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Whole30® Explained

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We all want to eat healthier, but figuring out what does and doesn't work for your unique context can be confusing, time-consuming and overwhelming. That's why Melissa Urban co-founded the Whole30® program, creating a short-term, structured dietary self-experiment to help you quickly and effectively personalize a better-for-you eating plan that is based on your individual needs.


The Whole30 started off as a two-person dietary experiment in April 2009. Co-founder Melissa Urban blogged about the self­ designed, life-changing program that helped her eliminate cravings, improve energy and sleep, relieve digestive symptoms and discover lasting food freedom. Unlike other programs, Whole30 is not focused on weight loss, and isn't prescriptive long-term. Instead, it's a 30-day personalized dietary reset that combines the benefits of an elimination diet with the science of behavior change, helping you determine which foods work best with your body and lifestyle.

Over the last twelve years, millions of Whole30 participants have reported life-changing transformations and dramatic health improvements with conditions like allergies, asthma, migraines, anxiety, chronic pain and symptoms from autoimmune diseases. In addition, hundreds of medical doctors, psychiatrists and registered dietitians use the Whole30 successfully with their patients, reporting the reversal of type 2 diabetes, normalized blood pressure, discontinued medications for depression and ADHD, and more1.


Dietitian-approved and grounded in 12 years of clinical experience, the Whole30 was designed to help participants identify food sensitivities and create a personalized, sustainable diet. For 30 days, you'll eliminate foods that are commonly problematic
(to varying degrees) in one of four key areas: cravings and emotional relationship with food, metabolism and blood sugar regulation, digestion, and immune system and inflammation.

In the absence of these potentially problematic foods, take careful notice of the benefits you may experience to your energy, sleep, digestion, cravings, mood, focus, mental health, pain, and symptoms (like allergies, headaches, joint swelling, or skin conditions).

At the end of the 30 days, you'll reintroduce those food groups one at a time, carefully and systematically, and compare your experience. This proven elimination and reintroduction protocol will provide you with a personalized approach to a "healthy diet" when your program is over, allowing you to include foods you know work well, and avoid those that cause negative responses in your body.

Phase 1: What You Eliminate

During the elimination phase, you'll avoid the following for 30 straight days:

What You Eliminate from Whole30: No added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No grains, dairy, legumes or alcohol, with the exception of wine vinegars.

Although the list may seem daunting, you don't have to worry about going hungry on the Whole30! For 30 days, you'll be eating high-quality meat, seafood and eggs; vegetables and fruit; natural fats; and herbs, spices and seasonings. Whole30 offers thousands of free recipes on its website and social media feeds, five Whole30 cookbooks and an enormous online community to help you navigate your new food landscape.

Phase 2: Whole30® Reintroduction

At the end of the elimination period, you will spend ten (or more) days reintroducing those same food groups back into your diet, one at a time, on a carefully outlined schedule.

Reintroduction allows you to compare your experience, and identify the foods or food groups that may be contributing negatively to your physical and mental health. If your allergies improved during elimination, but you notice they return when you reintroduce dairy, that provides you with valuable information about how your body responds to those foods, allowing you to make conscientious decisions about when, how often, and how much to include them in your diet going forward.

Whole30's reintroduction schedule has you reintroducing just one food group one day, then returning to the Whole30 for two more days, to allow time to observe any negative symptoms that may come up, and allow them to dissipate before reintroducing the next food group.


Building your plate on the Whole30 starts with a high-quality protein source. While it's not a Whole30 rule, if you are able, source animal protein that is responsibly-raised and fed, with no antibiotics or added hormones. Start with a palm-sized (or two) serving of meat, fish or eggs. Then, fill the rest of your plate with vegetables! Eat the rainbow, buy what's local or in season, use fresh, frozen, or canned-just make sure you're eating plenty of plants.

Add some fruit, especially if it's fresh and in-season. Use the Whole30 meal template to add a healthy amount of natural fat to your meals, whether that's in the form of an unrefined cooking oil, avocado, coconut milk, olives, nuts, or seeds.

Finally, add herbs, spices, Whole30 compatible dressings, sauces and condiments to tie the whole meal together.

Locating the right food to start your Whole30® journey is easier than you think-start with Applegate!  More than 30 APPLEGATE® products are Whole30 Approved® across six different categories, including hot dogs, bacon, dinner sausage, and deli meats. You can find items for every occasion and dietary need because these approved products are made without added sugar, grains, dairy, carrageenan or sulfites. And APPLEGATE® products are accessible, found in places such as health food markets, neighborhood grocery stores, discount super-centers, and even on e-retailers.

Photo of Melissa Urban


Always consult your medical provider before beginning any diet or exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional.


Changing The Meat We Eat®: Natural & Organic - No antibiotics, growth hormones, artificial ingredients or chemical nitrites - Humanely Raised - Gluten Free

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