Wait… Where did that week go?

It’s been a week since I’ve posted?  Already?!  Oops… sorry.  I must have lost that week; I do not know where it went!  There has been a lot going on, so I’ll fill you in with the details.  As far as the adoption is going – stressful!  I have not been sleeping well and to add insult to injury, my children have not been sleeping well either.  There is some mild virus going around, Evangeline and I have been generally malaised the last couple of days which is killer for any motivation to get anything done.  We have been running errands like crazy.  Yesterday all four of us went to the chiropractor – totally needed it, but there goes the morning!  Today we went to go get our passports and fingerprinting done for the adoption and I still have a ton of paperwork to do…

On the fundraising front, I am having two Thirty-One parties in September.  One is being hosted by my lovely mother and my wonderful aunt, the other is being hosted by my sister.  So if there is anyone local to the Illinois/St. Louis area you should stop by!  I get 25% of commission on all orders, and that will all be going (of course) to the adoption!  So hop on over and check it out if you’d like: https://www.mythirtyone.com/thecup/  I will have that fundraising post up for you tomorrow too!  I am also putting together an email list for our adoption newsletter.  September’s edition goes out this weekend, so if you want one let me know!

On the hair front.  Can you say poo-ey?  I have really tried every which way of washing my hair without shampoo and I am continually disappointed.  A reader told me that the vinegar actually makes oiliness worse (oh great…) so I tried JUST baking soda and no rinse.  My hair was so oily and I was so sick of it that I probably went a little overboard on the amount.  The top of my head? Not oily!  The middle?  Where I wasn’t as thorough?  Ugh… as awful as ever.  So for a few days I had Neopolitan style hair, the top was dry and felt terrible (baking soda is apparently NOT nice to your hair) and the bottom was more or less typical.

Then I read this post about pH levels and the yo-yo effects of baking soda/vinegar.  I don’t know, maybe I just don’t have the amounts worked out, maybe I’m just not good at this yet.  But I have tried several different ways of doing it, and when I use either or both of these on my hair… the results are less than dreamy.  So, I tried this blogger’s suggestion of honey.   My hair felt weird… and still oily.  No thanks honey shampoo.  Then I thought to myself, well what if I put all three together?  So I did baking soda, a quick (less than 30 second)  vinegar rinse and THEN I did honey afterwards to try and balance the pH.  Eh… no change.

After so many tries, I eventually began to give up.  My hair was feeling worse after washing than before, and it seemed it was doing a better job of regulating oils if I just left it alone. So that’s what I did for a few days.  It was much less oily than at first, but still not nearly nice enough to wear in any way other than up in an attempt to hide as much of it as possible.  Then today it happened… I needed my hair to look nice.  We were taking passport pictures after all.  So I began to reason with myself… My hair had seemed to regulate itself.  It wasn’t pouring gobs of oil out onto my head every day anymore.  Maybe it just needed a last little push and then it would be ok?

So I did it.  I buckled… I used shampoo.  Not any shampoo, of course.  I used my daughter’s baby shampoo, all natural, organic, non-stripping shampoo.  She only uses it when she really makes a mess of her hair that I can’t get out with water and a comb.  You would be really surprised what kind of food can come out with just some water and a comb!  Needless to say, it’s less than once a month that she needs it, and her hair is never oily.  If it does get a bit excess of oil (usually after waking up in the morning) it is back to it’s shiny, happy, bouncy self after brushing it through a few times.  No bath necessary.

So, back to my story, I used it.  And guess what?  Shock and surprise!  My hair felt marvelous.  It feels soft and smooth and healthy.  It is not oily in any way and I am just so glad for the break from drudgery!  My sincere hope is that my hair has more or less started regulating itself, and that it will continue to do that.  If my hair stays good over the next few days, I think I’ll be set.  I am feeling pretty optimistic as, over the last week, my hair never became more oily for not washing it.  It just never got less oily.  Here’s to hoping!

In the meantime, I have kiddos to go chase.  Enjoy your weekend and stop by tomorrow for a Fundraiser Q&A!

(Sham)Poo Free: Week 2


Sigh… I almost didn’t want to take a picture this week because it looks JUST as bad as last week.  But I did… to be fair I took the picture on Monday so it was exactly at the two week mark (even though this post is a little later).  Yesterday when I did my vinegar rinse I left it on for a good ten minutes before washing it out.  That seemed to help a lot, so next Monday I will take a picture after doing that and you can be the judge if it actually is helpful or not!

On the bright side, I do think my hair feels cleaner than it did before.  More oily, but less chemically.  It just seems like all that shampoo builds up after a while.  The last several weeks before I started this I felt my hair was just not nice after being washed… it was mostly not oily (but that only lasted about ten hours) but it just didn’t feel soft or smooth or anything nice that you would expect hair to feel.

Now that I’m not using shampoo anymore, my hair feels better.  I can tell especially at the tips where it’s not oily; it just feels nicer.  I also started noticing that my hair is looking wavier than usual.  I would chalk it up to the oiliness, but you can tell at the bottom too!  This interim period is awful, but here’s to hoping it will be worth it!

Why Whole Grains are Bad for You

A long… long time ago I posted about our new endeavor, the “tooth healing diet“.  Well, I don’t think I called it that, but that’s what it is.  We started, if you recall, with drinking lots of water.  Now that we have a system in place for that, which we are loosely following… hmm… anyway now we are going to start on our next phase – grains.

Grains have always been so confusing to me.  They were on the bottom of the food pyramid… so that means we’re supposed to eat a lot of them, right?  But then I got older and everyone told me that carbohydrates (cough… bread… cough) were bad and made you fat so… lay off the grains!  Then there are so many different kinds of grains, should I choose whole grains or white bread?  Obviously cake isn’t good… and the packaging isn’t always clear, does this just contain whole grains or is it actually whole grain?

Even doing research on the topic only brings up more questions than answers.  Some people say that whole grains are actually bad for you, that they’re too difficult to digest.   Many even recommend white rice over brown rice for this reason.  Others say grains aren’t people food anyway, so we shouldn’t be eating them at all.  But most of the main sources, doctors, etc. still claim that whole grains are the way to go.  After a while of this, my head was spinning….

I needed to pare down the competition.  Worldview check: Are grains inherently bad for you?  Scripture consistently talks highly of grains; we are even commanded to eat bread in the Lord’s Supper… obviously not inherently evil.  Ok, grains are good, so now we just need to figure out which kinds and, most importantly, how to eat them.

Even in disagreeing sources, everyone agrees on one thing.  If you’re going to eat grains, they need to go through a preparation process to be edible and digestible.  Ramiel Nagel has a thorough article on just this topic that you can read here.  I am not going into quite so much detail, but I will outline the basics.  He does not have a quite comprehensive step-by-step solution in his article, (I think you’d have to buy the book for that) so I had to do a little more hunting to find everything I was looking for.  All of which I will be sharing with you over the next several months as my family embarks on our own journey to cure tooth decay.

So, let’s get to the good part; why are whole grains bad for you?  One word Two words: phytic acid.  What is phytic acid?  According to Wikipedia: it “…is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially bran and seeds.”  Mr. Nagel explains that the problem with phytic acid is its snowflake-like molecule.  In the middle is phosphorus, which is more or less stuck inside the phytate since we humans only have one stomach and do not have the ability to fully process it.  This makes the phosphorus in the food unavailable to us.  Furthermore, the “arms” of the phytate molecule easily bind with other minerals in our body (such as calcium and iron) making those nutrients unavailable as well.  These are the anti-nutritive properties of phytic acid and the reason why it is dangerous to our health.

That’s all good and well but… what does it have to do with my teeth?  Quite a lot actually.  In my last post I clued you in on two of the main causes of tooth decay: a dry and/or overly acidic mouth.  There is one other extremely important element than cannot be overlooked, nutrition.  We all know that your body needs nutrients to function properly; it is the same with our teeth.  Just as with water, when your body is low in other nutrients, it will take those nutrients from less critical areas (like your teeth!!) and transfer them to your vital organs.  This can cause your teeth to be less protected, weakened and more likely to develop cavities.

Also, if you are already experiencing tooth decay it is imperative to have a nutrient-dense diet in order to give your teeth the extra nutritive boost they need to remineralize.  Teeth can and do remineralize, but that obviously takes quite a lot of extra minerals to do so.  How are your teeth going to get extra nutrition if there isn’t enough nutrition to go around in the first place?

So, we need to fix the dangerous anti-nutrient properties found in grains, so that they do not steal precious vitamins and minerals from our bodies and teeth.  If you remember from the definition of phytic acid, it is found concentrated mostly in bran and seeds.  Where do you find bran?  In whole grains.  But, the bran has so much fiber!  Don’t we need that?  Isn’t it good for us?  Well, yes and no.  There is some scientific research to show that actually too much fiber, specifically fiber from whole grains, can be dangerous.  Konstantin Monastrysky details the dangers of this particular kind of fiber in his book “Fiber Menace“.  If you go to the link you can read under the book description several of the institutions which have published studies on just this problem.

Obviously, and more well-known, is that white grains (wheat, rice, etc.) are not good for you.  In white grains the husk, bran and germ are all removed, leaving precious little nutritive benefit, as most of the nutrients are found in the germ.  In whole grains only the husk is removed, preserving the bran and the germ.  But remember, this is bad because the bran has anti-nutritive properties.  So… deciding between white and whole grain is almost like deciding between not good for you and bad for you food.  Where’s the happy medium?

This question is answered differently for all the different types of grains.  Besides choosing the best grain, we also must take into consideration how to prepare our grains in a way that minimizes phytate content and maximizes digestibility.  Each grain is unique and should be considered as such.  These are the basic considerations I have taken into account in developing our new diet.

As a family we are taking one grain at a time, two weeks per grain.  This week is week one in our home for oats, which is the first grain we are revamping in the kitchen.  Week one is spent identifying foods with unhealthy oats and purging them from our home, next week we will focus on learning the proper preparation methods for the oats that remain.

My next post in this series will deal with what you should look for in an oat product to make it both nutritional and digestible, and I will show you which products from our home that we are ditching for good.  Here is a sneak peak of what we won’t be eating any longer at the Mueller house:


Standing Up 2 Cancer

We usually don’t watch a lot of cable around here.  We have it, but we just aren’t interested in most of the entertainment that television has to offer.  We mostly watch our own DVDs but this month it’s different… this is October and as any baseball fan knows that means the playoffs.  And as any Cardinals fan knows… we are in the World Series.  Which means an entire month of Cardinals games that are nationally televised… which means we’re watching the TV a lot more lately.

Most of the commercials are hardly worth mentioning, many are downright offensive and a seldom few we have found humorous.  But there is one campaign on television right now that I did want to spotlight – the Stand Up 2 Cancer campaign.  There have been so many of these cancer awareness/fund raising efforts over the last several years. As more and more precious lives are lost to this illness, the more we see big businesses and celebrities jumping on the bandwagon to “stand up to cancer”.

Something about these campaigns has always bothered me though… we’re raising awareness, but to what end?  I have never once seen a commercial or advertisement trying to advocate for a healthier lifestyle that could result in fewer cases of cancer and therefore fewer deaths.  I have been told countless numbers of times how incredibly important it is to get regular breast exams in order to catch early signs of cancer, but I have never once had a national campaign explain to me what kind of lifestyle might prevent it in the first place.

So, since I have been utterly disappointed with the national media’s feeble attempts… I am going to do a little standing up to cancer myself.  Here is some useful information about the cancer epidemic that you may not have heard already…

The Facts…

    • Cancer is simply an abnormal growth of cells somewhere in the body.
    • Many (if not most) causes of cancer are environmental, not genetic.
    • Reducing the environmental causes of cancer will reduce the cases of cancer in our society.

There is no medical consensus on exactly what causes these cells to begin forming and growing abnormally, but there is one theory that has intrigued me, not only does it make logical sense, but it also has research that backs up its premise.

The theory goes simply like this: the reason why tumors begin to form is because our bodies are full of toxins (more about toxins below).  Our liver becomes overwhelmed and is unable to process them all.  As a defense mechanism the body creates a makeshift liver to contain the excess chemicals, otherwise known as a tumor.

This is a great article that discusses the research and the doctors behind this theory and also their alternative treatment for cancer.  Since the cancer is simply a safety mechanism for protecting your body from toxins, they treat toxicity levels rather than attacking the tumor directly.  If the necessity for the tumor disappears – the tumor will follow.

People in our society tend to have high toxicity levels in their body.  Why?  Because there are chemicals and toxins in our food, our containers, our medicines, immunizations, toys, water, playgrounds, grass, etc.  If you would like some resources in limiting your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins check out this great organization for plenty of tips and tools to get you started.

Also, if you are concerned about the level of toxins in your body here is some information on how you can lower these levels through the Biblical discipline of fasting.

Facts About Breast Cancer

  • Western, industrialized countries (the U.S. in particular) have the highest incidences of breast cancer in the world.  Check it out.
  • Higher levels of estrogen in the body can cause breast cancer.
  • Estrogen levels in the body can be increased most notably by: eating soy (which is way too prevalent in our processed food!), menstrual cycles, birth control and hormone treatments.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer.

Yup.  The more babies you have (the earlier you have them) and the longer you nurse those babies… the less at risk you are for breast cancer.  Why is this?  I believe pregnancy and nursing has an effect on multiple levels.

  1. Being pregnant reduces the number of menstrual cycles a woman has, therefore decreasing the hormone levels caused by monthly cycles that can, over time, become harmful.
  2. Being pregnant, and trying to become pregnant, keeps women from taking the birth control pill which has harmful levels of estrogen and other hormones that can potentially cause cancer.
  3. Breastfeeding further elongates the amount of time before monthly cycles begin.  Ecological breastfeeding is especially helpful as it prevents cycles, on average, for 14-15 months postpartum.

Not only does extended breastfeeding protect you, it also protects your child.  There is a plethora of research all favoring the benefits to a child’s immune system through breastfeeding.  Bottom line?  The more you nurse the better off both you and your baby will be.

Right now we are experiencing a cancer epidemic.  Epidemics are not caused by genetic mutations, they are caused by environmental hazards that create or exacerbate the potential for disease.  Wearing pink and donating to research will not solve this crisis.  But perhaps if we return to God’s naturally created order for our lives, an order devoid of genetically modified food, chemically laden products and the feministic desire to live for ourselves rather than for our children… perhaps that’s when we will really be taking our stand.

Standing Up 2 Cancer

I’m standing up to cancer.  Are you?

Living Healthier

Is it ironic that as I write this post I am snacking on the delicious Lindor Truffles my dearest husband got for me?  To die for… literally perhaps as I am certain that last bite took at least a few days off my life.  That is certainly the one thing I look forward to in Heaven – lots of wonderful guilt-free truffles :)  Or perhaps just enough as to not overindulge… ahem.

So back to what I wanted to talk about, creating a healthier lifestyle.  This is of huge concern for me now that I am a mother.  I have noticed that whatever we eat our daughter tends to eat so… that doesn’t bode very well for the poor girl at this time I’m afraid.  Knowing how difficult it is to break bad habits as an adult, I want to spare her the difficulty and kick her sugar addiction before it begins.

Before I blogged about Jake and I eliminating sugar from our diet… ha!

A couple months ago I tried to implement a gradual ridiculously difficult diet plan… ha!

So now I have (I hope) learned from my mistakes.  If we really want to change our lifestyle… I mean really really want to reverse our habits and create long lasting new ones – it needs to be slow.  At least for us it does, and I have been warned to take these things slowly before… perhaps now I’ll listen.

So I took the elements from the “gradual” new lifestyle program I tried to implement and wrote them all down on a chart.  I won’t tell you what they all are now, that would not give you any reason to come back!  But I will tell you that there are a total of 16 of them.  Jake and I talked about it and he decided which one he wanted to start working on first.

For the last five weeks we have been concentrating on just basically drinking more water.  You may remember this from my other post talking about Baby School.  It’s not only a good model for our daughter, but it is also a great idea for us.  Why water?  Well… I think for one drinking more water doesn’t necessitate cutting out any bad habits like… Lindor Truffles… so we figured it was an easy in.  More importantly though it is a small part of a greater quest to have a healthier life and *drum roll* healthier teeth.

Yes… I said teeth.  My original diet program (and the new modified version) was not directed toward weight loss or more energy, though those things certainly might be a nice plus.  But what I really had in mind in its creation was to protect and heal our teeth.  One thing I am petrified of is cavities, for me or my kiddos.  I am not petrified only of the cost but also of the long term consequences.  I knew that in reality God had created our teeth to work – not to deteriorate.  And I knew that before the high tech dentist’s office, He had given us ways to take care of our bodies naturally, so I started researching what those ways were.

I found some great resources namely Weston Price’s Research and the work of Ramiel Nagel.  I was convinced after this and some other reading that I could not only protect Evangeline’s pearly whites from decay, but I could also heal mine and my dear husband’s already damaged teeth.  Using the nutritionally based methods from these and others I created my own comprehensive tooth healing program thingy for my own family.

I would have liked to start the transition more quickly, but again, slowly but surely wins the race.  So we’re starting slow… with water.  Our goal is to drink 6-8 glasses a day, and we have been doing moderately well at it.  I have definitely been drinking A LOT more than I ever have and have been noticing some benefits.  For example, I haven’t used chapstick since we started!  Which is definitely saying something.

Obviously water is important – our bodies are over 70% water, but why is it vital for tooth health?  It’s pretty simple.  When your body is dehydrated (like most American’s bodies are oddly enough…) it begins taking fluid from your extremities and non-essential places and transferring it to your vital organs to keep them working properly.  This means that your lips and mouth will become too dry, causing dry mouth.  Why this is a problem is because your saliva is what protects your teeth from the decay-causing bacteria in your mouth.  Without enough of it, your mouth becomes dry and your teeth are vulnerable.  Dry mouth is one of the two main causes of tooth decay (the other is an overly acidic mouth which I will talk about later).

The solution?  Drinking enough water = no dry mouth = less cavities.  Yay!  Yes it’s an easy and simple step, but it’s in the right direction and every little bit helps.  Now if you’ll excuse me… I’m going to go get some water.

Physical Fitness and Femininity

Call me crazy but I love running.  Well… to be perfectly honest it’s one of those love-hate relationships that started off mostly on the hate side of things and slowly inched its way over.  I was first acquainted with running in 8th grade, real running not running away from some poor kid who got tagged “it” running.  I had played volleyball earlier in the year, and my Dad convinced me to at least try basketball (which I ended up truly enjoying) and so I thought, why not give track a shot too?

My first instinct was to go for the shortest distance possible, get it over with quickly, and be done.  The realization came quickly that I would not make it in short distance track.  I’m not that fast.  So, I decided to attempt long distance, I was in pretty good shape and I could make it an entire mile without collapsing so, why not?  Besides, it was the least popular event, so my chances were highest there, and in hurdles… but hurdles didn’t last long.  My dear mother was much to nervous about them.

So there it was, long distance track; it kinda stuck.  I wasn’t very good at it, but I did it anyway.  I didn’t particularly care for it, but it was a good way to stay in shape for volleyball and basketball.  And besides, if I wasn’t doing sports, really, what else was there in a town of 500 people?  And then I transferred schools, which also meant transferring coaches.  Guess who was my new track coach? Dad… hardened marine, marathon running, long distance loving Dad… uh oh… Let’s just say I hated hated track season.  It was horrible!  He, unlike my other coach, actually made me do real work, hard work, excruciating long distance running work! Argh!! Plus… I wasn’t getting any faster.

And then it happened… Dad gave everyone else their track assignments for the day and took me out for a run on the road.  I had done this plenty of times, but never with just me and Dad during practice.  We talked and ran and had a jolly good time.  About half way through I realized I wasn’t laboring to breathe or hurting… I was just enjoying the run!  This running stuff was actually sort of fun.  Running on that old dirt road, looking out across the sea of wheat, sprinkled with farms and cows, I felt freedom unlike any other.

I thought that the end of track season signaled the end of competitive running… not so!  That year my Dad registered us in the Bolder Boulder, a 10k race in (you guessed it) Boulder Colorado.  We ran it together (mostly because he was nice enough not to leave me in the dust).  And it was incredible!  The fresh morning air, thousands of people surrounding you about to embark on the exact same journey, bands playing along the course, the beautiful Rockies draping the landscape, the sense of accomplishment upon crossing the finish line… it was a wonderfully rewarding experience that I will never forget, and one that I hope to repeat.

We ran that race twice together and my goal this year is to run that same race again with my Dad and my Hubby.  Thusly, in order to prepare for such a feat, which previously in my prime fitness days of high school sports was easily accomplished with no extra concern, I must train for it.  And so… Jake and I began training yesterday.  I have known for months now that I’ve wanted to do this, but I had a dilemma earlier in the year of what on earth do I wear?  Now it may sound like a silly girl question but seriously!

All of my workout clothes from high school and college… really after having a baby do you think I can still wear those?  And the ones I can wear should I be wearing them?  Hmm… no probably not.  If you’ve had a baby you’ll understand, mommy clothes are simply different than pre-mommy clothes.  Also, my personality is much different than that of my highschool years.  It is not that I think shorts and pants are inherently evil, but I do believe that as a Christian woman it is important for me to dress in a way that reflects who I am, namely a Christian woman.

Modesty is important, but so is another component that we seem reluctant to mention, femininity.  As Christian women we should celebrate our feminine nature in our words, actions, vocations and even in the way we dress.  With a culture that is becoming increasingly confused as to the difference between the masculine and feminine we must first and foremost protect God’s natural order in our own hearts and homes.  Second, if we talk, look and act like the secular culture, who will know that there is anything different to live by or for?  What a disservice we are doing to the Gospel by not proclaiming it with how we dress!

That being said (and also with the understanding that I too fail constantly in this area, which is why I am so thankful Jesus died for that sin!) when I knew I wanted to begin running again, I was looking for something a little more modest and feminine than what I had collecting dust in my closet.  So I began my search for distinctly feminine running clothes, and what I found got me very excited!  Running skirts.  Yes.  Skirts that you run in.  How cool is that?!?  Plus, they were having a sale :)  And oh do I love sales!  So I bought a couple, even though I am a little uncomfortable ordering clothes online, I feel that more and more I am having to do just that, as what I’m looking for simply isn’t in the stores!

Honestly, I could not possibly be happier with my running skirts.  They look feminine and cute.  They are terribly comfortable, and just altogether wonderful.  Not to mention, if and when the Good Lord happens to bless us with #2 they also have maternity running skirts!  How neat is that?  Alright, so I’ll stop the commercial now, but seriously they rock!  I love running, but I love running even more when I get to do it in a skirt. :)



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