By now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Whole30 diet, or know someone who’s tried it. A quick glance at Pinterest will show you zillions of Whole30-approved recipes, which manage to look delicious despite the diet’s sometimes restrictive nature. Similar to the Paleo diet, Whole30 focuses on daily intake of high-quality animal protein as part of an attempt to eat only healthful, whole, and unprocessed foods. That leaves many wondering: Can you follow the Whole30 diet as a vegetarian or vegan?
While the Whole30 website maintains that it’s certainly possible, and even encourages vegetarians and vegans to take part in the Whole30 community, it might not be the easiest feat considering that at least a small amount of animal protein is strongly encouraged. But if you’re determined to hold tight to your vegetarian diet and still reap the benefits of the Whole30 diet, know that it’s definitely doable.
Here, we’ll take a look at what this type of diet will look like for you if you’re a vegetarian or even a vegan. But first, a brief explainer of what, exactly, this wildly popular diet entails.
What is the Whole30 diet?
Created by a husband and wife team who sought to make drastic life changes through diet, the Whole30 diet seeks to reset your entire relationship with food. While weight loss is certainly to be expected, it’s not a goal of the program. In fact, followers of the Whole30 diet are discouraged from weighing themselves at all during the 30 days.
Whole30 is similar to the paleo diet in that lean, high-quality animal proteins are the crux of the diet: chicken, fish, eggs and even steak and beef are all green-lighted under this diet. Fruits and veggies are allowed, and so is coffee. But the diet heavily restricts healthy foods like grains, legumes and beans, and sweeteners of any kind are a no-go, even natural ones like maple syrup.
Related: What Is the Whole30 Diet?
How to do Whole30 as a vegetarian
With such intense restrictions, it’s difficult to imagine being able to successfully follow the Whole30 diet without consuming any animal proteins. It’s definitely possible, but it’ll take a whole new level of dedication to pull it off. “If you’re a vegetarian who wants to do the Whole 30, you’ll have to get creative and be okay with eating a lot of the same meals,” says certified nutritionist Melissa Morris. “Eliminating meat will greatly reduce the options of foods that are approved to eat on the Whole30 diet.”
Eggs will be your main source of protein if you’ll be doing the Whole30 diet as a vegetarian. But as you likely already know, there are lots of plant-based ways to up your daily protein intake. Veggies and greens high in protein include artichokes, broccoli and spinach.
Related: 36 Whole30 Recipes You Should Commit to Memory
“In addition, your diet will need to consist of plenty of plant-based oils and plant-based fats like avocados. It will be difficult to stay full on this diet and difficult to get enough protein to support body functions without a supplement,” says Morris.
If you choose to try the Whole30 diet as a vegetarian, you’ll set yourself up for success by finding a few recipes you enjoy, and making them over and over again. It’s perfectly okay to do this. While you may crave variety, making things more simple for yourself will up your chances of success. We recommend lots of planning ahead, preparing your pantry before you get started, and consulting the Whole30 Cookbookfor some great recipe ideas.
Related: Whole30 Food List
Can you do Whole30 as a vegan?
A vegan diet is highly restrictive in its own right. Strict vegans avoid any kind of animal by-product, which includes eggs and dairy. So while there is some overlap between a vegan diet and Whole30, like the exclusion of dairy, these two diets combined create a situation that simply doesn’t allow for enough protein intake.
“With the absence of grains in the Whole30, the complete protein, which is the practice of combining a grain with a lentil to have the appropriate levels of complete and incomplete proteins present in the body, cannot be achieved,” says Heidi Katte MS, RDN, CD, FAND.
While it isn’t advisable to follow the exact Whole30 diet as a vegan, you can use your already healthy eating habits and draw inspiration from the Whole30 mindset, which uses a period of restriction and elimination, in order to build better eating habits and reset your relationship with food.
Next up: Whole30 Vs. Keto Face-Off.
Source: Thanks https://parade.com/1092395/christinperry/whole30-vegetarian/