Oil pulling…giving it a shot

I woke up this AM and decided it was time to try oil pulling. I had picked up a new jar of Coconut Oil yesterday at The Common Crow an awesome natural food store in Gloucester, MA. I wrote a post on some of the benefits of Coconut oil awhile back: read here. But at that time I had no idea what oil pulling was. Over the last year, I’ve heard about it more and more. I wonder, is it just another health fad? I don’t know! This is a great post by Wellness Mama that explains what oil pulling is and benefits of it.

What sparked me to finally try? In 2 different conversations this past week – I noticed some pearly whites…and had to say “your teeth look so white!” And I got the same response (2 different people, 2 different conversations) = “I’ve been doing oil pulling!” Boom. Done. Convinced me to try since I love whitening my teeth but those damn strips huuuurt my teeth and gums, ouch. Could this be a healthier, more comfortable alternative??

In a nutshell, I swished some coconut oil around my mouth this morning – what I’m hoping to get out of it – whiter teeth and fresher breath…oh and, I have 2 crowns that always bother me…hoping it helps clean around those babies. 

new jar of Coconut Oil. Ready to be swished

new jar of Coconut Oil. Ready to be swished

My initial reaction when I put it in my mouth…a big glob of room temp coconut oil – “oh gross…gross…so thick.” But then I started swishing it around and realized it tastes faintly like coconut and nothing else- shocking, I know. I love the taste of coconut, that helps. The texture is thick but as you swish it around it starts to thin out. I tried to do it for the recommended 15-20 mins…they say it’s good to do it in the shower – 2 birds, 1 stone! But I did it while watching a movie…and I only lasted about 10 mins. Which I was fine with for my first time. My jaw actually got tired. Clearly, I need to relax my swishing a bit.

I brushed my teeth after, as recommended to remove any lingering bacteria. My mouth feels clean. No after-taste or oily feeling on my teeth.

I’ll check back in a week or so to let you know what I think. And let you know if there are any noticeable differences. 

Have you tried oil pulling??

Tried & True: COCONUT OIL (read me!)

A few months back I was talking to my sister about ‘natural’ skin care products…she mentioned that she uses Coconut Oil every night on her face and neck. After this conversation, it seemed like Coconut Oil and its many benefits kept popping up. Finally, I gave into my curiosity and went to Whole Foods (my safe haven for truly ‘natural’ and high quality products) to get some Coconut Oil and try it out for myself. While I was there, one of the employees helped educate me on what to look for when buying Coconut Oil – she told me to look for 2 key things on the label (she also told me she uses it all over her body and for cooking!):

  • ORGANIC/Non-GMO: Organic certification lets you know the coconuts were grown as naturally as possible with no pesticides, artificial fertilizers or food additives. If you want 100% natural coconut oil, then this is what you should look for when you buy coconut oil

AND

  • COLD or EXPELLER PRESSED VIRGIN: This is also referred to as Expeller-pressed. This is one of the best ways to make virgin coconut oil since it doesn’t use solvents or chemicals to extract the oil from the coconut meat. When buying coconut oil, make sure to look for a product that’s cold-pressed

There are many different brands of Coconut Oil – and with that, many different labels and methods for production. However, if you make sure you look for these 2 key criteria, you will be buying the right quality Coconut Oil. In terms of where to buy, I’d recommend a natural food store such as Whole Foods. This is where I got mine, in the vitamin and supplement section, it is the Whole Foods 365 brand. Here is the exact one I use – I love this tub!!!:

Image

If you’ve read or heard anything about Coconut Oil – it seems to have many benefits and uses from hair/skin care to aiding in weight loss and proper digestion and metabolism. It can be consumed (in other words, used for cooking/as an ingredient) or used topically on the body for a variety of benefits. I have yet to cook with Coconut Oil but it can be used as a substitute for butter in some recipes and I know people who put it into smoothies or protein drinks (in small quantities!)

For me, I was most intrigued by the idea that Coconut Oil can be used on the skin…my initial thoughts were…OIL on my skin? That sounds like a break out situation. Am I going to be a shiny mess? But the more I read up on Coconut Oil – the better I felt about using it on my skin – the main benefits are linked to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid and the antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, properties of Coconut Oil.

So, I tried Coconut Oil over the course of a week and here are a few highlights:

  • You don’t need to refrigerate. It is an ‘oil’ but if kept at room temperature, it should stay in a congealed form which makes it easy to scoop up and apply. It is super smooth and spread easily
    • Beware: in warmer months, store in a cool place otherwise, it will liquefy which makes it really difficult to apply to the skin without making a mess
  • Depending on the size of the area you want to cover, you only need a small blob of Coconut Oil
    • For example, for my face, I use a dime size blob. It should sink into the skin within a few minutes, but if not, or if I accidentally apply to much, I swipe off the excess with a tissue
  • When first applied, it does leave a noticeable sheen on my skin…my technique is to give it a few minutes to sink in…then, should it still feel or look too greasy, I tissue some of it off…the key is, give it some time to sink in before applying anything else (i.e. make up/foundation or clothing)
    • If you’re scared of the sheen effect, apply at night and it’ll sink into your skin during the night
  • It has a very light, if non-existent scent. It’s natural so clearly it has no added perfume – perfumes can be really irritating to the skin
  • The brand of Coconut Oil I bought is approx. $11 and depending how often you use it/how much you use, it will last for months. My lasts about 3 months – I use it everyday all over my face and body. So, it is very affordable! This is big for me because I’ve bought $20 tubes of fancy a$$ body lotion that last 3 weeks max., BOOoo!

Overall, this is how I feel about using Coconut Oil as a skincare product –

  • Although I was nervous to put an ‘oil’ on my skin, especially my face – I found Coconut Oil actually helps me avoid break outs…you can attribute this to the antibacterial properties. I have broken out LESS since I’ve used it
  • It is an excellent moisturizer, it goes on smooth and my skin feels supple after using it. I’ve noticed a difference in my complexion over the course of a couple of weeks. I’ve never really seen such noticeable results before with other products and I’ve purchased some fancy face creams that make big promises!
  • It doesn’t irritate my skin – it actually has the opposite effect because I’ve applied to my eczema (which tends to break out right under my nose) and it calms the itching and takes away the dry, flakey skin
  • I use it on my face AND I mix a few globs with body lotion and apply it all over my body…and I love it. Adding Coconut Oil to my body lotion makes it a bit greasier when I first apply, so I tend to let myself air dry or a throw on a pair of PJs while I do my make up so that the excess can soak into my skin. My skin looks and feels healthier
  • Oh and, IT’S NATURAL! Paraben free…chemical free! Which is fantastic. It makes me feel good that I’m using something without additives…we encounter so many chemicals during the day, it’s good to know there are natural, healthier options that actually work

Point blank, I now use it every day on my face and body.

My Coconut Oil regimen in the morning is, if you’re curious – shower, towel dry, wash/tone my face – then apply a small amount of Coconut Oil to my face. Next, scoop a good chunk of Coconut Oil from the container, then pump a couple of squirts of (paraben free!) lotion into my palm and mix the two together. Then, I apply all over legs, arms, stomach, etc. Let sit…sometimes I put a comfy pair of PJs back on and eat my breakfast or start blow drying my hair (typically 10 minutes). Then, I apply my regular face moisturizer which has an SPF and do my make-up…and get dressed. Boom, done.

Overall, I would recommend Coconut Oil to anyone looking for a natural face/body moisturizer. If you have any more specific questions, just let me know! I could go on and on about this stuff 🙂

Sources: organicfacts.net; Whole Foods