How do I do the Reintroduction Process?
The Reintroduction process is the last stage of the Clean Program. The purpose of the process is to identify foods you are sensitive to. These are foods that cause inflammation, irritation, and digestive upset. Most likely, you were consuming some of these foods before starting the Clean Program without realizing it.
One of the key reasons you feel better on the Clean Program is because you’ve removed the most common food allergens and given your digestive and immune systems a reset. Now, the goal is to discover what your specific sensitivities are by following a seven-day testing period. If you simply go back to your normal diet immediately after the program, without knowing what foods bother you , you may feel “off” without knowing why.
Getting started with the Reintroduction process is easy. Now that you’ve finished your Clean shakes and supplements, continue eating three solid meals a day from the Clean Program Diet. Over the next seven days you’ll be introducing gluten and dairy and noticing how they affect you. You do not need to use any shakes nor take any supplements during Reintroductions.
The Reintroduction process is seven days long. Here’s how it works:
Monday: Reintroduce Gluten 2 to 3 times a day
Tuesday: Reintroduce Gluten 2 to 3 times a day
Wednesday: Clean Program Diet
Thursday: Clean Program Diet
Friday: Reintroduce Dairy 2 to 3 times a day
Saturday: Reintroduce Dairy 2 to 3 times a day
Sunday: Reflect and eat from Clean Program Diet
STEP 1: Reintroduce Gluten, 2 to 3 times a day for 2 days
On the first and second day of your reintroduction week you’ll be introducing gluten into your diet. Eat gluten two to three times a day, for two days, and then notice what happens over the next forty-eight hours. You’ll still be eating from the Clean Program Diet, the only difference is that you’ll be adding in gluten to see if it is one of the foods that you are sensitive to. Reintroducing gluten by itself is simple. Try eating just artisan style sourdough bread with only a few ingredients for breakfast, and then some fresh pasta for lunch or dinner. Don’t include any dairy or other excluded items yet. The goal is to isolate one excluded food at a time to determine if it is one of the foods that you react to.
STEP 2: Record your reactions in a journal
Use a journal to record any reactions you might have to gluten. This may include bloating, skin breakouts, a foggy mind, or constipation. Not everyone will react to gluten in the same way. Some people may notice their reactions immediately. Others might notice their reactions the next day. That’s why it’s important to test gluten over the course of two days.
STEP 3: Eat from the Cleanse Diet for 2 days
After you have reintroduced gluten it’s important to return to the Clean Diet. For the next two days, eat three meals a day exclusively from the Clean Diet. Taking two days to eat from the Clean Diet sets you up for testing the next possible food you react to, dairy.
STEP 4: Reintroduce Dairy, 2 to 3 times a day for 2 days
For the next two days you’ll be reintroducing dairy into your diet. Eat dairy two to three times a day, for two days, and then notice what happens over the next forty-eight hours. Once again, you’ll still be eating from the Cleanse Diet, the only difference is that you’ll be adding in dairy to see if it is one of your Toxic Triggers.
To reintroduce dairy try having a glass of milk or some plain yogurt in the morning and a few pieces of cheese with your lunch or evening meal. Today dairy is included in so many different foods. It’s important to avoid having dairy in combination with other excluded foods.
Stay away from cereal, ice cream, or baked goods. These foods contain other excluded foods like processed sugar, gluten or preservatives. If you have ice cream for example, and it causes a reaction, you’ll have no idea which excluded ingredient was the cause.
STEP 5: Review Your Journal
Now that you’ve tested both gluten and dairy, it’s time to review your journal. Your goal here is to figure out whether gluten and/or dairy are Toxic Triggers for you. The way we determine this is by understanding how strong your reaction was to these foods.
Let’s review the possible reactions you may have had during the last few days.
No reaction: I had no reaction at all to the excluded food.
Example: I felt fine. I didn’t notice any changes in mood. I felt energized and awake. Overall, I felt good.
Mild reaction: I had a noticeable reaction to the food.
Example: I felt bloated and gassy. I felt tired. I felt dehydrated. I felt itchy. I felt uncomfortable. My sleep was off. I felt foggy.
Strong reaction: I had a strong negative reaction to the food.
Example: I felt sick. I developed a lot of mucus. I had a strong headache. I became flushed. I became very constipated. I developed a rash. I had trouble sleeping. I felt cold or flu-like symptoms. I developed diarrhea. I became very angry or upset.
STEP 6: Remove or Rotate
Creating a game plan starts when you decide whether you need to a) Remove or b) Rotate your Toxic Triggers. Let’s take a look at both options.
Remove: If you had a strong negative reaction to a Toxic Trigger, this is your body telling you that it’s important to eliminate this food from your diet completely for a period of time. We know that removing a favorite food from your diet can be challenging, but the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term gratification. Many people continue to become healthier simply by removing their key Toxic Triggers.
Rotate: If your reaction to a Toxic Trigger is mild but still noticeable, it may not be necessary to eliminate them forever. However, you will benefit greatly from reducing your frequency of exposure to these foods. Rotate your choice of foods in such a way that you don’t eat the irritating ones more often than once a week.
Going Beyond Gluten and Dairy
The two most common Toxic Triggers are gluten and dairy, but they aren’t the only ones out there. There are other potential Toxic Triggers that are worth testing. The best way to get clear on our relationship with these other foods is continuing the reintroduction process and testing those foods the same way you tested gluten and dairy.
Here is a list of the most common Toxic Triggers: Eggs • Red Meat • Corn • Soy • Nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant)
The Bigger Picture
There is no need to be a purist for the rest of your life if you enjoy gluten or dairy. Have them and enjoy them, bringing your awareness fully to the present moment with each bite or sip. There’s nothing worse for digestion than guilt. What’s most important is that you notice the strong connection between what you eat and how you feel. Take your time to explore this process. Your relationship with food wasn’t created overnight, and it won’t be reset overnight either.
There are thousands of theories about diet, lifestyle, and stress management. On top of that, it seems everyone has their own opinion on how you should live and what you should eat. But nothing is more real than your first-hand experience. Completing the reintroduction process empowers you to listen to your own body and make your own decisions about which foods work best for you.