressings and Mayos
Make your own!
Whole30 Breakfast/Lunch:
Compliant Sausages or Bacon

Pantry Staples:
Some types of almond milk (read the labels)
Coconut Flour, Almond Flour
Whole Foods 365 Coconut Milk
Unrefined Coconut Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Avocado Oil
Others listed here with full caveats

Head over to Whole30 Projected Meals for my meal plan

Live your life & enjoy.

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