So, What’s the Big Deal? Why Should I Even Do a Reintroduction?
Try to think back to the exact moment that you decided to do a Whole30. What was your why in that moment? Why did you decide to embark on a Whole30 in the first place? For many of us, we’re interested in seeing how different foods might affect our skin, energy levels, or GI issues. Whatever your reason is, that is exactly why you need to do a reintroduction at the conclusion of your Whole30. You’re feeling great at the end of your Whole30 and reintroduction will help you pinpoint how you can continue to feel this great even after the 30 days are over.
How Does Reintroduction Work?
For the next 10 days, you will follow a very precise schedule of reintroducing all of the foods you eliminated during Whole30, one at a time. By doing this, you are isolating each food group so that you are able to see what your reaction is to each specific type of food. For example, on day one of reintroduction you’ll add some legumes into your meal. Then, you’ll go back to eating completely Whole30 compliant for the following two days so that you can see exactly how your body reacts to legumes, specifically. Then, you move on to the next food group, rinse and repeat! Here’s the exact timeline:
- Day 1: Reintroduce Legumes
- Days 2-3: Back to Eating Whole30 Compliant
- Day 4: Reintroduce Non-Gluten Grains
- Days 5-6: Back to Eating Whole30 Compliant
- Day 7: Reintroduce Dairy
- Days 8-9: Back to Eating Whole30 Compliant
- Day 10: Reintroduce Gluten Grains
It will be extremely beneficial to keep track of how you feel, physically and mentally, after you reintroduce each group back into your diet. Take notes, keep a food journal, and try to tap into your body and the reactions, if any, to some of the foods you haven’t had in the last 30 days. This will give you a great gauge when you decide what foods make you feel your best, and what you can maybe omit or enjoy sparingly, as you navigate your post-Whole30 food freedom.
What Should I Eat During Reintroduction Days?
One common misconception we hear a lot about Whole30 reintroduction is that on the day you reintroduce a food group, you only eat things that belong to that food group. For example, on day ten when you reintroduce gluten grains some people might think that this means they’ll just be eating plates of bread and pasta from dawn to dusk! While that may sound like a dream come true after not having them for 30 days, that’s not what an ideal reintroduction day would look like. On each reintroduction day, you should aim to have all of your meals still roughly follow the Whole30 meal template. That is, plenty of leafy greens, a healthy fat, protein, etc. The only difference will be that you add a side serving of the food group you’re reintroducing. For example, on legume reintroduction day you could add a dollop of hummus into your salad, or a side of beans with your dinner.
Once I Reintroduce Something, Do I Keep Eating It?
A really important thing to remember during reintroduction is that you only eat a particular food group during its specified reintroduction day, and at no other time during reintroduction. A classic mistake is to reintroduce legumes on day one and then continue eating them for the duration of reintroduction. The reason this is a problem is because by the time you get to day four and are ready to reintroduce non-gluten grains, you will have no way of knowing if your body is reacting to legumes or grains in the days following. The whole point of reintroduction is to pinpoint your reaction to each food group. Be sure to follow the timeline outlined above and you’ll be good to go.
How Will I Feel During Reintroduction?
This is the part where we don’t have a clear cut answer for you, but that’s ok! Every single person will react differently during reintroduction. Think of this whole process as a little experiment on yourself. Reintroduction is the exciting part because you finally get to learn exactly how your body reacts to specific foods. That being said, some of these reactions could be unpleasant or uncomfortable. Be sure to give yourself lots of grace during this period and really look at it as a time to focus inward and take an inventory of any and all reactions.
What Will I Learn From Reintroduction?
You know that you’ve been feeling great during your Whole30 and now you get to find out why! There has to be a reason why you feel differently during the 30 days than you did prior to starting. This is exactly what you’ll learn during reintroduction. Maybe you’ll learn that dairy has been the culprit all along for your low energy levels in the afternoon. Or maybe you’ll learn that gluten grains are what have been triggering your breakouts. The possibilities are endless and no matter what, you will definitely learn a lot. What you learn during reintroduction is crucial to defining what your food freedom looks like in life after Whole30.
But I’m Feeling Great. I Don’t Want to do Reintroduction!
Trust us, this is not something you want to skip. Consider the following scenario: You opt to keep going with your Whole30 and just skip reintroduction altogether. Then a few weeks down the line, you’re invited to a friend’s house for a party. There’s pizza, popcorn, and brownies galore! Before you know it, you’ve eaten all the things. Fast forward to later that night when you’re feeling pretty funky, or downright crummy, and you will have no way of knowing exactly why. Maybe it was the dairy in the cheese pizza. Or maybe it was the gluten grains in the pizza crust. Maybe it was the legumes in the hummus you ate. You get the picture. Now you’re left feeling less than stellar and you have no information moving forward about why you’re feeling this way. This is why going through reintroduction is so important. If you learn during reintroduction that legumes are don’t bother you, but dairy is a hard no, then you’ll incorporate that information into everyday food decisions in life after Whole30. When you eat the cheese pizza and feel like crap, you’ll know exactly why instead of it feeling like a guessing game.
Are you ready for reintroduction? What will you reintroduce first? What did you learn from reintroduction. Tell us in the comments below or on Instagram @modelmeals.
Are you ready to tackle the Whole30 challenge for yourself?
Model Meals is the no subscription required, Whole30 Approved and 100% Paleo meal prep service that makes clean eating easy. Our menu changes weekly, arriving fresh and ready-to-eat, twice a week. We use organic and locally sourced ingredients prepared by professional chefs, packaged and delivered right to your door in sustainable, eco-friendly packaging, sending you text alerts all along the way.
Ready to get started? Use code FIRSTORDER at checkout and save $25 when you shop with us for the first time. We can't wait to serve you!
Not in our delivery area? No problem! Follow along with us as we share delicious recipes, blog posts, and other exclusive online content by joining our Model Meals family.