The first time I heard the term, "Oil Pulling," I was confused. It is a strange word combination that doesn't make sense. Then I read about it. A lot. Now the term 'oil pulling' still sounds dumb, but the idea is intriguing. And easy. Which is what I'm all about.
It is, quite simply, the swishing of oil (any kind you like, but sesame and sunflower are the ones found to be most effective) in one's mouth for 20 minutes/day. That's it.
And the claims of benefits are many and diverse (from the cessation of headaches to the healing of heart disease). But what most interested me was the prevention of mouth and gum disease without chemicals.
Which means to me, no more buying and using nasty, tastes-like-poison mouth wash. Yippee! Also, I have very sensitive gums and teeth, and oil pulling is supposed to help with that.
I have been doing it religiously for two weeks, and I haven't experienced any miracles (although I wouldn't know it if I had, since I am not aware of any major diseases I have - could have just cured that tumor I never knew I had for all I know), but my teeth are a little whiter, so that's always good. And I figure, if nothing else, it can't hurt. It's such a simple (and natural!) thing that could possibly benefit me in healthy ways, so why not?
Here are the basic directions:
1. Do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (I do it after my workouts while I'm making breakfast. It is amazing how quiet my kids are when I am unable to talk for 20 minutes - I have actually considered oil pulling - or pretending to - for an entire day).
2. Use 1 Tbsp. of oil (you can work your way up to that amount if necessary. It took me a few days to feel comfortable with the entire amount at ounce. Before that, I did 1/2 Tbsp for 10 minutes, then the other half for the remaining 10 minutes). Like I mentioned, Sunflower and Sesame Oils are the ones studied and shown to be the most beneficial, but any oil will work. I started with coconut oil - which made my mouth water like crazy - and then switched to Sunflower, which I really like. It's light and pleasant-tasting, and my mouth doesn't fill up with saliva as much as it did with the coconut).
3. Swish it very lightly through your mouth for 20 minutes. Don't swish vigorously, or your mouth will get worn out. Don't gargle it, and please do not swallow it! By the time you expectorate, it is supposedly chock-full of nasty bacteria and toxins.
4. Spit it out in the toilet, cause everyone knows you never put oil down a sink drain (this is the hardest part for me, because the act of leaning over the toilet and spitting sends a throw-up signal to my brain. I think it's normal. What did I expect after spending three 9-month segments of my life hanging over the toilet boil? Just do it as quickly as possible, and visualize a tropical island and lemonade as you do it - that seems to help).
5. Gargle and swish with warm salt water when you are done.
Of course there are varying opinions on the exact method (and benefits) of oil pulling here, here, here, and here, if you are interested.
Otherwise, come back tomorrow for some recipes!