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A Whole Lot of Days of Whole30 Recap

Today when I was in Costco I had to laugh at the rows of vitamins that lined the front of the store and my kids were giggling at the people in the Zumba video that was playing on the giant television screen. It is a new year and everyone takes it as an opportunity to reevaluate everything including our health.  Even the retailers know we will buy all the “health stuff” they put in front of us.  I admit I have bought some new workout gear that was on a super sale.  Anyways,  since last March I have been focusing on getting healthy again. My whole adult life I have struggled to win my battle with food which has led to a roller-coaster of weight gain and loss.  I am not really sure what led me to actually make a change but I knew I was not feeling good about myself or feeling good in general so I started trying to eat better and got back into running with the Couch to 5K app.  I was doing better and noticing a difference but after about 3 months I plateaued and got stuck.  We had heard about Whole 30 and decided we would tackle this way of eating which sounded more like death. If you don’t know what Whole 30 is you can check out their website at Basically, it is 30 days without any grains, dairy, sugar or processed food.  Sounds fun huh!? So we started out on this journey.  I did the actual Whole30 plan for about 80 days or so and have continued to try and eat foods that generally fit into the Whole30 plan but let’s face it there are some things I love to much to give up forever! However, I do want to continue working on my health and I would like to be around to see my kids grow up so I am going to do all I can to help myself out.  The reason I decided to revisit it on my blog is to give some friends recipes ideas and tips on starting and actually making it through the 30 days or even just taking some steps towards getting healthier.


First thing, make sure you check out the Whole30 site I referenced earlier.  Here is a link to the program rules from their site  as well as their shopping list  Both of these things will be really helpful!


Next, since most of us have no idea how to actually eat like this it is easy to get caught up on what to actually make with all of this stuff.  Two things that are your friend: Pinterest and Instagram. There are soooo many recipe ideas on Pinterest. Search Whole30 and you will find an endless amount of ideas. Some are really involved others super easy and quick. Instagram seems like a weird suggestion but there are tons of people who post photos and recipe ideas for Whole30. A few I follow are,, and  If you search the hashtag whole30 you can find a lot of others. You will be surprised at how good real food tastes!  There are also a lot of recipes you already love you could make a change here or there to and it would work.  So, here are a few of our favorite recipes that we made during our 30 days and after.

Creamy Tomato Chicken Soup


Chicken Nuggets

Lettuce Wrap Tacos

Stir Fry

Lemon and Thyme Chicken

Sweet Potato Scramble

Sweet Potato Hash

3 ingredient pancakes

These are just a few to get you started.

Whole30 is pretty intense and can seem scary at first, but you can do it! It is so good for your body and your mind.  You will notice that you feel better in general so quickly.  Food has a huge impact on every aspect of your life and your body.  You can improve your sleep, mood, health issues and so many more things.

So my journey began a little before Whole30 I cannot attribute all of my change to Whole30 but 80% of it!  April 1st 2014 I weighed 203 pounds and today I am at 158.  When I started Whole30 I was at 189. I have also been running 4 days a week so it was not just food alone but I know it played a huge part.  I know I will regret putting these out on the internet but just in case it inspires anyone here are some before and after photos.


My last post was right after we did Whole30 and probably has a lot of the same info but you can check that out as well.

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Okay, so I have had a lot of friends asking me about this Whole30 dealio.   I cannot take credit for anything as I was inspired by some other friends who did it. To say that I have struggled with my weight and health over the course of my life is an understatement.  Starting in college I went through gaining 40 pounds, losing 50, gaining 60 when I was pregnant with Hallie then losing it all and more, then gaining it all back when I was pregnant with Callum and never really losing it after that.  Recently, I am going to say due to stress, I was putting on weight like crazy. I am an emotional eater and I was just not taking care of myself at all.  Like eating whole bags of chips, candy, half of a pizza. Things like that. Don’t judge I am sure you have done the same.

So at the end of March I realized I needed to make a big change. Not just lose weight but really try to change my thinking and how I eat and take care of myself. So I started running and let me tell you. I am not a runner. I was always the SLOWEST person on our sports teams, and my slowest I mean the person that caused the rest of the team to have to run more laps because I took so long. So I have used the Couch to 5K app on my phone. You start out running like a minute at a time and end running a 5K.  I thought I would not make it through the 1 minute at a time days and now I am running the whole time. It can be done.

About a month ago we heard about something called Whole30.  I looked into it and thought ummmmm…. no.  But, I was stuck. I was not having any success with my weight loss and was still having issues with food.  So Seth and I both decided to do it. This meant 30 days with no sugar, grains, dairy or processed foods. That is not just cutting out one thing but seriously all of the things people try to cut out.  So we just made the decision. We printed out the food list and went shopping.

Here is the website to check out if you want to see what it is all about: Whole30.

People have been asking me for tips so I will do the best I can on that but trust me I am not a pro!

The first thing we did was put away or get rid of all the food we could not eat.  Then we went shopping and bought tons of fruit, veggies and some nuts. We visited Cash and Carry and bought a huge box of sweet potatoes which we ate a ton of.  A TON!  We also bought some meat there since they have large quantities at good prices and we split it up to freeze.

I searched Pinterest for some recipes and made a meal plan. Making a meal plan is super helpful!  That way you can buy ingredients or produce you need for that week and actually use it.  We also made large quantities of things that would last for lunches or other dinner nights.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes for dinner.

I do a lot better when there is a set plan, so I ate the same thing for breakfast 6 days out of 7. Egg whites with veggies and my coffee. Boring yes, but easy and good! Costco has a great box of egg whites that are reasonable. I also cheated a bit and had peanut butter. It was kind of my cheat I guess. I made sure I got the peanut butter with no added sugar or anything else besides peanuts.  Coconut and Almond milk are your best friend!  Any fruit in some almond milk is delicious.  We also ate tons of sweet potatoes. Fries, chips, roasted, hash browns… and whatever else we could think of.  Another great thing is LaCroix water. It is flavored sparkling water that is obviously not like your favorite soda but can at least give you something as an option.

So I am not on 36 days of eating this way. I can say I feel so much better. I am a lot more level headed and can manage my emotional eating and stress better. Weird but true. I also am sleeping so much better and am able to get up when I set my alarm and not feel sluggish. Seth has lost about 24 pounds and I have lost 18. I have before and after photos but I will not be posting them here for the sake of your eyes. If you are my friend and a female and want to see them just let me know.

So that is all I can think of right now. I have definitely realized how much is in the food we eat and how it was effecting my body and my emotional health.  Maybe cutting out all of these things seems impossible to you but maybe start with 1!




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Our Saturday was going to be a crazy one. We were all piling into a car at 6 am to head out to some villages where Illuminate has projects they support. I am preparing myself for two hours of driving in India which could end in a heart attack. Ok not really, I am getting used to it but still, weaving in and out of traffic, dirt roads, potholes and rocks, and don’t forget the thousands of people we will have to dodge it is really like a them park ride! We set out and drive through what seems to be never ending Kolkata. It just goes on for miles. Miles of poverty, miles of people, miles of questioning eyes.

These are some images from the drive to the village

And the toilets you had to pay to use!

The amount of people starts to decrease and the rows of shops and vendors are gone. We pass into a large expanse of fields, palm trees, rice paddies, old British buildings falling down and all the trees have white and blue painted on the bottom of them. Which I learn are the colors of the ruling political party. Glad we don’t do that! After a while you start to see small huts, brick house, even some made out of hay literally our of hay.

People are outside working in the fields, hanging laundry, relaxing. Remember, no clocks and no time it is very calm and relaxed. The road begins to narrow and we see a lot more huts and small homes on either side as we enter the village. People stare at us with questioning eyes. Probably wondering why we are driving our giant car through their homes. Now it is not really a road but a narrow stone path. Somehow, we are still driving on it but someone told me in India if there is a road a car can go. It is more of a bike path than a road but hey who’s to say.


We get to a point where we cannot drive through any longer and have to get our and walk. About this time we hear drums and see a group of kids holding up signs. We have kind of a running joke now saying “Long Live Kristi Werre”. It is so sweet what these kids do and the people are so appreciative. It is not like this in our culture so we joked a little but it was the coolest thing ever. I was having a really hard time even believing where I was this whole day.

We walk down the path for a while since our car cannot make it any further and the boys follow playing their drums and flutes. They are so cute! After a few minutes a large structure comes into view with lines of kids on either side. It was really unbelievable. There are 100 kids there to greet us. We get flowers again and coconut water and everyone is so hospitable it is almost uncomfortable, especially since I am just here to take photos haha.. I have not done anything.

Illuminate India and its supporters provided the funds to build this home for 100 children. They get food and schooling and a place to sleep. Some of them are single orphans, some are double but here they live with a large group of other kids who are also orphans. Who knows their stories but somehow they police brought them to this home seeking shelter for them.

They seem pretty skeptical of us. It is a weird experience that is hard to explain but they are so beautiful and sweet. We have journals, pencils, bracelets and licorice for them ( which they don’t even know what licorice is haha) but they all say “Thank you Auntie” every time.

India has beautiful culture and they are proud of it! We are blessed to get to experience some dances by a few of the girls.

After the dancing we are taken on a tour of the home. It is bare bones but very nice and safe and the kids are lucky to have somewhere to sleep.

After this we are presented with a surprise.  Recently, 45 more children have been brought here to Angel House. They are hanging out in the dirt on a pile of hay. No idea why the hay but apparently that is better than the dirt. Kristi and Illuminate were not even told about these kids before arriving here so it is kind of a shock.

I love this photo of Kristi with the kids. She is an amazing person and did such a great job making sure she gave everyone her full attention and interest. She was kind of pulled a million ways on the trip and she was amazing. I kind of had a wow Kristi is a fantastic human being at this moment. She would hate that I said that but too bad.

Next! Time for lunch. The kids line the hallways and fill the dining hall. We are able to help serve them! So fun. Yes they eat on the floor and they don’t use silverware so meal time is an adventure at least compared to what is normal for us here in the states.  The house parents served us an amazing lunch as well. We were very blessed by them!

Illuminate India also provided funds to build the home a well with clean water! It is so familiar for us to have to fear the water you are drinking, bathing in, washing clothes, dishes and food in. Clean water can literally be saving these kids lives. They made sure we had bottled water every where we went, not sure why we are deserving of non-poisonous water but I am grateful and I know these kids are so grateful they have clean water.

As we were waiting to head out one of the little girls asked me to sign her journal and write my phone number. Harmless right… little did I know… seconds later dozens of kids were bombarding me saying “Number Auntie number” Throwing their notebooks in my face. It was awesome and so hilarious.  No idea what they think they can do with my phone number but hey maybe one day one of them will call! haha. Either way it was amazing.

These kids are beautiful and they are so blessed to have a home. There are so many more like them it is just staggering. I was so glad to get to meet some of them and see the work that Illuminate India is doing for these kids AND meet the amazing people who care for them each day.

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One thing that is very different in India is that there are no clocks… anywhere…. and I am not exaggerating. There were no clocks in the hotels, cars, anywhere. Fortunately, my phone had switched over and we were able to tell the time and have alarms otherwise we would have been guessing our way through the day.  Indians don’t run on time, it is like there really is not any. You can say meet me here at ten and you will see someone at 11. Most places don’t open until 10:30 or 11. They run on a totally different, probably more normal schedule. Wake up when your body says so, work until lunch around 2, take a nap, reopen your shop, close down and 9 for dinner and then go to bed. It is so bizarre to us but that is how they roll. Crazy eh.

We wake up for breakfast. Which by the way is always fantastic. Indian breakfast is not like what we eat. There are a lot of vegetable and savory dishes not a whole lot of sweets. Everything is very flavorful and they have about ten different kinds of bread made out of flour or rice so I am good since bread is well ya delicious. They also have something called Masala Chai tea which is nothing like the chai we drink here but super delicious! Don’t ever plan on going to India and losing weight haha. Unless you get sick but don’t plan on that either.

So, our first day is set aside for spending time at ISRC (India Society of Rehabilitation for Children). This is where everything started. ISRC is where Kristi and Brie both adopted their kiddos from. On the last trip to India picking up their kiddos, Anjou (who runs the orphanage) expressed to them the orphanages need for help as new regulations had made it almost impossible for them to get funding and they were on the road to being closed down. Brie and Kristi decided they had to figure out a way to help and Illuminate India was born.

We have to take a taxi to get there which is always interesting since they don’t typically speak English and it is a little bit sketchy. We hop in and set out with an address and hope we get there. There are some street signs in India but people don’t really pay attention. They know their way around by referencing landmarks.  So, after our cab driver stopped and asked for directions multiple times (this is normal) we found our way.

ISRC is has two buildings. One is the office, the other a “home” both of which are basically two story buildings along a row of buildings. A large iron gate protects ISRC and we head in. It is basically all grey marble. Nothing fancy an open room and some stairs so we head up and are greeted by the staff. The woman the runs ISRC has been taking care of orphans in India for 34 years. She spends her days here working with other agencies to find homes for these kids and she is an amazing lady. They have some other full time staff and nannies who take care of the children. As we enter we are presented with flower lays and marked on our foreheads with Bindis by the cutest Indian woman. We are lead into a room where they house all their kiddos under the age of 4. It is one big room with cribs and a few bassinets. There is the sweetest little girl there to greet us as enter the room and a few more in the crib across the way stand up as we come in. We lift them all out and play with them. They are so sweet! They all have different stories. Some are “lost” children which means they either were lost somewhere or left somewhere by the parents and the police find them and they eventually are placed at ISRC. Others were found living on the street with siblings, and some were brought here right after birth either because they have a physical ailment or are just not wanted by their mother. It is crazy to think that these little ones spend every day in this one room.

These little girls are seriously so sweet it is impossible not to love them! We get to spend some time with them playing and help feeding them. One of the things Illuminate India does is provide the kids with healthier meals. So we get to see what they are fed and how they are cared for and then head to the other home.

The other home is just around the corner and basically the same. A two story concrete building off the street. We head in and can hear the kids yelling from the balcony. Apparently, they are excited we are here!

The kids that live here are mostly kids with special needs. Some are severe, others have very minor issues, a few are lost children.  It is still hard for me to imagine that these kids are just unwanted and left to fend for themselves. A few of them have been there since day one of their little lives. It is all they have known. I am so glad they have someone who loves them and cares for them. It is heartbreaking to think of how many kids don’t have that. We head in and right from the start get to say hi to some of the kiddos in their chairs downstairs. The building is basically rooms with beds and kiddos smiling from them. Upstairs is where all the action happens! Six little ones sit on the floor against the wall to welcome us. They are all so beautiful. It is tough that we cannot really talk with them. They know some English and their caretakers can translate some which is so great. They are about to eat lunch as well. So we get to hang out with them while they eat. I am astounded at the amount of food they eat! No complaints either. Basically, rice and veggies and a hard boiled egg. The water here is terrible and contains parasites so most of the kids have parasites and are able to eat a ton without overeating. And I thought they just liked food!

We have so much fun with the kids playing, dancing, they sing and tear apart our flowers! It was great. After a while we head back to the office to chat with Anjou about the orphanages current needs and of course some tea. I am sure we left the caretakers with a great mess and super hyper kids to deal with! It was so much fun and after a day of playing we are pretty spent!

We have a long day tomorrow so we head to bed for some much needed sleep!

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For someone who is not a huge fan of flying the thought of flying over an ocean and being on a plane for a total of some like 24 hours sounds like a super fun adventure right?! I figure you have to get there somehow and the only other option would take FOREVER so hey I got on the plane!

Leaving your kids for 13 days is not easy. Especially, when one of them has to be pried off of you as you get into the van. I knew they were going to have a ton of fun though so it would go by quickly. So we arrive at the airport and I am sure are a site with 5 suitcases not including carry-ons, 2 walkers and a child’s wheelchair. We were rock-stars in figuring out how to get all of this stuff from one place to the next! Now we only had to do it a few more times once we got to India haha.  So, we got all checked in and ready to get on the flight.

Once you’re on the plane there is no turning back right!? So we were off. The first flight… easy.. it’s nothing to fly to Seattle.  The second leg was slightly more nerve wracking for me but with the help of some free beverages and movies I made it through. When we arrive in London it is 11am and something like 4 am in the morning in Boise, so we are a bit sleepy! In addition, when we land in India it will also be 11 am so we hope to be able to sleep most of the next flight. I am not so great at sleeping on plains :/

Finally, we have arrived in India with only 1 more flight to our destination.  As we walked off the plain there were birds flying around and singing, not something you would normally experience in an American airport haha! The air was really warm and humid not unlike Florida or South Carolina. There is a different smell, not bad just different kind of like a mixture of spices and dirt. Of course I notice that there are armed guards around every corner holding large guns… also something that is not common in the US. That was a little weird for me.  We have to walk through security to actually get into the airport so we shuffle through a line of people and come up to a desk with about ten Indian men just hanging out and a metal detector. We are not required to anything besides scan our bag and walk through. It is so funny how nonchalant it is. We have to check into a different airline to get to Kolkata so we walk through basically the only white people in the entire airport with our giant bags and walkers. After figuring out all of our baggage and dealing with that we finally have our tickets. We have to go through security again which brings on a new experience. I am laughing now at how Americans would respond to the airports in India, where everyone is patted down. EVERYONE. Women are not allowed to be patted down by men so we have a completely separate security line. After you put your bags on the belt you head through the detector and into a small curtained box where an Indian woman pats you down and moves a wand over you.  How’s that for a violation of your personal rights?! The airport is pretty small and of course has an Indian restaurant and a western clothing store. Only a few more hours on plane and we will be at our destination.

We arrive in the Kolkata airport and grab our bags, we also cover ourselves in mosquito repellant. It is estimated that 40,297 Indians die every year from malaria. We don’t want to be part of that statistic. We grab all of our luggage, pass more serious looking Indian men with guards and head outside where there are about 100 cab drivers and hired drivers waiting with signs or for anyone who might hire them to taxi them to their hotel. And lines of bright yellow taxis.


Fortunately, we have a driver coming so we sit down and wait and wait until a man walks up and says “Kristi?” Yay it is our driver, who rather than bringing a large car has brought 2 teeny tiny cars for us and our 8 pieces of luggage haha! This is apparently just how things go in India. So wanting to stay together, we put us and half our luggage in one car and the other pieces of luggage in the other car and pray that we see it again!

Driving in India is not something I can even explain to you! It is so crazy! INSANE! Somehow, there is an order to the madness and everyone gets where they are going in one piece. There are not lanes on the road, no lights, no stop signs, you basically go where there is an open spot and honk to let the person who is trying to smash into the side of you know you are there. I have never experienced anything like it.  On the way to our hotel we are able to see New Kolkata, which is not really new it is just on one side of the bypass on the other is Kolkata. There is trash pretty much everywhere, streets, sidewalks, gutters yards, really everywhere. And people everywhere. Walking, riding bikes, motorcycles and not even flinching a the cars that come inches away from them.  There are a variety of structures that appear to be completely destroyed. Many which have clothes hanging to dry in them. In America, these buildings would be condemned or torn down because they are dangerous but here people live in them. No wall, no roofs, just giant concrete frames. All the buildings are black and dirty. I am not sure if this is from the rain or what but they are all this way. There is also a ton of color everywhere. Orange, yellow, blue, green, red doors and buildings. It is beautiful.

We are headed to the hotel. There are people driving carts, rickshaws, bikes walking everywhere. Some are on the side of the river bathing which is not even imaginable. Trash lines the river as far as you can see, floats in it and decorates the brown muck. These people bath in and drink this.  Men stand on the street side and relieve themselves which is also nothing out of the ordinary. Beneath the towering concrete are small shops and homes that line the streets for miles. Kids and adults sit on the ground cooking, working, or just relaxing. It is very foreign and it is endless. That is one thing that is not even really possible to explain. The poverty in Kolkata is devastating. It is not just a few people and it is nothing like Americans think poverty is it is unending and unfathomable.  Around 68% of the country lives on less than $2 a day. Many are homeless, on the streets or in slums. It is not something you can understand until you have seen it.

We arrive at our hotel, which is gated and guarded by a few men. On entering we have to scan our bags and again be patted down behind a screen by the cutest little Indian lady. They are very big on service here so you are not allowed to carry your own bags or do anything for yourself. It is so funny. The hotel is clean and nice yet simple. I am so glad to be there. My feet have grown about twice their normal size from sitting on planes for so long.  We head up to our rooms and order some food. Indian food is so good! Most everything I tried I enjoyed. After taking a break and eating some food we plan to head to New Market to shop a little bit.

It is within walking distance so we put on our game faces and head out. It is not really safe for women to be out and about in India, let alone Western women but there are three of us and it is still daytime so we are good. We turn the corner and all of a sudden there are just people everywhere and vendors on every corner. We learn that today is a holiday so most of the market is closed but there are still massive amounts of people. Like the Saturday market but probably 20 times more people oh and cars that drive down the streets. They honk and honk until people move out of the way passing withing inches of feet and legs. It is insane! Kristi is like superwoman here she puts on her game face and pushes through everyone not fazed one bit. I am a little panicked but hold it together well I think.  We find a cute little Indian boy selling sunglasses and after he wipes them off has us try some on and explains to us how nice they are we buy a few pair. Mine cost 300 rupees which is about $2. Now I am off to look for some shirts that I can wear here in India. There are hundreds to choose from in hundreds of colors. There are even some with the Apple symbol on the fabric which is hilarious to us. I find some I like but the problem here is that everyone is small. So I ask if there are bigger sizes and the vendor starts yelling you need BIG size. We have BIG size BIG size over there. Thank you Indian vendor man for making sure I know that I am BIG! I buy a few and we squeeze our way back through the crowds. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the craziness new market is because we did not think it would be a good idea for me to add to the spectacle we already are with a giant, expensive camera.

Back at the hotel we talk about what happened and apparently I was so worried about not getting lost I did not notice everyone starting at us haha! I am sure we are quite a sight being the only white people I have seen since we have arrived.  We are so tired but we need food and since we are not supposed to be out and about at night we eat at the hotel in a restaurant where we cannot read anything on the menu. We order some food and hope that we are happy with what we get. At the table they bring us a warm towel to clean our hands off as people in India eat with their hands not utensils. Of course we have to ask for forks.  Our food comes and we enjoy our dinner and then head up for some rest. Tomorrow is sure to be just as exciting as today.

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