I’ve always been kind of weird about certain aspects of health & wellness at our house. And by weird, I mean slightly unconventional, not like I eat roasted bat wings. I avoid meds if at all possible. I don’t like microwaves, plastic containers, or Teflon. I buy organic when my crummy close-by grocery store has it or when I’m willing to drive to Trader Joes or when I remember to place my weekly order for local eggs and raw milk in time. I try to keep to a real food diet as much as life will allow. My kids think I go overboard sometimes. Cheer Dad’s only real reaction was when I wanted to pitch the microwave last year, but he got over it when he realized how much better his leftovers tasted in the oven or on the stove top. I’m always on the lookout for a way to make a positive change in our lives and diets.
Enter oil pulling. I’ve read about it for a looooong time. I’m not gonna go into the whole process – you can read about it here (which my friend posted earlier this week on FB and was coincidentally one that I had read previously and will comment on below, so there you go) or one of many, many other places. I read about it a LOT before trying it. It’s a whole new level of homeopathic care for me personally and I still haven’t told Cheer Dad that I’m doing it. Well, I guess I am now – hi, babe. At any rate, I didn’t want to turn this into a health & wellness blog, but some of my experiences made me chuckle, so I figured I would compile them and share with you. And encourage you to try oil pulling if you want to hide a crazy habit from your husband, too.
It’s the first day of Spring Break and I’m still in bed before getting up to work. I went to visit my bestie last weekend and spent the four hour bus ride home reading about different natural medicine and general health and have been considering oil pulling for quite some time. I have organic coconut oil in the pantry, I haven’t brushed my teeth yet, so I’ll give it a try. Many articles recommend starting with a teaspoon. Maybe two. I head to the kitchen and grab a spoon, psych myself up about what I’m about to do, and take a bite of coconut oil. The feel of it is not disgusting at all, which is a huge surprise. Wait a minute…it’s melting and I have a huge amount of oil in my mouth. This is not good. I look down and realize I’m holding a giant serving-type spoon. OK, a tablespoon, but I quickly realize I am in trouble. I spit it out (in the trash) and go back for a more reasonable serving. Ahh. That’s better. Back to bed to swish and pull for 20 minutes. Is it natural for the oil to mix with this much saliva? Do I have active salivary glands that are undermining oil pulling? I pull out my phone to start reading and realize I’m OK as far as the spit factor is concerned, but after reading for another five minutes, I see that I’m not supposed to tilt forward while pulling. Well, crap. I’m totally tilted forward. It’s been 8 minutes. My jaw is starting to hurt, but another article says that’s because I’m swishing too vigorously. Not sure I can make it to 20. I play my game and then look – 14 minutes. I text Cheer Dad good morning and look – 14.5 minutes. Oh my goodness this is agonizing. I swish much less vigorously. I realize I need to blow my nose super badly. Where did that come from? I can’t do that with a mouth full of oil. I get up, grab a paper towel and little zip lock bag and head back to bed to finish. 17. 18. 19. 20. Oh my gosh, I’m done. I spit it out and blow my nose for a year and a half and read another article which says I should rinse my mouth and brush my teeth right away. I run to the bathroom 10 minutes too late and rinse and brush. My teeth felt much cleaner throughout the day. This didn’t suck…I’ll try again tomorrow.
It’s easier to take that bite today. I grab a paper towel & baggie before heading back to bed. Maybe once I tell Cheer Dad what I’m doing, I can buy an extra jar of oil for the bedroom and a stash of baggies or something. Someone online mentioned having a spit cup. Gross, gross, gross. I am sitting and swishing and pulling and playing my game. It’s hard for me to wake up…I’m not a morning person in the best of circumstances, but I also like to stay up late, which complicates things. This is a nice, peaceful way to spend 20 minutes waking up. I’ve heard oil pulling will help reverse tooth decay and I have a tooth that was damaged as a child and then had a root canal many years ago. There is recently a bruise above it, which the dentist wasn’t concerned about, but is monitoring because it could indicate infection in the dead stupid tooth. Plus there is a smidgen of pain associated with it. Also, my gums have always been sensitive. I’m willing to see if this helps with any of that. 20 minutes goes much faster today and I grab my baggy and spit out the oil and OH MY GOSH THERE IS A HOLE IN THE BAGGIE. I’m dripping all those toxins I just pulled out of my mouth on my bed. And now my floor as I run to the bathroom to throw it in the trash. At least it got me out of bed and by the sink to rinse and brush.
Oil in, back in bed, game, baggie, check. Today’s 20 minutes go by super quickly and I spit and ANOTHER HOLE. What the heck is wrong with my plastic baggies? I run again to the bathroom and hide it underneath some other trash (you know, so CD doesn’t wonder what the heck is in the trash can) and realize that I feel very much like that teen Lifetime or PSA school movie they forced us to watch about bulimia and that girl stores all of her containers of vomit in her closet. Great. Have I heard it said that it takes a week to form a habit? Well, I just said it. I’m halfway there. I have noticed less pain in my two teeth that have been bothering me and the sensitive gums are all but gone. These are awesome things, but I still do not understand why that one blogger says that you become obsessed with pulling. Until evening. I drank coffee and realized that I might be staining my teeth late at night and pulling is supposed to help with whiter teeth and I run to the kitchen for oil the second time that day. Oy.
Today is my first challenge. I was up late working last night and have to get up to work again this morning. Do I want the extra 20 minutes of sleep badly enough to skip my new morning routine? Yes I do. But I went and got my oil anyway. One article mentioned that oil pulling cures hangovers…could that apply to side effects of sleep deprivation? The answer is kinda. I felt better by the end of 20 minutes and more ready to face the day than I think 20 minutes more of sleep could have helped. I don’t know the answer to the hangover question, if you’re wondering. But I kind of doubt it. Only one article out of many, many, many, many, many that I read mentioned that particular benefit. Day 4 – check.
This is my day off, but we are expecting a delivery to our house today. I got my times wrong and have to jump up and brush my teeth without oil pulling this morning. Man, I hate to break a streak. After I got everything back home in the early afternoon, I decided to go ahead and do it then. Establishing a routine, you know. The bruise on my gums is receding. Not a lot, but it has definitely shrunk. Pain is completely gone. Proceed.
Today is gonna be tricky if I am to continue hiding the oil pulling from Cheer Dad. I just don’t want to explain it all, you know? And you have to admit that it just sounds odd to swish oil around your mouth. Come on. My plan is to wait until he is almost done with his shower. Then I can take my spoonful of oil and be ready to jump in the shower after he is done. We hardly ever talk while each other is in the shower. I wait sitting on the (closed) toilet seat and oh my gosh he starts talking to me! What the heck? I motion that I have something in my mouth and he wonders why it’s taking me so long to use mouthwash. I try to smile without drooling on myself and wave and jump in the shower. Now. Many people will tell you they spend most or all of their 20 minutes pulling in the shower because it makes the time go fast. Not I. With only 8 minutes left when I got in, I was scrubbing furiously to make sure I didn’t go over 20 minutes. Because then you start reabsorbing toxins, they say. Reabsorbing? Has it been 20 minutes? Has it? Oh my gosh. I am ruining all the hard work I’ve been doing. I’m washing my hair faster than I ever have. I think there’s still soap on my arms when I step out and run for my timer. 4 minutes to go. Which is when I realize that I was so worried about getting out on time that I haven’t been pulling at all. Just holding it. Of course.
This was going to be tricky. Cheer Dad got up first to make me breakfast. Which is awesome, but it meant he was in the kitchen. With my coconut oil. I waited til he was turned and ran in to grab my spoonful and bolt. One full week down.
I was gonna stop there with the diary, but the real test is if you can keep it going when you add kids and school back in, right? I got up early and did it. Another goal post. I’ll let you know how things are going next month