Oil Pulling- Your New Morning Routine

I spoke last week about how I really miss detoxing, so I’ve been folding in ‘everyday detox’ measures into my daily routine to help avoid the buildup of toxins during my pregnancy and help support my health in general. Here’s one you may not have heard of, but you definitely need to give a try!

When I lived in Florida, I spent a brief period of my natural health learning studying Ayurvedic medicine. This is normally associated with Indian/middle eastern culture, and is completely fascinating in how far removed it is from western tradition, yet how completely effective it is! Many common health tricks (such as the Neti Pot and starting the morning with warm lemon water) have their roots in Ayurveda, but there are many Ayurvedic traditions that are not as well know. Oil pulling is one of those- it was on my radar for a few months, then I forgot about it until I got involved with a stellar group of crunchy mommies on Facebook, many of whom are devoted oil pullers!

HERE’S WHAT TO DO:
Swish 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil (or another lighter healthy oil, some like sesame) around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes. Don’t let it get in your throat, though- no gargling!
Spit the oil into the toilet and flush the gross stuff away. Don’t spit in the sink- the oil can clog the drain!
Rinse with warm water.

POSSIBLE BENEFITS OF OIL PULLING:
Remineralizes teeth and prevents cavities and tooth decay
Pulls bacteria, parasites, congestion, and mucus out of your system
Coats teeth with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral goodness from the coconut oil
Clears skin on the face
Gently cleanses the system of bacteria and parasites
Relieves congestion in the sinuses and mucus in the throat (similar to kapalabhati in yoga)
Heals chronic skin disorders such an eczema, psoriasis, and tinea versicolor
Gently whitens teeth and strengthens gums
Helps alleviate arthritis
Gently detoxes the liver

I’ve been oil pulling semi-regularly for a few months now, and I really do love it. It takes some getting used to (the texture of oil in your mouth is likely a foreign one haha) but the effects are undeniable! I have struggled with bleeding gums since being pregnant, but much of that has disappeared since I’ve started pulling. My mouth feels cleaner, my skin is very clear, and much of my chronic sinus congestion has been kept at bay. In short, I’m a believer!

The World’s Worst Cold Season

Hi, friends!

It goes without saying how sad I am that I literally haven’t posted a blog in over a month. This blog is therapeutic for me- a way to process what I am learning, share what I am passionate about and, yes, release a bit of frustration sometimes. Well, that frustration has certainly come to a head in the past weeks because it seems that myself and everyone I know is sick! Seeing this, I thought I would share some steps you can take to prevent and combat the common cold when it has you down and out.

About three weeks ago, I came down with the worst cold I have ever had- I was like a walking Nyquil commercial. I had a sore throat, itchy eyes, terrible sinus congestion, couldn’t sleep as a result, it was just awful. Never had I come down with such a stereotypically miserable cold. It just so happened that I was co-Music Director for that weekend’s Chrysalis Retreat, and the one thing I was dreading was beginning to happen- losing my voice. Well, I made it through- and here are some of the tricks I used to keep my voice and my sanity during those stuffy days:

20130301-124916.jpg

Medicinal Teas. My two go-tos were both from Traditional Medicinals: Gypsy’s Cold Care and Throat Coat. Spoiler alert- they both taste kind of awful, but they are both very effective. Gypsy’s lessens general cold symptoms as well as cutting down on the duration of the cold, while Throat Coat is particularly useful if you are prone to laryngitis whenever you get sick, like me. There are mixed views on using Throat Coat when you are sick- especially if your throat issues are sinus related, it can sometimes make you produce more mucus in an attempt to lubricate the throat. Bottom line- use your best judgement. Don’t use it for the first time before a big performance unless you know how your body will react.

20130301-125057.jpg

Honey. So much of it. Raw and local is best. Over the course of the Chrysalis weekend, I downed close to a two pound bottle of raw honey (a lot of this in attempts to cover the taste of the Throat Coat tea!). Honey is an antiseptic and a lubricant, which helps both coat and heal your throat.

20130301-125330.jpg

Neti pot or other sinus rinse. Yes, this is uncomfortable at first, but you are not only removing excess mucus, but neutralizing PH and flushing out any germs and allergens in your nasal passages. I was doing this upwards of 4x a day when my cold was at its worst.

20130301-125201.jpg

BLOW your NOSE. I can’t emphasize this enough! Keep tissues with you all the time- Target sells really cute little ’tissue wallets’ that I should by stock in. The more you can get that stuff out, the better off you are going to feel. Sniffing and swallowing (gross, I know) is only going to keep you sick. It can even give you an upset stomach. Just don’t let it happen.

-Sleep sitting up. Not completely, but prop two or three pillows under your head to keep post-nasal drip at bay. It sicks but you will probably end up sleeping better than you would have originally.

-Check out your environment. We recently discovered a lovely mold infestation in our closet- no wonder we are staying sick forever! Make sure that you don’t have a culprit hiding somewhere…

-Healing baths. This can help any type of sickness- taking a hot bath is like having a self-induced fever- your body temperature rises and your body’s immune responses are heightened, which helps fight off germs. Adding helpful herbs like peppermint, eucalyptus, or rosemary can aid in clearing congestion. If you don’t have a bath tub, put some essential oils in the corner of your shower and inhale in the steam!

20130301-125439.jpg

-Steam inhalations– these are my favorite! Boil a pot of water, pour it into a bowl and add some essential oils (eucalyptus is the most effective). Form a tent over your head with a towel and inhale! Have tissues ready because this can work very quickly! I like to do this after I do a sinus rinse- it leaves me clear and feeling good.

-Supplements. Vitamin C is a given, but Vitamin D is also proven to help ward off sickness! Echinacea is an easy-to-find herb that is a powerhouse for strengthening the immune system. It is often paired with Goldenseal. Green tea and other antioxidant-rich supplements will help, too!

-Eat foods that will help your body heal. Focus on getting a plant-based, whole foods diet especially when you are sick. Get away from the processed foods! Dairy especially is a big hindrance to healing and makes you produce more mucus. Red meats take more energy for your body to digest, which pulls energy away from the healing process. Juices are great when you are sick, because they are chock full of nutrients but easy to digest- letting your body focus all of it’s energy on healing! Garlic and Onions are two foods that are especially good for mucus cleansing. Ideally- a whole foods vegan diet. I know it’s hard, but do your best!

-Get your rest. If you are run down, so is your immune response. Get enough sleep and take care of your body, it will take care of you!

Wishing you a health and energy this cold season,

Karli