I fully intended to get this post finished and published a few days ago, but I have three children and a husband with a new ministry after all and life is quite busy. Not to mention, food prep now takes a bit longer, but making delicious food that is healthy is very rewarding, so no complaints here. Thanks for your patience! 

What Is This Whole30? | apaigefromourbook.com

Whole30 – What Is It?
I will give you my brief overview of this eating/lifestyle plan, but without doubt you will get much more in depth information at the Whole30 website by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Whole30 isn’t so much diet as a nutritional program to help eliminate foods that may be irritating ones system and create better eating habits. So for 30 days you are limited to eating real foods and eliminating sugar, grains, dairy and legumes. These food groups often affect people {although not necessarily everyone} negatively in both their health and fitness. By ridding your body of these food groups for 30 days, you restart your system. Generally speaking at the end of the 30 days one begins to reintroduce the eliminated food groups 1 at a time in order to evaluate your body’s reaction.

I had heard of Whole30 months ago and even looked into buying Dallas and Melissa’s book, It Starts With Food, but I kept delaying. In the end, a friend gave it to me as a gift, but I still put off reading it. Mostly because as I said in my last post, I was afraid to give up my beloved sugar. If you read my last post, you already know what finally motivated me to make a change. If you haven’t, you might want to check it out.

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. - Jim Ryan | apaigefromourbook.com

Chocolate goodies | apaigefromourbook.com

I started prepping myself on New Years Eve and took the plunge with DAY 1 on January 1st along with most of the rest of Marian’s {Miss Mustard Seed} group. I will say that I technically cheated that day while the hubs and I were out to celebrate my birthday. I had a small portion of a piece of cheesecake and the soup and salad that I ate had 1 non-compliant ingredient. But it was still a victory for me! Prior to committing to this new eating plan, I would have probably eaten a large portion of pasta and then an entire piece of cheesecake by myself. Making that small cheat actually helped me keep going. DAY 3 was the hardest day. I was such a crab and felt so emotional. Things hit the fan when my hubby and father-in-law decided to get pizza take-out for dinner. The smell and seeing the melty cheese got to me and I lost it. No, I didn’t cheat, but I really let my man have it. By bedtime, I knew that my anger was really stemming from the sugar deprivation and that I had allowed my love for certain foods to trump my self control. Wow, can’t wait to get rid of that addiction!
I’m thankful to say that DAY 4 was much better. Even though I couldn’t get out of the house and go to church because of sick kids, my attitude was better and I was starting to feel like I had more energy. I knew that the hubs and Thing 1 would eating out with friends after church and Adam even called to see if he could bring me my favorite sandwich. I wasn’t even tempted to cave, I simply thanked him for thinking of me and reminded him that I can’t have those things.

DAY 5 was even better yet. Even though I am still surrounded by goodies {some even still sitting on my desk}, I can honestly say that I haven’t felt tempted by any of them. Peanut butter proves to be something that I hope with all hope I can reintroduce at the end of my 30 days. I LOVE peanut butter. BUT, I might not simply because then I will want bread again and I’m afraid it will go on and on. 

So What  CAN You Eat?!
Most people ask this question when I tell them what I’ve eliminated from my diet. I was there too prior to this change, so I get it. There is actually a lot that I CAN eat! Here is a glimpse of a Whole30 shopping list.
I’m not an overly adventurous eater and often to the chagrin of my husband, more than happy to eat similar things again and again as long and I like the way they taste. At this point in my journey you won’t find inspiring recipes here nor are my meal photos all that thrilling, but my meals are tasty, yummy and good for me! Thus far I’ve been more concerned with having things ready to go or easy to prep so that I won’t be tempted to fall back into bad habits. I’ve been encouraged to read in Marian’s facebook group that I’m not alone in eating basically the same or very similar things day to day. 
Whole30 Shopping List | apaigefromourbook.com

I told you that I tend to eat the same thing! What can I say, I love green beans. I have recently purchased asparagus, spinach, squash, carrots and cucumbers. I am excited to try some of these Whole30 compliant recipes. Chicken thighs are my go-to protein for lunches and dinner. They are easy to prepare in bulk ahead of time by simply seasoning, baking and freezing and they are so much tastier than chicken breasts. I generally freeze a dozen or so and keep a dozen in the fridge. I make my egg muffins in bulk ahead of time as well. Since sausage can be hard to find without high fructose corn syrup in it, I will often simply use browned grass fed beef. I’m planning a trip to Whole Foods this week so I can add sugar free bacon to my list of proteins. I mean, who doesn’t love bacon?! 

I just made some homemade mayo. It’s a bit lemony tasting for my liking, but usable. Next time I will use less lemon juice. This video is a great reference for homemade mayo perfection.

Homemade Mayo | apaigefromourbook.com

There are a few things that I’m doing in conjunction with Whole30 that I truly believe are helping me. More about that soon…

Thanks to all of you who have given encouraging words and been cheering me on. It means more than you know!
xo - Heidi

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I’ve gotten a lot of emails, messages and Facebook questions regarding the homemade mayo, so I thought I would just throw out this quick post.
I have always been a huge fan of mayo. In my college years I lived at the opposite end of an alley from a Subway. When my roommates and I didn’t feel like cooking, we would walk down and grab subs for dinner. The teenage girls making our subs would always quirk an eyebrow or worse look at me wide eyed and often mouth agape when I asked for extra mayo. I still chuckle at that picture in my head. Mayonnaise is wonderful on french fries too. Wait, I’m not eating those anymore. . . well, for your benefit.

When I saw that we could have mayo on this Whole30 plan I was thrilled to pieces. I honestly don’t know why I never though to make it myself before. When I started reading the comments in Marian’s  Whole30 facebook group about all of the ladies that were struggling to get a decent batch of mayo made, I was a little concerned, but Melissa’s video gave me confidence.

How To Make Homemade Mayonnaise | apaigefromourbook.com

Homemade Mayo | apaigefromourbook.com

Photo by Monica Schwartz

The most important thing to know is to use a light flavored oil. I used a light olive oil because that was what was recommended to me, but you could also use avocado oil, walnut oil, a combination of olive and coconut oil or try other light flavored oils that appeal to you

Homemade Mayo
1 large high quality egg
1 1/4 cup light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt  
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard {optional}
2 to 3 teaspoons lemon or lime juice {Melissa’s video calls for 2 Tbsp, but that was a bit much     for my tastes.}

  • Place your egg and lemon juice in a blender or a glass jar, if your’e using an immersion blender. Let them sit {or cuddle up together as Melissa says} for 20 minutes to an hour until they completely reach room temperature together.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup of light olive oil. Cover and blend everything together on LOW for 30 seconds. 
  • Add remaining cup of olive oil in a slow drizzle in order for all the ingredients to emulsify. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • When it’s done, place in a food safe container and place in the refrigerator. Make sure to label with the expiration date of the egg you used.  

{In my blender, the oil began to pool after a while and I almost panicked, but I simply shut it off the blender, poked the center of my mayo a couple of times and started back at it. I had to do this 2 or 3 times, but it all turned out just fine.}  So don’t PANIC!


NOTE: I think the essentials to getting the right texture are letting the acid and the egg come to room temperature together, blending or whipping the ingredients at a SLOW speed and drizzling the olive oil slowly. 
The texture right out of the blender may seem a bit runnier than you expected, but it will thicken after it’s placed in the refrigerator. If your first batch doesn’t turn out as you like it, don’t throw it out. Make another batch and add them together. If you don’t want to add them together, there are other ways you could use that less than thrilling batch of mayo. For instance, try adding some dill, chives, paprika and black pepper for a ranch dressing flavor or any of your other favorite herbs for a dressing for chicken. I have no real specific direction here since I generally use all herbs and spices to taste, but be BRAVE and give it a try!

My favorite use of my homemade mayo so far was in my paleo version of my Chicken Goodness chicken salad. I had to forego the milk, honey and pasta, but with homemade seasoned salt {Yeah, even store bought seasoned salt has sugar in it!}, it was a delightful dinner. I’m also thinking that the next time I roast a smaller batch of chicken thighs, I might baste them with homemade mayo first. Mmm, my mouth is starting to water. . .

Whether you’re on the Whole30 nutrition plan or eating paleo or neither, you don’t have to be afraid of making your own delicious homemade mayonnaise and better yet, chances are you already have everything you need in your refrigerator and pantry. Give it a try! I promise you won’t regret it!

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One of my favorite blogger/interior designers, Miss Mustard Seed recently shared her very personal struggle with food addiction. She wrote about how she decided that she was going to commit to the Whole30 dietary plan and she invited those of us who wanted to do it too to join her in a Facebook group for support. I made the decision right there and then that I was “in”. Enough was enough and I needed to put my fears of giving up sugar aside and just do it!

Heidi and Kristy - fall 2005 - Living Whole 30 | apaigefromourbookMy best friend, Kristy, and I two days before my wedding.

But let me back up a bit. I am probably at my heaviest weight ever {I’m guessing because I’ve never been one to get on the scale… I was only ever weighed regularly during my pregnancies} and while for the most part I don’t struggle with how I feel about myself, I am tired of being this big. I’m tired of it being harder to find clothes that fit and flatter. I grew up on a farm so I was always very active. I never “exercised” intentionally because we were always doing physical work and in my down time, I was often riding my bike, playing basketball and other sports or just walking the countryside. I could generally eat whatever I wanted and it simply didn’t impact my physical shape. In fact I didn’t really “get” the girls around me who stressed about what their bodies looked like. It just wasn’t something that I thought about. Even when, years later during the months of our engagement, I began to lose weight from the stress of planning a wedding with my man on the other side of the country. I didn’t really notice because my weight never came to mind. It wasn’t until concerned co-workers pulled me aside that I began to notice that I had lost so much weight. When I did finally get on a scale shortly before getting married, I knew that I was at a weight that really wasn’t healthy for me. It didn’t take me too long to get back to a healthy weight after we got married and I maintained that weight until my pregnancy with Thing 1. I definitely didn’t lose my baby weight very fast after that first pregnancy, but I was still in a healthy zone. With Thing 2 I felt like I gained a ton of weight {well I looked like it anyway} and it was much much harder to lose. Add another baby 15 months later, a slowing metabolism, bad eating habits and here I am. 

Living Whole 30 | apaigefromourbook.com

Heidi - fall 2014- Living Whole 30 | apaigefromourbook

But this is not where I will stay.

I have been thinking and pondering and reading about getting rid of sugar for quite a while… maybe even close to a year. Most of the couples/families in our church small group have either cut back on their sugar intake {not eating refined sugars} and processed foods or have completely rid sugar from their diets. I didn’t feel so much peer pressure as I did quiet conviction that has slowly gotten stronger with time. 

This fall when Thing 1 went back to school, I reinstated our membership to the local YMCA and have made good strides at going daily. Soon, with the encouragement of a dear friend I joined the body pump class and I loved it. But I knew that still wasn’t enough for losing weight and getting in shape. Then as close friends began pressing my husband about his weight and his overall health {he has sleep apnea and high blood pressure}, the conviction to give up sugar grew stronger and stronger. As much as I knew this conviction was real, I just didn’t want to give up my Pepsi, chocolate and all of those comforting carbs {I’d say this speaks to just how addicting sugar is}. Marian’s post and organization of a Whole30 support group was exactly what I needed and without any planning or purging our home of all the Christmas goodies, I jumped in with both feet and all my heart!


I’ll share more in my next posts about how the dietary plan works, how it’s been going for me and some things that have been helpful to me.

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© Depositphotos.com/egal
I actually wrote this post several years ago, but never got it published and then last year it felt solicitous to share when my husband was without a job. This year, I was once again prompted to think along these lines when needs in our neighborhood arose.

Gift of the Gosepl | A Paige From Our Book© Depositphotos.com/yellow2j

This is the time of year that we especially think about giving. Our attention is also more drawn to give to those in need. Hopefully it isn’t something we only do at Christmas. The other day I was thinking about how we give to those who are in need. We have the option to toss coins or a few dollars in a red kettle {nothing wrong with that}, we can send someone we know cash or a gift card {that’s great too}, but what really caused me to stop and think was this. Do we give in these ways to alleviate our conscience or do we give because we really desire to love and serve others? Do we give to or serve the less fortunate {poor} without really thinking about what would genuinely bless them the most or giving thought to what would functionally serve them best? Do we spend time praying about how God would desire us to show care and charity to others? As I as thinking about this topic, I began to wonder about some strategic ideas for giving thoughtful gifts to those in need.

Those in need of financial assistance
This first category may seem like a no-brainer. If a family needs money to pay bills, buy groceries or keep their utilities on the obvious answer is to give them some cash or write a check. But I wonder, is that what would really serve them the best? Often when money is so tight and extra money comes in, it can be difficult to decide what exactly to put that money towards.

Gift Certificates aren’t just for the mall anymore.

I have known many different people with varying difficult life circumstances over the years. Blessing them whether in name or anonymously looks different for each situation. So I decided to break down ways to bless or serve those we may know who are in need, into two categories: {1} Those who can’t meet their own financial necessities, {2} Those who have enough to cover their necessities, but have no extra.
  • Did you know that you can often pay someone’s utility bill? Not all utility companies have the ability to do this, but I checked with several in my area and the local electric company has applications on-line for gift certificates. Your payment for the certificate is directly credited to the account of your recipient and the certificate itself is simply notification that a payment has been made on their behalf. {The recipient’s name and correct address are of utmost importance in this case.} You can also give the gift certificate anonymously if you like. One other utility company I spoke with didn’t have anything set up like this yet, but said they would be considering a way to enable people to give in this manner.


  • I also spoke with a telephone company. If you give the phone number and the account holder’s name {if you know it}, they will allow you to put a certain amount of money to that account. They won’t tell you any personal information including the account balance, but say if you give more than what is due, that account will then have a credit. All it takes it a phone call to whatever utility/phone/internet company you desire, to check and see what/if any options there are to pay someone’s bill. You might be surprised how happy they will be to help you help someone in need.


  • Gas cards and gift cards to local grocery stores are great gift options too.



© Depositphotos.com/april_89
Here’s another thought and while it’s specific here to my second category, it definitely pertains to the first one as well. Those who have no money or just enough money to take care of the basics, often have very narrow lives because a lack of finances restricts them dramatically. Practical blessings are indeed blessings, but don’t forget that perhaps what their heart, mind and souls need is an opportunity for something other than the practical. I think in this category a gift of the practical combined with something just-for-fun is the ultimate felt need’ blessing.
Those who can pay the bills, but have no extra

Sometimes “fun” isn’t in the budget.


I think that people in this second category are often the ones who are forgotten about. These are those who are able to pay their bills; their utilities aren’t being turned off, they are able to put food on their table.   But. That’s. It.   There is no extra money for fun, no money for frills. Maybe they haven’t been able to update their wardrobe for years because that just isn’t a priority in the budget. I have known several families in my adult years who have been in this situation. I’ve also seen some of these families blessed by the thoughtful generosity of those around them.  I remember the heartbreak I felt in that particular situation to not be in a place to bless them financially, but I also remember the conviction that I could bless them by having them in my home for an evening of fun. I saw the tole that their strained budget had on them emotionally and spiritually. They had faith for God’s provision, but they needed to have some fun too. Our family has been on the receiving end in this category in the past and we were so thankful for these fun blessings.

  • Movie theater gift cards. These are a  great option for a couple whose dates are budget limited. You could also include a homemade gift certificate for an evening of babysitting. The couple gets to pick a movie of their choice and know that they have childcare already covered.


  • Salon or massage gift cards are a huge blessing. Getting a hair cut or color are often things we take for granted, but to someone else it may be a luxury they must live without for the time being. Maybe even think about adding some extra $$ to a gift card for these services to cover a tip.


  • A gift basket of small, fun Advent gifts. When we were first married and living across the country from all of our family, my Aunt and cousins sent us a care package of Advent gifts {1 gift for each day from December first through Christmas Day}. The gifts are generally small {you don’t need to break the bank} and have a Scripture verse included. That care package was very encouraging and meant a lot to us that our family had spent time finding fun and thoughtful things for us. It really helped brighten a really dark period in our lives. Not sure what to include in a gift like this? Think about the recipient’s likes in the areas of color, texture, smell, treats, etc. Maybe you don’t know the recipients well enough to answer those questions. . . then perhaps include things that you especially like with a little note of why it’s a favorite of yours. That way they know that your gift is intentional and not just a basket of re-gifts from last year’s gift exchange.
So here is my conviction this Christmas. We all can find someone in our life, perhaps a neighbor, a friend, a relative, a coworker or perhaps a shelter or orphanage that needs something we can give. Even if our budget is tighter than normal, we can probably find a way to bless someone with less. We live in such a prosperous culture; a prosperous nation that even in our own state of “poverty”, we are likely to find someone with needs that we can meet and let us not forget that what they may need most is for us to take time to share the Gospel with them. 
So keep your eyes and heart open. The needs are plentiful and the creative options are endless to give a gift that will really bless someone this Christmas.


Do you have any creative ideas of how to bless those in need? Or maybe you have a story of how someone else blessed you in a time of need. I’d love to hear about it; leave me a comment and share it with all of us!


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