You've come this far in your Whole30, so you are probably wondering "what's next?" You've been eating Whole30-compatible meals three days a week for 30 days and now it's time to reintroduce the eliminated foods so that you know how to configure your own Food Freedom. That means knowing your chicken wings smothered in Buffalo Sauce can be accompanied by a traditional Blue Cheese dressing, or maybe sticking to a Whole30 Approved Ranch Dressing (you know, dairy-free) is your new normal!
What is Reintroduction?
Ask any Whole30-er what the most challenging part of the program is, and we bet most of them will say Reintroduction, and we can't blame them! They don't have our super-secret tips to make it that much easier, thanks to our resident Whole30 Coach Jacob Henriquez. Jacob explains Reintroduction as "where the magic happens!" After eliminating grains, gluten, dairy, legumes, added sugar, and more for 30 days, it's crucial to figure out which ones might be problematic for you. If your sleep has improved over the last few weeks or if your skin has cleared up, there could be a culprit in the list of eliminated foods! Reintroduction is adding one eliminated food group to your three meals that day. An easy example: add dairy to all three meals on dairy day.
There are two methods to Reintroduction: Fast Track or Slow Roll. With Fast Track, our favorite way, you introduce an eliminated food for three meals in one day, then it's back to Whole30 for two or three days so you can reflect on how your energy levels, sleep quality, skin appearance, and more to see if you notice any changes. If you do notice something, you've got reason to believe that food could be causing it! Once your two to three days have passed, it's onto the next eliminated food group. Reminder: only add one eliminated item at a time. If you chose dairy for day 31, you wouldn't have dairy again until your Reintroduction is over! The other method is the Slow Roll, which means adding things in when you think you're ready for them. There's less structure to this method, but some people like it because it feels less urgent and more "go with the flow." Maybe you're perfectly content with your weekly meal prep schedule and aren't ready to mix it up: that's okay! This method is excellent for people who want to take Reintroduction at their own pace.
Coach Jacob's Tips
Whole30 Coach Jacob Henriquez here! I want to share three tips to make your Reintroduction a success! I know it feels daunting, but trust me, once you realize how easy it is, you'll be a Reintro-Rockstar!
Don't make a ton of recipes during Reintroduction that include the eliminated foods. You are only eating these eliminated foods for one day, so an entire casserole with cheese is going to go to waste unless you have a family to help you eat it. My advice: make the same meals you've been making and add the eliminated foods to those meals. For instance, if you've loved BBQ Spaghetti Squash Boats for easy dinners or Buffalo Chicken Meatballs as a meal-prep mealtime saver, throw a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream on them on Reintro day, so the whole dish doesn't have dairy in it!
Plan ahead! Next time you're in the grocery store, pick up a small to-go pack of peanut butter or a single container of yogurt so that you'll already have Reintroduction plans made, AND you won't need to buy large quantities of items that could go to waste. One of those little containers of hummus with some Sea Salt Beef Thins? SCORE! Planning also means scheduling out your Reintroduction order. The order I usually show clients is the one Melissa Urban and team mapped out: Legumes, non-gluten grains, dairy, and then gluten-containing grains. If you want to reintroduce sugar or gluten free-alcohol, doing those at the beginning makes the most sense.
If you're stressed, slow down. When my mind starts racing because I feel like it's too complicated, I have to remind myself that it's just food, and all I'm doing is preparing meals just like I've been doing for the last 30 days. Remind yourself of your "WHY," a tool we use in our first 30 days, but that's also helpful during Reintroduction.
That's it! Reintroduction is within reach, and you're on your way to nailing it! Let's celebrate with some great recipes you can easily modify to fit into your Reintroduction!
Instant Pot Chili is a great way have a "choose-your-own adventure" Reintroduction day. You can use this on dairy day with some sour cream or cheese, non-gluten grain day with corn chips, or even legume day with a few spoonfuls of legumes mixed directly into your bowl. The best part is you can freeze this chili in portions and use it on different Reintroduction days! Score! (PS: Our Classic Marinade is back in stock, but not for long! These always go so quickly!)
Another great recipe to make for multiple days is our Chicken Lettuce Wraps. You can easily add cheese to these for dairy, or use a gluten-containing tortilla for gluten day!
And finally, these BBQ Brisket Sliders are the perfect customizable way to rock your Reintroduction! You can add toppings that correspond with your Reintro day, then eat them Whole30-style on your non-Reintroduction days.