diet · health · Liberty University · Wellness

It’s Only 30 Days

By Rachel Sanders MPH, RD and Emily Crouch, Nutrition Intern, Liberty Dining by Sodexo

When you think of the Whole30 diet, what comes to your mind? A quick fix? Difficult choices? Rules? A life changing experience? Or only eating whole foods? Well, the Whole30 diet, designed and launched in 2009 by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, promises a life changing experience. Particularly a positive life changing experience that should strengthen healthful eating habits, bring healing, and restore the body to its natural, metabolic rate to meet the needs of your body. There is a theology and purpose behind this lifestyle choice structured around 8 steps, which are based from the needs of your body. When done correctly, this 30-day challenge can be a viable way to meet metabolic needs and reset your system – and can even be done by a college student who eats all meals on campus!

The first three steps of the Whole30 are crucial, they lay the foundation for the purpose, mindset, criteria, and goals behind the diet.  There are a few things as a consumer that we must understand and accept to progress through the challenge. First, the relationship between health of body and food must be understood. Such that the food we eat will reflect the present and future health of our bodies. Secondly, the Whole30 is intended to last in increments of 30 days. Along with the time frame, there should be an understanding of the foods that will be eaten and not eaten. The creators of the Whole30 provide a book and detailed resources to assist and empower the participant along the way.

What are these notorious whole foods exactly? They are real foods, the Whole30 defines them as, “meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed (Whole 30, 2017).”

From what you have heard about the Whole30 this may seem a bit too general. To further explain what should be avoided might help you visualize that general definition.  So, what needs to be avoided in this 30-day challenge?  Foods with any added sugar or artificial sweetener, alcohol, grain, legumes, beans, and dairy (Whole 30, 2017).

With all that said, is Whole30 really a good idea?  I think Whole30 is a wonderful way to refocus your relationship with food.  In a world saturated with diet advice, it is nice to see a movement towards holistic foods again.  Whole30 lasts for 30 days, so the fact that is restricts some over wise “healthy” foods like low – fat dairy and beans is acceptable because it’s not forever.  Some Whole 30 followers found they have fewer cravings for sugar and fat and it opens up the possibility to try new recipes and foods.  Overall, if you are looking for a plan to help re-energize or jumpstart a commitment to good nutrition, Whole30 could very well be a good fit for you.  Then after the 30 days, I recommend going back to the guidelines outlined by the USDA; make half your plate colorful fruits and vegetables, at least half your grains from whole grain sources, choose lean proteins, and have low – fat dairy.

Here are a few tips of how to do Whole 30 when eating at the Food Court at Reber-Thomas (FCRT)

  1. Go to FCRT for a breakfast of hardboiled eggs and plain diced potatoes.
  2. Go to FCRT to utilize the fresh and steamed non – starchy vegetables to be the base of your meal, then obtain the amount of approved protein and fruit to complete your plate!
  3. Bring an approved salad dressing into Reber or just use the red wine vinegar when eating a salad at Chopped.
  4. For a protein source: get a charbroiled burger without a bun or a piece of rotisserie chicken.
  5. Also check out Simple Servings or Training Table for an approved protein such as plain chicken, pork, fish, or beef.
  6. Take a piece of whole fruit for snacking.
  7. Avoid stations that offer mostly pasta, bread, fried foods, and foods with added sugars.

Emma Hawkins is a freshman here at Liberty studying strategic communications. Between Thanksgiving and the end of the fall semester, Emma completed the Whole30 successfully here on campus. Emma shared how she felt about completing the Whole30 as a residential student.  “Even without the PLUS+ plan it was easy for me. I ate at Reber-Thomas often. It was easy to eat there because they have lots of good options and I could pick and choose different plates from different stations.”

So, what do you think?  Are you ready to give the Whole30 concept a try?  If so, there are many tools like shopping lists and recipes to help you get started at  Maybe Whole30 is a bit too radical or not possible in your current situation.  In that case, try visiting for sound advice and tips on what exactly a healthy diet consists of.


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