Paleo vs. Whole30

I’ve been spending the days post Whole30 trying to stay as compliant as possible while allowing myself to eat “Paleo.”

I want to start off by saying I am not an expert on the topic. I am not certified in health. I AM a crazy researcher who likes to make lists and charts. So, I’m using this as a forum not to be an expert on the topic, but to lend the planning and research I have found helpful to anyone that is looking to have a clearer understanding of Whole30 and Paleo.

I don’t think that one way of eating is better than another. Personally, I needed Whole30 to get myself on track both with my weight loss and mentally when it came to food.  Whole30 teaches your body what it’s like to run like a sports car that is only ever given the best of the best racing fuel. There are no additives, sugars, and was created as an elimination diet to help pinpoint trouble areas.

Some people say, “Well isn’t Whole30 Paleo?” and my short answer is “Well yes, but Whole30 is a little more strict and focuses on your mindset just as much as it does the food you’re putting into your body.”

Both lifestyles focus on eating real, whole foods that have been minimally processed. The way of eating on both plans brings us back to the Paleolithic era where caveman walked the earth and relied on what they could catch or grow for nutrients.

So what is allowed on Whole30?

The Whole30 takes full food groups out of your diet. You will need to spend a lot of time in grocery stores and reading labels before the science of this diet becomes ingrained in you. But don’t worry, it gets easier.

Whole30 believes food groups including sugar, soy, grains, dairy, and legumes could be having a negative impact for some. By eliminating these groups altogether and re-introducing them slowly at the end of the 30 days, we can clearly determine how each food group affects our bodies. EveryBODY is different and there is no one solution for everyone. 

Eliminated food groups are explained as “craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups” by Whole30 gives your body the chance to hit reset and start fresh.  But the “rules” don’t stop at food. On Whole30, you are not supposed to weigh or measure yourself for the entirety of the program. You are supposed to follow the meal template and before you know it you will feel the energy of a thousand suns without the weight on the scale (pun intended) looming over you.

What I love about Whole30 is that you can do it with or without buying any of the books. has a wealth of resources available to you right on their website.

I’m not going into all of the rules here (That’s why I provided the resource link for you above ^). The biggest difference for me, was the elimination of (SWYPO) or “sex with your pants on” as coined by Whole30 Headmistress, Melissa Urban. She refers to SWYPO in “It Starts with Food” as the recreation of non-compliant Whole30 foods, made with compliant ingredients. SWYPO foods will never taste as good as the original you are trying to recreate and ultimately, you are only tricking your mind into craving the ‘real thing’ down the line. So don’t do it (on Whole30 at least).

So that sounds a lot like Paleo?

Yes. Well, that’s because a Whole30 lifestyle fits neatly within the parameters of Paleo. Paleo allows all of the same Whole30 ingredients, with the addition of natural sweeteners such as honey, stevia, maple syrup, and coconut sugar. You can also indulge in “SWYPO” while on Paleo – making desserts or recreating off-plan meals with compliant ingredients.

Paleo is more of a long-term way of eating that is often followed after someone completes a Whole30 program.

Personally, I ultimately want to live Paleo. Too much of anything can still make you feel like crap or gain weight – which is why I keep returning to Whole30 for resets throughout the year.

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