You’re cruising along with your Whole30, checking off those NSVs. Happy and proud. After all, you’re so close to completing a goal that just a few weeks ago seemed impossible. So you’re probably wondering, what’s next? Afraid you’ll return to your old eating habits? Don’t want to lose that precious tiger blood? Take a deep breath. We’re in this together and we’ll take it one step at a time. Congrats for getting through the entire 30 days! Feel proud. Celebrate with non-food rewards. And don’t worry, we’re not removing the training wheels yet. The 30-day elimination is actually only the first phase of your Whole30 – the reset.
Now that you’ve eliminated commonly problematic foods from your body, you’re ready for the next phase of your Whole30: reintroduction. Whatever you do, don’t skip this phase. Be patient and don’t waste all the hard work you did to get here. This is your opportunity to discover critical information about how foods impact YOU. There’s no one-size-fits-all food plan. You will use what you learn from the reintroduction to decide what to eat going forward.
There are 2 types of reintroductions available: the Fast Track and the Slow Roll. If this is your first Whole30 or you’ve never done the reintroduction step, the Fast Track reintroduction is recommended and that’s what we’ll focus on here. It’s the fastest way to gain a lot of information in a short amount of time. More information about the Slow Roll reintroduction can be found here.
We’re going to systematically reintroduce one of the eliminated food groups at a time and evaluate the impact of those foods on your body. The Whole30 is like a science experiment on yourself. The 30-day reset was setting up the experiment. Whole30 compliant food is the control. You know how those foods affect your body. Day 30 is a good time to revisit the NSVs you’ve been experiencing and make sure you have a complete list. You’ll use this list when evaluating the reintroduced foods. The variable in the experiment is the food group being reintroduced. This is why we’ll only reintroduce one food group at a time; otherwise, if we stuff our face with pizza (grains and dairy) on Day 31, we won’t know if the grains or the dairy caused the digestive issues we’re experiencing.
Starting on Day 31 (or later if your Whole30 reset goes longer), we’ll eat foods from one eliminated group, e.g., legumes, throughout the day. We’re going big with this to be sure we experience the full effect. We’re going to include several servings from the food group throughout the day. IMPORTANT: All other foods you eat must be Whole30 compliant (the control in our experiment) – this is usually the most difficult part. The next 2 days (Days 32 & 33) we’ll go back to eating Whole30-compliant foods only. Over the 3 days, you will carefully evaluate your response. You may experience changes shortly after eating, not until the next day or two, or not at all over the 3 days. Be sure to record everything! This is valuable information. It may take longer for any negative impacts to go away. If the symptoms aren’t completely gone by the 3rd day, you will want to continue to eat only Whole30-compliant food until you feel the way you did the last few days of the reset. Then, we’ll repeat with the next food group, until we’ve made our way through all of the groups. Although there’s not a required order to reintroduce the food groups, we’ll go from least likely to be problematic to most likely. There are many foods in the eliminated food groups. A few examples are listed below.
Sample Order of Food Groups to Reintroduce:
- Legumes: beans, lentils, soy, chickpeas, peanuts, peanut butter, peas, edamame, tofu
- Non-Gluten Grains: corn, oats, rice, quinoa, 100% corn tortillas, gluten-free pasta/cereal
- Dairy: milk, cream, plain unsweetened yogurt, cheese, butter, kefir, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream
- Gluten-Containing Grains: wheat, rye, barley, whole grain bread/buns/wraps, pasta, couscous
- Gluten-Free Alcohol (optional): wine, unflavored vodka, tequila, gin, rum, cider
Note: Beer contains gluten. You could introduce it separately, in place of gluten-free alcohol, or with the gluten-containing grains.
- Sweeteners (optional): sugar, honey, maple syrup
Sample Reintroduction Schedule:
Note that if you don’t miss a food group, you don’t have to reintroduce it. If you don’t miss dairy and don’t plan to eat it after the Whole30, there’s no need to reintroduce it. The same goes if you are lactose-intolerant. Also, discuss any concerns about the reintroduction with your doctor, and do NOT include any foods you have known allergic reactions to. Of course if you don’t drink alcohol, skip it and move on to sweeteners.
What does life after the Whole30 program look like? You use the information you learned from your Whole30 reset and reintroduction. When you come across food that you know has a negative impact, you decide if the consequences are worth it. If you decide it is, you’ll savor and enjoy the food. No guilt. No shame. No regrets. That’s Food Freedom!
Download a FREE Reintroduction Planner & Journal to guide you through your fast track reintroduction!