Tag Archives: Health

Oil Pulling

1 Jun

I’d heard a little about oil pulling and originally dismissed it as another fad or too ‘out there’. But then it kept coming up so I did a little research then thought I’d give it a go, and lo and hold for the past two and a half months I’ve been pulling every day 🙂 .

What on earth is it? It’s an ancient Ayurvedic method of detoxing to prevent and heal diseases. By swishing oil in your mouth it’s said to ‘pull’ out the toxins and bacteria that accumulate in your mouth. By ridding your body of these toxins you’re giving your immune system a better chance at fighting and preventing inflammation and disease.

How do you do it? You take a heaped teaspoon of cold pressed oil (I use coconut oil – go figure) and swish it around in your mouth first thing in the morning for 15-20mins, before you have anything to eat or drink. I know, I was like “20mins – aint nobody got time for that”, but you can do it in the shower or when preparing your breaky or fave green juice or whatever.

I personally get up an extra 20mins earlier and get back into bed and read or journal or meditate for 20mins whilst pulling. I find this super calming, I’ve heard somewhere that how you spend your first hour of the day paves the way for how you are going to spend the rest of your day, so I’m spending my morning in quiet reflection then my days are going smoother. A friend of mine with kids loves this quiet time for herself, especially not being able to talk to others first thing. So it’s some beneficial ‘me time’ or ‘self love’ time before starting my day.

This is mid pull trying not to laugh

Mid pull trying not to laugh

Spit don’t swallow– make sure you are sitting upright when you are pulling and don’t swallow during or after pulling as you’ll just be ingesting the toxins. Also, spit into the bin and not the sink as the oil will solidify and clog your sink. I take the oil when it’s still solid but you can heat it up so it is already liquid if this helps.

Why would you do it? Regular oil pulling has been shown to assist in the following health ailments:

  • Common diseases like allergies, headaches and colds
  • Respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis
  • Dental problems like gum disease, bad breath, infections of the mouth or yellow, discoloured teeth
  • Skin complaints like pimples, pigmentation, itching, rashes, eczema
  • Digestive issues including constipation
  • Arthritis and joint pains
  • Heart disease and blood pressure
  • Hormonal disturbances like irregular menstrual cycle, PMS symptoms
  • Lack of energy

What I’ve noticed- So two months in and I’ve definitely noticed less brain fog throughout my days. I’ve also noticed that I’m calmer. I feel more balanced, this could be due to less toxins floating around. I’m not craving sugar as much (happy dance). I’m sleeping better (whoop). Also my teeth are whiter – I’m still getting comments on my teeth and I haven’t used my chemical laden bleaching solution for months – double yippee.

Will I continue? – Yes for sure, I love this ritual so I’ll be spending my first waking moments pulling indefinitely! Agreed that it’s a little weird, I’ve got many an eye rolling ‘what next’ look from family and friends but I feel great so I’m sticking with it.

For more information head to http://www.oilpulling.org

Leave a comment if have any questions or would like to share a pulling story.

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Sleep for a SuperYou

16 May

Sleep is so important for our health and wellbeing and vital for those trying to lose weight.  Just one night of disrupted sleep affects our mood and ability to think clearly, our blood sugar levels, our chances of getting sick or depressed and highly influences the ageing process. When we sleep millions of our cells rest and rejuvenate. We grow new brain cells, repair and rebuild lean muscle and our body produces more of a natural chemical called interleukin-1, which is responsible for organising the immune system. When we don’t produce enough interleukin-1, we become more susceptible to disease.

Ironically I’m writing this before a night shift, mine and I’d say the majority of nurses’ crappiest thing… I’m wondering if doing this work is making me crazy, fat, and a bitch, and turns out it is (oh dear).

091What is it that puts our bodies off balance if we don’t catch enough Z’s??

Sleep deprivation messes with the endocrine system, this disrupts the regulation of energy balance and levels of the hormones Leptin and Ghrelin.

These are hormones which act on the hypothalamus, a portion of your brain that regulates appetite and satiety.

Leptin is produced by the fat cells and is present in the blood stream. This hormone decreases hunger by letting the hypothalamus know that we have enough fat (therefore put the fork down).

Leptin could be one of the hormones responsible for putting weight back on after a diet as it will recognise that fat cells are low, therefore, increase appetite.

Ghrelin is secreted by the stomach and increases hunger. This hormone is regulated throughout the day and higher levels are released close to meal times.

Research by Schmin et al, (2008) showed a reduction of sleep to 4 hours for two nights in a row proved to decrease circulating levels of leptin and increased the levels of ghrelin AND increased hunger… So consequently, these imbalances of hormones cause an increase in appetite, and a decrease of that part of your brain that (quietly) perks up and says, ‘’no Kim you don’t need to shove those chips into your face, they don’t serve you, you’re actually full from the last binge of lollies at 1am but if you must…”

This explains why the minute we are overtired our willpower and healthy eating habits go out the window and we find that sticking to such habits become that much harder.

So what can we do about it?

  • Pretty simple, try and get your 8 hours sleep a night where possible. The best time for regulating circadian times is between 10pm and 6am. When it’s dark you are meant to sleep, so avoid excess light in your bedroom. Sleep in a pitch black room as artificial light will trick your pineal gland in the brain to decrease the production of melatonin. This goes for if you are trying to sleep during the day also, blackened out blinds can do wonders.
  • Try supplementing with magnesium. This important mineral plays a key role in the regulation of sleep. Research has shown that even a small magnesium deficiency can disrupt the nervous system and prevent the brain from settling down at night. Magnesium is especially important for muscle recovery if you are training or sweating excessively. Good natural sources include green leafy vegetables, apples, lemons, pumpkin seeds, and almonds.

For fellow night shifters out there or if in general you’ve had a rough nights sleep and need to push on through the day try:

  • Breathing exercises, take big SLOW diaphragmatic breaths by sticking your belling out on the inhale and drawing it in on the exhale. Try and count how long you can take to inhale and exhale. This will increase oxygen to your brain and keep you calm and focused. I do this every hour or when I remember. I definitely do it before heading to the ‘binge table’ and 9 times out of 10 it works to keep me the hell away.
  • Spending time outdoors: Try and break the ‘work-eat-sleep’ cycle by going for a walk or exercising outside. The mental and physical benefits from outdoor training are huge! Some of these great benefits include: increased energy, increased sense of wellbeing and calmness, a greater feeling of revitalisation and positive engagement, decreases in confusion, depression, tension, anger and depression (tree hugging optional).

Tree hugging optional -but get outdoors and exercise!

  • Maca powder: This nutritionally dense superfood helps regulate our hormones and could have a positive effect on Leptin and Ghrelin.  Maca stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. These glands actually regulate the other glands, so when these are regulated they can bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and testicular glands. Maca can also do wonders for energy levels as it contains high amounts of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and all of the essential amino acids. Maca root is rich in B-vitamins (the ‘energy’ vitamins) and has high levels of bioavailable calcium and magnesium –sweet! I put a generous teaspoon into my smoothies daily, or I add it to a teaspoon of tahini or nut butter which is bliss.

What do you find useful when ghrelin and leptin strike??

References:

Bowers, E, S. Living with insomnia: Get a good nights sleep. Natural sleep solutions.

Schmid, S, M., & Hallschmid, M., & Jauch-Chara, K., & Born, J., & Schultes, B. (2008). A single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal-weight healthy men.  Journal of Sleep Research.

Smith, S. (2009). Insulin, Leptin, Ghrelin the 3 fat hormones. Articles Base. http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/insulin-leptin-ghrelin-the-3-fat-hormones-933564.html

Coon, J., T. (et. Al) (2011). Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review. Environmental Science Technology.