Oil Pulling? This is the new health craze (and I tried it)

Gargling Coconut Oil.

Gargling Coconut Oil.

I’m amazed, fascinated, disgusted, and yes, more than a little bit curious about the latest health trend. Swishing oil around your mouth is the latest in oral health!  And I tried it. Apparently the practice comes from Ayurvedic medicine and the acclaimed benefits run the gamut from teeth whitening, breath freshening, all the way to curing infection and liver problems. Lets just say that I’m in it for the sake of curiosity and possibly some whiter fangs.

How to do it:

Grab the nearest vegetable based oil. You can use coconut oil, sesame oil, or even olive oil. Put about a tablespoon in your mouth and start swirling it around. Set your timer for 20 minutes. The trick is to swish the oil around calming and in a relaxed fashion, I learned this the hard way.

At about 15 minutes my cheeks and lips began to tremble with exhaustion, I guess 1 tablespoon of delicious unrefined coconut oil was a bit too much volume for my tiny chipmunk cheeks. Also, I was a bit overzealous with the ‘pulling.’

After 20 minutes, spit the oil into the trash can – not the sink or you will clog your pipes! The idea is that this oil draws the bacteria out from your mouth, so make sure you don’t swallow it. Now go rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth like you normally would.

Everyone I’ve talked to is similarly intrigued by the new concept. After reading this Jezebel article, even Zev was curious enough to try it!

Health fads are bizarre. It’s impossible to pinpoint how these sorts of things come into popular consciousness. But Oil Pulling has officially arrived as a thing. And I am always willing to try something harmless and gimicky.

I’m on my second day of oil pulling and I must admit that my teeth look a wee bit whiter (real or perceived?), my breath is fresher, and my teeth are insanely smooth. I’m hooked, and maybe you should be too?

Another health fad that I totally love: Dr. Bronner’s Soaps!

Pre-Trip Planning & Coconut Almond ‘KIND’ Bars, the Knock Off

Between applying for Chinese and Burmese visas, collecting all the odds bits of travel medicine and gear, we have been busy! Late last month we made a sudden decision to head to Burma/Myanmar for about 3 weeks in early December. While we’re both very excited about adding this country to the itinerary, it also requires some planning.

I made these granola bars to munch on while we ran errands.  They kept the crankiness at bay.

I tweaked this ‘Moments of Musing’ recipe to create my own granola bars – adding crystallized ginger, flax seeds, and a dash of cinnamon for some pep. The result is somewhat crumbly, but next time a quarter cup of almond butter might help to hold things together.

Coconut Almond KIND Knock Off Bars

Makes about 16 bars

2 cups raw sliced almonds, skins on

1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut

3/4 cup puffed rice cereal

1/2 cup palm sugar syrup (1/2 cup palm sugar mixed with 1/4 cup hot water) OR 1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup almond or peanut butter (optional; this makes the final product more cohesive, but I hate nut butter – so there!)

1/4 cup flax seeds (optional; for fiber and shiny hair)

1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8X8 glass baking dish with parchment paper, this will make removing the bars much easier.

In a large mixing bowl combine the almonds, flaked coconut, puffed rice cereal, flax seeds, crystallized ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Fold in the palm sugar syrup or honey.

Scrape the mixture into the baking dish and firmly press together. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Let cool completely before removing the hardened mass from the pan and slicing into bars. Wrap in parchment or wax paper to store. Can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week.

Enjoy and stay safe during Hurricane Sandy!

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Nats game!

Gotta love Nats Stadium. We sat in the Scoreboard Pavilion and it was glorious. A really fun atmosphere – Shake Shack within spitting distance, and the company of my best girlfriends.

Man, I’m gonna miss this city…

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