My Experiment With Oil Pulling
So my husband came across an article a few months ago about the benefits of this new, yet very old, thing they call oil pulling and he was excited to try it. He sent me the article and it sounded absolutely disgusting. It consists of swilling coconut oil (or sesame oil) in your mouth for 20 minutes, and then spitting it out. The purpose is to ‘pull’ out the many toxins and bacteria in the tissues in your mouth and in your blood supply. The purported benefits are whiter teeth, a reduction in plaque, protection against cavities and gingivitis, prevention against bad breath, bleeding gums, and dryness of the lips and mouth. It also claims to help with eczema, headaches, arthritis, bronchitis, insomnia, allergies, sinus congestion, and many other ailments, as well as being a hangover cure, clearing your skin, and increasing your energy. So as disgusting as it sounds, those are some pretty great benefits.
Unfortunately we don’t have very many “exotic” foods and ingredients out here so coconut oil is hard to come by. During one trip to Istanbul we drove all around the city, going deep into Taksim Square, in search of an organic store that carried the oil. It was pouring rain and the whole family was starving, but the hubs was determined to begin his oil pulling regimen so the equivalent of $30 was spent on this magical and hopefully transformative coconut oil.
Fast forward two weeks and he has yet to touch this jar of oil. I have jokingly asked him how the oil pulling is going and he just laughs. Luckily, coconut oil is also good for moisturizing pregnant bellies and for conditioning hair so I’ve been using it for me and the kids. Still, every time I walk by that jar I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness that it isn’t being used for its intended purpose and it feels like a failure. I’m weird I know. So I thought that maybe I could be the one to swill it around my mouth and give it life, even though the thought of something so oily in my mouth makes me a little sick.
Then today while watching E! News (one of the few English language channels we get on our crappy satellite) they were talking about oil pulling and I considered it a sign. I googled it again to remind myself what the benefits are and one I missed from before is the treatment of TMJ and general jaw soreness. I have had bouts with TMJ over the years, mainly when I’m stressed, but for some reason this week my jaw has been killing me and I have no idea why. So of course I took that as my sign to at least try and see if this gave me some relief.
I went straight to the kitchen, put a hearty tablespoon full in my mouth, nearly gagged, somehow held it in, and started the clock. What I failed to do was tell my 3 year old, who was home sick and screaming “mommy” over and over, that I would be unable to talk for 20 minutes. So I was forced to spit it out after 3 minutes and explain that mommy had to gargle for a few minutes so please don’t ask any questions or terrorize his brother, at least until I could spit this shit out. I am a person who is turned off or on by smell, so luckily coconut oil smells lovely and that helped.
Unfortunately, it’s still oil and tastes like pleasant smelling ass, especially when mixed with saliva and all the apparent toxins I have floating around my mouth. My mouth hurt and my cheeks ached and I had to give myself a gym-level pep talk to get through the minutes. After what seemed like an eternity, I checked my clock, triumphant in the knowledge that I made it through the first day of this new holistic journey. The glee soon turned to despair however, when I realized that I had only made it a sad little 11 minutes. I swished on and eventually made it to 20 minutes.
No pain, no gain is my motto so I’m determined to push through with this experiment. Two weeks is the minimum you should do to see major benefits so that is my goal. I also aim to do this the proper way, which is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and not in the middle of the afternoon after having eaten a crepe, banana, egg, and coffee. The fact that I have now published my goals is that much more motivation, so I will be back in a few weeks to report on my *hopefully* whiter teeth, smoother skin, and increased energy.