In this 223rd Episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast, I discuss the Whole30 Reintroduction Phase.  This is a critical part of the Challenge, and I have 8 Tips for a successful Whole30 Reintroduction Phase.  Remember: this part of the Challenge is incredibly important, so please take this phase slow and don’t rush through it.

So let’s talk about it.

Your Whole30 Experience – First 30 Days

Whole30; Whole30 Challenge; Whole30 Reintroduction; Clean Eating; Healthy Living; Wellness;

We are on Day 30 of our April 2024 Whole30 Challenge! We have arrived!  Congratulations on making it to Day 30. 

This is an amazing accomplishment (this is a hard challenge), and I am very proud of you. I am thrilled you made it this far.  Even if you had a day or two where you went off plan and the rails, you made it to this point.  Well done! Good job. You are AWESOME!

For the last 30 days, you have essentially been detoxing and resetting your body and metabolism.  You have taken the time and effort to focus on you and your health.  

How did you do that?  

You cut out the foods and stuff that inflames your body including:

  • Processed sugar (real or artificial) or honey.  Remember: fruit is just fine and good for you
  • Alcohol (drinking it or using it in cooking)
  • Diet soda (since it is full of artificial sweeteners) and regular soda
  • Grains including wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, and all gluten-free pseudo-cereals like quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat.  You are focusing on eliminating gluten from your diet with this category of foods.
  • Legumes including beans (black, red, pinto, navy, garbanzo/chickpeas, white, kidney, lima, fava, cannellini, lentils, adzuki, mung, cranberry, and black-eyes peas); peanuts (including peanut butter or peanut oil); and all forms of soy (soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy protein, soy milk, or soy lecithin).
  • Dairy including cow’s-milk, goat’s-milk, or sheep’s-milk products like milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sour cream. The only exceptions are clarified butter or ghee.
  • Heavily processed foods (pre-made meals, deli meats, ham, bacon, etc)
  • Recreating baked goods,”treats”, or junk food with approved ingredients.  Some folks have gone out of their way to recreate baked goods using approved ingredients, and while this is probably better than eating the real thing, it is still not Whole30 approved.
  • Measuring or weighing yourself during the 30 day Whole30 Challenge. You followed through with this, right?.

At times, it seemed like a real struggle, especially in the early days.  Old habits and patterns are really hard to break.  Meals take planning and preparation, and you just can’t walk in and make a quick sandwich and eat some carrots.  You have to plan and execute daily.

At the same time, literally almost every food has sugar in it (high fructose corn syrup or just plain old sugar).  Just read the labels of your favorite food; it’s there!  Trust me.

At this point, you are probably sick of eggs, chicken, potatoes and sweet potatoes by now.  We are really sick of rotisserie chicken and potatoes here, especially after going through back-to-back Whole30 Challenges.

You are ready to start fresh and new on Day 31…but hold your horses!  


The Whole30 Reintroduction Phase

Happy Fall Equinox! Celebrate the harvest and the year as you prepare for winter

I am sorry, but it is not time to celebrate the end of the Whole30 Challenge with pizza and beer.  Julie and I did that in our very first Whole30 Challenge, and we missed a critical part of this process.

The fact is that your Whole30 Challenge is not done yet.  It is time for the most important part of this process: the Whole30 Reintroduction.

This is the part of the challenge where you actually slowly and methodically add those off limits foods back into your diet and life and see how your body reacts.  When you add those things back into your meals, pay attention to how you feel. After you reintroduce these foods, you might:

  • Have an allergic reaction
  • Have stomach/digestive issues (gas, bloating, frequent bathroom use or constipated) 
  • Get a headache or feel that brain fog
  • Feel “off” or spacy
  • Feel just fine

Go slow. Don’t introduce it all at once (ie, kowabunga with pizza and beer). You want to see how these things affect you, so introduce one type of food at a time. 


The Big Why for the Whole30 Reintroduction

Willow River Yoga, yoga practice, meditation

Reintroduction is so important because you are gathering data and information about your body as you introduce these foods.  You are in control of Experiment You, and you have a golden opportunity to figure out what makes Project You work (and doesn’t work).

At the end of the Whole30 Reintroduction Phase, you will know what foods really trigger you, and what foods don’t. It puts the power in your hands.  You can then decide:

  • Which foods are “ok” to eat.  They might not be the greatest choices, but eating them is ok and has no adverse side effects to your body, digestion or mental capacity.
  • Which foods you can eat “occasionally.”  There might be some limited or minor side effects, but eating these foods occasionally is not going to have severe impacts.
  • Which foods are “hell no” foods.  These foods trigger frequent trips to the bathroom, allergic reaction, brain fog, or bloating/gas/cramps.  Eating these foods has consequences, and you need to weigh the consequences versus the satisfaction of eating those foods.  You have to ask yourself honestly: is the juice (how I feel afterward) worth the squeeze?

From my last Whole30 Reintroduction experience, I have found that dairy triggers me. It has become a “hell no” food for me, and that is hard.  After all, I live in Wisconsin which is the Dairy State and home to the Packers, brats, beer and lots of glorious cheese.  

Cheese is sacred here, but I cannot eat it in large quantities lest things get messy.  That is a sad reality for me because I grew up on cheese and ice cream, but I was paying close attention and learned a lot in my March 2024 Whole30 Challenge.  This is the reality of how my body reacts to these foods now, and I need to plan meals and eat accordingly.

In fact, that is why I chose this episode’s cover photo: I took this picture of Jules eating a “Blizzard” from the world famous Ellsworth Creamery in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. We took this picture to taunt our family in Plover, Wisconsin, because they love the ice cream, curds and pizza from the Creamery (as do we). I actually passed on ice cream that day because of the March 2024 Whole30 Reintroduction, but Jules got a little snack for the road. The roles have reveresed where I would be the ice cream hound and she would have passed!  Now, Jules likes her Butterfinger Blizzard, and I need to avoid ice cream like the plague. Sad…but true.  

Such is life as our bodies change with age and time.

It Starts with a Plan

health and fitness, 24 hour plan, renew you

How do you navigate this Whole30 Reintroduction Phase successfully?

You will need to take some time and come up with a plan for Reintroduction. To help you plan, remember these tips:

  • Keep eating clean on the Whole30 plan during this period.
  • Add just one of those things you cut out per day.
  • Pay close attention to how you feel.
  • Keep a journal and write down how you feel.
  • Continue to eat the Whole30 way until the Reintroduction Phase is over.  It’s your baseline during this next phase.
  • If something makes your body react, note it, write it in your journal, and back off that food or try something else.  You have your answer about that particular food.

It is critically important to continue eating “Whole30 clean” during this Reintroduction period and slowly introduce these foods.  Rushing it does you no good and “corrupts” the data you are collecting. 

What do I mean?

Imagine eating a piece of pizza (or three) and drinking a beer to celebrate the end of the Whole30 Challenge.  A couple hours later, your stomach is rumbling, and it’s time to go to the bathroom.  

As you try to figure out what triggered your stomach and bowels, you literally have no clue.  Was it the crust, the cheese, the pepperoni or sausage (or whatever), the marinara sauce or the beer?

You don’t know.  You can’t know because you literally overloaded your reset and detoxed system with an avalanche of processed foods and sugars.  Essentially you have just blown your Reintroduction Phase by doing this.  

Don’t do that!  Don’t be like Tom and Julie Whole30 Reintroduction 1.0.

I mean, nothing is permanent and over.  You can recover and start the Whole30 Reintroduction Phase over again, but you lost some important information about what triggers your body and digestive system in one moment of weakness.

Don’t do that!  Be better; do better!  

 You have 30 days of clean eating under your belt; take the time to plan out your meals and prepare meals.  You can make it for another 10, 15, 20 or 30 days as you work through this Reintroduction Phase.  

 Trust me!  The hard work has been done; you just need to go a little further and a little longer.


Keep Going!

Remember: keep going. Don’t stop now; you are almost there. 

The Reintroduction Phase is an incredibly important part of the Whole30 Challenge.  You will be using the results of this phase to develop a plan for living the rest of your life. Don’t rush through this step; take your time.

Remember these 8 Tips for the Reintroduction Phase:

1. Keep eating clean on the Whole30 plan during this period.

2. Add just one of those things you cut out per day.

3. Pay close attention to how you feel.

4. Keep a journal and write down how you feel.

5. Continue to eat the Whole30 way until the Reintroduction Phase is over.  It’s your baseline during this next phase.

6. If something makes your body react, note it, write it in your journal, and back off that food or try something else.  You have your answer about that particular food.

7. Develop your list of “ok” foods, “occasional” foods and “hell no” foods. Eat accordingly; this is your new lifestyle.  Remember: this is not a diet!

8. Live your life empowered after this Whole30 Reintroduction Phase is complete. 

We are moving right along and almost finished. Stay focused. Keep going! It does get easier and better!


What’s Next?

How to Extend my Garden Season, Wicking Bed 2

As the Whole30 Challenge winds down, I am beginning to pivot to late spring and summer activities.  We have completed and are working on A LOT of landscaping projects here at The Landing (our homestead here on the Willow River in Western Wisconsin).  

The biggest of these projects that I need to complete is building my new garden!  I am so excited about this project because I have not had a serious garden since we left North Minneapolis in 2020.  I am more than ready to get my Wicking Bed Gardens and Hybrid Rain Gutter Grow System Garden Beds operational.  The time is now, and I am going to be getting a lot of exercise getting everything set.

You might be wondering how the Whole30 Challenge corresponds to gardening and homesteading?  That is a good question, and my answer is this:

We can control our food and what is put on or into our food by growing it ourselves on our property, foraging it in the wild or buying/bartering for it from local farmers and homesteaders. 

This is a realization I came to back in 2008, and this is why Small Scale Life focuses on gardening and homesteading.  We can improve the quality of our health and lives by growing food ourselves and shopping locally in our local community.  This is the essence of Small Scale Life, and this will be a topic of future posts.

In the meantime, please send your questions and comments to or comment at 

Depending on interest, we might facilitate another Whole30 Challenge in the Fall of 2024 (improving on this experience based on feedback), and we will have a new book to work with at that point.  Until then, please continue to follow us at Small Scale Life as we garden, homestead, build a backyard bird sanctuary and connect with people from the banks of the Willow River in Western Wisconsin.


As always, remember to learn, do, grow and be a little better everyday. 

And that, my friends, is a good thing!

~ Tom


In Closing….

Small Scale Life Podcast; Julie and Tom, Costa Rica Sunset; Tamarindo

As we close this episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast, remember to keep going.  It might seem like an impossible thing to achieve your goals (like starting a small business,  losing stubborn weight, tackling your debt or becoming that person you always wanted to become), but it is achievable.  

You can do it!  

You need to put one step in front of the other, but you have to begin that journey by making a decision and taking that step forward.  

So….Start. Take that step. You can do it!  We are here to help.

This is Tom from the Small Scale Life Podcast reminding you to learn, do, grow and be a little better everyday.  We’ll be back real soon; take care, everybody!

Listen to this Episode!

Whole30; Whole30 Challenge; Reintroduction; Clean Eating; Healthy Living; Wellness;

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Special Thanks

For Small Scale Life Podcasts, I would like to thank Sean at Osi and the Jupiter for the intro song "Harvest."  Sean wrote this specifically for us, and I really enjoy all of his work.  You can find more Osi and the Jupiter at their Bandcamp site:

I would also like to thank Austin Quinn at Vlog Vibes for the intro and outro music. For more information abut Austin and Vlog Vibes, please see the Vlog Vibes YouTube Channel:



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