I have finished my Whole 30 experience! I am feeling energized and happy with my health, but also ready for some chocolate in my life. Then pizza.
When I originally started researching Whole 30 I didn’t realize that Whole 30 is usually longer than 30 days if you’re doing proper reintroductions. The idea is you continue to eat clean past the 30 day mark and slowly reintroduce categories of food (legumes, grains, dairy, etc.) one at a time to see how your body responds. Sort of like a controlled science experiment, where you keep everything the same and change one variable to see what happens. So if day 31 you go off the wagon and eat pizza, ice cream, and whatever else your heart desires you will not be able to tell what upset your stomach because you’ve combined all ingredients you haven’t had for a month. So that “I’m done with Whole 30” feeling is really going to occur on day 40 or 45.
Well, I had my own idea and my own take on Whole 30 so that I could enjoy the “Woohoo I’m done!” while still reintroducing. When I started my Whole 30, the end date was backed up against a weekend of work entertaining and a few foodie events in town. Which has now turned into the fact that I have some sort of food-related event for 7 days straight after I am done with Whole 30. I didn’t want to binge at those and make myself sick but I also wanted to have time to try reintroductions. What I decided to do is not in the official Whole 30 plan but I’m happy with how I am doing it and it works for me. I didn’t decide to do Whole 30 because I had health issues and needed a month of clean eating to really start over. So this works for me but may not work for others.
Some may call that cheating, some may think it is brilliant. All I care is that it was perfect for me. So here is what I did:
Days 1-15 – Whole 30 all day everyday
Days 16 and 17 – Whole 30 meals with small introductions of non-gluten grain
- I had some Cheerios as a snack, tortilla chips with my lunch, and some rice
- I didn’t notice much of a difference with my digestion but I didn’t sleep as well both of these nights
- Honestly, I felt like I was force feeding myself some of the food. I didn’t really want to finish the Cheerios but I wanted enough grains in my body so I could notice a difference
- One exception – rice. I would gladly have that for every meal.
Days 18-20 – Whole 30 all day everyday, giving my body time to get back to reset before trying something new
Days 21 and 22 – Whole 30 meals with small introductions of dairy
- I had yogurt for breakfast, cheese in my salad, and added milk into a couple meals
- Again, I didn’t notice any awful feelings of pain, but I definitely felt “bleh” after my meal
- This is usually the food that upsets people the most when they bring it back into their lives
- The higher fat dairy made my stomach a little upset, so I think I will limit indulgent creamy foods for special occasions
Days 23-25 – Whole 30 all day everyday, giving my body time to get back to reset before trying something new
Days 26 and 27 – Whole 30 meals with small introductions of gluten grains
- I had half of a bagel with breakfast each morning, I had pasta for lunch, then for dinner I added some carbs here and there
- I didn’t notice any changes in energy or digestion, I was very surprised
- Ultimately, I’m just glad there was no adverse reaction to gluten (yay bread!)
Days 28-30 – The homestretch!
The verdict: I am so glad I was able to do reintroductions. Even though I did not have any intense reactions, it was interesting that I didn’t feel the elation I was expecting when I got to have those foods again. Sometimes I even felt like I was forcing myself to introduce the food. That makes me feel good that I didn’t feel the need to binge and obsess over any long lost flavors. Don’t get me wrong, I will be glad to have the option of these foods back in my diet, but I will happily have mostly Whole 30 meals each day.
Ultimately, this experience opened up my eyes to my relationship with food and how sugar is in just about everything as well as other unnecessary chemicals/preservatives. I think post-Whole 30 I will continue to make my own dressings and sauces when I can. I want to continue to eat clean where I can and make conscious decisions of what I am putting in my body.
After this next week of foodie events, I’ll share an update of how I’m doing. Now there is a chocolate cupcake calling my name and I plan to answer it with pure joy!
In the midst of chocolate and lots of it,