How to Keep Your Gut Thriving on Whole30

We’ve talked in the past about some of the general health benefits of the Whole30 diet….

But also about the effect that some of the Whole30 diets exclusions have on the diversity and strength of the bacteria in your gut’s microbiome.

After all, the diet calls for completely avoiding legumes, nuts, beans, grains, and dairy, which in varying doses, feed the good bacteria in your gut and assist with general permeability issues.

However, it’s still possible to adhere to the Whole30 diet and maintain a happy and healthy gut.

You’ve just got to know how what you’re eating affects the digestive tracts.

Generally speaking?

You want the meals you make to be as simple as possible — fewer ingredients means your gut has an easier time breaking down what you’ve given it. When you overload your plate with complicated and layered meals, the gut has to work extra hard to scour through the food for nutrients.

You also want to focus as much as possible on green veggies, particularly cruciferous kinds. Don’t try to make fake-version of your favorite treats with excessively complicated recipes or meals with ingredients far-removed from their original form. For example, avoid cauliflower-pizza crusts with vegan cheese to remind yourself about pizza. 

You definitely want to get as much fermented food in as you can to make up for the lack of legumes and grains. Sauerkraut, specific vitamin supplements, kombucha, unsweetened coconut milk yogurt — any of those will do fine!

But we can even get a little bit more specific…

Let’s talk recipes that are not only healing for the gut, but Whole30 approved.

Chicken Korma with Cauliflower Rice

For the Chicken Marinade:

2 lbs skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite-size pieces

1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk

1 tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp garam masala, ground coriander, turmeric, paprika, sea salt, and fresh black pepper

For the Sauce: 

4 tbsp grass-fed ghee

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced

8 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp ginger, minced

1 ½ garam masala

1 ½ ground coriander

1 tsp sea salt

½ ground mustard seed powder

1 red bell pepper, cored and diced

15 oz tomato sauce 

1 can full-fat canned coconut milk

1 cup organic, grass fed bone broth

For the Cauliflower Rice:

1 head of cauliflower, florets chopped and stems removed

2 tbsp avocado oil

4 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp sea salt

Combine chicken marinade and and add chicken thighs. Cover and leave in fridge for at least 2 hours.

After 2 hours, melt 2 tbsp ghee in a pot over medium heat. Add diced onions and cook for 10 minutes.  Then add ginger and garlic. Saute for another 2 minutes. Add all spices and saute for another 2 minutes.

Add chicken thigh meat with the marinade and cook 5-10 minutes.

Add bell pepper, tomato sauce, coconut milk, and bone broth, and let it bubble for a half hour.

Add the cauliflower florets to a food processor and pulse until it’s riced. Fry it with avocado oil, garlic, and spices, for 20 minutes. 

When the korma is done, add the last 2 tbsp of ghee and pour the korma over cauliflower rice.


Double the recipe and eat it all week long.  

You see, the bone broth, cauliflower rice, and ghee as a substitution for butter nourish your gut while strictly aligning with Whole30’s rules and requirements.

This is certainly not the only recipe that’s both Whole30 and gut health compliant. 

And although Whole30 isn’t fully recommended by gut health specialists, there is a silver lining – you can spend this time to train your body to crave natural, pure food.

When you change your behavior, you change the way your brain makes decisions. 

So eating cheese steaks trains your brain to crave cheese steaks – and eating raw salads trains your brain to want that food when you’re hungry.

Taking the first step to realign your cravings is massively important for your overall health and for the health of your digestive tract. 

But as always, consult your doctor if you decide to make a big dietary change, especially if you have known sensitivities and preexisting conditions.

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Dr. Pedram Shojai

NY Times Best Selling author and film maker. Taoist Abbot and Qigong master. Husband and dad. I’m here to help you find your way and be healthy and happy. I don’t want to be your guru…just someone who’ll help point the way. If you’re looking for a real person who’s done the work, I’m your guy. I can light the path and walk along it with you but can’t walk for you.