Oil pulling, coconuts & Diwali

As I sat across from my naturopath a few weeks ago, I finally remembered to ask, “what do you know about oil pulling?” Her honest reply? “You know, that’s the second time in two weeks that I’ve heard of it and I know very little about it.” We agreed that she’d get Kayleigh (her student, my part-time caregiver) to look into it and report back to us both.

Imagine putting a tablespoon or so of oil in your mouth and swishing it around for a quarter of an hour or so. That’s oil pulling and I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now.

Diwali oilPhoto found here
Oil is, most definitely, NOT on fire for pulling –
I’ll get to the burning oil later in the post

Oil pulling finds its roots in Ayurvedic medicine and dates back centuries. The Ayurvedic belief is that oil will draw toxins out, cleansing us of the impurities we’re exposed to in our daily lives and purifying our bodies. If you’ve ever had an Ayurvedic massage, you know the drill. The only time I had one, I came out of the appointment and into the winter night air with oil positively dripping off my head.

While the type of oil used can vary, I’ve stuck to coconut from the start. I’m loyal to the coconut, but it also adds an extra challenge. If you keep coconut oil around your kitchen, you’ll know that when the days get colder, as they have started to here in BC, the oil in the jar hardens. Using coconut oil for pulling requires the extra step of chewing through the oil before it melts to a consistency that can be swished.

CoconutOil-660x443-456x423Photo (and excellent source for purchasing
extra-virgin coconut oil here

There are two camps when it comes to supporting oil pulling. In one, campers say that the oil actually purifies the blood and provides benefits that reach much farther than just the mouth (think headaches, hormones and skin.) The more skeptical camp says that pulling can and will improve oral health, but won’t extend beyond there.

For a complete step by step guide to your first time pulling (because it’s so simple that once you’ve done it once, you’ll never need to read the instructions again,) check out this link to WellnessMama.com. Katie breaks it down and backs it up with references to support the data.

Me, I usually only pull on weekdays (I forget on weekends.) I’ve noticed that I feel extra thirsty in the hour that follows pulling. My mouth definitely feels cleaner and more fresh. It’s a nice ritual to start the day – especially the fifteen or so minutes of silence. 🙂

Beach coconutPhoto source here

Coconuts seem to be suffering a wane in the their culinary heyday. Rewind just a year and everywhere you’d go: coconut. Coconut water is lauded for its rehydrating effects and high potassium contents. Coconut sugar lands on the low glycemic index and rates high for potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron and B vitamins. Coconut flour is gluten-free, high in fibre and the by-product of coconut milk production. Coconut milk can be subbed in for regular dairy and acts as the star of the show in Larry & Luna’s Coconut Bliss desserts. Heck, I even attended a quick course on making vegan cheese out of nuts and coconuts were a key ingredient! In wet or dry form, as a major player in a recipe or simply as a garnish, I can get behind the coconut craze. And don’t forget to slather it over all parts of your body – skin and hair love it equally.

This year, I learned that drinking coconut water directly out of a freshly opened young coconut is a real treat. Maybe someday I’ll teach you how to open one. 😉

Today marks the day when the country of India and its people celebrate Diwali. I have WLA Commissioner Casey Cook to thank for knowing anything about it after he tweeted his good wishes this morning.

Diwali is celebrated as a national holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji and is also known as the festival of lights. According to Wikipedia, “Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil.” (There’s that cleansing oil again!)

Diwali celebrates, among others, Ram, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu. Ram returned to his people after fourteen years in exile and defeated the demon king, Ravana. Diwali lights represent the triumph of good over evil.

Lakshmi, the goddess of happiness and prosperity, also features highly in Diwali celebrations. In addition to the celebration of Ram, the lights are meant to lure Lakshmi into homes, since she is said to be roaming the earth in search of purity and cleanliness.

DivaliFrom Boston.com: here

Though communities celebrate the festival differently depending on where in the world they may be, the common theme and celebration is the awareness of the inner light.

Wherever you are, may you take some time today to celebrate your inner light. Don your silks and your jewels, light your home and your world and dance in celebration of that light which is within us all.

Diwali ki Shubhkamnayein
दिवाली की शुभकामनाएं
Happy Diwali!

05-golden-temple-diwaliThis and more gorgeous Diwali photos here

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