For the past two weeks, Julie and I have been doing the Whole30 Challenge.  For those of you who might not know what the Whole30 is, this article and Small Scale Life Podcast episode is for you.  

In this article and episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast, I am going to introduce the Whole30 Challenge and the basic rules of the Whole30 Challenge. 

What is Whole30?

health and fitness, 24 hour plan, renew you, basic nutrition

The Whole30 is a 30-day elimination challenge that was developed quite by accident by Melissa Urban and Dallas Hartwig in 2009.  By experimenting on themselves, they discovered that eliminating certain foods:

  • Reduced their inflammation
  • Curbed their cravings and bad habits
  • Boosted their metabolism
  • Healed their digestive tracts, and 
  • Calmed their immune system.

Does it sound too good to be true?  

Well, the truth is, our food IS medicine. We don’t see it that way, but it is. Why do you think pharmaceutical giant Bayer purchased seed company Monsanto in 2021?  

Food should be used to nourish our bodies and give us that necessary fuel to live; however, modern processed foods are engineered to keep you craving and purchasing them.  You are literally swimming in a sea of hyper-palatable processed foods, sugar, sweeteners, legumes, dairy products, alcohol and carbohydrates.  Our bodies and minds get addicted to such things because they are engineered by very smart and dedicated people to taste great (but are nutritionally poor)!  That’s why you eat a whole sleeve of Thin Mints or eat a whole bag of Cheetos!

The more of these foods we eat, the more pounds we pack on our bodies.  Given that we are chained to desks or chairs at school, work and/or home, we are not getting the movement our ancestors did, and we cannot burn enough calories to offset what we are consuming. 

Whole30 allows you and your body to calm down and reset by eliminating those processed foods or foods that cause inflammation for over 30 days.  After this elimination period is over, you slowly reintroduce those foods over 10 days or so.  During that reintroduction period, you are testing your body to see what it reacts to.

It is important to know that Whole30 is a great experiment on your body, and this is not a long term diet.  In 45 days, it is all over, and you can restart with another Whole30 or adopt another diet to keep the ball rolling.  The difference is: you have knowledge about what triggers or inflames your body.  You know what to limit or stay away from as you move forward.


Whole30 Rules

With any diet or elimination diet, there are going to be things you can do, and there are things you can’t.  Whole30 is no different, of course!  After all, having success is all about knowing the rules and following them! 

Do This List!

EAT REAL FOOD!  You can and should eat meat, seafood, eggs, fruits, vegetables, natural fats, herbs, spices and seasonings.  Kombucha is also on the list (which is great since I have a new batch brewing away).   As they say on the Whole30 website, “Eat foods with a simple or recognizable list of ingredients, or no ingredients at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.”

As easy as this sounds, it can actually be difficult when you are traveling, or in a store or at a restaurant.  It can be done, but you have to be creative and intentional. 


Don’t Do This List

These are the things that you should not eat for 30 day challenge:

  • No sugar (real or artificial) or honey
  • No alcohol (drinking it or using it in cooking)
  • No diet soda (since it is full of artificial sweeteners)
  • No grains including wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.
  • No legumes including beans (black, red, pinto, navy, garbanzo/chickpeas, white, kidney, lima, fava, cannellini, lentils, adzuki, mung, cranberry, and black-eyes peas); peanuts (including peanut butter or peanut oil); and all forms of soy (soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy protein, soy milk, or soy lecithin).
  • No dairy including cow’s-milk, goat’s-milk, or sheep’s-milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sour cream. The only exceptions are clarified butter or ghee.
  • No processed food or beverage with carrageenan or sulfites.  Carrageenan is a product made from red seaweed and used to thicken foods and drinks.  It has no nutritional value but can “cause inflammation, digestive problems, such as bloating and irritable bowel disease (IBD), and even colon cancer” according to an article in Medical News Today.  As always: read your labels. If you cannot pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it! 
  • No recreating baked goods,”treats”, or junk food with approved ingredients.  Some folks have gone out of their way to recreate baked goods using approved ingredients, and while this is probably better than eating the real thing, it is still not Whole30 approved.
  • No measuring or weighing yourself during the 30 day Whole30 Challenge.

Remember: we are experimenting to see what triggers our bodies and to see what happens when we remove some of these foods from our lives.


For More Information

For more on Whole30, there are a lot of recipes and information out there on the Whole30 website and on Pinterest. 

A lot of folks have created some really savory and delicious meals for the Whole30 Challenge and Paleo Diets.  I am going to start gathering more recipes, trying them out and posting them on my Pinterest page.  One example of this is a dish I made last night called “Egg Roll in a Bowl” that can work for the Whole30 Challenge and Paleo Diets.  It was really good, and I have gotten good feedback from members of the Small Scale Life Wellness Club about that particular recipe.  

Depending on feedback like this, we might put them back on  Yes, I do have some recipes on our website, but we have not promoted them.  I think it is time to pull them back up and post them on the landing page of the website.  People will need resources as they begin this journey, and having shopping lists and meal ideas helps!

By the way, this is a good time to remind you all that the Small Scale Life Wellness Club on Facebook is open to you.  Find us on Facebook and sign up!  It’s a good place to get content not shared on the Small Scale Life Instagram or Facebook Page and interact with others who are on this mind, body and soul journey.  A link is in the show notes at, or just search on Facebook for the Small Scale Life Wellness Club.

Remember this….

As we close this episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast, remember to keep going.  It might seem like an impossible thing to achieve your goals (like starting a business or losing stubborn weight or becoming that person you always wanted to become), but it is achievable.  You can do it!  Put one step in front of the other, but you have to take this first hesitant step.  Start. You can do it!  We are here to help.


This is Tom from the Small Scale Life Podcast reminding you to learn, do, grow and be a little better everyday.  We’ll be back real soon; take care, everybody!


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Special Thanks

For Small Scale Life Podcasts, I would like to thank Sean at Osi and the Jupiter for the intro song "Harvest."  Sean wrote this specifically for us, and I really enjoy all of his work.  You can find more Osi and the Jupiter at their Bandcamp site:

I would also like to thank Austin Quinn at Vlog Vibes for the intro and outro music. For more information abut Austin and Vlog Vibes, please see the Vlog Vibes YouTube Channel:



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