What is the Whole30®?

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realizing it. Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? Do you have some sort of condition (like skin issues, digestive ailments, seasonal allergies or fertility issues) that medication hasn’t helped? These symptoms may be directly related to the foods you eat – even the “healthy” stuff. So how do you know if (and how) these foods are affecting you?

Strip them from your diet completely. Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. Learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health. The most important reason to keep reading?

This will change your life.

We cannot possibly put enough emphasis on this simple fact—the next 30 days will change your life. It will change the way you think about food, it will change your tastes, it will change your habits and your cravings. It could, quite possibly, change the emotional relationship you have with food, and with your body. It has the potential to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. We know this because we did it, and tens of thousands of people have done it since, and it changed our lives (and their lives) in a very permanent fashion.

For more information on the requirement and rules please check out whole30.com

Crossfit ABQ Testimonials

Every year we do a Whole 30 Challenge at Crossfit Albuquerque and many of our members participate in this life changing event.  Just read some of their stories, it may just inspire you to make a change.

William B-

The Whole 30 has been an eye opening experience for me. I have been a “crossfitter” for about four years now, off and on, and I have known about the paleo diet for a few years as well. I’ve given paleo a few half-hearted efforts in the past, but often just resorted to a simple meal of chicken breasts or burgers and a simple fruit like oranges and apples. As easy as those meals were to prepare, they weren’t really a sustainable way of eating and I had to really step up my cooking game.

This time, I decided that I was “all in” and I was going to actually start cooking, stop eating simple paleo meals, and get serious about sticking to the plan and not cheating.

Ashley and I were in a serious rut, going out to eat for nearly every meal, getting fatter and more unhealthy, and spending excessive amounts of money to do so.I (cheated) and weighed myself after two weeks and I had already lost 10lbs, and I felt excellent. I had consistent energy, and I ate whenever I was hungry.

I didn’t just stop at the Whole 30 though. I had been drinking 3+ cups of coffee for about 2 years, and it was no longer doing much for me. I decided to cut the coffee out for an extended period and see how I felt. I went 13 days straight without coffee and I felt absolutely tremendous. Now I can drink a cup here and there, and actually get a boost out of it!

I also added in Intermittent Fasting (IF), after reading about the numerous benefits of doing so. From an ancestral point-of-view, it makes complete sense. Our ancient ancestors certainly had times when they had a bad hunt or gather session when looking for food and had to fast, so it’s nearly certain that our bodies are designed for handling, and even flourishing in these types of situations.

To be honest, any nutritional lifestyle change that allows you to eat bacon and sausage is pretty awesome.

This is going to spur a number of changes in my life. Saving money, feeling better, making gains in the gym, and ultimately extending my life! The cost savings alone from not eating out for 2 months will allow me to save enough money to get my backyard professionally landscaped….no joke.
I have also been inspired to be more skeptical about what is the “right way” to be healthy. I have been reading books such as Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” and watching assorted movies on the topic of nutrition and health.

I lost 15 pounds on the Whole 30, and I added 3 full rounds to my half Cindy benchmark WOD. When all is said and done, the past thirty days may turn out to be one of those key milestones in my life that really helped me spur changes for the better in nearly aspect of my life

Dianna B-

I’m my own science project. I have been on blood pressure and cholesterol medicine since my 20’s (bad genes). Thanks to Karen Gibson I did this in October. With meds, my blood pressure would vacillate between 130/90ish and my cholesterol could be kept under 200. Afterwards, my blood pressure was 115/70 and cholesterol 140. My biggest noted difference was I had a much more consistent energy level throughout the day and my hands were no longer swollen every morning.

During this time, I had a very ill family member which had caused me to be in and out of ERs, numerous hospital visits, rehab facilities and the such. Within 2 weeks of finishing the Whole 30 my step-father passed away. The food friends brought in to eat was not ‘clean’, but I either ate what was given me when I had a chance or not at all. The holidays soon followed and another family member was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. More hospital visits, ER visits, and visits to the cancer center. I started the whole 30 again the day after Christmas not knowing about the challenge, but I was thrilled to sign up.

I was so miserable; poor energy levels, swelling, high BP and so on. I thought it would be easy, but it was so much harder. I had trouble preparing my meals for the week and I thought I never wanted to eat another sweet potato. Alas, I found new and quick ideas on the FB site thanks to Catherine. I was also challenged by family members as people get offended if you politely reject their food or an invitation out. Fortunately by the last week I got it all together, felt great, lowered BP and cholesterol, steady energy, and getting stronger taboot! Then…… the week-end hit and the family couldn’t wait to poison me! But wait! What was that? I couldn’t remember the last time I had night sweats! Let’s just say that alone is enough make a girl want to eat clean! It has taken two days to detox, but I am thrilled to be back on track. I have all of my meals cooked for the week and I am happily carrying my WATER bottle around. Even my 80 year old mother is trying to eat better in hopes that even Diana will eat at her house. She told me about her neighbor that invites her over to eat. The neighbor only eats grass fed beef and eats no sugar. My mom said, “I cooked a nice stew yesterday in hopes that you will eat with me.” Well, what’s a girl to say? “I would be happy to eat with you mother.”

Cynthia M-

My name is Cynthia. I joined Crossfit Albuquerque about 8 months ago. I had been exposed to Crossfit, prior to my joining, by watching the positive impact it had on my husband. He has been in it for 3+ years. Throughout this time I had learned and gained a lot of athletic skills that I never had before. One thing that continued to impact my achievements in a negative way was how to eat more healthy. Sure I had eaten healthy before, but then I would revert back to the old habits of eating anything insight including all of the processed crap. I then decided to take it a step further and participate in the Whole 30 challenge. This challenge opened my eyes to a new level of fitness

For the first few weeks, going through the food process, was tough. Sure I was excited about a change, but then the detox kicked in and I wanted so badly to revert to the old habits of eating to make me feel better. Instead, I dug deep and realized the importance of this challenge. I really took a look at the importance of food and “eating to live” and not “living to eat”. One of the many things I learned was how to grocery shop. I realized I started shopping around the perimeters of the store. I would start at the produce section, then around to the protein sections, and finished off with the nuts.

Then I learned how important it was to prepare my food beforehand. I would cut up all of my vegetables and prepare my proteins, so I always had food readily available. As long as I had my meals and snacks easily accessible, I wouldn’t want to revert back to grabbing things that were unhealthy to satisfy my hunger. I also noticed when I had the proper amount of vegetables, proteins, and fats, I didn’t have any cravings. Cravings had always been one of my down falls. When we did go out to dinner, I did make more sensible food choices and became more aware of the ingredients in what I ordered.

As the food process became a positive effect, I started focusing on my athletic performance and how the two went hand in hand. I noticed I felt lighter when I would do more body weight WOD’s and I felt stronger when doing Olympic lifting WOD’s. As the weeks went on, I really felt the positive impact of how the Whole 30 challenge had changed my life. I reached a long term physical fitness goal I didn’t believe I would attain.

One day, I was driving with my husband to go to the box. I turned to him and told him, “I am going to get a pull-up without using the band today”. When I arrived at the box, I stretched and did a warm up and got up to the bar and pulled myself up with a kipping pull-up and was able to do 2 in a row. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment come over me. That moment was a life changing experience and it showed me I was headed in the right direction. At that moment, I realized I can conquer any skill I put my mind to.

As the Whole 30 challenge came to an end, I realized Whole 30, Paleo living, and Crossfit were the life changing path I had been looking for. As I looked at my end results I did lose weight and I did improve on my Cindy score, but that wasn’t what was important. The value I got out of this experience was all the knowledge I gained and how this was just the beginning of my journey to my new healthier life. As I continue to take it one step at a time, I will continue to embrace the “process” and not the “outcome” of what I am doing. I will always continue to grow and there will be times where WOD’s will be challenging and I won’t be able to achieve the results I would want. There will be times I will eat like crap and guzzle a few beers, but I know I will get up the next day and continue to move forward through my healthier lifestyle. As Hector Delgado once said, “ Don’t look at an obstacle in life as if I am not sure if I can do it, figure out a way that I can do it”, which this experience has really led me to believe. Thank you for showing me what I can accomplish within this means of living. Also for showing me that I can fail, but the next day I can get up and improve on what I did the day before.

Tim R-

When I think back on my experience participating in the Whole 30 Challenge one thought comes to mind, that is “liberation”. To provide a little background on how this experience liberated me I need to go back 10 years to my time as a missionary in Uruguay. What started off as some seemingly innocent blood in the toilet, ended up with me back in the US, on an operating table, having my entire large intestine removed. It’s a good thing it was removed, as lab tests later confirmed that the cells were mutating in a “pre-cancerous” fashion. Awesome. A 21 year old, former Division 1 running back, narrowly escaping colon cancer. My weight went from a high of 200 lbs all the way down to 150. I went from looking forward to a career in the Air Force, to having no direction and no goals whatsoever. In a flash my entire life plan was turned upside down.

I would figure a way to get my life back on track, no doubt about that. But there was one thing that I couldn’t shake, no matter how ambitious or goal oriented I was. My problem was eating. You see, eating food without a colon is a whole different ball game than with one. It only took a few months to realize that fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts (all high in insoluble fiber) were going to be out of my life. I was hospitalized on four separate occasions with small bowel obstructions that were caused by eating insoluble fiber. If you have never had a small bowel obstruction, you should try it some time, it will make your hero wods feel like a day at the spa. In any event, I quickly settled into a diet that consisted primarily of grains, dairy and meat, all things that would pass through me without causing too much drama. In addition, I discovered that supplementing my meals with psyllium husk (soluble fiber) kept everything running smoothly and in tact. And so I have carried on over the past 8 years, eating the same things and toting small packs of psyllium husk with me everywhere I went.

Fast forward to January 1 2012. I put the psyllium husk away (loaded with sugar and grains). I stocked up on meat, raw vegetables, nuts and fruit. Other than the meat, my refrigerator and pantry looked like a collection of gastrointestinal torture devices. Embarking on this challenge 8 or 9 years ago would have led me directly to the hospital. With a combination of faith, curiosity and a little stupidity I decided to go for it. I felt an enormous change on the very first day… but not the good kind. From day 1 to day 8 I had non-stop diarrhea. The diarrhea was accompanied by some awesome cramping and a pretty good case of dehydration. I’ve always been a glutton for punishment, so I pressed on, despite the ordeal it had become.

By the second and third week my bowels had begun to settle down and I started to notice some significant positive changes. For starters, I had lost about 6 lbs. Along with that I was feeling leaner and noticed a decent spike in my energy levels. Despite those positive changes, I was looking forward to having some serious dessert at the end of the challenge.

Believe it or not, the biggest revelation came to me after I went totally off the reservation and finished the challenge. In those following days I reverted back to snacking on some high sugary foods and got totally worked. We attended a Valentine’s Day party and a Super Bowl party the next day and I went nuts, eating cake, cookies, chips etc… like it was going out of style. Never have I felt sicker and nastier after eating than I did after those two occasions. For me, the key to realizing the full potential of Whole 9’s principles, was to practice them for a month and go back to my old diet. The contrast was remarkable.

I am at a point now where my body has no trouble processing the foods that it did before. I can sit and eat an entire salad with no ill effects. That’s simply a miracle. I no longer supplement my meals with psyllium husk, or anything else artificial. That’s not something I would have dared to do a year ago.

I know that not every day will be perfect. I know that the Whole 30 challenge was a chance to step back from the day to day junk that we cram down our throats. I appreciate the fact that our bodies are only as good as what we put into them. My mind has now been opened to an entirely new realm of possibility for what it truly means to be healthy.

Catherine H-

As I have gotten older I have been concerned about how difficult it has been to keep the weight off and eat healthy. I have been listening to the radio and reading news releases about what to eat and what not to eat. Nothing was working and starving myself was never an option. I had just started Cross Fit and in January they introduced the Whole 30 challenge. Being energized by just having joined Cross Fit I was excited to give the Whole 30 a try. The results from the Whole 30 were life changing for me. I had been exclusively running for 4 years with maybe a few yoga classes thrown in, never had I seen such immediate, remarkable results than in the 30 days that I was on the Whole 30 challenge with the fitness of Cross Fit. With the Whole 30 I was able to identify and eliminate what foods were causing me so much trouble digestively and mentally. I lost weight in areas of my body that were difficult for years to shed. I can wear the jeans that I hid away 3 years ago that I never thought I would get a leg through again! Most importantly the Whole 30 has taught me the correct way to feed my body and thankfully there was never a moment that I had to be hungry. The Whole 30 is a lifestyle for me now and I feel like I have finally found a program that works.

Carrie J-

Being an engineer, I don’t have a way with words and I tend to focus on the facts (inputs and outputs, that sort of thing), so that’s how I’m going to approach this. Even though the first couple of weeks were difficult, I eventually broke through to a new euphoric state accompanied with the following observations:

-Weight loss = 6 lbs.
-Body fat decrease = 2%
-Sleep quality = before it took me around an hour to fall asleep, now I fall asleep under an hour (I have a zeo which actually tracks your sleep and the sleep quality)
-Energy level = my energy level has increase significantly; normally around bed time I would be completely exhausted yet still not able to fall asleep, but now I am definitely not as tired at night as I used to (my daily stamina has increase) and I fall asleep faster; also normally around 3 pm I would always hit a major slump requiring some form of sugar stimulant to get me through the day, now I no longer hit that slump

Even though the first couple of weeks are very difficult, once you break through to the other side, the results are amazing! I have never felt this good before! The results speak for themselves and this was just one month! Also, ironically, after eating this way for a month now, I don’t crave the bad food that I used to eat all of the time (my salty/sweet urges are gone). My overall assessment of Whole9 == Great Success!!!

Michael J-

When I first heard in class of Paleo, the first thing that came to find was a prehistoric notion of food, I imagined giant dinosaur legs (instead of turkey legs) and loincloths all around. I never gave it a second thought as I continued to eat my usual nosh of cheese and [add carbohydrate noun here].

In November, during a bench-pressing WOD, things changed. I won’t mention my spotters (or poorly trained body) but both my pec major and minor muscles were torn off the bone in my arm. Invasive Surgery. Six weeks later, I finally had clearance to resume working out lightly. It happened to coincide with the new year. I promise that I did not wait an extra week around the holidays to get things going.

My first class back, Booth talked to us about the Whole 30 Challenge, complete with weigh-in. – On a side note I had not weighed in since I had to for life insurance about five years ago. This was exciting, I got to show how weak my body was in the half Cindy challenge, I was not even cleared for push-ups on my knees yet, and I got to weigh in after a six-week binger that involved Thanksgiving and the Cookie-dough-laden Christmas month. Scale said: 226, when did that happen.

Week One- I continued to attend class weekday either at five or six in the morning. My body slowly started to have what I like to call cheese withdrawals. Don’t envision someone eating with an era of sophistication eating cheese and sipping wine. This was block-o-cheddar sliced or pizza or burger-n-cheese or mac n cheese diet. I managed to get past the basic sweats and had to convince my body that the green vegetables were more than the things I used to scrape off my plate to concentrate on the good stuff. Feeling dizzy.

Week Two and Three – Funny thing, my clothes are starting to fit slightly different, perhaps extra large did not require something to be form-fitting. I also noticed that I was performing better in class, that’s right. I was now in the middle of class – hand-stand push ups excluded (someday I will be able to get up on the wall the right way).

Week Four through day 29 – I feel that my body is used to the food now. I realize that I do miss my morning burrito and lunchtime Starbucks Scone, but they are nothing more than a memory of my high school former girlfriend – in my mind she was great, but when I saw her ten years later “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers”.

Day 30ish (Friday the 3rd) – Redo Cindy and weigh in for the second time in five years. Walk-in: Booth again, full-circle, what goes around comes around. Start with Cindy – increase of three rounds to 11 + 15 (please note I have worked up only to push-ups on my knees and blue band pull-ups, I am not one of those people yet). After some other contortionist activity, it is time. Did I just waste 30 days of good chip-eating? Days I can never get back. Scale says: 204. I would like to say mission accomplished, but in truth I don’t know what the mission was/is.

This is what I do know, I don’t mind eating healthy, check that- I enjoy eating healthy. It is no longer a challenge. I am healthier, I am performing better, and good news, all those XL clothes are now really comfortable and great to lounge in. I plan on continuing simply because after the thirty days I realized it was not a finite destination, it was the first step to a new life- or the continuation of my old life just without 22 pounds.

Peter K-

The past 30 days have been enlightening. I don’t think I have consciously thought about food and nutrition as much as I have in the past month. It’s always in the back of my mind – what should I take for lunch, what should I make for dinner, what can I have for a snack? Initially, the Whole 30 Program was a challenge. I found menu planning, grocery shopping, and food preparation took a bit more thought, and little more time. But like anything else, with a little practice, it started to come together easier.

Of all the banned food groups, the one I found the hardest to give up was grains. My God, I never realized just how much bread, tortillas and white rice I normally consumed on a daily basis. It was in every meal, every day. It definitely was a LARGE portion of my diet.

How do I feel after 30 days? Much better! My lungs are clearer. My energy has increased. And my WOD recovery time has decreased. I hope I can maintain the good habits formed these past 30 days.


I have to say I’m not someone that is impulsive. I am a planner. So it isn’t surprising that my decision to do the Whole 30 was something I have been planning on since August. “Six months?” you say. It just never seemed like the right time. I had a charity boxing match in October that required I weigh 145 or heavier, after that the holidays, then more holidays… Ah-HA! The first of the year! Great time to start!

In my six months of planning, I somehow managed to see all the things I could eat. I’ve done some challenging things in my life, why should this be so bad. This is 30 days of eating good. I started to get annoyed at people that would say “You can’t have creamer in your coffee? What? No sugar? No beer or wine?” COME ON PEOPLE! It is food! And good food at that. It’s not like you are giving up an appendage.

Day 1, New Years day, I had coffee for the first time ever without sugar and creamer. I guess I expected coconut milk to be horrible. To my surprise, it wasn’t bad. I could actually taste a more coffee taste. What also surprised me was that on five hours of sleep, I had a lot of energy. I spent most of the day prepping and making food for the week.

Day 2 was my first day of my 48 hour shift. I had all my food necessary for two days. To my surprise, the usual cooks in the fire station were more than willing to make my food to necessary specifications. Nice. This is gonna be easier than I thought. Until the day progressed. In our fire stations we have what we call the “coffee fund”. We put $5 a paycheck towards it and It doesn’t just consist of coffee. It is a cabinet/locker stocked with snacks. The “healthy 100 calorie” snacks, bite size assorted chocolate bars, licorice, peanut butter pretzel bites, pistachios, peanuts, cereal, etc…and anything you can think in the snack section from Costco. That very day, I realized how often I ventured to that cabinet. After I checked my truck out, after spicy, chili covered breakfast for a little something sweet, while watching TV (those snacks stare you down just calling your name as you sit there), after every call – some days more than others, after dinner, cause you always need something sweet after dinner!, and generally, when any type of boredom set in. Wow, that is a lot of trips to the coffee fund. I first just stood in front of it,…for about five minutes. “Nope, can’t have that. Or that. Or that. Hey, a can of olives!” I eventually reprogrammed myself to steer completely away, except for the olives and pistachios, right to my bag of goodies – veggies, meat, eggs, and my favorite, sweet potatoes.

Almost a week later I was getting dressed to go to work, and as I put on my uniform pants, I immediately noticed the extra room. Did I really already drop in size? Indeed I did. Not so much weight, but size.

Before I knew it, it was day 10. Wow, one third done. Still pluggin away at pouring through recipes on TheFoodeeProject.com, and going strong. Oh, speaking of going strong, I recently had a bilateral ligament strains in my shoulders. I had battled with it for weeks prior to the Whole 30. I did see my chiropractor during my first week, but it wasn’t until about day 15 that I noticed the pain dissipating. Was it just the normal course of healing? Not sure, but I’d like to think my nutrition had something to do with it. Day 15 was also around the time that I wanted a small piece of dark chocolate, or a glass of merlot. The cravings really weren’t that strong or lasted very long. I think my mindset going into this was that failure was not an option, and giving into temptation would be failure of my 30 day commitment, a commitment to myself. That was not and option. Therefore, cravings will not be something that would make important decisions for me.

As the days went on, I would walk into Wal-mart and I found that I was hypersensitive to all the packaged food. It was every where. I was over whelmed with the amount of food that is flooded with preservatives and ingredients I can’t pronounce. I also second guessed myself at church, taking communion. “ I’m sure this isn’t part of the Whole 30, but my belief has been around my whole life” I thought. It couldn’t be considered cheating if in church, right? And there was a time I was warming rice for my kids to go with their dinner, I put some in my mouth to test the temperature and before I knew it, I was running to the sink to spit it out. I can’t have that! Or the time I couldn’t stop coughing in church and the elderly lady in front of me finally turned around and handed me three cough drops. I looked and them and thought, “It looks like candy, probably has as much sugar, or sugar substitute, as candy…. No cough drops for me”. I found that I was willing to go through what some would call extremes to stay committed to my Whole 30.

I also found that what I would cook, for the most part, my kids would eat. Wyatt, my 12 year old was regular at seconds for the protein I made for dinner and my 4 year old, Jack, even helped me almost polish off a batch of kale chips. The more Whole 30 foods I made, the more they ate. Hard to turn down good food.

As I approached my final day, I was subconsciously planning meals for the week, in the format I had followed for the last 30 days. I was getting over a cold and decided it wasn’t a good idea to introduce anything different until I was over it. I’m even hesitant to eat anything different. I don’t want to feel tired, run down, bloated, or yucky again. Besides, I’ve moved three notches on my belt and at the end of 30 days lost 7 pounds. Something I didn’t completely expect, but I welcome.

I am very pleased that I took part in the ABQ Crossfit Challenge. I’ve learned to appreciate food in a different way and I look forward to creating my own recipes and developing the knowledge I’ve gained.
I took the challenge, I committed and I succeeded!

Allison R-

So I was not going to send a note about my 30 days, but have been convinced otherwise. I approached the 30 days as a relief really. Meat, vegetables, and fruit. Very easy menu choices, and I was looking for some discipline as to what I put in my mouth. I always thought that if I ran and cycled a bunch the kinds of foods didn’t matter too much. Well I have been wrong all along,AND I am a chef and know some stuff about nutrition. Anyway, the change was not too bad as far as menu. To make it short, I got through the first 2 weeks, and started to feel awesome. I had and do still have a ton of energy and all that good stuff. The most important change for me was my attitude about my goals. I was the experiment, and still am. My goals are the same, but I approach them differently. I can achieve my dreams by putting good fuel in the machine and respecting my limits. Every time I go for a long run or ride up and down the hills or do a really hard WOD, I continue to push. I know I am not the strongest or fastest, but I can achieve MY goals. Just a small change in my daily life has made this idea reality. Also, every time when I want to quit or take a break this is what I say” if it were easy, everyone would do it.” The whole30 is not too hard, it works, you just have to make a small change. I know this sounds corny, but it is my one and only life, doing this whole 30 has made a big difference for me. I would not have ever known about it without you guys at CFABQ.


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