Behind The Scenes, Expert Advice

My Whole30 Reintroduction: What I Learned

April 2, 2020

I was devoted, prepared, ready. I was going to go from eating vegetarian food (as I have been doing for the last eight years) to doing Whole30. (I wrote about that experience in detail here.) It wasn’t easy, but in the end, I was really glad I did it.

Then came the reintroduction phase: one of the biggest parts that people fail to do once they get off Whole30.

That’s right, the phase where you slowly add foods back in. It goes something like this.

Reintroduction 101

It should take between 10-30 days from the end of Whole30 to the end of the reintroduction phase. Below is an example of what should be done when you go through the reintroduction phase.

  1. Day one – select one category of food and add it back. For this purpose, we’re starting with gluten! Reintroduce gluten back into your diet and then go back to Whole30 for another 2 days after that. 
  2. Day four – add sugar back into the mix. Then wait 2 more days.
  3. Day seven – reintroduce legumes… and so on and so forth. 

But I didn’t do that. Do you know what I did do? Well…

My Reintroduction

Day one – I ate everything under the sun. Let me recount the ways in which I ignored the rules flat out. I ate:

  • 1 bowl of oatmeal
  • 1 blueberry scone
  • 2 sugar cookies
  • 1 bowl of teriyaki noodles with tofu and veggies
  • 1 box of animal crackers
  • 3 pieces of pizza
  • 4 glasses of wine

Now, I’m an average build — normal on the BMI scale. I’m 5’8” and fairly lean. I had woken up that morning and instead of doing the sensible thing, I did the chaotic thing. I ended up falling asleep on my stomach that night.

What I Learned

Regardless of the cornucopia I had inhaled the previous day, I still ate certain foods one day two that still made me feel a certain way. Where breads were fine, other foods like sugar and legumes were not. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. I learned something bigger and broader about my relationship with food. I tend to inhale food when I’m stressed, or when I’m in social situations. But during Whole30, I literally couldn’t do that. It made me ask myself “am I full? Or am I just bored?” and re-evaluate how I physically felt and whether or not that correlated with my mood. But more than anything, it made me rethink my nutrition. I used to eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and then a bowl of cereal for lunch. Carbs, day in and day out. But on day one when I ate that first bowl of oatmeal, I remember thinking, “wow this is a lot of carbs. No variety, huh?” Suddenly I was craving the breakfasts that I made every morning on Whole30: a banana and two scoops of almond butter. I had made nutrition into a game: how can I balance my macros for this meal? Maybe if I just add an egg…? So, if you’re going through the Whole30 Reintroduction phase, please don’t do what I did. Please take it seriously and try to introduce foods slowly, so you can really feel the full impact of how different ingredients and foods affect you. 

But also reflect, and take time to really think about how Whole30 affected you. Because if you’re like me, then it’s life-changing. 

Interested in changing your relationship with food for good Try adding our Whole30 meal plan to your cart today and put your nutrition on auto! 

 

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