The Whole30 diet is one of the strictest diets you can follow, with some great benefits for your health. It's an opportunity to discover what your body feels like when it's powered by "whole" foods only. Staying Whole30 compliant for a full month isn't difficult, but it's also not a walk in the park if you have sugar cravings or a soda habit that's hard to kick.
The first step is to understand what you can and cannot eat (or drink) during the 30 days. Once you've got the rules down, you'll be ready to start your 30 day journey.
This article will take you through which beverages you can drink on Whole30 and which ones you should avoid.
The Whole30 is a food elimination style diet that lasts for 30 days. During those 30 days, you restrict your diet to a set list of foods, completely avoiding anything on the eliminated foods list. It's a kick start to help you eat clean, with the vast majority of foods that are eliminated being artificial or sugar-filled. To stay Whole30 compliant, you cannot make an exception.
Although there are overlaps with the keto diet, Atkins diet, and paleo diet, the key difference with Whole30 is that there's no calorie counting and no slip-ups are allowed.
Whole30 encourages you to eat "real" food. Food with a very short ingredient list or no ingredients at all (e.g. a carrot) is all good on the Whole30 diet. However, just like paleo, dairy and grains are on the no list.
Whole30 is also very strict. The idea is to give your body a chance to work without potentially problematic foods, to figure out what is good for your body and what isn't. If you give in on day 18 and have a glass of wine, for example, you'd need to start over from day 1 again.
For a complete list of foods to avoid, you can quickly check the official Whole30 guide. For drinks and beverages, however, there's no official separate list. So, at Zest Tea, we have taken a closer look at what is Whole30 compliant and whether you can enjoy a delicious cup or can of Zest Tea while you're on the diet.
Just like with foods, when it comes to drinks you should avoid added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and super long ingredient lists. Water or infused water is usually the safest bet and is Whole30 approved.
Tea is definitely Whole30 approved. Made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, most teas simply contain dried tea leaves plus botanical elements if they are flavored. That being said, there are many teas that also include additional sugar, sweeteners and artificial flavors.
So long as the tea blend is made from natural ingredients and contains no sweeteners, it is great to drink on the Whole30 diet. Furthermore, tea comes in so many flavors, is rich with antioxidants and amino acids, and can be served in different ways, just like hot or iced coffee.
At Zest Tea, our tea blends (available in teabags or as loose leaf) are made with tea, whole flower and fruit pieces, natural non-GMO flavors, and natural caffeine from tea extract. Each serving provides 135mg to 150mg of caffeine and so long as you don't add any milk or sugar, it is perfectly fine to consume during the Whole30.
Unfortunately, our sparkling teas are not approved for Whole30! Any beverage that contains added sugars or sweeteners are banned. So, although all our sparkling tea ingredients are natural, organic, and certified non-GMO, they also contain small amounts of either sugar or stevia leaf - both of which are banned during the Whole30.
If caffeine isn't to your taste, you can always enjoy herbal teas on the Whole30 plan. They don't need to be made with certified organic ingredients or be grown fresh (although it's always nice to aim for that).
The key to finding herbal drinks that are Whole30 approved is to look at the ingredients. If it's simply chamomile flowers or peppermint leaves, and nothing else, then it's great for Whole30. Added sweeteners, colors and preservatives should be avoided, however.
We have a guide to herbal tea types to help you navigate the many different flavors available. Just like caffeinated tea, herbal teas provide some unique health benefits too.
For the Whole30, your diet will need to be dairy free, so say goodbye to dairy milk, cream, sour cream, cheese, and yogurt. The Whole30 dairy rule also applies to dairy from sheep and goats, which are popular alternatives for people looking to avoid lactose.
Unsweetened almond milk is one of the most popular Whole30 approved alternatives. You can also try canned coconut milk or cashew milk - the key is that they must only contain those simple ingredients. If there's anything beyond water and cashews in your cashew milk, it won't be Whole30 approved.
Avoid sugars, sweeteners, thickeners, preservatives and colorants.
Sparkling water, also known as club soda and seltzer water, is just carbonated regular water. As such, it's Whole30 approved. You must ensure that it's just water, minerals and carbon dioxide. Watch out for flavored water and infused water that may contain artificial flavors and sweeteners.
A better way to create flavored water is to use a small amount of fruit juice mixed with the sparkling water - see drinks to be careful about below.
Coffee is one of your friends on the Whole30 plan, so long as you like black coffee without sugar and cream. Both hot and iced coffee are acceptable, as is espresso. So long as nothing is added beyond coffee beans and water, it's safe to consume.
Drinking your coffee black comes with added benefits for your health, including protection from neurodegenerative conditions, improving your mood, and reducing your risk of developing diabetes.1 Furthermore, without milk and sugar you'll be able to appreciate the natural flavors of the coffee bean, especially if you purchase a high quality, single origin coffee.
You can make a bulletproof coffee on Whole30, so long as you use coconut oil and ghee rather than butter.
Kefir water is a fermented drink that's fizzy and full of prebiotic goodness. It's also Whole30 approved, even though it's created with grains and sugar water. Once the ingredients are combined, it's left to ferment for a day or two, which should ensure that the natural bacteria use up all the sugar within the drink.
You can purchase kefir water or make it yourself. Either way, double check that there are no added sugars or sweeteners in the recipe that will prevent it from being Whole30 approved.
These drinks are approved but come with clauses to take note of.
Coconut water is a refreshing treat and is perfectly fine on the Whole30 diet, along with coconut milk and coconut aminos. However, finding coconut water without added sugar, preservatives, colorants and flavor enhancers is not so easy.
That's why coconut water is usually best avoided unless you can confirm that it's sugar free. The Whole30 program also warns against replacing natural water with coconut water altogether.
Fruit juice is Whole30 compliant when it's used in other recipes or to flavor other drinks, e.g. adding a squeeze of fresh orange juice to sparkling water to create your own "soda". However, you couldn't drink a whole glass of pure apple juice. The reasoning behind this is that the juice of fruit contains all the sugars of the fruit without the fiber and nutrients you'd get from eating the fruit whole.
Paleo makes the same argument here - read our article about paleo-friendly drinks to learn more.
Vegetable juice is more Whole30 compliant than fruit juice, as it's fine to create it and drink it at home. However, it shouldn't replace vegetables in your diet and you should check the ingredients for sugar listed on shop-bought vegetable juices.
Just like bone broth and other savory liquids, vegetable juice may be more appropriate for cooking than drinking!
If your daily routine starts with a smoothie, then you may need to make some adjustments for the Whole30 plan. Technically, smoothies made with only Whole30 compliant ingredients will be acceptable, however it may not be a good thing to rely on smoothies regularly.
Much like the ingredients used to make pancake batter may be Whole30 compliant, the final product isn't the same.
"For many, smoothies bypass the satiety signal, since your brain perceives drinking differently than it does chewing and swallowing. Smoothies also often contain lots of sugar from fruit (way more than you’d typically consume if you’re eating whole fruit). In general, we encourage you to eat a meal rather than have a smoothie."2
These drinks are a hard pass and not Whole30 approved.
Any drink with added sugar is banned by Whole30. This includes sugar in all its forms, including sucrose and glucose. But it's not just the added sugar that's the problem. To kick addictions to sweetness in general, the Whole30 plan also bans sweeteners, regardless of whether they're natural or not.
This is one of the key differences between Whole30 and paleo - the paleo diet approves naturally sweet foods that our paleolithic ancestors could have enjoyed, including raw honey and stevia leaf.
99% of hot chocolates will be banned on the Whole30 diet. Composed of chocolate or cocoa powder, milk and sugar, a hot chocolate is not suitable for the diet. 100% cocoa (cacao) is approved by the Whole30 diet, but without any sweeteners or sugars to sweeten it, you'll get a very bitter and unpleasant drink. It's not worth it.
Furthermore, the Whole30 program suggests that you exclude foods that "promote cravings or mindless overconsumption" so you can kick these food habits during the 30 days.3 For many people, chocolate will be on that list.
Soda is not Whole30 approved and should be avoided at all costs. Artificial colors, flavorings, extracts, and sweeteners are added in diet sodas, not to mention the added sugar in regular sodas. All sodas are banned on Whole30 so stick to sparkling water if you are craving something bubbly and add a squeeze of fresh fruit juice for flavor.
All forms of soy, including soy milk, soy lecithin, and soybeans are banned from the Whole30 diet. This is usually not a huge problem, as soy milk can easily be replaced with almond milk or another nut-based dairy alternative. Furthermore, soy or soya is usually highlighted in ingredient lists as it can be an allergen for some people. Finding it in foods and avoiding it shouldn't be too difficult.
If going without soy sauce is not a pleasant thought, then you'll be happy to know that coconut aminos are a Whole30 approved alternative that's made from coconut milk nectar.
You can drink vegetable juice so long as it doesn't contain additional flavorings and sweeteners (check the nutrition label or make it from scratch), and it doesn't replace vegetables in your diet. Fruit juice is a bit tricky. You can use it in recipes to sweeten foods or to mix with other drinks, but the program warns against drinking a cup of fruit juice directly.
No alcohol is approved by the Whole30 program. You cannot drink alcohol or use it in recipes, even if it's just a glass of white wine and you plan to cook off the alcohol element.
According to the official Whole30 program, all fruit and vegetable juices are allowed to a degree. Vegetable juices are fine to drink, so long as they don't replace vegetables in your diet entirely. Fruit juices are acceptable when they're mixed with other foods or used to sweeten recipes in replacement of sugar and sweeteners. Good news for anyone with a sweet tooth!
Yes, you can drink tea including Zest Tea on the Whole30 program. Made from tea leaves and natural botanicals, both caffeinated and herbal tea is Whole30 approved. However, you must drink it completely unsweetened and without dairy to stay compliant.
Like the paleo lifestyle, Whole30 limits you to a selection of whole foods. You can enjoy any simple foods, including meat, eggs, seafood, fruit, vegetables, fats, spices, herbs, and your choice of water, from sparkling waters to tap water. Dairy, grains, alcohol and a list of other foods are banned.