I had tried it once before, but had not felt strongly positive about the experience. Despite fearing the “ick” factor I had experienced before, I decided to give it a second shot. Maybe I was being too vigorous with my swishing the first time, or was trying to multi-task while holding oil in my mouth, gagging frequently for lack of breathing-while-running around. This time, I’m sitting quietly, typing this blog post, and tuned in to what my body is doing.
Starting with 1/4 tsp (1.5grams) of coconut oil, I didn’t know what the heck to do with it at very first! Instinct came to the rescue, and I began chewing the hardened oil, which quickly became more liquid. This time I was sitting down, breathing through my nose any anxieties that bubbled up, barring off my throat to swallow carefully (more of an urge that would have potentially led to panic or abandonment-of-trial if it went unrelieved than actually swallowing anything). Within the first minute, it felt as though inflammation in my mouth was decreasing. I had a small canker sore on my front bottom lip and my mouth felt generally acidic this morning. In the course of the first few minutes, I envisioned pus, mucus, and general nastiness extracting from my oral tissues into the oil I was holding and swishing gently between my teeth. My mouth started feeling less acidic and less inflamed.
Setting a timer for 10 minutes, I wrote this post. Timer went off, still writing, decided I could go another 10 minutes and reach the range recommended by the interwebs. After 20 minutes, my mouth and throat, really my head in general, felt better! This therapy gets my approval as something worth trying again, and researching further. Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, nor am I claiming to cure any specific ailments. I can see the potential benefits to those who suffer from canker sores, sinus congestion, indigestion, and inflammation of many varieties and depths as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
For another explanation of oil pulling, please visit this site. I welcome your comments and questions below.
If you live anywhere above the latitude of 30 degrees North (or below 30 degrees South), you cannot get enough sunshine on your skin during the winter to make the Vitamin D you need.
Can I eat enough to make up for this? Common sources of Vitamin D in our diet are fish (more concentrated in fish oils, like cod liver oil), mushrooms (increases in Vitamin D after being in the sunshine–they store it!), and Vitamin D-fortified foods. Unfortunately, most people do not get enough from diet, and supplements are often necessary. Even if you’re not much of a pill taker, Vitamin D comes in the form of oil drops that you take by mouth once or twice a day.
The current upper limit for Vitamin D supplementation is 2,000IU per day. If you have your blood tested and it turns out that you are severely Vitamin D deficient, your doctor will put you on a higher dose for a short period of time.
I have put together a few supplements in my virtual dispensary that I find helpful to have on hand during the colder, darker months. These are general recommendations, and do not take into account individual differences. If you are close by, or far away, and would like to ask me some questions or have me create a tailored plan for you, I am now offering Skype consults. Please book here.
To radiant health!
What do I, Dr. Katrina, do to gently detox every day?
Right now, I’m eating lots of soups. One of my favorite recipes is Borscht. The capital B is on purpose—this soup should be honored for it’s contributions to a smooth move in the morning, as well as liver cleansing beets and every-cell-in-the-body hydrating broth.
This velvety vegetable soup has me looking forward to making it again this weekend to last through at least part of the week, and I include it below for your enjoyment.
Hands-on time: 30 mins Cook time: 45 mins Total time: 1 hour 15 mins Serves: 4
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup diced beets (about 1 medium-sized beet, peeled—I used a knife to cut off the raw peel; flatten one end of beet by cutting off a slice for safety!)
- 1 1/2 cups diced potato (I used baby Yukon gold potatoes cut the same size as the beets)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1 onion)
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced (I made half-moon shapes by slicing carrot in half, laying flat edge on board, and cutting roughly 2mm slices)
- 1 stalk celery, sliced (didn’t have this, didn’t miss it, but certainly good for cardiovascular system)
- 3 cups chopped red cabbage
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp honey (I’m not a fan, so I omitted this)
- 1/4 tsp chopped fresh dill (sure, if you have it and like dill)
- black pepper to taste
- fresh tomatoes, diced
- sour cream or Greek yogurt
- additional fresh dill
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring vegetable stock, beets, and potatoes to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 12-15 minutes. (It’s OK if the potatoes are a bit more tender than the beets.) Drain, reserving the stock, and set aside.
- In the same pot, heat butter over medium heat. Add onions, caraway seeds and 1 tsp salt, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add carrot, celery, cabbage, and reserved vegetable stock. Cover and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in potatoes, beets, and all remaining ingredients.
- Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Taste and add more salt if desired.
- Serve immediately, topped with chopped fresh tomatoes, Greek yogurt or sour cream, and a sprinkle of fresh dill.
Adapted from Mollie Katzen’s The New Moosewood Cookbook.
I am very excited about the upcoming month. The abundance of late summer, school starting back up again, and the birth of Bothell Natural Medicine!
So, why should you be excited? This time of year, we can harness the energy around us to start making healthy choices to carry us into the winter. One of my favorite children’s book characters, Frederick the Mouse, takes the images and bounty of summer: yellow fields, brightly colored berry bushes, lush green trees ripe with fruit, and helps his little mouse family remember the beauty and warmth of summer deep into the winter. Frederick uses poetry to remember; we can use healthy habits to bring sunshine and wellness into even the darkest days of winter.
What do you want to remember again? Better sleep? More pleasure in your everyday life? Breathing?
Now is the time to remember our wellness; for now and for the winter to come.