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Inadvertent Quinoa Consumption on Day 26 - Restart?

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I am on Day 26 of my first Whole30 and have been extremely careful with my compliance, and as a result have been feeling fantastic and seeing really positive changes - more energy, no caffeine at all in the last two weeks, not missing those addictive diet colas that I drank multiple times a day before June 1, not missing the massive quantity of sweets I used to eat, sleeping well, and experiencing almost no joint pain for the first time in ages (I used to pop Ibuprofen like candy throughout the day and am down to taking two every morning and nothing more). I have not felt "hangry" or tired or deprived, and have - shockingly to a lifelong hater of vegetables - developed quite a liking for healthy produce. Yep, I'm actually digging all the vegetables I'm eating. I realize that there is no way for any of us to do a "Perfect Whole30," but even in the face of my (mild) OCD and (not-so-mild) perfectionism, I am really happy with my compliance up to now.


Here's the big problem: My husband (also Day 26 and doing great) and I had lunch today at Choice Greens, a local salad restaurant, where we have eaten many times, both before and after starting Whole30. The restaurant is set up so that, to order a custom salad (which are served finely chopped and mixed together), you take one of the paper cards near the door and check off a box for each of the ingredients you want in it and you give it to the cashier - here is the menu showing available ingredients:




I ordered a salad with organic spring mix, grilled chicken breast (plain and not grilled in any oils), avocado, beets, bell peppers, black olives, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, hard boiled eggs, red onion, and tomatoes, with olive oil (I skipped the balsamic vinegar today), salt, and pepper. I felt really good about this choice, since my pre-Whole30 salads at Choice Greens used to consist of several types of cheeses, nuts, croutons, and lots of ranch or blue cheese dressing with almost no vegetables other than the lettuce.


The big, beautiful, finely chopped, and veggie filled salad arrived and I began eating, enjoying its healthy deliciousness. And then I noticed them. Mixed in with all of the other items in the bowl were these little translucent cream and brown flecks of something clinging to the greens and vegetables. Were they some sort of little bean sprouts that were in the organic spring mix? Were they the little ends of broccoli and cauliflower that had come loose from the fine chopping? I looked closely and thought they looked like little pearls or beads - little grains of something. Uh oh. Were they perhaps something like - like quinoa?


I actually don't eat quinoa, so I had to use my phone to do a Google image search of quinoa to see what it looked like - yep, one of the photos showed a bowl of little translucent cream and brown pearls that looked exactly like the grains that were scattered lightly through my salad. Uh oh.


I called one of the servers over and asked whether Choice Greens had quinoa on its custom salad options menu (the online menu shows quinoa as a *NEW!* item, but it was not on the preprinted paper ordering card that I used), and whether it had been put in my salad. She nonchalantly replied that, yes, they do have quinoa as an available ingredient, and that the chefs only put a small amount in when they put it in salads. Yes, I realize that only a small amount was used, but I didn't ask for it and it clearly wasn't on my printed receipt listing everything I had ordered. As I stated earlier, I don't eat quinoa. I wouldn't have asked for it pre-Whole30, and I wouldn't have asked for it when reintroducing non-gluten grains after my 30 days. And it now may require me to restart my Whole30 after having made it all the way to day 26. And I am rather displeased.


I have read the official discussion of this issue from the following link:




It's helpful, but I'm still not sure what to do. I realize that I'm an adult, and can tell you all to go jump in a lake rather than do whatever you suggest, whether it be to restart or stay the course for the remaining four days. I'm an adult and I get to make that choice. Got it. But I still want your thoughts and insight before I decide.


It's Day 26 and I have eaten a small amount of quinoa, a non gluten grain, a food that is against the Rules. I didn't eat it because I failed to read a label or failed to read it carefully. I didn't eat it because I mistakenly thought it was okay under the Rules. I didn't eat it because I thought just a little wouldn't hurt me. I didn't eat it because I failed to ask someone the right questions beforehand. I didn't eat it because I was sloppy in checking off the boxes on my ordering card. I didn't eat it because I felt I deserved a "treat" or felt like being rebellious or was craving a sprinkle of some @#$&%*@ (insert any expletive of choice) quinoa. It was inadvertent and occurred without my realizing it despite reasonable precautions on my part.


So, hive mind of Whole30 compliance, given my specific circumstances, what should I do in your opinion? 


Thank you for your time in reading this and your thoughts!















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As you said, it's ultimately up to you, but 30 days straight with none of the things whole30 asks you to leave out is important for reintroduction purposes. Your body doesn't know whether you ate something on purpose or accidentally, and for some people even a very small amount can make a difference.

I am sorry this happened to you, and I do hope the restaurant will change the way they do things as this is the kind of thing that can be really important to people with food sensitivities and allergies.

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Thank you, Susan and Shannon - I appreciate your thoughts and insights! My decision is to continue with today as Day 27 and I feel comfortable with that, especially since I plan to continue adhering closely to Whole30 beyond my 30 days.


Although the elimination of the specified foods is important for reintroduction purposes and my body doesn't know that I consumed the quinoa accidentally, and although the very small amount that I ate may still make a difference, I am going to assess any effects that I observe from this small consumption (which will be followed by four remaining days of strict compliance to finish my Whole30) to factor into my assessment of my non-gluten grains reintroduction in the "Slow Roll" (I plan to do that rather than the 10 day Fast Track), which will begin on July 1.


I will be following the suggested order (legumes, then non-gluten grains, then dairy, then gluten grains) and will reintroduce the food types - including non-gluten grains - subgroup by subgroup. Even if the small amount of quinoa does have an adverse effect on me over the next few days, then I will be able to tell that it was quinoa that caused that effect since I will not be consuming any other prohibited food for four days afterward. It's basically the same as treating quinoa as my first reintroduction, which I could attempt as early as this Friday. And, regardless of whether the quinoa causes me a problem or not, in small quantity or large, in my Slow Roll reintroduction, I don't plan to consume it post-Whole30 even if I learn it doesn't affect me adversely...

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