Whole 30 – but what do you EAT?

Plenty of people express interest in the Whole 30 when I tell them of the amazing benefits and victories – deep sleep! Clear skin! Bright eyes! No bloating! Amazing energy! No 3.30 sugar crash/slump! Oh and did I mention the weight loss that comes nicely along with it? Just another bonus.

Once I have gotten through talking about how AWESOME and AMAZING I am feeling, the question that inevitably follows is…”but what do you EAT”?

The easy answer is – heaps! I eat fresh, clean organic (where possible) and natural produce and protein. Vegetables, fruit, meats, fish, nuts, and spices. My food tastes delicious and makes me feel alive.

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Most of the time, that’s the end of the conversation – and I can tell (as their eyes glaze over) that the other person has immediately dismissed the Whole 30 as ‘too hard’. That’s ok, it just means it’s not right for them (or not right for them at that time). The Whole 30 IS hard, it’s challenging and stressful and a damn PAIN sometimes. But those benefits above? That’s why I keep coming back to it.

For those who are slightly more interested, I get tonnes of questions about what it is EXACTLY that I eat, what I buy in my weekly grocery shop, and meal ideas. This post is for you, people.

I stock up on these items (some are not weekly purchases, but I included them so you are aware of what I buy for a Whole 30).

Zucchini/ Courgettes
Baby Spinach and/or lettuce
Capsicums/ peppers
Snow/sugar snap peas
Sweet potatoes
Eggplant/ Aubergines
Tomatoes and baby toms

+ anything seasonal and yum like asparagus, squash


+ anything seasonal and yum like melon, mango, pineapple, nectarines, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries – it’s definitely made a difference doing a Whole 30 in Summer rather than winter!

+ medjool dates which I put in the freezer – taste like caramels!

Salmon & smoked salmon
Chicken thighs/ breasts/ drumsticks
Ground beef/ pork/ lamb
Frozen prawns/ shrimp
100% organic bacon (if I can find it)
Chorizo (Unearthed brand in the UK is Whole 30 approved)

Herbs and spices
Coconut oil
Olive oil
Dried unsweeted fruit (Urban Fruit is ideal) – mango, apples, pears
Nuts – cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios
Almond butter
Coconut milk
Coconut flakes/ shredded coconut
Coffee & Green tea
Bottles of sparking water


Whole 30 3

Mince, roasted sweet potato & boiled eggs
Boiled eggs, chorizo pieces and a piece of fruit
Scrambled eggs and sautéed veges
Egg, chorizo and mushroom scramble
Frittata or omelette with whatever leftover veges I have
Pre-baked egg Frittata with salmon, asparagus, & mushrooms
Fruit platter with nutty granola (made purely from seeds and nuts)
Fruit with almond butter smears
Rockmelon with prosciutto
Whipped coconut cream with blueberries and toasted coconut flakes/ slivered almonds (put the can in the freezer and it separates…nom)
Organic sausages & eggs
Smoked salmon & eggs
Banana pancakes (made with eggs, cinnamon, coconut, mashed banana and blueberries – or whatever fruit you have)
Shredded chicken breast salad
Breakfast salad (just a regular salad, for breakfast!)
Fried egg, boiled egg, poached egg (sorry, Kiwi joke from my favourite movie BOY, couldn’t resist!)
Last nights leftover dinner (it’s ok for breakfast!)

Whole 30

Salad with tuna & egg
Salad with paprika grilled chicken thighs
Rockmelon & prosciutto
Leftovers from dinner

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whole 30 5

I can even #Whole30 while travelling! Pics taken in Poland

Coconut pieces
Pieces of fruit
Carrot sticks
Cherry tomatoes
Slivers of red pepper & cucumber
Dried mango/ dried apples
Nuts – cashews or almonds
Mini chorizo pieces
Boiled eggs
Spiced chicken drumsticks (or pieces of any type of meat)

Whole 30 2

Stirfry of any combination of veges, meat and herbs
Salmon & veges
Steak & veges
Moroccan meatballs & veges
Aubergine bake & veges
Chocolate Chilli with avocade & salsa
Deconstructed homemade burgers – mix up the meat and use ground pork or ground lamb instead of beef
Chicken and sweet potato green/red curry
Shepherds Pie

+ ALL of the recipes from Well Fed!

Thinking about doing the Whole 30? Feel free to comment with any questions or tweet me @leahnaturally. I often post pictures of my meals on instagram – you can follow me @naturallyleah. It’s awesome how many of you have recently started your own Whole 30 journey – I love hearing about how you are going too!

Want to know more about the Whole 30? Read my series of posts below, or visit http://www.whole9life.com

Starting the Whole 30
Whole 30 – Week One
Whole 30 – Week One Recipes
Whole 30 – Week Two
Whole 30 – Week Two Recipes
Whole 30 – Week Three
Whole 30 – Week Three Recipes
Whole 30 – Week Four
Whole 30 – Week Four Recipes
Whole 30 – Revisiting my Goals and Final Thoughts


  1. Lenka Istvanova August 29, 2013 / 4:28 pm

    Great post Leah!
    I’m on the caveman style (not diet) too! As I’ve always had issue with my stomach (bloating, inflammation, you name it) but this type of style really helps. Same as you, I feel great no sugar cravings plus I don’t feel hungry at all. I do train more than 5x a week and I don’t lack any energy whatsoever – you can still do the runner-style-carb-fuel before every race you just replace the general pasta with veg, simples! I can’t speak good enough about paleo style, only love it, live it 🙂 For all those who would like to start with it too the book It Start With The Food has got all the info you need plus I downloaded for free (torrents rock 🙂 )

    • Leah August 30, 2013 / 8:59 am

      I am with you on the stomach issues Lenka – I just never really knew how bad they were until I tried a Whole 30 and they disappeared. No uncomfortable bloating at the end of the day, rumbly tummy, or dashing to the bathroom after eating something that didn’t quite agree with me. What you say about carb-fuelling pre-exercise is so right as well, I eat sweet potatoes, protein (meat) and eggs and never have any energy problems at all.

      It Starts With Food is my bible too, such an awesome read!! So glad you loved it too!

  2. Matilda August 29, 2013 / 9:38 pm

    Awesome post leah. I’m still writing my “but what’s left to eat” post. I’m kinda sad that whole30 is over (last day today), but it’s been a fantastic experience (not the food poisoning though).
    There are loads of people I know who should do it, but I’m not going to harp on about it. When they are ready they can come to me.
    I also plan to transition the kids to paleo too, that’s going to take time though.
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    • Leah August 30, 2013 / 9:59 am

      Congratulations on getting to Day 30 – no easy feat!! (eww and sorry to hear about the food poisoning, doesn’t sound fun at all). I agree with you – I have so many people that I just want to shake and be like DO IT DO IT DO IT, but at the end of the day it has to be their decision at the right time for them. Like you, I’m more than happy to give them all the info and support when they do!

  3. Alaina August 29, 2013 / 10:36 pm

    Awesome work Leah. With a few tweaks (aka take away all of the wine) this is almost my diet!

    • Leah August 30, 2013 / 9:26 am

      Haha wine is a killer, but an absolute no-no during a Whole 30! Bummer that!

    • Leah August 30, 2013 / 9:27 am

      You can! And you should! It’s DEEEEE-licious. nom nom.

  4. FitBits Tess August 30, 2013 / 7:05 am

    Wicked post Leah, I’ve been following your Whole30 journey over the past few weeks/months and wondered what it is you actually eat, so this is pretty much the definitive starting guide for anyone! I’m gonna have to give it a go I reckon, although in terms of dressings and sauces, are you allowed balsamic vinegar and olive oil on salads? And is pesto allowed? LOVE pesto on my salmon/veggies. x
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    • Leah August 30, 2013 / 9:43 am

      Thanks Tess, glad you found it interesting! It is well worth looking at to see whether it is right for you (I’m by no way saying it’s for everyone – but I like sharing my experiences which have been nothing but positive!).

      Yes balsamic vinegar and olive oil are allowd – but sorry, no pesto 🙁 Pesto generally has cheese in it to make it creamy. I’d recommend getting the cook book Well Fed (or reading Melissa Joulwan’s blog The Clothes Make the Girl) as she has recipes for fab Whole 30 sauces and dips – including a yummy mayo! I think you will find though, that after about 12 days on Whole 30, your tastebuds change and you start really being able to taste the real natural flavours of food without having to add these things. I barely have dressing on my salads and don’t even miss it!

    • Leah August 30, 2013 / 8:55 am

      It does, doesn’t it?

  5. Bronwyn October 3, 2013 / 1:42 pm

    Thanks for your tip on the Chorizo – it’s something I would have never gone to before when I was still in the lowfat mindset, but now I know what amazing flavour it adds – I only usually have it at Spanish restauarants, but I just went and bought some unearthed – will be great added to winter casseroles and also with white fish.

    I did my first Whole 30 in June after following a pretty much Paleo diet since last April, and I am trying to live by Whole30 as much as poss this month – apart from a Christmas party tasting session to choose the menu next week – a whole lot of food and booze.

    • Leah October 10, 2013 / 4:01 pm

      Awesome stuff Bronwyn – chorizo is a great addition to so many meals! I love the idea you mentioned of cooking it with white fish too. Good luck with your continued Whole 30 efforts!

  6. Vance May 17, 2016 / 12:15 pm

    Whole30 recommends no pancakes. Even though yours are banana pancakes. How do you justify that?

    • Leah May 17, 2016 / 1:10 pm

      Hey Vance, I answer this exact question in another post of mine, but to rephrase it… “I do allow a few “technically” non compliant meals in – banana blueberry pancakes being one of them. I say “technically” not compliant because ingredients wise they are 100% Whole 30. But in the format of pancakes, they are not – instead they fall into the SWYPO category (sex with your pants on). This basically means you are trying to satisfy your craving/ emotional attachment to pancakes (or sex) by trying to recreate something to fill that void with compliant ingredients (as in…keeping your pants on). However, I never grew up with IHOP (international house of pancakes for those who have never experienced this US fast food joint!) or pancakes being eaten in my household, pancakes are not really a “thing” in New Zealand. While you may find them on the menu at a few cafes, they aren’t something I have ever had regularly – or have a food craving/ emotional attachment to. I PERSONALLY don’t actually have an issue with creating these out of eggs and bananas. To me, it’s just another format of eggs for breakfast – in a round flat panfried shape! However, you should always look at what is right for you – if pancakes are a trigger food, then don’t use a mini pan to fry your eggs with a banana!”

  7. Terri Kahler October 20, 2016 / 9:57 am

    Started the Whole 30 diet plan 3 days ago and bought the book. I already feel better and understand when you said about deep sleep. I slept in this morning and was 2 hrs. late for work and have no problem falling asleep. I have more energy already and it seems like my back pain is a little better. ( I have major back issues/arthritis) I have vowed to stay on this for the 30 days and am looking forward to all its rewards. I think I finally get it. I love the fact I truly am not ever hungry. I feel satiated and am losing my cravings for sweet. I am a sweetaholic and my weight gain speaks to that. Looking forward to dropping the 30 lbs Ive gained in last few short months.

    • Leah October 21, 2016 / 12:10 pm

      Congrats Terri, that’s such great news that you are seeing the benefits already. When the going gets tough (and it will) over the next 30 days, remind yourself of all these benefits and remember to keep calm and carry on. Best of luck!

  8. Mel March 6, 2017 / 10:41 pm

    Great post thank you for inspiring me! Some fantastic meal ideas there. I will definitely be trying some of these out!! And if you do crave pesto you could make it with Cashew nuts. They go really creamy if you bizz them up with the basil to a paste. I use cashews in tomato sauces too to make them creamy. We are starting our whole30 on Friday. This will be our second whole30.. I am actually looking forward to it! Our last one was June last year so I think we are overdue another one. And thank you for your insight to the pancake thing… I think for a breakfast idea that is a really good way of thinking and I am going to follow that too.

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