After 30 days of eating squeaky clean, you slowly add the different groups of foods back in, and wait a couple days in between each group, to see how your body reacts. I started with legumes (peanut butter, beans, soy), then non-gluten grains (oats, rice, corn chips) and had no noticeable reaction with either group so I’ve made those a big part of my post-Whole30 diet. Alcohol is part of reintroduction, but I still have not tried it. I used to drink regularly, mostly wine, but I never really had good feelings with alcohol, I would get sick almost every time I would drink, even after just a small amount. I’m not against drinking, I think it can be fun when you can keep it in control, but for me cutting it out was the most logical thing to do since I usually would wake up with a hangover no matter what and I would have to rest all day long and I do not like wasting time like that. I would rather be able to cook and go to the gym and play with my kid than be stuck on the couch all day feeling awful!
Next, I chose to reintroduce dairy. All of the “best” foods are dairy. Cheese, ice cream, butter…little did I know this reintroduction would pretty much change my life. So I indulged that day, I added cheese to my eggs at breakfast, tacos for dinner (with the works), and ice cream for dessert. I felt so over the moon that day, who doesn’t love those foods? I went to bed that night thinking, “phew! I feel fine! I can still eat dairy!” Until I woke up the next morning. I felt so bloated with a horrible stomach ache, that later turned into a migraine. I didn’t want to move from the couch. This is why they say to wait a couple days in between reintroducing groups because it might take some time for the food to get into your system. This was a very disappointing discovery, but I learned something amazing about my body and I felt like a huge door was opening.
I went back to eating clean for a few days, and then I reintroduced the final group, gluten grains – so that’s cereals, bread, pasta. Good old spaghetti. My little family and I decided to go out to an Italian restaurant for this one and I ordered a big bowl of spaghetti and ate a couple pieces of the bread they bring to the table. My stomach felt so full at the end of that meal and I had never felt so TIRED after a meal. I’m really happy my husband was there to drive the car because I actually had to nap on the way home. I felt SO SLEEPY and could not keep my eyes open for the 15 minute drive home.
At this point (after I woke up from my food coma!), my head was spinning thinking about the dairy reaction and now the gluten reaction and how I’ve eaten these foods EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE for all of my 29 years and I’m just now finding out how much my body hates these foods. My taste buds like these foods, but my body reacted with a painful stomach ache, bloating, headache, acne (I made this connection a long time after my Whole30, I’ll get more into that in its own post!), and fatigue. I’ve always suffered from what I thought were random stomach aches, turns out they weren’t so random. Nothing is random when it comes to what you put in your body and how you feel.
Since finishing the entire Whole30 process I have totally changed my diet to reflect everything I learned. I very rarely eat dairy or gluten and have had no issues with my stomach or anything else for that matter. I feel GOOD 100% of the time and have ZERO skin issues, until I have a food that contains dairy. I figured out that I can have gluten in smaller doses and I won’t feel so sleepy, but I still avoid it because it contributes to some of my skin issues.
In addition to dairy and gluten, I also stopped eating meat in April 2018. As a fitness competitor I first thought I wouldn’t be able to build muscle as easily, but I have had no difference from when I did eat meat to now. Meat is one of the biggest triggers of inflammation in the body and inflammation is what causes chronic diseases, like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, so I think if I can reduce the chances of having a chronic disease just by not eating meat, count me in. “So what do you eat??” is the question I get asked a lot. Trust me, I still eat SO MUCH. I’ve always loved food, but now I have learned to appreciate it, and my body, so much more. It’s easier than ever to live a vegetarian/vegan/gluten free etc lifestyle and it’s a lot of fun trying out different, new foods. I want to share everything I’ve learned, and am learning, along the way. I highly recommend trying Whole30 if you want to know more about your body and how it reacts to food! Whole30 is only the beginning of my journey!