I Tried Whole30


Image via http://meljoulwan.com/2013/12/27/30-reasons-whole30-2/

a red sign written in the “Keep calm and chive on chive on” font and format.

Dylan Boxer, Editor


Whole30 was a name that kept popping up amongst my friends who wanted to “detox” or “get healthy.” When it comes to improving your eating habits, the sheer number of diets and lifestyle guides one can find online can be so numerous that it’s maddening. All of them are different, and all of them conditioning you to reach the same goal: to feel better and live healthy.  This program, specifically, was co-founded by Mellissa Hartwig Urban, a certified sports nutritionist. Back in 2009 she discovered this way of eating as an attempt to relieve her shoulder pain, and has been gaining traction ever since.

Image via Kelley Shipman
A chart depicting the foods one may eat and not eat on the Whole30 program.

Whole30 consists of cutting out all forms of sugar and foods that cause an inflammatory response in the body for 30 days at a time.

These foods are:
Added sugar (real and artificial) this includes honey, syrup and agave.
Alcohol in any form, even cooked.
All Grains in any form, along with legumes.
Dairy products.
Carrageenan (a stabilizer), MSG and sulfides.


I chose Whole30 in an attempt to relieve the pain and swelling in my joints that came about as I increased my activity level.

As far as my athletic background goes, I’m a 28 year old male who has lived a very active and health conscience lifestyle and have been doing so for nearly a decade. Before that, I suffered from childhood obesity due to my binge eating.

Image via Dylan Boxer
A side-by-side comparison of Dylan Boxer, (left) 2010 at 200 lbs. (right) 2016 at 145 lbs

As time went on I maintained a healthy weight by exercising regularly, but poor diet and lead to a plethora of pains; neck, shoulder, wrist and knee pain to be exact.

“Welcome to adulthood, I hope you like ibuprofen” was a tagline I felt a nearly spiritual connection to. I figured this was normal due to my high level of activity, “I’m just really sore” I thought. Aside from the medication, I would visit chiropractors and massage therapists regularly to help alleviate my pain. “Wow, you’re really tight over here” they would say as them pressed down on my neck and shoulders.


Shaya G. a personal friend of mine recommended I try Whole30 after his success with the program. He had been on and off of it for the past year and as a result of his lifestyle change, along with regular exercise, has lost nearly 100lbs.

A side-by-side comparison of Rabbi Shaya G. from before Whole30 ( Left: Oct. 2018) and after Whole30 (Right: Oct. 2019) Rabbi G has lost nearly 100 lbs while keeping to the Whole30 guidelines.

But don’t get it mixed up with other weight loss methods. Whole30 isn’t actually designed to lose weight, according to Urban, “The Whole30 is not a diet, and it’s not a quick fix. It’s not even a weight loss program. The Whole30 is designed to change your life and your relationship with food.” With that in mind I started Whole30, not to lose weight, but to try and alleviate the pain I had been suffering through.


The first week was terrible. There were so many times I would find myself reaching for a chip or cracker, only to stop midway through. I had adopted such a hand-to-mouth habit of mindless eating over the years that I didn’t even realize what I was doing.

The solution to this problem was to develop a sense of awareness towards food and what I was consuming. It took a bit of mental energy to and focus to sharpen my mind enough to adapt to this way of thinking, but it worked. In doing this, I would think before I ate.

With sugar being an addictive substance, your body starts craving them when they appear absent in your diet.
Fresh and dried fruit were the life vests I donned in this ocean of limitation and self discipline that kept me afloat. Whenever I would get a major sugar craving I would calm it with an apple or prunes. Not exactly a Hershey’s bar, but it’ll do the trick.


At the beginning of week two I started to notice changes in the way I felt. I no longer woke up with a mild headache and stiff neck. When I would workout I wouldn’t feel sore afterwards. Sure, I’d experience muscle fatigue like we all do. But the debilitating aching joints that would stop me from exercising were gone.

The only drawback to this was the fact I wasn’t eating enough, and therefore didn’t have as much energy as I did before Whole30. The menu options with an extensive ban-list doesn’t leave you with a lot of choices when it comes to cuisine, but that was a quick fix.


I started eating more chicken, eggs and beef to supplement my calories intake. This boost in protein, along with my hyper-active lifestyle, not only gave me more energy throughout my day, but started to transform my physique slightly.

After the third week I felt unstoppable. My threshold for long workouts extended past its limits, the sugar cravings were all but non-existent and my sleep had improved drastically. As a result, my overall mood improved and I was happier overall.


At the end of the Whole30 program I had completely changed my relationship with food and how I eat and I had even managed to lose five pounds. Even though this 30 day lifestyle is extremely restrictive, it is worth the struggle. The pay off outweighs the hardship if you follow the rules and are willing to change for the better.