Anna Evans

The Whole30 by Melissa Hartwig

Discover a book that promises to unlock the secrets of clean eating and reveal the potential for a healthier you.

The Whole30

The book has gotten 4.6 ⭐️ on Amazon.

In recent years, the pursuit of healthier eating habits has led to the emergence of various dietary programs and philosophies aimed at improving overall well-being. One such program is the Whole30 diet, which has gained attention for its approach to clean eating.

To gain a deeper understanding of this diet and its associated book, The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom, let’s delve into a review of its strengths and weaknesses.

Author’s background

Melissa Hartwig serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Whole30, where she is renowned for her expertise in guiding individuals towards cultivating enduring, healthful routines.

Melissa Hartwig (r)

An accomplished author with six New York Times bestsellers to her credit, including the chart-topping book The Whole30, Melissa has earned recognition on prominent platforms such as Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and CNBC. Her home is nestled in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she resides with her husband, son, and a charming poodle named Henry.

What is the book about?

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom is a comprehensive guidebook that delves into the principles of clean eating and how it can impact one’s health.

It begins with establishing good food standards and outlines the foods that can negatively affect health. The book introduces readers to the Whole30 program rules and provides a detailed roadmap on how to get started, including a timeline for the 30-day journey. It also addresses the crucial phase of reintroducing eliminated foods.

The book goes on to answer a plethora of questions about the program, covering everything from dietary concerns to dining out and medical conditions.

With practical advice for stocking a Whole30-compliant kitchen and essential cooking techniques, it equips readers to prepare a wide range of recipes. From eggs to seafood, it offers a diverse collection of meal ideas, making clean eating accessible and delicious.

The book wraps up with additional resources, acknowledgments, and cooking conversions. While some may find the program’s strictness challenging, the book emphasises that even small changes in eating habits can have a positive impact on one’s health, making it a valuable resource for those seeking to transform their diet and overall well-being.

Eight key takeaways from The Whole30

1Reset your relationship with food

The book emphasises the importance of reevaluating and resetting your relationship with food. It encourages readers to break free from unhealthy eating patterns, cravings, and emotional eating.

2Eliminate certain foods

The authors advocate for a strict 30-day elimination diet where you remove potentially problematic foods from your diet. These include sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, and processed foods.

3Discover food sensitivities

During the 30 days, readers are encouraged to pay close attention to how their bodies respond to different foods. This can help identify potential food sensitivities or allergies that may be contributing to health issues.

4Promote whole foods

The Whole30 promotes the consumption of whole, unprocessed foods. It encourages readers to focus on vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fruits as the foundation of their diet.

5Understand the emotional aspect of eating

The book delves into the emotional aspects of eating and how our relationship with food can be tied to stress, boredom, or other emotional triggers. It encourages readers to develop a healthier, more mindful approach to eating.

6Gradual reintroduction of eliminated foods

After the initial 30 days, the book outlines a structured process for reintroducing eliminated foods one at a time. This helps individuals identify which foods may be causing negative reactions or sensitivities.

7Adopt sustainable dietary habits

While the program itself is strict for 30 days, the book promotes the idea of adopting sustainable, long-term dietary habits based on what you learn during the program. It’s not meant to be a permanent diet but a tool for better understanding your body and making informed food choices.

8Enjoy food freedom

The term “food freedom” is central to the book’s message. It encourages readers to find a balanced approach to eating that allows for occasional indulgences while maintaining a foundation of healthy eating.

Table of contents

  • Preface
  • Part 1: Welcome to the Whole30
  • What Is the Whole30?
  • Our Good Food Standards
  • Foods that Make You Less Healthy
  • The Whole30 Program Rules
  • Getting Started with the Whole30
  • The Whole30 Timeline
  • Whole30: Reintroduction
  • Part 2: Everything You Need to Know
  • You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers
  • The General Whole30 FAQ
  • Can I Have? (Food)
  • Can I Have? (Drink)
  • Can I Have? (Supplements and Miscellaneous)
  • Your Whole30 Plate
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Dining Out
  • Travel
  • Treats, Food Fixations, and the Scale
  • Medical Conditions
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
  • Kids
  • Vegetarians and Vegans
  • Troubleshooting Your Whole30
  • Whole30 Reintroduction FAQ
  • Part 3: Whole30 Kitchen Fundamentals
  • Essentials for Your Whole30 Kitchen
  • Whole30 Really-Nice-to-Haves
  • Whole30 Cooking Fundamentals
  • Part 4: Whole30 Recipes
  • Shopping Lists
  • Meal Template
  • Travel Guide
  • 7-Day Meal Plan
  • Eggs
  • Red Meat
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Pork
  • Side Dishes
  • Dressings, Dips, and Sauces
  • One Pot Meals
  • Fancypants Meals
  • Drinks
  • Part 5: In Closing
  • Whole30 Appendix
  • Resources
  • Acknowledgments
  • Cooking Conversions
  • Index
  • Recipe Index
  • About the Authors

Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews


  • Comprehensive Information: The book provides a wealth of information, from basic cooking techniques to creative recipe ideas, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced cooks.

  • Personal and engaging writing style: Readers appreciate the author’s personal and conversational writing style, which makes complex dietary concepts more accessible and relatable.

  • Health benefits: Some readers have reported positive health benefits, such as weight loss and improved breathing for individuals with asthma, after following the Whole30 program outlined in the book.

  • Practical advice: It offers practical advice on clean eating, including tips on pantry organisation, meal planning, and food preparation, which can help individuals transition to a healthier diet.

  • Encouragement for making small changes: The book emphasises that even making small changes to one’s diet can have a positive impact on health and encourages readers to do what works best for them.


  • Not suitable for everyone: The book’s approach may not be suitable for individuals who enjoy a wider variety of foods, including grains and dairy, or those who prioritise flexibility in their eating habits.

  • Lack of scientific basis: Critics argue that the book lacks a strong scientific basis for some of its claims, leading to skepticism about the program’s effectiveness, especially in curing specific health conditions.

  • Mixed messages: The book appears to have mixed messages regarding certain aspects of the diet, such as the need to avoid cheat foods while also promoting the consumption of starchy vegetables for energy, causing confusion for some readers.

  • Length and repetition: Some readers find the book overly long and repetitive, with excessive sections like the 75-page FAQ and food list, which they consider unnecessary and time-consuming.

Best quotes from The Whole30

“First, let’s figure out if you’re craving, or just hungry. Here’s our favorite trick: Ask yourself, “Am I hungry enough to eat steamed fish and broccoli?” (If that would never sound appealing, pick another straightforward protein source, like hard-boiled eggs.) If the answer is yes, then you are legitimately hungry! Time to eat your next meal, or grab a snack to tide you over. If the answer is, “No, but I’d eat (fill in crunchy/salty/sweet food here)” then it’s confirmed: you’re having a craving – but there is no need to panic.”
“One point here – don’t cry “allergy” unless it’s true. Patrons who toss that word around casually may ruin it for people who really do have life-threatening allergies to certain ingredients, as the wait staff may become jaded by the number of people who say “allergy” when it’s really just a strong preference.”
“You’re probably used to running on sugar for energy, but you’re not eating sugar all the time anymore, so your body is craving energy. That translates to hunger, even if you don’t actually need the calories. The good news is that your body has an alternate fuel source (fat) that you’ll be really good at using in the next week or two. So remember, this too shall pass.”

Final takeaway

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom is a comprehensive guide that outlines the principles of clean eating and offers a structured 30-day program for readers looking to transform their diet and overall health. Its strengths lie in providing practical advice for meal planning, preparation, and addressing a wide range of dietary questions. The book caters to a diverse audience, including those seeking to kickstart a healthier lifestyle and individuals with specific health concerns. However, its strict dietary restrictions may not be suitable for everyone, and some readers may find the book overly lengthy and repetitive, with limited scientific backing for its claims. Despite this, it serves as a valuable resource for those looking to make significant dietary changes and experience potential health benefits.

Where to buy

You can buy The Whole30 on Amazon at the best price. It’s available in paperback, hardcover, Kindle and spiral-bound formats.

Healthypedia FAQ

The Whole30 diet is a dietary program that involves eliminating certain food groups and processed foods from your diet for 30 days. Its aim is to reset your eating habits, improve health, and identify potential food sensitivities.

During the Whole30 program, participants are required to eliminate grains, legumes, dairy, added sugars, processed foods, and alcohol from their diet.

Whole30 allows the consumption of whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, lean meats, seafood, eggs, and nuts. It encourages the consumption of unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods.

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