Oil pulling health beauty regime teeth oral health paleo natural primal-min

Do you do this health & beauty ritual?

The ancient concept of Oil Pulling is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance in the modern health movement. The concept is a simple enough; you use a high quality, plant based oil (i.e. coconut oil) as a ‘mouthwash’ for between 15 and 20 minutes. But are there more benefits to this tradition than you might expect?

The practice of Oil Pulling originated in India thousands of years ago. It is mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic texts, first referred to as Kavala Gandoosha or Kavala Graha. It is used mainly for improving oral health; it has been proven to cut through plaque and toxins in the mouth very effectively. It is also a natural teeth whitener, and has a profound impact on halitosis – whilst more serious conditions such as mouth ulcers, bleeding gums and even gingivitis have been treated using Oil Pulling.

However, research a little further, and you will find that Oil Pulling can be used as a detoxifier not just for the mouth, but for the whole body. Oil Pulling has been shown to benefit troublesome skin conditions, such as eczema and acne, as well as hormonal imbalances – particularly those associated with the thyroid gland. Look a little further again, and you’ll find people who have used Oil Pulling to treat bacterial infections, breathing difficulties and to improve their kidney function. The practice is now attracting plenty of attention, especially from Holistic Practitioners, due to the wide range of conditions it has been shown to improve.

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How to Oil Pull

If you’re interested in trying out Oil Pulling for yourself, it’s a very simple (albeit relatively time consuming) practice to follow. Select a high quality, cold pressed oil; extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and sesame oil are all great choices, but personally, I opt for melted coconut oil. Its antimicrobial powers are already proven, there’s always some in my cupboard, and I love the taste!

Take 1 – 2 tbsp of the oil in your mouth, and swish for 20 minutes. According to research, this time period is crucial. Any shorter, and there is not adequate time to break down the toxins and bacteria. Any longer, and these toxins may be reabsorbed into the body. 20 minutes may seem like a fairly long time, but it goes pretty quickly if you incorporate it with other tasks, such as a leisurely morning walk. Just try not to bump into anyone who wants to chat along the way! Once the 20 minutes are up, rinse well with warm water before brushing as normal.

Ideally, this process should be repeated at least three times per week for best results. Due to the powerful detoxing effects oil pulling has on the body, some people have reported symptoms of a detox reaction during their first few days of Oil Pulling. These symptoms are pretty rare however, and don’t seem to reach any further than sinus problems (such as congestion) and minor headaches.

I’d love to hear your opinions on Oil Pulling. Have you tried it? Have you had any success? Let me know below!

Homemade Moisturiser Recipe skincare paleo-min

Paleo Skincare – Homemade Moisturiser Recipe

Everyone loves to pamper their skin, and in the colder months a moisturiser can be especially useful help prevent dry, flaking skin caused by cold winds and heating. Unfortunately the many commercial brands of moisturiser seem to come with so many added chemicals. Moisturisers often have harmful chemicals such as parabens added in order to preserve the life of a product. When you’re being so careful to have a clean, natural Paleo diet – the last thing you want to do is let these chemicals soak into your skin.

Homemade Moisturiser Recipe skincare paleo-min

You can use coconut oil on your skin, but if you’re after something a little different, you might like to try making a homemade moisturiser.

The following recipe uses natural ingredients only and is designed to be kind and gentle to the skin, while also nourishing it through all of the seasons. Once set, this moisturiser is harder and firmer than traditional moisturises and can be used as a balm for the lips, elbows and any other areas of the skin with dry patches.

Natural skin moisturiser

Ingredients:

  • 28g (1oz) of Shea Butter
  • 21g (0.75oz) of cosmetic grade beeswax
  • 20 mls of vitamin e oil, wheat germ oil or almond oil
  • Essential oils:
  • For greasy skin ad 10 – 20 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil
  • For dry skin add 10 – 20 drops of lavender or geranium oil
  • For sensitive/combination skin add 15 – 20 drops of camomile essential oil
  • Storage jar

The more oil added, the stronger it will smell so add the oils gradually first and build up to the desired strength.

NB: Be careful when making this as the beeswax can get very hot; take care not to get it on your skin.

Add the Shea butter to a saucepan and melt it on low on an oven ring or melt in the microwave. Once it has melted, give it a stir and then add the beeswax. Melt the beeswax either on an oven ring or in the microwave. Mix the Shea butter and beeswax together and then add your oil. Stir in your chosen carrier oil and then add the essential oils.

Once it has all blended together, add the mix to a small glass jar. Be careful not to touch the sides of the jar as it will be extremely hot. Leave it in its place to cool down. It is probably best left until the next morning.

Once ready the mixture can be used like a salve to soften skin and moisturise.

NB: Pregnant women should take medical advice before using essential oils.

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Natural Alternatives To Soap

So you’re careful to eat a natural paleo diet, but what skincare products do you use? Have you looked at the ingredients in the soap you use?

While soap is considered a necessity by most people for keeping clean, if often comes loaded with chemicals. Soap can also be very drying to a lot of skin types and strips the skin of its natural moisturisers and of its natural defences.

While there are many natural soaps based around essential oils and herbs, there are alternatives to keeping your skin clean without the need for soap.

Essential Oils

For some added fragrance when it comes to bath time, try adding some essential oils to the bath water. Camomile or lavender make an ideal combination if for relaxing, peppermint oils are good for stimulating and lifting your mood, and ylang ylang and geranium essential oils will increase your feeling of well-being.

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Epsom Salts

Some people find that once they have stopped using soap their skin becomes much drier. For some people this might be temporary, while for others the skin can continue to remain dry. Adding some Epsom salts to a tub of bath water will help soften the skin. Epsom salts are also believed to have many health benefits. The magnesium content helps to relax nerves and muscles and reduce stress. Epsom salts are also thought to reduce toxins in the body and relieve muscle cramps and pain.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is great on the skin – and if you have dry skin, applying coconut oil will certainly help.

Instead of using soap, try filling a muslin cloth with your selected herbs and then add in five to ten drops of essential oils. Tie the muslin cloth to the bath tap and let the aromas spill out.  The muslin cloth can also be used to exfoliate the skin and slough away dead skin cells without the need for an exfoliator, which can be damaging to some skin types.

Do you use a commercial soap, or have you found a more natural alternative? Share your suggestions and recipes in the comments section.

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Paleo for Better Skin

I’ve read about so many people going onto a paleo diet and noticing significant improvements in their skin. With a few tweaks, eating this way seems to have helped a lot of people suffering from acne, eczema, spots, redness, blemishes and breakouts.

Paleo Diet Primal Better Skin Care Acne Eczema Spots Breakouts-min

What causes skin problems?

It seems that a lot of issues are down to inflammation. Of course, grains are inflammatory, so removing them from the diet – and being very strict and vigilant, especially where gluten is concerned, will make a big difference.
Gut health and permeability also appear to be significant factors in skin. Heal your gut – and heal your complexion.
Hormones are another big factor. Eating foods like soy can interfere with hormones – so obviously following a paleo protocol (and ditching those legumes) will mitigate this issue.

Natural skin care

The chemicals in many of the commercial products are frightening. Lots of people on the paleo community swear by coconut oil.

Eat more fat

Getting over fear of fat seems to have helped many people with their skin issues. Try to get more fat in your diet – from good Paleo sources, of course.

Gelatin

Another paleo skin cure seems to be bone broth. Regularly consuming a high quality home made bone broth could be what is standing between you and beautiful blemish free, glowing, skin!
Liz Wolfe has produced a natural, paleo skin care guide, called “The Skintervention Guide“, so if you’re still have problems with your complexion – and want to find a natural solutions, you can check it out here.

Has your skin changed since you went paleo? Please share your tips in the comments below!
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What’s in Your Shampoo?

As people become more aware of the damaging chemicals contained within everyday products (like shampoo, conditioner, make up and lotions), it is a natural instinct to start looking for natural alternatives – or even making your own products so you know exactly what has gone into them.

Cleansing products we use everyday such as shampoo offer contain sodium laurel sulphate (SLS) and Parabens, which seem to be very damaging, both to our health and the environment.

SLS is a favourite of manufactures, as it helps to make their products lather and form a thick constituency – but it can be very irritating, not to mention toxic. With the skin being our biggest organ, and able to absorb whatever we apply to it, it makes sense to be very cautious about the products you use.

Avoiding Chemical Shampoo

Increasing numbers of people are going “no poo” – that is, going without shampoo entirely. For some, this might be a step too far – in which case, have you considered cleansing your hair with Kombucha?

For a simple, chemical free hair rinse, all you need is some water and some Kombucha. Although it is often drunk as a tea for its health benefits, it also has some beauty applications.

Using Kombucha will give the hair a natural sheen without the need for chemicals, and make it easier to control oily hair.  Kombucha will also make the hair lighter and easier to control.

Paleo Diet Primal Shampoo No Poo Kombucha SLS Paraben Ingredients Chemicals-min

The Kombucha should be diluted with one- two parts water before being used as rinse.

Herbs can be added to the mix to give a delicate scent. Herbs such as camomile and lavender will work well with normal, dry/itchy and oily hair. Camomile will also help to lighten blonde hair. For dark hair, rosemary will work well. The herbs can either be added directly to the hair rinse or lighted boiled first.  When it comes to quantities of herbs, just add a small handful, enough to give some fragrance, but not so much that the herbs swamp the water.

Another way to cleanse the hair naturally is to use baking soda. Just apply the baking soda to a brush and brush it through the same way you would a dry shampoo or wet your hair with a cup of water and then apply the baking soda.

How do you wash your hair – or do you go without? Are you careful to avoid certain ingredients in commercial shampoos and hair care products? Please leave your comments or share your recipes below.

Paleo toothpaste recipe natural-min

Paleo Toothpaste Recipe

Do you use regular shop bought toothpaste? You’re careful about what you eat – but what about what you brush your teeth with?

I just read the ingredients on two brands of toothpaste, Colgate and MacCleans – and was shocked by what they contained. I don’t even know what the ingredients actually are – and I certainly couldn’t find them at the farmers market. Here are just some of the common ingredients I saw…

Glycerin, Silica, Flouride, Sodium Methyl Cocol Taurate, Disodium Phosphate, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Saccharin, Methylparaben, Propylparabem C173360, C174160, Sorbitol, PVM/MA Copolymer, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), Carrageenan, Triclosan, Mica, Brilliant Blue and Quinoline Yellow

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Whilst you aren’t supposed to swallow toothpaste, it’s fairly obvious that the ingredients can get into your blood stream. And that’s just adults – do children really manage to spit it all out?

Animals don’t use toothpaste – and clearly a few hundred years ago we wouldn’t have been using such chemical laden products on our teeth. So is it really necessary?

Fluoride is a very controversial addition to toothpaste, and one that highly concerns me. From what I’ve read, Flouride seems to be highly toxic – and quite possibly not as great for teeth as the experts proclaim.

What’s The Alternative To Commercial Toothpaste?

Of course when you follow a Paleo diet, you won’t be eating the processed sugary foods that cause damage to teeth – this makes dental care a whole lot easier.

Instead of using a commercial toothpaste, you can go really basic and just floss and use baking soda to brush your teeth with. But baking soda can feel quite abrasive if you use it all the time – and also the taste might not be quite to your liking. You can also just use coconut oil. But, here’s a good recipe that I’ve tried. The peppermint oil takes the edge off the baking soda and leaves a “fresh” taste.

Ingredients:

  • 8 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 5 teaspoons of coconut oil (exactly what you use to cook with – hopefully unrefined, extra virgin)
  • 10 drops of peppermint oil (adding cinnamon instead is another winning combination)

How To:

Mix the ingredients together thoroughly in a small pot.

When ready to used, scoop out onto your toothbrush with a small wooden stick (or similar)

Remember – It’s not going to taste like what you’ve been used to in the commercial toothpastes – but you’ll soon get used to it. Your health and teeth will thank you!

What do you use to clean your teeth? If you’ve got a favourite recipe, I’d love to see it in the comments below!

Paleo toothpaste recipe natural-min

Coconut Oil Paleo Diet Uses-min

20 Other Uses For Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is by far the best oil for cooking with. It has a high saturated fat content (this is a good thing) and can withstand far higher heats, meaning it won’t oxidise and go rancid in the same way that other oils would.

Coconut Oil has got so many health benefits when eaten and cooked with; but what else can you do with it? As well as for cooking with, have you tried Coconut Oil for any of these things too? Perhaps it’s worth having a jar in every room…

In The Bathroom

    1. Conditioner – leave to soak in for half an hour – or overnight for a deep hair treatment
    2. Hair Styling – Use in place of hair gel
    3. Moisturiser – use as an all over moisturiser; it even smells good!
    4. Make Up Remover – far better than chemically laden commercial products, just use Coconut Oil
    5. Massage Oil – you can also add a few drops of essential oils
    6. Lip Balm – use to soften and protect your lips
    7. Toothpaste – Instead of using a commercial toothpaste, you can make your own using coconut oil as a base
    8. Exfoliation/ Body Scrub – mix with sea salt for an all over exfoliator
    9. Making Soap – use Coconut Oil as a base
    10. Deodorant – Check out some home-made recipes using the oil
    11. Aftershave – apply to soothe your skin

In The Medicine Cabinet

    1. Insect Bites – apply to the bite to start the healing process and stop the itching
    2. Insect Repellent – Get the Coconut Oil out before you’ve been bitten, mix it with peppermint oil and stop the insects attacking!
    3. Cuts, scrapes and bruises – apply to the area to promote healing and form a protective barrier
    4. After Sun – if you over did the sun and got a little burnt, Coconut Oil will soothe your skin
    5. Sun protection – you can also use the oil as a natural sun screen

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In The Kitchen

    1. Oil your wooden chopping boards
    2. Season your iron cookware

In The Nursery

  1. Babies Cradle Cap – a natural remedy for a dry scalp
  2. Nappy (diaper) rash – use coconut oil instead of commercial products

What else do you use Coconut Oil for? Have you tried any of the uses above?

No shampoo no poo natural health beauty paleo-min

No Shampoo?

The one Paleo area I’ve been completely avoiding has been the whole No Shampoo & No Soap issue.  I recently had my hair done for my Birthday and I was quite shocked by the number of products I was smothered in (my hair didn’t look that amazing after either):

  • Shampoo
  • Colours for highlights
  • Shampoo
  • Toner
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Leave in conditioner
  • Spray to make my hair soft
  • Spray to give my hair volume
  • Wax to give my hair texture, and
  • Hairspray

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This trip to the hairdressers has forced me to think about the other chemicals I expose myself too.  It’s all well and good being strict with my nutrition, but surely reducing exposure to chemicals like this, is of great importance too.

The ingredients list in a typical bottle of shampoo or shower gel often reads like a chemistry text book.  Given that skin is our largest organ, it’s a reasonable assumption that chemicals are going to be able to transfer from the products to your blood stream.

Shampoo

I just looked up the ingredients of a Pantene shampoo I often use.  I can’t even pronounce some of these chemicals: –

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Fragrance, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Citric Acid, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Tetrasodium Edta, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Methylchloroisothiazolinone/Methylisothiazolinone

When researching the ingredients used in commercial shampoos and soaps all sorts less than favourable articles came up.  Many of the chemicals are irritants and have many properties I just don’t want in my system.

A lot of Paleo people go entirely without shampoo and soap, but I just don’t think I’m ready to go this far, yet.  My main problem with camping is not being able to wash my hair every morning; the thought of voluntarily doing this from the comfort of my home isn’t a terribly attractive proposition!

The harsh chemicals in shampoo seem to strip away the scalps natural sebum, drying it out – and greasy hair appears to be the scalps compensation for this overly dried out scalp!  From what I’ve read and from speaking to Paleo friends who’ve gone no ‘poo, it seems like the first week or two is not a good look – but then your hair is supposed to become soft, shiny and wonderful!

A lot of people use natural products such as eggs, apple cider vinegar and baking soda, so perhaps that would be a good place to start.

What are your thoughts on giving up shampoo?  Or perhaps you have some top tips for conquering my shampoo habit?