What is coconut oil pulling?

How can coconut oil pulling help your health?

Kill the bacteria in your mouth to heal your gut.

The Autoimmune Disease Series

 

Bad breath? Bad gut.

Bottom line; the decay and bacteria in your mouth reflect the types of micro organisms that inhabit your gut.

It is estimated that more then 100 trillion micro organisms are crammed into the mucosal surfaces of your body, areas such as your mouth, gut and skin.

These tiny critters are now being understood to be essential for your overall health, as they promote food digestion, the absorption and utilisation of vitamins and minerals, while also mounting an immune response to invading pathogens in your body.

So if we understand that the gut is the gateway to autoimmunity, we can harness the power of these microorganisms by supporting a great gut flora.

But  How?

By helping to keep the bad bacteria at bay in our mouths.

In comes “oil pulling”.  A naturopathic technique from Ayuvedic medicine.  Initially it was introduced to the West by Dr. F. Karach, who suggested that;

“oil pulling could cure a variety of illnesses ranging from heart disease and digestive troubles to hormonal disorders. He said it cured him of a chronic blood disorder of 15 years duration and within three days it cured his arthritis, which at times was so painful he was bed ridden. ”   Bruce Fife

(Source: Coconut Research Centre)

Initially people who do oil pulling regularly notice better oral health, some people get rid of infections and gingivitis.  However, as I explained before, cleaning up your mouth cavity impacts on your whole body, detoxifying it and helping to remove the toxins that are released.

In a study done in 2008, 20 boys did oil pulling with sesame oil and in as little as 2 weeks saw a reduction in the number of ‘streptococcus mutans’ in their mouths.  This bacteria is largely responsible for plaque build up and tooth decay.

Traditionally sesame seed oil or sunflower oil has been used in this treatment.  However, many people nowadays are using coconut oil, to take advantage of its lauric acid component which offers anti microbia properties, helping to destroy fungi, bacteria and viruses.

So in addition to these benefits you may well experience relief from: asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue, diabetes, headaches and migraines, PMS hemorrhoids, and various skin problems.

This process is so simple you should give it a try for a few weeks to see if it boosts your health:

On waking take 1 teaspoon (work up to 1 tablespoon) of coconut oil or other oil of choice and place it in your mouth.

Swish it around your mouth, drawing it through your teeth for 15 – 20 minutes before spitting it out into a bin or down the toilet.  Don’t swallow this gunk as it it very toxic with bacteria, mucous and pus.

It is basically like using a mouth wash.  The twenty minutes is important so if you need to spit before then just empty your mouth and start again to make up to the time.

Before meals, on an empty stomach is best and while many do this just the once as soon as they wake, you can do this three times per day if you feel that you need it.

Let me know how you get on with your coconut oil pulling.

“Smile, it lets your teeth breathe”

Gemma x

 

“If you go down in the woods today…” Boost your killer cells

Improve your health with forest bathing and chest beating

The Autoimmune Disease Series

Shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing’, is fast becoming recognised as a treatment for disease.  This is not just about calming the nerves.

Studies have found that trees exude compounds that boost our own production of ‘killer cells’,  which play a fundamental part in our immune system.  It is these killer cells, or lymphocytes that attack cancer cells.  Bottom line, they are a good thing to be producing more of.

So get yourself immersed in the trees, it is as simple, and as joyous as that.

And if you cannot get out of bed?  And even if you can:

Did you know that if you beat your chest, (or more specifically over your thymus, at the centre of your chest), you will stimulate the production of more of these killer cells.

A gentle regular thump of a few times each day  over the thymus, will stimulate this gland into action, rewarding you with increased immunity, strength and vitality.

In Feel Better, Thump your Thymus by Lisa Byrne she suggests that you:

“Do this for about 20 seconds and breathe deeply in and out. You can also add an affirmation such as “all is well in my world.”

You may know when you have activated the thymus gland as you will feel a little tingling or a subtle feeling of ‘joy’ or ‘happiness.’

Another variation is to do three thumps at a time but emphasise the first thump more firmly. For some people it may take a little time before you ‘feel’ anything. Persevere and you will get it and well worth it.

Do this every day to ensure your life energy and thymus gland is activated but do several times a day if you are suffering from anxiety, panic attacks or stress and allow your life energy to come alive.

Try to make it a regular practice.”

The Greek word ‘thymos’ means ‘life energy’.

So make it part of your daily routine to go down to the woods each day and behave like Tarzan.

The:

“Ahhhhhhh…ahh..ah..ah…ah…ahhhhhhhhh…”

might be a good way to let off steam too, but don’t say I told you to do it!

Do any of you know some great woods for losing yourself in?

With love, thumps, gorillas and Ahh…ah…ahh’s

Gemma x

 

Can this turn around for autism prove to be a vital link in your own autoimmune disease symptoms?

The Autoimmune Disease Series

 When I watched this TEDx talk I was moved to tears and I realised that it had to be my blog of the week.  I can’t say it enough, go back to basics; home cooking, food that you recognise…but watch out for the bouillon!

With Love
Gemma

Why water on its own just isn’t enough- the importance of hydration for autoimmune disease and chronic disease conditions.

The Autoimmune disease series

“Water is the matter and matrix of life”.

Albert Szent-Gyorgi,  Nobel laureate biologist.

Hydration wordle

In my last blog post, I listed many things that were extremely helpful at reducing inflammation.  Number 1 on that list was hydration and it was no coincidence that I put it first.  It really is that important.

I am going to start by writing a simplified summary of my blog – for those of you who just want to know what is required and don’t need a full and more complicated explanation.  For those of you who need to know why I am asking you to do something read on after my summary:

So to summarise:

Water is crucial at a cellular level to ensure that a correct balance of nutrients can enter the cell and that waste can leave the cell.  If dehydration occurs then the cell membrane can thicken and movement into and out of the cell can become much harder and the whole process is less efficient.  This can effect your cleansing at a cellular level but this in turn will also affect the whole of your body making you more tired and sluggish.

Eat soups, smoothies, stews, raw foods in addition to plenty of water through the day (not more than 1 litre in an hour).

Fatty acids are a crucial part of this hydration picture – lending themselves to a much more permeable cell membrane which will allow for much better movement of water as well as the all important nutrients into and out of the cell.  Ancient cultures recognised the need for oil and the crucial part that it plays in hydration.

Reach optimum hydration and you will be living  your true potential; you will feel more connected and with more confidence to trust your inner wisdom to heal yourself.

Now to the longer, more in depth part:

I have said it before and I will say it again, hydration is the cornerstone of everything that I do as a Naturopath.  It is a big wide world out there and many people will be trying to sell you diets and supplements to help you to overcome your long term disease, be it autoimmune or otherwise.  I would say that before you embark on any new diet or start taking supplements, that you address your hydration levels first.

Your cells and your body are comprised of 60-70% water, so if you only concentrate your efforts on  getting that bit right, imagine the impact that you can have on your health.

If your body does not get enough fluids through pure fresh water, soups, smoothies, stews, raw fruit and vegetables etc, then it will try to preserve what fluids you do have.  It does so by coating each cell in more cholesterol (don’t get me started on that one, but yes we do produce our own, especially when our body is under stress). We can see an extreme situation of this fluid retention in oedema or swelling of hands or feet; a  severe symptom that may have its roots in serious levels of dehydration (always consult with a professional health adviser before treating such a condition as there may be issues with  other organs such as the kidneys or the heart  that may be compromised by sudden increases in fluids).  Always increase fluids gently.

The thickened cell membrane helps our body to prevent fluid loss, but this is at the expense of the integrity of our cell membrane.  We refer to this self protection mechanism by the body as it’s “dehydration alert”.  As a Naturopath it is the thing that I look to first to “switch off” so that the body and its organs,tissues and cells can relax and restore their normal functions.

You see our cell membranes are meant to be able to allow a free exchange of nutrients into the cell and of waste products out of the cell. This creates a cleansing cycle which is part of what allows us to wake up each morning feeling refreshed and with a spring in our step and enthusiasm for the day ahead.  Such exuberance might all be something that you can only remember feeling in the distant past, when you are in a chronic state of disease.  Feeling sluggish and ‘toxic’ in the morning is a sure sign that you are not fully hydrated.  There will be more work to do, but hydration is the first place to start.

So why isn’t just water enough?

In her book Cellular Awakening  Barbara Wren explains:

“People living in arid countries also have ways to maintain hydration within their culture.  For example in Morocco the women working in the fields don’t take a lot of water with them; instead they take freshly pressed argon oil.  We see how certain cultures have retained the knowledge that a very important ingredient for maintaining hydration is oil containing fatty acids.”

To understand this we need to go back to our cell membranes.  Our cell membranes are made up of phospholipids which make use of fatty acids.  These fatty acids are a crucial component of hydration as they create a much more flexible and responsive cell membrane.  If there is too much cholesterol protecting our cells from fluid loss, there will also be a loss of fluids entering the cell.  Fatty acids seem to displace this cholesterol and help to increase hydration at a cellular level.  Although oil and water does not mix it seems that osmosis can, does and must occur through cell membranes but this all important process is aided when fatty acids are present and plentiful in our cell membranes.  So next time you swill from your  water bottle consider your need for increasing your fatty acid intake.   Fatty acids are found in flax seeds and Krill oil which can be taken in therapeutic amounts in supplement form.

The fatty acids working within the phospholipid membranes also help to keep the membrane fluid and flexible allowing for an efficient exchange of nutrients and electrolytes.

It is this, in and out movement of electrolytes that maintains the correct charge on our cell membrane which in turn recharges our batteries so to speak .  The charge on our cell membrane attracts electrons which in turn receive photons of light.  This light keeps us switched on, ‘enlightened’.  It keeps us connected…connected with others, but perhaps more importantly with our very own innate wisdom, with intuition and from this comes our trust in ourselves and from this our ability to heal.

Top 10 ways to stop your pain and inflammation

The Autoimmune disease series

autoimmunity inflammation

 

Reduce your pain and inflammation

When I think of the top symptoms of autoimmune issues; I think of the flare ups that we wish to avoid: Rheumatoid arthritis and the painful swollen joints, of Hashimotos with a thyroid gland that is under attack, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus with its rash and soreness in the joints and Multiple Sclerosis which presents with an autoimmune inflammatory attack against the myelin sheaths of neurons.

I would use one word to sum it all up; inflammation.  The body is at war and is creating havoc at a cellular level with tissue damage as a detrimental  result.  We can see, heat, pain, stiffness, numbness and tingling as cells come under attack and impingement compresses the nerve supply.  There can be a lot of pain.  One of my clients described the intensity of it as like “having broken glass in my veins”.

With this in mind one of my first blogs of this autoimmunity series is to offer ways to reduce this pain and inflammation.

So my top 10 list;
  1. Maintain hydration
  2. Reduce unhelpful foods and beverages
  3. Address your stress
  4. Eat a rainbow
  5. Be Trigger Happy; Identify and eliminate food and environmental triggers
  6. What’s missing?  Address nutritional deficiencies
  7. Repair your leaky gut
  8. Address poor adrenal function
  9. Alkalise your tissues
  10. Are you toxic soup?  Have a long hard think about where other toxic elements might be creeping into your life

Here they are again – my top 10 ways to reduce inflammation (with a bit more detail).  I will be delving into each of these crucial topics in a lot more detail in my further blog posts.  So watch this space.

  1. Hydration.  Did you know that the mast cells that produce histamine are generally found in the gut.   It has been said that we do not produce histamine unless we are dehydrated…keep up a regular practice of drinking 1-2 litres of fresh filtered water every single day (no more than 1 litre in 1 hour).  Hydration is the cornerstone of every disease that I treat.  With our bodies comprised of approximately 60 – 70% water this humble beverage is crucial to our survival.  Vegetables and fruits contain water in this kind of percentage so eating them fresh will also be a vital part of keeping ourselves in tip top health.  At the very least, drinking adequate quantities of water throughout the day will dilute the effects of that histamine in the gut.
  2. Reduce unhelpful foods and beverages.  Caffeinated drinks, alcohol, smoking, poor quality fats and oils, mass produced ready meals will all contribute to a toxic load on the  body which will place a strain on all of its systems, but will notably impact on our stress hormone production, our immune system and our ability to cleanse effectively, three systems that will be critical to reducing our levels of inflammation in the body.
  3. Address your stress.  Very low calorie diets, mental chatter, taking on too much, being an “over achiever” or a “pleaser” will all take it’s toll on our stress levels.  There is a very definite connection between our stress levels with it’s  release of adrenaline and our immune system so this is a non-negotiable area to manage effectively.  Find your own way to unwind.  Need some ideas? Yoga, gardening, a walk in the countryside or by the beach, breathing techniques, massage, positive affirmations or a long hot soak in the bath.  Be sure to find something that will provide a daily release for you.
  4. Eat a rainbow  Increase your intake of inflammation soothing foods.  Think of including a wide colour palette; blueberries, avocados, walnuts, kale, carrots and apples.
  5. Be Trigger Happy – Identify and eliminate food and environmental triggers.  Wheat and Dairy are right up there as the top 2 most challenging foods; the ones that cause the most issues.  If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis you might also wish to cut out the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, chili peppers etc) as a reduction in these food triggers has offered relief to many people.  Meat too has been found to be challenging, bringing acidity to an already compromised system.  There may also be a parasite or infection such as Lyme disease that is lurking undetected in your colon, slowing the recovery process.  So consider testing for such ‘triggers’.
  6. What is missing? Address nutritional deficiencies.  An organic, freshly prepared, plant-based diet will go a long way towards supporting your body in it’s return to health.  However chronic disease can really take a toll on the nutrient required to maintain optimal health.  B vitamins for example are depleted during times of stress, so too are vitamin C, magnesium and zinc.  Many people with autoimmune diseases also struggle with vitamin D levels, which will be at their lowest during the winter months.  So consider testing for these vitamins and minerals or start a regular daily intake of these vital nutrients.
  7. Repair your leaky gut.  Scientists have now confirmed that in cases of autoimmune disease, the lining of the gut has been damaged and breached, leading to absorption issues and a compromised immune system.  Some key foods and spices such as stewed apples, coconut oil, cinnamon, cloves, garlic and turmeric with starches that offer fermentable fibers like leeks, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichoke and yam, when taken on a daily basis can help to heal this lining and restore its integrity.
  8. Address poor adrenal function.  A stress response that is working overtime will have a devastating effect on our adrenal glands.  The adrenal glands produce cortisol which is involved in regulating our immune system, so ensuring that our adrenal glands are given the time to rest and repair, along with supportive nutrients to help restore them will have an enormous effect on our fatigue and ability to suppress inflammation.
  9. Alkalise your tissues.  It has long been documented that although our stomach needs acid to properly break down our food and kill off pathogens, our tissues should on the whole be slightly alkaline.  Juicing and smoothies combines with plenty of soups and salads will really help to bring much needed electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium which will help at a cellular level to promote cleansing and reduce stiffness, aching and fatigue.  Meat, fish, eggs and grains are acid forming (rice less so) so minimise these where you can.
  10. Are you toxic soup?  Have a long hard think about where other toxic elements might be creeping into your life; GMO foods, plastic water bottles, aluminium takeaway containers, fish or amalgam fillings containing mercury, make up products and haircare products all offering a deadly cocktail for your body to process and deal with on a daily basis.

I will address these issues throughout my autoimmunity series, but if you are feeling overwhelmed by such a comprehensive list, here are some of the easiest things to try:

  • Drink water regularly (I will keep on saying this)
  • Reduce your stress, build in some time for your self and make it a regular thing – even just a long hot soak in the bath while you plan how you can make more of an impact on your stress levels.
  • Add some herbs and spices to your food – these seemingly small additions pack a mighty punch so sprinkle merrily; think cinnamon on your cereal, Italian herbs in your soups and turmeric and cloves in your curries.
  • Cut down on those unhelpful foods and possible trigger foods; start to cook more fresh food yourself, one recipe at a time with as many greens and vegetables as you can.

Look out in further blogs for more inflammation busting ideas, recipe suggestions and video tutorials – all dedicated to supporting your body with its task of tackling an  auto immune disease.

With love

Gemma x