Written by YOUR future Whole30 Coach, Tori Akselrad
When the Whole30 first came out, there were very limited resources to help you through your food freedom journey. For the most part, all the foods had to be made from scratch, most of the recipes had to be found in the official Whole30 book, and the most unpopular fact of all- you had to drink your coffee black (gasp!). These days, it’s a totally different story and the Whole30 can actually be a completely different experience than it once was. We are to the point now where there are officially no excuses. Almost everyone can and should do a Whole30 successfully. In fact, I dare say you should also be able to easily ENJOY it. There are so many different resources and products available now that you are probably living under a rock if you haven’t at least heard of the Whole30.
If you are reading this right now, you have everything you need to succeed in your Whole30 just by owning a computer or phone. All the helpful info can be found on the Whole30 website, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google. In terms of food products, you don’t even need a fancy health food store anymore. Whole30 approved foods can now be found in all major grocery stores (yes, even Walmart) and all over the internet. There are also so many amazing certified Whole30 coaches who can give you the guidance and accountability you need.
The reason I am writing this is twofold. First, because we are in the midst of a food revolution. People are finally realizing that we have been making ourselves sick for years by eating sugar and processed foods. If we don’t make a change, our population is going to be completely overtaken with chronic illness and disease. Thankfully, the Whole30 is here to help you get through the transition period and teach you to fuel your body with real foods that help you thrive. Melissa (Hartwig) Urban has done all the work for you. You just have to make the decision to change. I am committed to spreading the word about the Whole30 to as many people as possible, in hopes that I can help coach others through their health and wellness journey and find food freedom forever.
The second reason I am writing this is to shed some light on all the fantastic Whole30 resources and products that are now available to us. The Whole30 might have once been kind of hard (even though the book says “This. Is. Not. Hard.”), but now there are no excuses. By now, Whole30 is Officially. Not. Hard. Below are the 10 most common excuses I hear about why people don’t want to do a Whole30, along with my rebuttal, resources, and products to prove otherwise. If you are like me, sometimes you need a little tough love to help you shift your mindset. I’m here to give you just that, along with a heavy dose of encouragement and support. Making these huge lifestyle changes can be overwhelming, but Whole30 has grown into a program that has everything you need to succeed without worry.
1.The Excuse: It’s too expensive.
My Rebuttal: It’s not nearly as expensive as years’ worth of medical bills and medications, and Whole30 coach Sarah Rentfro proves it can be cheap.
Eating healthy does not have to be expensive. No one is forcing you to buy organic, grass-fed, or the highest quality foods. I like to think of foods in categories as “good”, “better”, or “best”. I only buy the best organic, free range, grass-fed, pasture raised foods when they are on sale. I choose better high-quality brands every once in a while, but I always let “good” be good enough. Buying the cheaper whole chicken that isn’t free range but still says “raised without antibiotics” is still much better than opting for the fried chicken at the deli. Choosing frozen vegetables over fresh is still a very healthy way to get those nutrients in. These days, there are so many budget friendly resources out there to help you through your Whole30 that you can still stock your home with real whole foods without breaking the bank.
Resources: On Instagram, check out Whole30 coaches Sarah (@thepursewhisperer and @tpw_aldiwalmartwhole30) and Bailey (@wholekitchensink). They are both amazing resources for doing a budget friendly Whole30. Sarah posts regular finds from Aldi and Walmart and Bailey has a ton of blog and Pinterest posts that will make your shopping experience so much easier! Just type in “Whole30 budget” on Pinterest and you will have more pins than you will know what to do with.
In terms of coaching, many of the Whole30 coaches offer extremely cheap monthly options ranging from $49-$100. It’s an amazing deal for the accountability, resources, and support you receive. Check out the list of coaches on the Whole30 website at www.whole30.com/coaches
Products: On top of the growing resources out there on where to find cheaper healthy food options, there are also so many new cheaper Whole30 compliant products that have come out in the past few years! The most noteworthy is probably the official Whole30 approved Great Value frozen meals at Walmart. They are under $5 and really delicious! In addition to those, Walmart also has cheaper brands of compliant oils, broths, flours, frozen veggies, and meats. You can easily stick to Whole30 and never shop anywhere but Walmart. Simple Truth brand also has a huge line of whole30 compliant foods. Those can be found at Kroger, King Soopers, and City Market.
2. The Excuse: I don’t want to or know how to cook.
My Rebuttal: That’s ok. Danika Brysha does it for you!
Cooking is something a lot of people struggle with. They either don’t have the time, the energy, or the knowledge. I get it. Cooking can be a real pain. But when you are making a major life change, you need to be open to trying and learning new things. When it comes to cooking and Whole30, it doesn’t have to be complicated. I never spend more than 30 minutes cooking a meal, and the longer you eat real whole foods, the easier the cooking will become. It’s actually easier with Whole30 because you have so many less complicated options to choose from! Basically, you pick a meat, some veggies, and a healthy fat to combine together. That’s it! If you want to learn to eat healthy, you are going to have to invest at least a little time each day into your meals. You need to get comfortable in your kitchen and find ways to make cooking work for you.
Resources: Melissa (Hartwig) Urban recently came out with her cookbook Whole30 Fast and Easy and it is a life saver! There are tons of delicious recipes that are so simple and take very little time out of your busy day. In addition to that, there are numerous recipes on Pinterest and Google that take just 30 minutes or shorter! You can also check out these Whole30 pro’s for ideas on easy, no fuss, and realistic ways to keep eating healthy simple and attainable…
- Bailey (@wholekitchensink)
- Valerie (@thymeandjoy)
- Stephanie (@cookbycolor)
Products: If cooking just isn’t going to happen for you right now, that’s ok! Thankfully, there are multiple food delivery options that are Whole30 compliant and will show up right at your front door.
- True Fare- As an official Whole30 partner, they offer numerous options for Whole30, AIP, and Keto/Low Carb meals
- Model Meals- Founded by Whole30 coach and self-care expert Danika Brysha! (@danikabrysha)
- Balanced Bites- Founded by Diane Sanfilippo (@dianesanfilippo), she has a lot of paleo and keto options that can easily work for your Whole30
- Sun Basket- There are a few options that are Whole30 compliant, especially in their “Paleo” category.
3. The Excuse: It seems too difficult.
My Rebuttal: This. Is. Not. Hard. You don’t even have to drink your coffee black anymore! Just ask Whole30 coach Courtney Coyle. She’s all about her morning coffee and frequently posts about it on Instagram.
I am right there with Melissa when she describes things that are hard. Losing a parent to Cancer is hard. I just dealt with that last year. Dealing with a pregnancy loss is hard. I recently had the unfortunate luck of experiencing this too. Breaking a heroin addiction is hard. I have no experience there but I’ve heard stories. But not eating bread or ice cream for 30 days Is. Not. Hard. And believe me, as someone who is recovering from a lifetime of binge eating disorder and sugar addiction, I realize how hard this can feel. I’ve been working on my relationship with food for years and every day is still hard. But trust me, you have done way harder things in your life. You just have to look at it in perspective and tell yourself, “This is just 30 days. I can do ANYTHING for 30 days.” Because it’s true. You can. And it will change your life.
Resources:Melissa created the Whole30 Day by Day book as an incredibly helpful resource to get you through the hard days. It’s a guided journal with explanations of what to expect each day, and motivational tools to help you succeed. There is also an awesome Whole30 forum on the official website where you can go to ask questions, reach out for help, follow along with others doing Whole30, and feel like you are part of a supportive community. There is no reason to do the Whole30 alone, especially with all the avenues of support available to you.
Products: The products that have come out in the past few years have been HUGE for Whole30. These brands are the reason that Whole30 is officially NOT. HARD. There are so many, but here are a few big ones that make life so much easier…
- Nutpods- A Whole30 approved coffee creamer (see Courtney’s Instagram stories @coffeecarrotsandcurls… she’s obsessed and has all the good info and discount codes). They have a ton of delicious flavors. I have actually always been more of a black coffee drinker so I don’t use them often, but many Whole30ers swear by them and it’s a great way to make the shift to sugar free coffee without feeling deprived of your precious morning ritual.
- Primal Kitchen- This brand is amazing. They have Whole30 compliant oils, salad dressings, sauces, collagen, mayo, ketchup, and assorted snacks. You can now find them in many grocery stores, Walmart, and online. The prices are reasonable and the variety is huge!
- The New Primal- Right up there with Primal Kitchen, this brand is one of my absolute favorites. They have an amazing mission, a fantastic team, and their sauces and marinades are delicious. They also have jerky and other delicious portable meat snacks.
- Chomps- these are an easy and nutritious on-the-go meat stick. They make getting your protein in much easier and are an awesome post workout option. Chomps are the perfect emergency food to always have in your bag or the car.
- RX Bar- They now offer a huge variety of protein filled snack bar flavors as well as nut butter packets. Almost all of their products are Whole30 compliant.
4. The Excuse: Its’ too hard to do this when you have kids.
My Rebuttal: Talk to me after you have seen the life of Whole30 coach Autumn Michaelis (@wholefoodfor7). She has 5 boys under the age of 20, a full-time job, a very successful website and blog, a killer social media following, and still manages to keep her family eating clean, paleo, healthy foods on a regular basis. She cooks for them all, teaches them to make educated choices, and is an amazing role model for all moms with crazy hectic lives who are looking to clean up their families’ diets.
Resources: There are no excuses allowed after you see these amazing Whole30 coaches/moms who are able to maintain a healthy real food centered lifestyle at home. Talk about hard… raising your children to understand the importance of eating healthy in our world full of sugar and processed food… that’s hard. But these moms CRUSH it on a daily basis. They meal prep, have budget friendly tips, give advice on how to get your kids to eat healthy, and help you realize that it is possible to stick to Whole30 and healthy eating in your home. You just have to make some changes and help shift your families’ habits, just as you are shifting your own. Check out these incredible women who all have 3 or more kids and are Whole30 pros…
- Lindsey (@lindsey_van_cleave)
- Chelsea (@chelseakimlong)
- Autumn (@wholefoodfor7)
- Kate (@whole30coachme)
- Amanda (@amandalalley)
In addition to these ladies, there is also an entire community devoted to women who are pregnant, breast feeding, or raising children. It’s called Whole Mama’s Club and it’s an amazing resource for finding support and guidance in the Whole30 community.
5. The Excuse: There is no way I can go that long without ________.
My Rebuttal: If there is any single food you feel like you can’t live without for just 30 days, you need to re-evaluate your relationship with food.
Resources: Sugar and food addiction is a very real thing. Did you know that sugar has been proven to be more addictive than cocaine in animals? For many people, sugar feels like a drug, and it’s not easy to detox from it. Unlike drugs, we are surrounded by sugar in our daily lives. Over 60% of packaged foods in the grocery story contain refined sugar. You have to make a conscious effort to avoid it these days, which doesn’t make cleaning up your diet easy. Thankfully, Whole30 is here to help you!
Resources: There are many Whole30 coaches who provide awesome advice and resources for people who need to work on their relationship with food. Many have struggled with eating disorders, sugar addiction, emotional eating and learning to be more confident with your body and self-esteem. Here are just a few lovely ladies you can inquire with if you struggle any of these issues…
- Sarah (@thepursewhisperer)
- Elaina (@discoverbalance_)
- Autumn (@wholefoodfor7)
- Courtney (@coffeecarrotsandcurls)
- Me (@toriakselrad)
There are also plenty of articles and blog posts on the Whole30 website written by Melissa and others from the Whole30 community on the topic of sugar and food addiction. Melissa calls this your “sugar dragon” and it’s a perfect term. Thankfully, she also wrote an entire book about how to change your relationship with food. It’s called Food Freedom Forever and it’s probably the most influential book I have ever read on this topic.
6. The Excuse: I travel too much to make this work.
My Rebuttal: There are numerous Whole30 on the go options these days. Just ask Whole30 Alumni and traveling pro, @cleaneatingproonthego. She and I were in the same coaching group together and I’ve followed her ever since!
Resources: There are tons of blog and Pinterest posts about how to eat healthy while traveling. I also know from personal experience that the airport is stocked full of Whole30 compliant foods these days. I see them everywhere I go!
Products: Below are a few of the awesome options you now have for traveling, busy days, or emergency food.
- RX Bars and nut butter packets
- Pearls Olives to go cups
- Wholly Guacamole single serving containers
- Medlie fruit and veggie drinks
- Pre packaged hard boiled eggs
- Kasandrinos olive oil packets
- Coconut Secret to go packets
- Amazon has multiple brands of balsamic vinegar and olive oil packets
- Tin Star ghee packets
- Chomps, The New Primal, and Epic brand meat sticks
7. The Excuse: I work out too much. I need more carbs for my lifestyle.
My Rebuttal: This is not a low carb diet. And just for the record, there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. You don’t “NEED” them as much as you think you do. Check out my Instagram and other blog posts for more on this (@toriakselrad).
I’m not saying that carbohydrates are not important. Yes, we need them to keep our energy up if we live a very active lifestyle. The fact is though, Americans consume way too many of the wrong kind of carbohydrates, and it’s leading to chronic inflammation and disease. Whole30 helps teach you which carbohydrates are healthy fuel for your body, and which are doing you a disservice. You will probably find that after your body adjusts to Whole30 foods, you will actually have improved athletic performance.
Resources: Check out these strong and athletic coaches who teach about how to thrive with Whole30 while still staying active and achieving your physical goals…
- Christine (@mainlinewhole30coach)
- Katy (@wholehealthfitnesscoach)
- Meg (@everydayepiccoaching)
- Andrea (@loubiesandlulu)
- Melissa (@melissa_hartwig)
Products: Although carbs are actually not essential, until your body learns to burn fat more effectively, you will most likely need some carbs to help keep your energy up during your Whole30 if you are continuing to work out a lot. There are plenty of packaged and whole food choices that will give your body the nutrients and energy it needs to keep moving.
- RX Bars
- Medlie drinks
- Chomps and The New Primal meat sticks
- Whole Fruits
- Starchy veggies like potatoes, yams, parsnips, beets, and squash
8. The Excuse: I don’t live near any health food stores.
My Rebuttal: This was my excuse at first. It doesn’t work anymore.
You can find healthy food anywhere these days. Even in the gas station. I always see pre made hard boiled eggs, fruits, and often some compliant jerky choices when I am filling up my tank. In addition to finding Whole30 compliant foods at all grocery stores, convenient stores, and even airports now, there are also so many online shopping options. You don’t even need to leave your house anymore and you can have amazing quality foods shipped right to your door.
Resources and Products:
- Thrive Market- I use Thrive constantly. Living in a small mountain town, I am 2 hours from a Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or any other health food store. We have 1 grocery store in our town so my options are limited. Over the years, the selection of Whole30 foods has slowly grown, and now I never have to worry about finding compliant items, but I still love using Thrive for many of my staples. It’s always discounted more than my local store, offers free shipping, and comes with fun free gifts! You can find anything on Thrive from dry goods to cleaning products to grass fed meat. It’s an amazing resource for Whole30 online shopping.
- Butcher Box- High quality meats delivered frozen to your door. They always have an awesome deal going on like their recent “Free Bacon For Life!” offer on every order once you sign up. They have free range chicken, grass fed beef, duroc pork, and you can mix and match your orders.
- US Wellness Meats- Another great online high-quality meat delivery service.
- Coupon codes- Whole30 has a ton of amazing partnerships and many of the Whole30 coaches offer discount codes for some of their favorite brands. Just check out their blogs and Instagram pages for more details!
- Amazon- Like Thrive, Amazon is also a great resource for a large variety of Whole30 approved products. They aren’t usually as cheap as Thrive, but if you don’t want to purchase the Thrive membership, Amazon is probably your next best option for online shopping.
- Walmart- You can have many items delivered from Walmart online and they have a growing number of Whole30 compliant options.
- There are a few great brands at major grocery stores that are slowly incorporating more Whole30 compliant foods into their selection. Look for a variety of options by Great Value, Simple Truth, O Organics, and Simple Nature. You can usually find options for oils, nuts, seeds, coconut milk, pasta sauces, olives, canned veggies, and spices.
9. The Excuse: I don’t need this. I’m not overweight.
My Rebuttal: The Whole30 has nothing to do with weight loss. You aren’t even allowed to weigh yourself during it!
Many people think the Whole30 is some radical diet or extreme weight loss technique. It is neither. Whole30 is a way of exploring your relationship with food and resetting your body in order to pinpoint certain foods that serve you well and figure out others that don’t. More importantly for many though, it becomes a way to explore all the aspects of your life that have nothing to do with food at all. Your emotional well-being, certain relationships that need special attention, exploring your strengths and weaknesses in your work and home life, and learning crucial forms of self-care. Yes, eliminating all potential “problem foods” for 30 days is a big part of it, but that is just the foundation. The life lessons you will acquire after doing a Whole30 are incredibly eye opening.
Resources: When it comes to the stuff not related to food, these Whole30 coaches have got it on lockdown…
- Amanda (@amandaswholekitchen)
- Allison (@allison_sweatman)
- Emily (@emilynichols22)
- Danika (@danikabrysha)
10. The Excuse: I don’t have a bad relationship with food.
My Rebuttal: You may still be consuming foods that are not healthy for your mind or body.
Food is medicine and health is wealth. There’s a reason that the dietary guidelines are changing slowly each year. We have discovered the reason that so many people are sick, overweight, and suffering from disease… it’s because of the food in our Standard American Diet. Whether you think you are healthy and active or not, you need to continually re-educate yourself about food. There’s a lot of new and enlightening information out there that is very different from what we once believed to be healthy.
Everyone can learn something from doing a Whole30, no matter what stage of life you are in or how healthy you think you already are. It’s a great program to help educate yourself on the foods you should be working to incorporate into your diet and the ones you should make an effort to reduce your quantities of on a regular basis.
Resources: The best books to start out reading are It Starts With Food and Whole30 by Melissa (Hartwig) Urban. They will give you all the insight about why the Whole30 exists, why making a change is crucial, and the reasoning behind the elimination of certain food categories in the Whole30 program.
**Reasons Whole30 May Not Be For You Right Now:
There is a small group of people that Whole30 may not be appropriate for at specific times in their life, and this is important to mention and for you to consider. Although I believe most people would benefit from doing a Whole30, people with eating disorders and others with severe medical conditions should be cleared by a medical professional before making a change. In most cases, Whole30 will probably help most medical conditions, but these changes shouldn’t be taken lightly because they are a big shift for your body. Check with your physician first before making any decisions.
In terms of eating disorders, it depends on the person and stage they are at in their recovery. The strict rules and elimination of so many foods could be triggering for some with a history of disordered eating. If you have a history of anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, or binge eating disorder, you should consult with a medical professional before deciding if the Whole30 is a good fit for you.
I hope that after reading this post, you are convinced that you should look into the idea of trying Whole30. At the very least, buy the book and read it. Don’t fear the change, embrace it and educate yourself. You deserve to feel all the non-scale victories that so many Whole30ers experience after completing the program. You are worthy of achieving optimal health. Your kids, your loved ones, and your friends deserve to experience the best possible version of you. So throw your excuses out the door and invest in yourself. It’s only a matter of time before your unhealthy decisions catch up with you, so be proactive and take control now. Your life depends on it, and Whole30 is here to help.