Oil Pulling – part 2

The oil pulling post a couple weeks ago got me wondering. Since I’ve been curious about what other people think of oil pulling, I decided to talk to a couple people who I know have been using the process faithfully for the past year or so: My kids. A perfect idea, I thought, since the boys have been oil pulling for more than a year now and are pretty much certified experts. Plus, I thought, it’s always fun to get a kid’s perspective. I thought.

Here’s how it went:

Me: What do you think about oil pulling?

Kid: What is oil pulling?

Me: It’s swishing with coconut oil. What do you think about swishing with coconut oil?

Kid: I don’t get the question.

Me: What would you tell someone about swishing with coconut oil?

Kid: You take coconut oil and you swish it.

Me: How often do you do it?

Kid: Ummm, I think every night, right?

Me: Do you like it?

Kid: Aaahhh… Kinda.

Me: Does it help you? Seriously, now.

Kid: Yes!

Me: How?

Kid: When my tooth hurt, it helped. Or that time my ear hurt, you told me to do it. You have me do it when my nose won’t stop running from allergies too.

Ah-ha! When my tooth hurt, it helped. Alert the media, we got some feedback! It helped! Chalk one up for oil pulling.

So, in the end, things I learned:

Don’t ask kids anything. Kidding, of course. Actually, I was shocked to hear that my kids (by not have tons to say about it) thought it was a non-issue. To me, this was great. This means that oil pulling can be worked into a nightly routine that even 4-7 year-olds (their ages when we started) can adapt to.

I was really expecting a strong (and strongly negative) reaction from them. (This is based of course on the complaints, whining and avoidance of the topic in my household.) It was actually refreshing to hear them seem so completely unfazed. It looks like oil pulling will be staying in our nightly routine, which I’m happy about. I’m also happy to know that despite the tantrums (ok, maybe that is too strong for some of the expected whining) that would suggest otherwise, oil pulling isn’t actually causing my kids physical or emotional agony.

So, if you find yourself intimidated by the process, don’t be! If my kids are doing it and not even realizing it, you can do it, too. If you’re interested in trying it, see below for some tips to help ease you (and maybe your kids!) into the process:

Tips for adding oil pulling to your routine:

  • Use a small amount. Just ½ tsp of coconut oil will do the trick. (Warning: Don’t overdo it with a mouthful–you will gag and never do it again!)

  • Swish gently. Swish the oil around your mouth, like you are squeezing it through your teeth. (If your jaw gets sore, relax and take a break, you are being a bit too forceful.)

  • Get the timing right. Swish during a quiet time like during your morning or nighttime routine when no one is talking to you. Or maybe try it when you’re distracted by something else, like during a favorite TV show.

  • Start small and grow big. Start out swishing for maybe five minutes, then gradually increase the amount of time spent swishing to around 20 minutes.

  • Don’t swallow coconut oil. It’s now filled with bacteria from your mouth – gross. After 5-20 minutes, spit the oil out (preferably in the trash, not down the drain). Rinse with water a time or two, then drink a glass of water.

Tips for making it fun for kids:

  • Create a new language. Try to talk with a mouth full of spit and coconut oil… See what you get!

  • Keep it short. Get your kids started with just one minute of swishing, then gradually build up to five minutes (or 10 minutes for older children).

  • Capitalize on the quiet time. While everybody’s swishing, take the time to watch a few minutes of a favorite TV show together, or maybe hang out in the living room and read together.

Oil Pulling – part 1

A couple of months ago, oil pulling was getting a whole lot of social media attention. (In case you missed it, oil pulling is the process of swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for about twenty minutes. The idea is that it draws all the toxins out of your mouth and throat and improves overall oral health.)


Oil pulling is not a new process. In fact, it’s ancient. It is a type of Aurvedic medicine, which originated in India thousands of years ago. Historically, the process was done using sesame oil (which I have been told tastes pretty bad and you would miss out on all the benefits of coconut oil).


While a lot of folks out there seem to be singing its praises lately, is oil pulling a process that you need to run out and get on board with right away? Maybe. But maybe not.


Personally, I love oil pulling. For the past couple of years (yes, years!), the boys and I have been including it in our nightly routine. The benefits have ranged from opening the sinuses, easing and eliminating tooth pain to healing that sore on the inside of your check when you bite it by accident.

We’ve actually been out of coconut oil for the past couple of weeks now and I miss it, but the boys are going to stomp their feet when it’s time to add it back to the routine… add it to my list of “Yes, you have to brush your teeth. No, you can’t skip a shower today. Yes, washing hair is a must.” Why oh why must they argue about these things?


But, just because we’re into it doesn’t mean you have to be! Before adding any new step to your routine, it’s a good idea to consider the process from all angles. Personally, I like to mix traditional knowledge with today’s science and throw in a dash of common sense. Before I jump into changing any routine, I ask myself a few important questions:

  • Really?! (“Seriously?!” is an acceptable alternative)
  • What other information/data/experiences do I have that lead me to believe this is credible?
  • Are the ingredients accessible? Or BETTER yet, are high quality ingredients accessible? (And affordable?)
  • Why does it work?
  • How does it work?
  • Will it work for everyone?


The next step is telling my husband what I want to try and why. If I can’t answer his questions, I might need to reconsider the idea. (FYI I don’t always actually share those answers with him. Sometimes the answer is simply, “Because it’s better!” When I am confident in something new, “Because it’s better!” is sometimes just an easier explanation.) But it’s always good to run things by people you know and trust. Being challenged with new or hard questions can make you consider (and reconsider) ideas from new angles. Sometimes your ego might disagree with your mind, but that’s the point.

Oil pulling passed all of the tests. I tried it, I got my family to try it, and so far (two years later), everyone seems really happy with it. It’s another tool in our toolbox to lead fun, healthy lives.


But what about you?


For those of you who were introduced to oil pulling back when it was making the rounds on social media a few months ago, did you try it? If so, how far did you get? Did you read an article or two and decide it wasn’t for you? Or did you give it a go for a week? Two weeks? Months? Of those of you who tried it, I’m curious to see how many people are still doing it. Maybe you’re not doing it every day as it’s recommended (guilty here), but what about on a regular basis or pseudo schedule?


Let me know! I’m interested to see what everyone else out there thinks about oil pulling. Also, is there any series of vigorous (or not-so-vigorous) testing that you put your new routines through before trying them out?


Next week, there’s more to come on oil pulling! We’ll have answers to some of the above questions, plus some resources. Stay tuned!

Removing Halloween Makeup – Naturally & Gently

Coconut Oil – a simple and natural solution to removing everything from your sparkles to your fake bullet wound.

Young and old – we all share a love of dressing up so Halloween brings out everything from fake eyelashes and inch thick eyeliner to blood and gore.


All of this gets painted directly onto our skin, specifically our faces, which all have to go back to normal at the end of the night. No turning into a pumpkin at midnight, but unless you live alone and work from home, you do have to trade in the costume and go back to being a parent, teacher, boss, etc. in the morning.


With all of the planning, trial runs and product options, it’s rare to think of how to take the Halloween makeup off. Use Coconut oil. This natural oil will help to loosen and dissolve the makeup and glues. Do not try to pull the glue (i.e. eyelashes) from your skin – um OUCH and it is bad for your skin.


Gently spread the coconut oil over your face (or wherever you used the makeup), then just as gently, wipe it away with a washcloth. Certain areas might need a couple of tries. If needed, follow this with washing with a gentle soap (i.e. castile soap, combined with a little jojoba oil).

Note: We use organic, unrefined coconut oil (remember it liquefies or solidifies depending on the temperature).


Makeup Artist Kara Winslow highly recommends only using high quality products for your costume makeup. Your costume will look more authentic and your skin will thank you. She loves glitter and rhinestones on her clients!

Wishing you a Happy Halloween and tons of fun getting your Trick or Treats!!

Easy Help for Your Hair

A natural moisturizing treatment is long overdue for my hair. Something simple and easy would fit the bill. For years, I have heard of all kinds of things that you can do to make your hair look better and feel better. All of it seemed like too much work. That’s not counting the expensive store bought options either – I’m not one to try it just because of the great marketing.


I have been meaning to try a handful of do-it-yourself hair treatments, but just have not gotten around to it. My M.O. is low maintenance and simple plus I am always looking for products (or ingredients) that are non-toxic and gentle on the planet.


Time to try coconut oil!


To treat your hair with coconut oil all you need is some unrefined coconut oil (virgin & organic). Remember, it will change consistency with the air temperature. – from clear liquid when it is warm to sold and white with cold.


Start with a small amount (tablespoon or less) and rub it in to your hair starting at the roots/scalp and working your way to the tips of your hair.

Remember, a little goes a long way. The hair does not have to look greasy, just shiny. It will be ok if you use a bit too much since you will be washing it out soon.

Leave it in your hair for 30-60 minutes, then wash it out. If your hair is long enough, put it up in a hair tie and go for a long walk, read a book, do a little cleaning, catch up on a favorite show or whatever passes the time.

Time to wash it out. When you are done, simply wash your hair as you always do. No need to use conditioner though.


Today’s goal was to pamper my hair, not to get wrapped up in research – which is fun for my brain, but wouldn’t have made my hair look awesome – but I still wanted to know why it was so good for my hair.


In a nutshell, organic, virgin (unrefined) coconut oil penetrates the hair helping to reduce or eliminate damage, leaving it soft and shiny. Coconut oil is more than 90 percent saturated fat (this is ok, don’t freak out). It is extremely high in lauric acid (responsible for it’s powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal properties) as well as linoleic acid and oleic acid and vitamin E. It’s unique molecular structure helps to rebuild the protein (keratin) that makes up each strand of hair.


With its anti-viral, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal properties, coconut oil is also a good choice for those dealing with dandruff or cradle cap.


Here are some links to start some of your own research.



Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage J. Cosmet Sci. 2003 Mar-Apr: 54(2): 175-92


There are many of benefits to using in your hair, on your skin, in your diet, etc. expect future blog posts focused on this amazing ingredient!