I’ve had a few people ask me this week about products that I like and use that are Whole30 compliant, so I rounded up a list of several items that I pretty much always have at my house that I use all the time (even when I’m not doing a Whole30). Hopefully, most of the things you’ll be buying and making will be fresh meat and veggies and fruit, but there’s nothing wrong with buying some pre-made items that make life a little easier.
As with anything Whole30, YOU HAVE TO READ YOUR LABELS/INGREDIENT LISTS. You’ll become a label reading ninja. If there is an ingredient that you’re not sure is allowed on the program, google search “Whole30 ____________”, and fill in the blank with the ingredient in question. I assure you that someone, probably more like dozens of someone’s, has already asked that question and you’ll be able to find the answer on a Whole30 forum page. And just because a certain brand makes several Whole30 compliant items doesn’t mean everything they make will be acceptable, so CHECK THE INGREDIENTS. Are you annoyed by that yet? Good.
First, we’ll start with some condiments, because what is life without condiments? I love Dijon mustard, but most brands add a wine and/or sugar, which are both no-no’s, but Annie’s makes one that is delicious without the added junk. At my house, we’re willing to turn anything into a “buffalo” flavor version, so we use a lot of Franks Red Hot cayenne pepper sauce. Just make sure you stick to the “original” flavor. Then there’s a brand called Tessemae’s, and they make several Whole30 approved condiments and salad dressings, including ketchup and BBQ sauce. They are sweetened only with dates, and are therefore ok to use. And last but not least, good ol’ French’s yellow mustard. All compliant ingredients and A-ok to use during your Whole30.
Now, let’s talk nut butters. There are plenty of compliant nut butters out there, but there are also several that aren’t because they use sugar and/or a non-compliant oil. These are two of my favorites: mixed nut butter and sunflower seed butter (the unsweetened version), both from Trader Joe’s. Thankfully, you can find compliant nut butters at pretty much any grocery store now, just make sure you stay away from peanut butter, because in case no one has told you, peanuts are NOT nuts and are classified as legumes, which are not allowed on the Whole30. I can hear a collective sigh of disappointment. It’s ok, you’ll get over it.
On to salad dressings! While I usually make my own vinaigrettes, there are some pre-made dressings that I really like and keep on hand pretty much all of the time. TJ’s makes this green goddess dressing that tastes fresh and herby, so I sometimes use it on chicken too. Some of my favorite dressings come from Tessemae’s though, like this avocado ranch and their habanero ranch, if you can find it. They also make a good balsamic vinaigrette if you don’t want to make your own. Primal Kitchen also has some great options! I happened to have their Caesar in the fridge, but they also make a delicious ranch. It’s a little less thick and more herby than the Tessemae’s ranch dressings, but it’s so good.
For a lot of people, one of the hardest things to switch up is milk and dairy products. Again, thankfully, there are now many unsweetened non-dairy milks out there that are compliant. I happen to buy this coconut milk from So Delicious frequently, but there are several others (Califia Farms, Malk, Milk Barn, etc). Make sure you check the ingredients and steer clear of carageenan, an ingredient that a lot of brands like to add but it’s bad for your gut and not Whole30 compliant. And we can’t forget coffee creamer, because we can’t forget coffee. Califia Farms makes unsweetened almond and coconut milk creamers that come in original, vanilla, and hazelnut flavors, and they’re actually really good. They won’t add any sweetness (duh, that would defeat the whole purpose of the program), but if you like to cut your coffee with a little creaminess, then these will do the trick. Not pictured because I ran out: canned coconut milk (unsweetened, of course). It’s thick and super creamy, and makes amazing sauces (like curry... insert praise hands).
UPDATE: looks like the unsweetened hazelnut and vanilla creamers from Califia Farms now use monk fruit juice extract, making them uncompliant for a Whole30. This just goes to show that a company can and will suddenly change the ingredients of a product you’ve been buying for months, so checking labels is something you have to KEEP doing, even with things that were compliant in the past. As far as I know, the unsweetened original flavor is still fine (looks like the one in the picture, but is beige/brown instead of blue).
On to coconut aminos. If you search Whole30 recipes for more than a few minutes, you’ll probably see this mentioned. This is going to be your soy sauce alternative. There’s a little bit of natural sweetness from the coconut sap, and it can be used to make lots of delicious sauces and add good flavor. There are a few brand of these available now and can be found in most stores.
And now, bone broth. One of my favorite things that I’ve discovered in the last couple of years. I call it liquid gold because it’s full of collagen and amino acids, which are good for your joints (and hair and skin and nails), as well as being really healing for your gut. You can use this in recipes that call for stock or broth, or you can do what I do and drink a cup of it in the morning with an added scoop of collagen (I’ll mention this again later), and some added turmeric and ginger for extra anti-inflammatory power. I prefer to make my own in my Instant Pot, but this requires a lot of time and animal bones, so most people prefer to let someone else do the work for them and just buy it. I like these from Bonafide Provisions (found in the freezer section), but there are other good ones out there from brands like Epic and Kettle and Fire.
Since butter t isn’t allowed on the Whole30, there is this magical thing called ghee that you can use in its place. Ghee is basically just clarified butter, which is butter that’s been heated so that the milk solids/proteins can be removed. Therefore, it’s lactose free and perfectly acceptable to use . My favorite brand is 4th and Heart, and they make 5 different flavors of ghee that are all delicious, but my favorite is probably the Himalayan pink salt. Tin Star Foods also makes a brown butter ghee that is top shelf. Again, most stores now carry ghee, even if it’s not these brands, so you’ll just have to look for it.
So this next item is not something I use regularly, but something that I always try to keep a couple of available as “emergency food”. Example situation: this last Saturday we went to Dallas to see my family and go to my nephews birthday party. I knew we were planning on having lunch at Chick-fil-a, a place where there is pretty much nothing that’s Whole30 compliant. Ok FINE, I think the water is probably okay. Anyway, I ate a bigger than normal breakfast that day, and took one of these Epic brand meat bars (I know, terrible phrase, but I don’t know what else to call them) along with some roasted mixed nuts and an apple. Problem solved. They are basically just meat with some seasonings/spices. I’ll say it again, check the ingredients on things like this, because most of the flavors are Whole30 compliant, there are a few that are aren’t. Things like this shouldn’t be eaten all the time, but can save you from completely ruining your Whole30 because you were hangry and didn’t have anything compliant to eat. I speak from experience.
Ah, collagen peptides. Something I swear by and never let myself run out of. You’ve probably heard of them, since they have been gaining popularity lately. Like I said before, collagen is good for your joints (shout-out to all my other rheumatoid arthritis peeps! Just me? Ok cool), as well as your skin, hair, and nails, and it’s also great for gut healing, which can in turn help a number of different things. Vital Proteins is my favorite brand, they’re very reputable, but there are now many good options out there. They’re awesome because you can mix them into any liquid, hot or cold, and they’re flavorless. I add a scoop to my bone broth in the morning, and sometimes throw an extra scoop in my coffee, because YOLO.
Now to mayo. Yes, it’s another condiment, but I wanted to do it separately, because it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want. I HIGHLY recommend making your own mayo, because it’s a lot easier than you think, and it’s way more cost effective. Here’s the recipe I always use: https://whole30.com/2014/05/mayo/
I do usually sub 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice, just because I like ACV. You can do this in a food processor, or in a wide mouth mason jar with a stick/immersion blender. If you do want a pre-made mayo, my favorites are from Primal Kitchen. Both the original and chipotle lime flavors are delicious, but these little puppies will cost you $8-$10 a jar, depending on where you buy it (and spoiler: it’s not a very big jar). So don’t be intimidated to make it yourself!
I saved one of the best things for last... BACON. Only one of the greatest things on planet earth. There ARE a couple of Whole30 compliant bacons on the market, including this one from Pederson’s. They also have a Whole30 approved smoked kielbasa that is equally delicious. We do try to only have one of these once every two weeks or so, but just know that you don’t have to go a whole 30 days without your favorite breakfast meat.
Ok, so if you’re still with me, bravo for sticking with me whilea ramble on. The last thing I’ll mention is Applegate Farms. I know this brand is more widely available, and hey just compiled a list of all of their products that are Whole30 compliant to make it easier for you while you’re out shopping (OR you could always just check the ingredients like I’ve been saying over and over again). Here’s the list:
So hopefully there is something on this list that you didn’t know about that might make life a little easier. Depending on where you live, some of these things will be easy to find, and several might not be available. Almost all brands have a “where to buy” tool on their websites, so utilize those if there’s something you really want. Also, this is 2018, so pretty much everything can be purchased online. I’ve got another post coming about what else I’ve been eating, including a few restaurant meals, so check back soon!