Monthly Archives: March 2014

What’s the Big Deal With Oil Pulling?

Let’s start by noting that this is not intended as medical advice. I’ve included some links so you can get what information you can on oral health and oil pulling, but I’m not a doctor, dentist or anyone else who can tell you what will benefit your health. Get your salt shaker and take it along, one grain of salt as necessary as you read.

Oil pulling has become pretty popular lately. All kinds of health benefits have been claimed by proponents. I do it occasionally, and I have friends who do it. Is oil pulling really that wonderful?

Oil pulling is simple but a bit time consuming. Most sources say you should put some sesame seed oil or coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes for the best benefit, then spit into the trash. This isn’t easy to do, especially if you try in the morning when the kids are up and full of questions. Even five minutes has an effect in my experience, however.

In my experience, it’s pretty good. I don’t know about all the wondrous health claims some people make, but I do think it helps whiten teeth and helps get more stuff out of gums. I don’t believe the bit about pulling toxins from the body. I think any health benefits may come from having a cleaner mouth, which your dentist should agree means better overall health – just take a look at the connection between oral health and heart disease or diabetes.

This does not mean oil pulling will help you with these problems. It only means that you should pay attention to your oral health to benefit your overall health. Don’t neglect brushing, flossing or routine dental care.

Oil pulling looks promising for the reduction of Streptococcus mutans. This may be due more to a saponification and emulisification process rather than anything antibacterial. Studies so far have been small, so there’s a long ways to go in terms of proving any benefit. I also saw a headline on Pubmed about oil pulling being associated with lipoid pneumonia (caused by breathing in small amounts of the oil), but no abstract. Still, it’s good to be aware that it may not be entirely harmless.

This article on it on Jezebel is interesting too, especially the section with opinions from a periodontist.

Please don’t assume that oil pulling will solve all your health problems. There’s a lot being said about it that has not been proven. By the same token, it strikes me as a simple thing to try if it interests you and you don’t expect miracles and understand the risks.

Organic Eggs? Free Range Eggs? Cage Free? Which Should You Choose?

Organic Eggs? Free Range Eggs? Cage Free? Which Should You Choose?

If you’ve become interested in improving the kinds of foods you eat, eggs are probably one of the foods you’ve taken a good look at. There are options out there for those who want better eggs. The hard part is figuring out what “better” really is.

Now my personal favorite eggs are the ones I get from my sister once in a while. She doesn’t live close enough that we get them often, but she has backyard chickens. They roam the yard during the day, eating what they find, plus the scraps the family gives them and the chicken feed my sister uses. I don’t know all the details. I do know the shells are much stronger than the shells on grocery store eggs, and there is a visible color difference in the yolks.

But not everyone has access to backyard chicken eggs even part of the time. It’s worth looking at your options and really knowing what all the terminology really means, because it’s not necessarily what you think.

Note that the color of the eggshell really doesn’t matter. My sister’s chickens product brown or green eggs, depending on the breed, but there’s no difference in the quality of the eggs due to their coloration.

Cage Free Eggs

Cage free chickens have things just a little better than your standard caged chicken. They’re usually in a building full of chickens, crowded, but they can at least walk and stretch their wings. They probably don’t go outside, however. They probably do get treated with antibiotics. It’s an improvement but not much of one.

Free Range Eggs

This one doesn’t usually mean what you think it means. Take your cage free chickens and give them a little access to the outdoors. This does not mean they have access to pasture where they can eat grass and bugs. There are no rules about how long each chicken gets outside.

Organic Eggs

Organic chickens can usually go outside some, and they cannot be treated with antibiotics. They are also give organic feed. The facilities are inspected annually by an agency with USDA accreditation.

Pasture Raised Eggs

Pasture raised chickens lead the kind of life you’d think free range means. They have free access to come and go from their coop, and can eat grass and bugs as they find them. They are usually given organic feed and not treated with antibiotics. This is as close as you can get to raising your own chickens in the backyard.