Nutrition 101: Reintroduction

Okay, so we’re almost done with the Nutrition Challenge. Hopefully, you’ve noticed changes in your body. Maybe you’re less sore post-workout; maybe you’re sleeping better; maybe those body weight movements are suddenly clicking; maybe you’re less snacky than you used to be.   Maybe you've just been surprised at how simple and delicious your meals can be. I’m excited to hear how you specifically have responded to this challenge, and I’m excited to see how our re-testing workouts go tomorrow.

The rules are gone. What am I going to do?

The rules are gone. What am I going to do?

Usually, when we get to this point in the challenge people are in one of two places: 1) The day this thing ends, I’m going to eat all the things or 2) I never want to lose this feeling…maybe I should eat this way forever. I usually fantasize about the first category until the last day where I jump firmly into the second category. Seriously, for the first three challenges we completed, Noah and I had would have a very serious conversation on the last day about how we never wanted sweets again. I think after the first one, I literally thought my days of desserts were completely done. I just enjoyed being free from cravings too much.

Well, as we said at the outset of this challenge, we do not want you to live in fear.  This is the moment that this challenge has been leading to. Now you get to slowly reintroduce food, and learn just how much the things you’ve taken out affect your body.  Then, your decisions on what food you include in your diet and how often you include them can simply be based on how you want to feel.

Seriously, doesn't this cake look amazing? It is.

Seriously, doesn't this cake look amazing? It is.

In an ideal world, you would introduce different food groups slowly and give it 3 days between each addition. My first day after my first nutrition challenge, I ate the most delicious Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cake that my dear friend, Charin, made for me in honor of the challenge ending. It was amazing, and I was thankful. And then I crashed hard and felt like my stomach exploded.  I didn’t know if it was the sugar, the flour or the dairy and quickly became afraid of all of them.

So maybe when this thing ends, don’t eat all the things. If you have the flexibility, Whole30 offers a reintroduction plan to specifically reflect on how your body responds to different food groups. Otherwise, at least try to make the most of the work you’ve done over this past month, and pay attention to what you’re eating. You still don’t have to eat food just because it’s around you. If there’s something that will make you feel awful, you don’t have to consume it. When you do choose to eat something you really want, simply pay attention to how you feel afterwards, make a note of the risk/reward and decide if/how often you want to partake.

Personally, Noah and I tend to do well with some heavy cream in our diet. I have no objection to rice in moderation. With your taste buds reset after a month without refined sugar, a little bit of sweetener can go a really long way. I love coconut sugar and honey as my sweeteners of choice, and now that the challenge is done, I would love to share all of my favorite treat recipes.  But please, take a little extra time to figure out what foods make you happiest and healthiest, so that we can sustain the feelings we’ve achieved over this past month.

You are free to eat foods that nourish you and make you feel amazing. Now go figure out what those foods are.