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A note from Whole30 Headmistress Melissa Hartwig:
You #SeptemberWhole30’ers are just one week away from transitioning out of the Whole30 elimination phase into the reintroduction phase. Note I didn’t say “your Whole30 is almost over”—because it’s not. The reintroduction process is critical to your learning experience, so please don’t skip over this part.
This is your one opportunity to slowly, carefully, systematically reintroduce some of the off-plan foods you’ve been missing into the “clean” environment you’ve created with the Whole30. Now is your chance to really evaluate how these foods make you feel in the context of a better relationship with food, improved metabolism, healthier digestive tract, and more balanced immune system. Let’s illustrate the importance of this process with a story.
It’s Day 31, and you decide to celebrate your Whole30 completion by indulging in pancakes, a sandwich with potato chips, a beer (or two), a slice of pizza, a bowl of ice cream… oh, and that half a donut you found on the break room counter. Hey, you worked hard—you deserve it!
And on Day 32, when you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck—when your Sugar Dragon is raging, your energy is non-existent, your stomach feels like you swallowed a bowling ball, your skin is breaking out, and you’re crankier than you’ve been in a month, you won’t know why.
Was it the pizza or the bread that made your skin go crazy? Did the pancakes set off your carb cravings, or was it the ice cream? Is your stomach reacting to the donut, the beer, or (most likely) the entirety of the junk food party you threw in your digestive tract?
Thirty days of so much hard work completely wasted, because you’ve learned nothing about how these less healthy foods impact you.
Don’t do that. Please.
You’ve come this far—take the extra time to really reap the benefits of our carefully crafted reintroduction schedules. Be patient, and take the lessons you’ll learn in the coming days with you for the rest of your life. Rush this process, and you’ll be selling yourself short.
With that, here are some additional resources for those of you about to head into the reintroduction phase of the Whole30 program.
We’ve got two reintroduction schedules outlined for you in detail in The Whole30, including specific examples of the kinds of foods you might reintroduce (and the order). Which option you choose—the Fast Track or the Slow Roll*—is entirely up to you. They each have their pros and cons:
- Fast Track pro: You get it all done in ten days—and move right into Life After Your Whole30, where you define your own healthy eating plan.
- Fast Track con: You’re eating a lot of potentially problematic foods in just ten short days. (Maybe don’t plan anything too important this week.)
- Slow Roll pro: You continue feeling Tiger Blood amazing as long as you’re slow-rolling, while still enjoying “worth it” foods as you come across them.
- Slow Roll con: It may be hard to figure out what’s affecting you how, because your “worth it” food may include multiple potentially problematic ingredients.
Whatever your decision, make sure to follow the reintroduction process to the letter. Don’t rush it.
*These are also outlined on our website for free—visit https://whole30.com/finished/. Note, The Whole30 contains a far more detailed plan, suggestions for reintroducing alcohol and sugar, and an extensive Reintroduction FAQ.
Do I always have to reintroduce?
Whether this is your second, fifth, or eighth Whole30, we still encourage you to complete the full reintroduction process. We promise you’ll continue to learn more about how foods affect you physically, psychologically, and emotionally with every program, and these nuanced observations can have a powerful impact on your relationship with food and your definition of “worth it” going forward.
Even Whole30 co-founder Melissa Hartwig learns new things with each Whole30—read her “5 Things” here.
Should I keep going?
Are you wondering whether you should turn your Whole30 into a Whole45, a Whole60, or beyond? We’ve got you covered—check out our advice for you here.
Can I do the Whole30 forever?
While you could do the Whole30 forever and be optimally healthy (remember, you’re not restricting calories and you’re eating the most nutrient-dense foods), we really don’t want you to. Melissa shares her reasons with you here.
The Whole30 didn’t work for me.
Well, shoot. While the program works incredibly well for the vast majority of people who complete it, thirty days of the Whole30 isn’t a cure-all for every health concern. If you feel like the Whole30 simply “didn’t work” for you, see if any of these scenarios apply to you... and check out this article, which is meant to help you see all the ways your life is actually healthier and happier thanks to your Whole30 experience.
Once My Reintroduction is Complete… What’s Next?
This is where my detailed, 3-step plan outlined in Food Freedom Forever comes into play. We’ll be focusing on transitioning into a Food Freedom lifestyle this week in Wholesome and on social media, so stay connected to our community on Instagram (@whole30, @melissa_hartwig), Facebook (/whole30, /hartwig.melissa), and on Snapchat (whole30, hartwig_melissa). Don’t have a copy of Food Freedom Forever? It’s available at your favorite local bookseller, or at one of the links below.
FOOD FREEDOM FOREVER
Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food
End the yo-yo dieting cycle… forever. Welcome to the Food Freedom plan.
Millions of people have successfully completed the groundbreaking Whole30 program and radically transformed their energy, sleep, cravings, waistline, and health. Now, Food Freedom Forever offers real solutions for anyone stuck in the exhausting cycle of yo-yo dieting and the resulting stress, weight gain, uncontrollable cravings, and health complaints. In her newest book, best-selling author Melissa Hartwig defines true “food freedom” as being in control of the food you eat, instead of food controlling you.
Food Freedom Forever gives you everything you need for achieving dietary success, for today and for the rest of your healthy life. Melissa Hartwig’s information is spot on in terms of its scientific validity, and wonderfully approachable in terms of its implementation. — DAVID PERLMUTTER, MD, Author, #1 New York Times Bestseller, Grain Brain