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The benefits of oil pulling, and a “how to” guide.

coconut-oil
As you know, this week The Holistic Ingredient herself has surrendered to the bliss that is the Gwinganna Health Retreat, a very well deserved break I need not add. So in Amy’s absence I would love to share with you a little about my own holistic health journey thus far. Thank you for welcoming me into your inbox. ~Sarah x

In January of this year I viewed a TED Talk detailing the concept of the 30 Day Challenge. As it happens, 30 days is just about the right amount of time to add a positive habit (or subtract a bad habit) to your life. Not being one for new year resolutions I decided that this would be a fun and interesting way to qualify some goals and mark 2013. And honestly, I may have started my “30 Day Challenge Challenge” with the idea that the journey would provide nothing more than good story telling material, but as it turns out, it has become so much more.

So for the last ten months I have trialed all sorts of weird and wonderful activities, some forging a permanent place within my life, and others (such as the 30 days of cold showers – said to improve immunity, circulation, alertness and mood… more about that another time), well not so much 😉 It is this month’s Oil Pulling adventure however, that I would like to share with you today.

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic method for detox and rejuvenation that traces its roots to the oil gargling method practiced in ancient medicine. First introduced to the modern world by Dr F. Karach, MD in 1992, Dr Karach MD claimed that this technique could cure a variety of illnesses ranging from heart and neurological disease, to digestive ailments and hormonal disorders. Dr Karach MD himself attests oil pulling to have cured him of arthritis so painful at times he was bed ridden, and all within three days!


How Oil Pulling Works

Simply, “The oil acts like a cleanser. When you put it in your mouth and work it around your teeth and gums it ‘pulls’ out bacteria and other debris” – Bruce Fife, naturopathic physician and author of Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing.

I noticed some changes on me like my teeth got whiter and shinier, pinkish gum, fresher breath and less pain around a tooth, which I have been complaining after my surgery.
Oil pulling method is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual which introduced to the modern world by Dr. F. Karach in 1922. According to his reports of unprecedented success with the method of oil pulling on the following diseases: Headaches, bronchitis, thrombosis, chronic blood disorders, arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, eczema, stomach ulcers, chronic intestinal diseases, heart and Nierenbe complaints, gynecological illnesses, neurological diseases and liver diseases. Preventively at the same time the hen-interference suppression of life-threatening growths (cancer).

– See more at: http://www.thegreenwellnesscrusade.com/9/post/2012/11/oil-pulling-my-newly-added-detox-regime.html#sthash.qg3RQwpH.dpuf

I noticed some changes on me like my teeth got whiter and shinier, pinkish gum, fresher breath and less pain around a tooth, which I have been complaining after my surgery.
Oil pulling method is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual which introduced to the modern world by Dr. F. Karach in 1922. According to his reports of unprecedented success with the method of oil pulling on the following diseases: Headaches, bronchitis, thrombosis, chronic blood disorders, arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, eczema, stomach ulcers, chronic intestinal diseases, heart and Nierenbe complaints, gynecological illnesses, neurological diseases and liver diseases. Preventively at the same time the hen-interference suppression of life-threatening growths (cancer).

– See more at: http://www.thegreenwellnesscrusade.com/9/post/2012/11/oil-pulling-my-newly-added-detox-regime.html#sthash.qg3RQwpH.dpuf

“As simple as it is, oil pulling has a very powerful detoxifying effect. Our mouths are the home to billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasites and their toxins. Candida and Streptococcus are common residents in our mouths. It is these types of germs and their toxic waste products that cause gum disease and tooth decay and contribute to many other health problems including arthritis and heart disease”.


The Benefits of Oil Pulling

For such a simple and affordable practice, regular oil pullers have reported any or all of the following benefits:

When swished around the mouth and in between the teeth, the antibacterial properties of the oils absorb toxins from the saliva, reduce the number of germs in the mouth, and help prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the oral cavity.

Benefits of oil pulling for oral health

Studies show that this simple cleansing process can whiten teeth, strengthen gums, and help heal and prevent oral health issues such as:

  • Cavities and gingivitis
  • Plaque
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Dryness of lips, mouth, and throat

Other benefits of oil pulling

Oil pulling is also used to treat and prevent health conditions beyond the mouth. Some of the benefits may include:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Seasonal allergies relief
  • Headache relief
  • Reducing chest congestion
  • Detoxifying the body of harmful metals
  • Certain skin conditions like eczema
  • Supports healthy kidney function
  • May relieve ulcers and diseases of the stomach

How to do oil pulling:

  1. Put 1-2 teaspoons oil into your mouth. The recommended oils for this practice are sesame oil, organic coconut oil, or sunflower oil.
  2. Swish the oil for 20 minutes. This will allow the oil to break through the plaque and start reabsorbing the bacteria. First the oil will turn into a thin, white liquid. Then the oil will get thicker and more opaque as it continues to mix with saliva and absorb the toxins. If you find it difficult to swish for 20 minutes at first, that’s ok! Try for 10-15 minutes and then eventually build up to 20 minutes.
  3. Spit out oil. After 20 minutes have passed, you’re ready to spit the oil out. It’s very important that you do not swallow the oil—it’s full of toxins! It’s best to spit oil out in a plastic bag or paper towel. Spitting the oil in your sink can clog your pipes.
  4. Thoroughly rinse your mouth. After spitting the oil out, rinse your mouth out with salt water or apple cider vinegar to make sure all of oil is removed.
  5. Brush well. This last step will kill any remaining bacteria and ensure your mouth and teeth are clean.

It’s recommended to make oil pulling part of your daily routine for optimal results. Although any time of day will suffice, experts agree that it is best done in the morning before eating or drinking anything.

– See more at: http://www.wellnesswarriorette.com/blog/connect/blog/2013/04/the-health-benefits-of-oil-pulling#sthash.xGnSx1Oj.dpuf

  • Improved oral health (brighter and whiter teeth, healthier gums, prevents bad breath)
  • Increased energy
  • A clearer mind
  • Decreased headaches
  • Clearer sinuses
  • Alleviated allergies
  • Improved sleep
  • Clearer skin
  • Improved PMS symptoms
  • Regulated menstrual cycles
  • Improved lymphatic system

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Oil Pulling: A “How To” Guide

First, put 1-2 teaspoons of oil into your mouth. Traditionally oil pullers used virgin sesame oil (I did try this first time round but found it just a little bit yuck! Or perhaps I am just being a little precious? 😉 ) So, sunflower oil and coconut oil are also recommended. I like coconut oil for the flavour and additional antibacterial, enzymatic and anti-inflammatory qualities. It is very important to select a high quality, unrefined and cold pressed oil for this technique. You may like to warm the oil prior to use, my jar of coconut oil is always solid on chilly Melbourne mornings.

Swish the oil in your mouth for 20 minutes. This will allow the oil to break through the plaque and start absorbing oral bacteria. First the oil will turn into a thin, white liquid. Then the oil will become thicker and more opaque as it continues to mix with saliva and absorb toxins. You might find it difficult to swish for the full 20 minutes at first, I certainly did! Just try for as long as you can, gradually building to 20 minutes over time.

Spit out the oil. After 20 minutes (or so) have passed, you are ready to spit the oil out. Please do not swallow the oil – you will be ingesting all those nasty toxins you have worked so hard to remove! I recommend spitting into a paper towel and then discarding, the thick nature of the oil may well clog your sink pipes.

Thoroughly rinse your mouth. After spitting the oil out, rinse your mouth with sea salt water or apple cider vinegar to make sure all the oil is removed from in between teeth and gums.

Finally, brush your teeth. This last step will kill any remaining bacteria and ensure your mouth and teeth are squeaky clean. Please note that oil pulling is not a substitute for your morning brush.

Oil Pulling: Some Tips & Tricks

Oil pulling is best completed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. And for optimal results consider including it as part of your regular daily routine. At first I found it difficult to fit oil pulling into my morning (it’s difficult to eat your breaky with a mouthful of oil!) so then I had the savvy idea of adding it to my shower, means no mess if I dribble! Plus don’t get me started on the other applications of a jar of coconut oil in the shower!

After just one month I can see that my mouth is healthier, my teeth are shinier and whiter and my gums are a pretty pink. Additionally, I have seen improvements in the clarity of my skin. I would certainly recommend this practice as an addition to healthy diet for detox and cleanse. Definitely a practice that will continue long after the 30 days are up!

Happy pulling! ~ Sarah x


Sesame seeds and oil

Kitchen pandemonium and a necessary blog post hiatus.

A taste of what's to come - Thai inspired Bircher Muesli.

A taste of what’s to come – Thai inspired Bircher Muesli.

Just a little note to let you know that for the 1.5 weeks I will be totally and utterly ensconced in recipe book creation. In order to get this baby finished (as many of you would know it has been a long process and not without it’s hiccups 😉 I am having a short spell from my blog and will therefore not be posting any further recipes or ramblings until the eBook recipes are complete.

I look forward to having the space in my head to create new and exciting recipes to share when the eBook recipes are DONE!

Thanks for your patience, support and eagerness for the book’s arrival – I am so excited to be so close to the finish line and of course to be able to share it with you all.

Back to the mountain of dishes and mayhem that is my kitchen!

Activating nuts & seeds. The what, the why and the how.

Soaking in salted water.

Soaking in salted water.

Anyone who follows a food related instagram feed, Facebook page or blog will undoubtedly by now have come across people mentioning their activated seeds or nuts. In fact it became a bit of a hot topic in Australia recently when Pete Evans admitted to being an ‘activator’ – this of course invited all sorts of commentary (negative and positive) from every camp. Now let me preface this post by saying that whilst I am an experienced activator of nuts and seeds my way is not necessarily the perfect way. I have simply formed my own habits based on lots of research and feedback from others. If you google this topic you will find conflicting commentary for example on how long (or whether in fact you would) soak a macadamia or a cashew.

No one will dispute the fact that nuts and seeds are a really valuable addition to our diet. There are however mixed opinions regarding how we should eat them. Many would say roasting nuts and seeds removes their nutritional value, others would prefer theirs raw. Increasingly though there is a lot of valuable information suggesting that activating is the best way to consume them. I know from experience (and particularly given I have a compromised digestive and immune system) that it is very important that I activate. If I sat down to a bowl of unactivated nut/seed granola I would suffer awful tummy pain. For me, there isn’t another option, it’s just what I do.

What
So what is activating? Activated nuts and seeds have been made bio-active by a very simple process of soaking in salted water for a pre-determined period of time, draining them and then dehydrating them at a very low temperature in the oven or dehydrator. Nuts and seeds contain what is called phytic acid which prevents them from sprouting prematurely and stores lots of important nutrients. According to research when we consume phytic acid it reduces our body’s ability to absorb these nutrients. They also contain enzyme inhibitors which force the body to work over time to produce the enzymes necessary for digestion. I understand that this process alone ages us because our bodies have to work so hard to digest (I’m activating!).

Why
Soaking nuts and seeds begins the process of germination thus breaking down the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. This in turn make the nutrients a lot more readily available. There is also research to suggest that soaking your nuts and seeds for long periods of time actually increases their nutritional value.

How

Ready for the dehydrator.

Ready for the dehydrator.

Ok. So I am going to outline my soaking and dehydrating process with a few different nuts and seeds. As I said you will read varying opinions on soaking times so my word is not gospel! I do however hope that this summary helps you on you way. You will need salt, bowls, (ideally) filtered or spring water, an oven or a dehydrator. When soaking simply make sure that your nuts or seeds are covered by the water and leave them on a bench for the determined period of time. If using an oven it must be on the lowest temperature possible, ideally on the pilot light. If using a dehydrator I believe around 50 is good. You do not want to cook them, you simply want to dry them out. Its always best to do a heap at once because I appreciate this is a lengthy process. I fill my dehydrator to the brim. So look at dehydrating a good 2-4 cups of each food type.

Walnuts, Pecans, Peanuts, Pine nuts, Hazlenuts
Soak: Salted water (1-2 teaspoons), overnight (or approximately 8 hours)
Dehydrate: 12-24 hours or until noticeably dry and crunchy

Almonds
Soak: Salted water, overnight
Dehydrate: 12-24 hours. In my experience almonds take longer than the other nuts, for me around 15 hours. You really need to make sure they are very dry otherwise you will notice them going mouldy very quickly.

Cashews
Soak: Salted water, 3-6 hours. Be careful with cashews – they can go slimy if left too long so keep an eye on them
Dehydrate: 12-15 hours

Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Soak: Salted water, overnight
Dehydrate: 12 -24 hours, typically i find 12 hours to be enough.

Sunflower seeds
As with pumpkin seeds though typically I find they are well and truly ready within 12 hours.