It's time to talk about reintroductions.
If you're doing the September Whole30 with us, you are most likely aware that the end of our thirty days is quickly approaching. You may be wondering where you go from here – and that's precisely why we're here! So read on!
The Whole30 Reintroduction Process
The Whole30 reintroduction process is nearly as important as doing the Whole30 itself. For thirty days, you've eliminated a number of potentially problematic foods from your diet. (Of which I'm sure you're acutely aware.) And I'm sure you've noticed some positive changes in your body, both inside and out!
But how do you know which of the "bad" foods you initially eliminated were doing your body the most damage? That's where reintroductions come in.
Reintroductions are a systematic, scientific method of adding back the off-plan foods to determine just how they affect you and your body.
An elimination diet works best when you systematically reintroduce all those problematic foods. This helps you figure out which foods you may want to include sparingly (or not-so-sparingly) in your post-Whole30 life.
So where do you start?
Whole30 lays out a great, 12-day plan here, but we'll give you the basics.
Whole30 Reintroduction Food Categories
On day 31, you introduce a food category out of the four Whole30 has determined: 1) Legumes, 2) Non-Gluten Grains, 3) Dairy, and 4) Gluten Grains. (Whole30 suggests you do legumes first, as legumes give the least amount of problems for the majority of people.)
TAKE NOTE: The order in which we've listed these food categories is the RECOMMENDED order for reintroduction, as they are listed in order from potentially least problematic to potentially most problematic.
How to Reintroduce Food Categories
On day 31, you eat three servings from the first category (Legumes), one with each meal, then eat Whole30 for the next 2 days to evaluate how your body feels. Remember, symptoms can show up immediately, after 30 minutes, or even up to 48 hours! The Whole30 gave you a baseline for how good you can feel – you will be able to tell when something's amiss.
Then on day 34, reintroduce another of the four food groups (Non-Gluten Grains). Same process – some with breakfast, lunch, and dinner (or Meal 1, 2, and 3!), then eat clean again for 2 days, evaluating how you feel. By this point, the reintros you did on day 31 should be out of your system, so it's safe to assume any new symptoms at this point are from the day 34 reintros.
Day 37, you guessed it, the next set of reintros (Dairy), one with every meal. Two days back to clean, evaluating any symptoms, then day 40 is the final food category (Gluten Grains)! Same deal, eat clean for 2 more days (that's why we consider reintros lasting a total of 12 days).
Then you're done! On day 43, your new life begins. You've learned to make better food choices and now know which foods don't agree with you, which ones you can eat in limited amounts without problems, and which ones make you feel that Tiger Blood! (Spoiler alert: the foods that give you that Tiger Blood are most likely the ones you're eating right now on your Whole30. But you knew that.)
AN IMPORTANT NOTE HERE: On your reintroduction days, please be sure to ONLY add in foods from that particular category and DO NOT COMBINE categories. If you go crazy and eat a cinnamon roll on day 31, how do you know which foods caused your symptoms (which could also be just a general overall ickiness, by the way)? Was it the dairy, sugar, or gluten? It's best to keep your diet as close to what you were eating on the Whole30, so you have the best chance at really listening to what your body is telling you about the foods you're eating.
Like we've mentioned before, if you're not ready to launch into reintroductions on day 31, then by all means extend it! We're going to talk in our next post about where to go next if you just haven't gotten the results you wanted yet.
In the meantime, keep trying new recipes, being mad food prep geniuses, and enjoying that Tiger Blood!
As mentioned in our last post, FOOD FREEDOM FOREVER may be a good resource for you to check-out while navigating your post-Whole30 life.
So how are you feeling about your upcoming reintroductions? Are you excited or freaking out? Maybe both? Feel free to shoot us an email or message if you have questions or just need a little extra support!
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Disclaimer: The recommendations in this post and on this site are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a qualified medical professional when changing your diet, fitness routine, medications, and/or lifestyle.