Achoo! Can I Whole 30 While I’m sick?

Being sick stinks! Being sick while on Whole 30 super stinks!

We can’t reach for many of the comfort foods that we often associate with helping us feel better – namely crackers, ice cream, ginger ale, and toast.


And with low energy and a nagging cough/cold/fever/infection, we’re not exactly in the mood to spend lots of time in the kitchen cooking.

I’ve been there. It’s hard. Last year, during my Whole 60, I caught the stomach bug around Days 13/14. I powered through with seltzer, scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes, and bananas with nut butter.

I recovered and then after my Whole 60 ended, I was knocked down for a week with a super bad case of strep throat. It was terrible. I was not on a round then, and could not swallow anything (thanks to the feeling of razor blades in my throat!!) so I opted for a diet of dairy-free ice cream and sorbet. When I finally recovered, I wanted to get back to my ultimate health, so I did another round of Whole 30 shortly after and bounced back to feeling great.

Fast forward to this year: During my Whole 75, I once again caught strep – along with conjunctivitis. The next day (on Valentine’s Day – oy!), I also sliced my finger while cooking (damn you, ginger!) and ended up with stitches.

Needless to say, between the infection and the painful finger, I wasn’t feeling my best for about two weeks. But I stayed on track with my Whole 75 and here are some of my best tips to surviving a Whole 30 while sick!

Read up on great cold/flu strategies from the experts at Whole 30: This blog post is one of the most popular I share in our Facebook group. It’s super helpful in terms of ideas of foods to eat, hydration while sick, and supplements to take to feel better.

When I had the stomach bug on Whole 30, I stuck with seltzer while I was actively sick and unable to keep food down. If you have to skip a meal or two (or three) while you are really sick, don’t worry. Once you are ready to eat again, keep it simple.

Thanks to Instagram, I can see exactly what I ate post- stomach bug. Some of my meals included scrambled eggs with coconut milk, a mashed banana with almond butter, cinnamon, and raisins, an RxBar (again, I do not recommend these on the regular, this was an exception for me), roasted sweet potatoes, applesauce, riced broccoli and some simple chicken with avocado. Nothing fancy or crazy – just basic foods to fill my stomach, give me some nutrition, and fuel my body while it was recovering.

Stay hydrated with Whole 30 compliant “super foods” like bone broth and chicken soup. Bone broth has a zillion benefits and one of them is helping you recover (and stay healthy!) I am relatively new to the bone broth train, so when I was sick, I had pre-made bone broth from Five Way Foods, which is locally made here in Boston. If you’re super tired and sick, you can use these Lono Life bone broth K-cups for a quick and easy cup.

If you’re up for it, whip up a compliant chicken soup – like this one from Against All Grain, this one from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy or this one from the Whole 30 website. You can also reach for a cup of Whole 30 compliant tea or herbal tea.

Don’t worry so much about the meal template. Eat what sounds good. It may be applesauce with some raisins or a microwaved sweet potato with ghee. Give your body nutrients to heal and recover but don’t fret about getting in all of the elements of a Whole 30 plate.

Take the medicine that you need – even if it has non-compliant ingredients. Remember, on Whole 30, your doctor’s orders > the program rules. I had to take antibiotics for my strep. I was not happy that the only added sugar I was consuming in 75 days was of the pink, medicinal variety – but you got to do what you need to in order to get better!

Really focus on rest. Like really, rest. When I was sick this year with strep, I had a hard time sitting still and felt compelled to meal prep when I was home recovering. And that’s when I cut my finger! It’s hard to set aside your ingrained habits – like meal prep, exercise, and food shopping – but listen to your body. If you have to rely on some simple meals like eggs, tuna fish, or something you pull from your freezer for a few days after you get better, it’s OK. It’s hard to slow down when you are used to going a million miles an hour but if you don’t, you can make things worse, like I did!

Once you are all better, treat yourself with some quality time in the kitchen, some new recipes, a new ingredient, or something to reinvigorate your Whole 30. Celebrate your health with something special to help you along your good food journey!

How have you stayed on track with Whole 30 while being sick? Share your tips and ideas here!