pulling the midnight oil

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i’ve done my fair share of “hippie” remedies. i mean, for one i take herbal supplements on the daily and see a nutritionist for muscle testing on a regular basis. then there was that one time i had a specialist attach tiny little silver beads to my inner ear in order to promote hormone balance (apparently i’m in good company though, penelope cruz made headlines when she used similar acupuncture beads last year). and i willingly put myself through not one but two juice cleanses. basically, if it’s a little strange and hails from eastern traditions, i’m pretty game. within reason, that is.

then i heard about a craze called “oil pulling” and immediately became intrigued. essentially its swishing around mouth wash for 20 minutes. except instead of mouth wash you use organic coconut oil (so not really the same at all). the oil is said to not only “stick” to the bacteria in your mouth and dissolve it -fighting such things as halitosis and gingivitis, but when absorbed by your tongue, the oil slowly makes its way into your body, further detoxifying and strengthening your insides. and according to wxyz, an abc news affiliate in detroit, oil pulling is having the best month ever with more than 11,506 tweets about the homeopathic remedy in just the past two weeks. there have been a number of articles on the subject posted on huffington post, including a video of two contributors trying the method for themselves (their faces are priceless). and while some have been leery of its ability to fulfill its lofty claims (clears up acne! whitens teeth! remedies aches and pains!), the overall consensus has been one of “well, it wouldn’t hurt to at least try it, right?”

but amidst a sea of skeptics, there are at least two gals that are singing the praises of OP. bloggers lauren of the skinny confidential and erica of fashion lush both swear by the twenty-minute trend. so with their lauds as inspiration, i threw caution to the coconut oil wind wednesday morning and decided to try the 20-minute swishing technique for myself. per both girls’ heeding, there are a few things you should be aware of before you go sticking a teaspoon of this nutty oil into your mouth.

don’t swallow it. don’t spit it out in your sink. and well, that’s basically it.

with little to lose (except maybe 20 extra minutes of sleep), what do you stand to gain? apparently a lot:

whiter teeth (i was sold on this benefit alone)

better breath

clearer skin

clearer sinuses

managed hormonal imbalances

cured hangovers

a detoxed bod

i know, even despite all of the awesome benefits, you’re still willingly gargling a spoonful of oil for nearly half an hour. objectively, that seems equal parts disgusting and excessive. and i’m not going to lie, on wednesday morning when my reminder alarm went off to notify me it was time to get my OP on, i was pretty nervous.

i headed to the kitchen, stuck my teaspoon into the jar of creamy coconut, and scooped out a big dollop. welp, here goes nothing, i thought. as expected, almost as soon as i stuck the oil into my mouth, my gag reflex immediately kicked in. but once i got past the initial shock, it wasn’t so bad. i passed the time by performing my morning routine as usual. getting dressed, applying deodorant and makeup (not together), brushing my hair, prepping the vegetables for dinner. it sounds cliche, but distracting myself with these activities really made those 20 minutes whiz by. and before i knew it, it was time to spit out the oil into the sink into a ziplock baggie because spitting it into your sink will royally mess up your pipes and i think they get enough abuse from the amount of my hair that gets clogged down the drain.

it could have been the placebo effect, but after the 20 minutes of oil pulling, my teeth definitely appeared whiter in the mirror. so if anything, that’s a plus because my chompers could really use some bleaching from their years of coffee stains. the other benefits might manifest themselves after a few more rounds of swishing and i’m willing to put in the time to find out.

so here’s to more mornings spent gargling coconut oil and to whiter teeth and maybe even a more detoxed body. and goodness me, to remembering never to spit it out in the sink.

1 Comment
  • Teresa
    March 21, 2014

    Yeah, oil pulling has been in the news quite a bit lately. It’s great that you were game to try it. I don’t know if I will oil swish. I use coconut oil A LOT anyway. They say it’s good to put on your skin; some people use it instead of creams and lotions. And they say they smell like coconut to boot! I cook with it because it can take extremely high heat. I use it in my smoothies. Keep us posted if you continue the ritual.

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