The Whole30 Diet is a lifestyle and elimination strategy designed – according to its founders – to “change your life.” Eating in this way is supposed to remove the food cravings you suffer, put your hormones back in balance, repair digestive struggles and correct a spectrum of medical conditions while improving immune function and raising energy levels. That sounds like an impressive list of claims, but with so many diet programs, it’s important to have a closer look before choosing one.

What is the Whole30 Diet?

The Whole30 Diet is based on the concept that many issues you’re struggling with are based on the foods you eat. That said, it’s impossible to know which foods cause what issues unless you eliminate virtually everything for a span of time and then begin careful reintroduction. Instead of providing a complete elimination diet, the Whole30 Diet is only 30 days long and focuses on the impact of alcohol, sugar, grains, dairy and legumes.

Therefore, people who think any of those foods may be the culprits behind their struggles could potentially be able to find out for certain by using this technique.

How the Whole30 Diet Works

The Whole30 Diet may be only a month long, but followers must eat very restrictively for those 30 days. Dieters will eat mainly whole foods – not processed foods – consisting primarily of vegetables. Banned foods include alcohol, sugar, grains, dairy and legumes. At no point are you allowed to cheat or you need to start the 30 days over again. This rule is consistent with elimination diets as even the smallest bite of the wrong ingredient derails the entire effort.

Moreover, the Whole30 Diet typically doesn’t allow for substitutions. You can’t replace your usual sweets with sugar-free alternatives. No diet pop to skip the sugar. No coffee whitener to replace the milk. You don’t replace these foods with artificial alternatives. You cut them out.

Whole30 Diet Planning and Support

Though the Whole30 Diet doesn’t require you to track any personal metrics or count calories, carbs or other nutritional factors, it still takes a lot of planning. The odds are that you won’t be able to eat any take-out or instant meals. You will need to find appropriate recipes, shop for those ingredients and prepare all your meals. You will find it challenging to eat out at the homes of friends or family unless you bring your own meals.

This means that there is quite the learning curve, but the Whole30 Diet does have quite a bit of support through its website and via social media. The resources are all available to answer questions and to keep up with everything you need to know to eat properly. The key is to have the motivation to keep it up for the full 30 days. It is highly recommended that you speak with a doctor before starting this or any other new eating strategy.