Diets, cleanses and meal plans come and go. Every time one rolls around, we in the Jerky Universe want to know whether our must-have snack fits it!
We already know about beef jerky health benefits, but what about this Whole30 hubbub? Let’s check out the Whole30 diet, whether Whole30 beef jerky is a thing and whether you can nab Whole30-compliant beef jerky.
So strap in, friends.
What Is Whole30?
A duo of sports nutritionists devised the Whole30 diet in 2009 to give adherents a way to reboot metabolism and cleanse their bodies.
The idea is pretty straightforward.
For 30 days, you don’t eat a strict list of foods — and you must restart those 30 days if you flub. After 30 days, you very gradually reintroduce small amounts of the former month’s forbidden foods into your diet.
Whole30’s creators frame the diet as more than a cleanse or weight-loss gambit — it’s a way to reinvent your relationship with food and eating. (For example, you aren’t supposed to weigh yourself except on the first and last days of the diet.)
Naturally, the diet’s reviews are mixed. Some people claim it’s life-changing, while others find it unsustainable at best and unhealthy at worst. Nutritionists have also noted restrictive diets like Whole30 may be harmful to people struggling with eating disorders.
Remember: It’s always best to speak with your doctor before you embark on any diet!
Let’s bounce back to that strict list. When it comes to beef jerky, Whole30 has hardcore stipulations (a ton of them altogether, actually).
Note: The Whole30 diet can be rather expensive to follow. Depending on your circumstances, starting a long-term balanced diet may be a better option.
What You Can Eat on Whole30: A Short List
Whole30 aims to eliminate processed foods from your diet and thus from your system. Here’s an abbreviated list of what the diet greenlights:
- Coffee, plain black
- Fresh fruits
- Vegetables (potatoes included)
- Unprocessed meats (like beef and chicken)
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut butters (but not peanut butter)
- Coconut and olive oils
Yes, beef falls under Whole30’s meats list. But that “unprocessed” part — and the banned stuff below — is where finding Whole30-compliant beef jerky can become complicated.
We’ll get into the matter in greater detail in a minute.
What You Can’t Eat on Whole30: A Short List
OK, maybe eating only the food groups above doesn’t sound so bad. But let’s see what you’ll have to ditch on Whole30:
- Added and processed sugars
- Grains (like wheat and rice)
- Dairy (including cheeses)
- Legumes (like soy nuts, peanuts and chickpeas)
- Fried potatoes in any form
- Alcoholic drinks
- Additives (like sulfites, sulfates and carrageenan)
- Sweets and desserts (even those you make with Whole30-approved foods)
Because most beef jerky soaks in marinade before dehydration, getting Whole30 beef jerky demands scrutinizing ingredient lists. (And yes, a 30-day stretch without bread or cheese seems bleak to us, too.)
Is Beef Jerky Whole30-Approved?
It depends on the brand and its ingredients. We know it’s the article’s burning question, and we hate to disappoint without a hard “yes” or “no.”
Ultimately, nabbing Whole30 beef jerky means taking one of three routes:
- Buying special brands, like those Whole30 stamps with its official approval
- Reading meticulously through ingredients on packaging
- Making your own Whole30-compliant beef jerky or beef sticks
If you opt to shop for beef jerky, Whole30 brands are on very selective lists. In other words, your choices are limited for the time being.
But if you’re determined to try the diet and love jerky, don’t lose hope. Some forms of commercial jerky are more likely to follow the rules.
For example, biltong, paleo, gluten-free and keto-friendly jerkies may take less scrutiny. Most jerky brands in these categories have fewer, simpler ingredients and little to no additives. (We lean toward PREVAIL and JustMeat, off the top of our heads.)
And remember that per Whole30, if you accidentally eat a non-Whole30 anything, you’ll have to restart your 30-day window. Just don’t give the leftovers to your cat.
Takeaways: Whole30 Beef Jerky
Now, let’s summarize the maze surrounding beef jerky, Whole30 and your nutritional needs:
- Whole30 is an elimination/restrictive diet that requires you to follow stringent rules.
- The Whole30 diet may help some people, particularly with how they view food.
- No evidence-based research currently backs up Whole30’s claims.
- The diet forbids some important food groups, like whole grains and legumes.
- Although Whole30 allows beef, finding Whole30-compliant beef jerky is tough unless you buy officially approved brands.
- Your best bets for Whole30 beef jerky are looking at health-centric jerkies and/or making your own jerky if you can’t find an apt brand.
In the end, don’t worry if Whole30 doesn’t fit your lifestyle. You can certainly eat wisely and enjoy beef jerky in moderation. And if the Whole30 diet works for you, that’s just fine, too!
Explore the Jerky Universe
Here in the Jerky Universe, our top takeaway is that we want you to live fully and healthily while loving your favorite jerkies. Whole30 beef jerky is an interesting topic, so let us know if you have advice!