One Month Of Oil Pulling

Beauty and Skin Care, Inspiration

Don’t knock it ’til you try it. And if it’s coconut I’ll try it.

I’m sure many you have heard about oil pulling. Swishing coconut or sesame seed oil around in your mouth for improved oral hygiene and sparkly white teeth. It had me at whiter teeth. Europe as yet doesn’t have whitening strips. Our only options, whitening toothpaste which doesn’t work, the dentist (€€€) or a bicarb soda and oxygenated water paste to whiten teeth.

Oil pulling come from Ayurvedic medicine. Swishing a table spoon of either coconut, cold pressed sesame seed or olive oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes on an empty stomach, pulling toxins out from the body, ultimately improving oral health and overall body health. 20 minutes is enough to break through the plaque and bacteria without the body reabsorbing toxins and bacteria. Many infections can originate with mouth bacteria and oil pulling can help with skin conditions, asthma, headaches, liver problems and infections (source wellnessmama). It makes perfect sense as nasty things aside from spinach linger in our teeth!Coconut oil

I tried it for a few days last year, but couldn’t get past oily coconut taste and quit after day 2. Fellow blogger Bitzy-Ku asked if I’d tried it or heard about it 2 months ago when I posted Coconut Oil Eye Cream. I said I had but, 20 minutes a day dedicated to and swishing oil around, where’s the time for that. I decided not to take the don’t knock ’til you try it route and give it a go for one month. I love coconuts, white teeth, it’s natural, it’s harmless, what I’ve got to loose!

It’s best done on an empty stomach, so as soon as I wake up, I scoop out about a tablespoon of coconut oil after flossing. Diesel (the cat) loves it as his Mama’s response to breakfast demands are muffled. By the time I’ve feed the cats, woken up, checked emails, sorted out the washing, made coffee, 20 minutes is up. Initially it tastes oily, but it only takes a moment for the taste to disappear. When 20 minutes’s up, spit it out in the bin, not the sink as coconut oil clogs drains. I rinse and gurgle with water and swish with toothpaste (brush after breakfast. I like leaving the house with minty fresh breath). Then I’m ready for my first glass of water and coffee. Yeah, I know coffee after cleaning teeth, but I’m one of those annoying people who drink coffee through a straw to avoid coffee teeth and breath.

Coconut Oil

One Month of Oil Pulling

The first day, my teeth felt cleaner and smoother. Day 2, I noticed light yellow staining was disappearing. I know the British have a reputation for bad teeth. Mine were whitish to start with thanks to genes (Thanks Mum!) and I’ve always taken care to keep them white.

Try not to swallow while oil pulling as you’re reabsorbing toxins and bacteria. I learnt the hard way. It took a few attempts to learn to gently swish, not hamster cheek it as it gets thicker with salvia. If it feels too much, spit it out (in the bin) and start again until the said 20 minutes is up. I find the coconut oil taste returns nearing 20 minutes. A week in, I had slight tummy ache for a few days. I put this down to accidentally swallowing the oil and toxin detox removal. Once I realised the problem, tummy ache gone.

It’s cheap and cost effective. I keep a jar of organic coconut oil in the bathroom, just for eye make up remover, night eye cream, hair mask and now oil pulling.

A month in, I get told my teeth are looking much whiter! I also noticed the whites of my eyes are whiter. My skin’s clearing up too. I get nasty cystic spots (another tale, not a happy ending) and have only had 1 make an appearance. I’ve also noticed my hair’s in better condition, my eyebrows are filling in again much quicker (yay! Back to thick brows!) and my teeth are less sensitive. I’m curious to see if my dentist notices any changes at my next appointment. I’ll point out that my diet’s remained the same, so it can only be the oil pulling. It doesn’t removal all the stains (behind lower front teeth) but 6 weeks later I’m still oil pulling and noticing myself my teeth are whiter. My teeth also feel cleaner and smoother all day, even after meals and drinks. It’s now become part of my routine. Wake, floss, oil pull, wake up.

Do you oil pull? What changes did you notice? Are you for preventive medicine or cure medicine? Coconuts? Crazy for them?

 

My Favourite Cruelty Free Make Up Brands

Beauty and Skin Care, Inspiration, Thought

One thing that hasn’t changed since I started wearing make up in my teens, is that the only requirement is, it’s not tested on animals. That’s meant my choices have been limited, but thankfully now, more brands aren’t testing on animals. Though the EU passed the law banning cosmetics tested on animals sold in the EU last year, my options now wider are still somewhat limited. A brand might abide by the EU, but still test in another country. Leaping Bunny and PETA are my go to list for brands that do and don’t. New up and coming brands, a quick Google search helps. IMG_5604

Choices are also limited as unlike France and I believe the UK, Spain doesn’t allow the import of cosmetics. I’ve tried, customs sends them back. Sephora in Europe stocks different brands to Sephora US, which is a pity as there as so many brands I’d like to try! Incidentally, skin care products were the next requirement not to be tested on animals, where my choices weren’t so limited. I still prefer natural skin care over chemical, but with make up I can’t be so choosy. And you guessed it, a few years later I began a vegetarian. But this post is about make up!Cruelty Free Make UP

Urban DecayUrban Decay

I love the heavier pigmentation of their eyeshadows. Having oil skin, the heavier eyeshadow pigmentation the longer it stays on. Their Naked Basics eyeshadow palette has a 101 looks, though I’ve yet to master a smokey eye. Can someone please tell the secret! I also use their Eyeshadow Primer Potion Anti-Aging Base, Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder Illumination powder and the Perversion mascara does exacxtly what it says on the tube: Bigger, Blacker, Badder lashes without clumping. Owned by L’Oreal who do test, they’ve stuck to their principle of no animal testing. Unfortunelty, the way I see it is that money eventually does get back to L’Oreal, but it’s the principle of it. I’m buying cruelty free product, not your tested range. It’s the same way I see designers who use fur. I won’t buy your sunglasses as the money goes back to fur eventually. Fuzzy grey areas.

Marks and SpencerMarks and Spencer make up

Marks and Spencer is an insitution in the UK. Whenever I’m back in the UK, I’m quite happy to be left and hour or more browsing their beauty hall, accessories, home range, well the whole shop. Last time I was back in the UK, I discovered their own brand ranges stamped with a Leaping Bunny and oh my. Their Limited Collection BB Cream makes a fantastic conclealor and the Autograph Illuminating Touch Under Eye Concealer pen covers bags, deflecting light. Their Limited Collection Lip Gloss isn’t too sticky and for a gloss hydrating. The only down side is that they can’t ship cosmetics to Spain so I smile sweetly and ask my family to send them instead!

StriVectinStriVectin CC cream

This is another brand I’ve recently discovered. It’s pricey, but I’m more than happy with my Everyday Coconut as skin care, so I stick to the cosmetic side of this brand. My usual BB cream had sold out and was restocked under a different shade name. The sales assistant who was helping me work out if the new Nude was the old Light, suggested StriVectin’s Clinical Corrector Advanced Anti Aging Face Tint instead. Slightly different to a BB cream, the coverage initially isn’t much, however after it’s settled it helps evens out texture, shadows, pores etc. It contains NIA-114 derived from naicin, vitamin B3 that helps fight off fine lines (read wrinkles) and stimulate collagen.

SephoraPrimers, CC cream, BB cream

Sephora’s own brand is cruelty free. I mostly stick to lip glosses and their version of the designer brands new products such as their Prep and Perfect Pore and Fine Line Filler which helps smooth out acne scars. I find their range of foundations a bit goopy and sticky for me and the shades too orange or too pale, but for nail polishes, primers the price is okay to try without shelling out huge amounts for a product you otherwise might not like.

Water

Hydration, hydration is the best beauty product! At the end of the day, if my face is an oil slick, I know I didn’t drink enough water!

Do you choose cruelty free skin care and make up? What’s your favourite cruelty free make up brand?

Avocado Toast

Fitness, Food

Cycling back yesterday, I didn’t want to go back. For the first time in months the sun felt warm on my face. I wanted to soak as much up of it as I could. Few clouds were blocking the sun and no cold wind biting. But I had to. I was hungry! First warm day

For the past month, avocado, tomato and hemp seeds on toast has been my go to post workout snack/lunch. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s delicious! I try to vary what I eat, but if I find something I like, I tend to stick with it for a while. It also answers a question I get asked frequently when people find out I’m a vegan; ‘Do you eat bread too?’. Yes. This vegan does. Just not the white stuff. Avocado, tomato and hemp seeds on toast

Toast 2 – 3 slices of bread. I prefer bread from the local bakers as opposed to ‘fresh’ bread from the supermarket. Supermarket ‘fresh’ bread tends to make me break out. Bakers bread, doesn’t. I’m in love with pan de cullera. A Catalan spoon bread. Wholemeal, full of seeds, makes a great peanut butter sandwich as equally as it does with honey*

Mash 1/2 avocado, or as much as you like on the toast.

Sprinkle 2-3 teaspoons of hemp seeds over the avocado. The protein element for those wondering where it is. Hemp seeds are an amazing ‘superfood’ packed with protein, fatty acids, magnesium, iron, potassium and vitamin E.

Top with tomato. I prefer cherry tomatoes as I like their sharpness.

Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

Top with mixed lettuce optional.

Enjoy!

Last week I complied a gym observation list where I mentioned there’s alway one guy who NEVER works his lower body, only upper and knows everything about fitness. I nearly dropped my medicine ball in disbelief yesterday. He was lunging. Lunging! I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of it all or how conscious he looked working his legs. I get the impression it was just a one off. However beach season starts soon, so I could be eating my words, but I doubt it!

*Honey’s a grey area with vegans and it’s the only ‘animal’ product I consume knowingly.

What’s your go to lunch or post work snack? Are the days getting warmer where you are?

 

 

 

 

 

Coconut Oil As An Eye Cream

Beauty and Skin Care, Fitness, Nature

Hello! I have a great inexpensive natural eye cream to share with you that can be found in your kitchen cupboard. Coconut oil!

A good eye cream is hard to find. I’ve tried expensive creams and cheaper brands. Expensive doesn’t mean it’s better and more effective than cheaper ones. I’ll admit there have a few expensive ones that have worked well with the only reason I stopped using them, the price kept going up. I prefer natural based skincare, not tested on animals and not filled nasty ingredients like parabens, liquid paraffin, sodium lauryl sulfate etc.

As I get older and the lines become harder to at bay. Sleep helps, trust me. If I don’t get enough, my skin tells all! Sleeping on silk/satin pillow can help reduce lines as the fabric isn’t as abbsaive as cotton on our skin. Dermatologists can tell which side we sleep on from our skin. I wrap a silky satin scarf around my pillow. I’m also learning that natural skincare is the better option for my skin. I don’t get as many breakouts. As many, I’m still battling acne and my skin’s happier when I use more natural products.

A few weeks ago, I was looking for a new night eye cream. I couldn’t find one I liked the sound of, had good reviews or within my budget. I thought I keep hearing about how good coconut oil is a moisturiser so I’ll try it. I already use it as an eye make up remover which works amazingly. It can remove the most stubbornest mascara, it’s cheap, a fantastic hydrator and is packed with antioxidants and vitamin E. Verdict, I love it. My fine lines (as long as I don’t smile. I can understand why Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham, doesn’t smile for photos much! Only joking!) have softened and smoothed out considerably. So much, I’m considering using it as a serum instead of rosehip oil, I’m currently using.

I’m however a little cautious to use it as a day eye cream as it can be a little greasy with make up. Once I’ve finished my current day eye cream, I’ll try it out.Coconut oil

Coconut oil is solid below 25 degree C, a liquid above. If it’s solid, warm it up in your fingertips and gently dab it with your ring finger around your eyes to apply. If it gets in your eyes, it can make them little filmy, but it doesn’t sting!Coconut oil eye cream

Do you use coconut oil in your skin care regime? I also use it as a deep conditioning hair mask in the summer to put moisture back in from swimming in the sea.

 

 

Oat Cookies

Fitness, Food

I have successfully weaned myself off dark chocolate covered almonds! It took eating one too many, going cold turkey to do, but I can now walk past them grocery shopping without adding any to the basket. I look at them, the after feeling of demolishing several handfuls comes back and that’s enough never to want one again!

It became habit over Christmas and New Year reaching in the jar for a couple as I went past it in the evenings (we’re talking almost every time I walked past it). And lets not forget those jelly beans! I burnt most of them off, but I did start noticing some changes. I felt sluggish, had a sugar tummy and my teeth weren’t enjoying the sugar coating (doh!). Why all the chocolate covered almonds? Christmas treats. I love treats, but they are just that, treats and I was eating way too many. It’s only me in the house that eats chocolate and I couldn’t leave them alone. Obbsessed? Maybe!

I did notice something else which surprised me. Over New Year we ran out of medjool dates as did the shop we get them from. There are other places, but they charge nearly double. I didn’t get to make my oat cookies for a few days and what really surprised me that out of all the chocolate covered almonds and jelly beans around, it was the dates and cookies I was craving! Finally listening to my body! I was caught off guard how much my tastes buds have changed and how much my body was craving real food. Especially oat cookies or my power cookies as I call them. I have a few in the morning with my coffee before I run or do yoga and a couple after my workout at the gym. Loosely based on a Tone It Up recipe they’re easy to make, provide lots of fibre, energy, protein and taste great as a snack anytime of the day!

Oat Power Cookies

Makes 20-26 cookies

1 cup chopped almonds

1 cup oats

1 scoop pea protein

1-2 tsp maca powder

2 medium bananas. The more ripe, the sweeter, creamier the cookies will be!

I chop up the almonds first in the food processor, add all the other ingredients, mix until the banana is throughly mixed in. Then dollop the mix with a tablespoon onto a silicone cooking sheet or greased (coconut oil) foil and bake in a preheated oven 170C/350F for approx. 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and store in the fridge for 5/6 days.

What’s your pre and post workout snack? I have a few dates and oat cookies after training for an energy boost until I get back for a larger meal. I still can’t get over how sweet medjool dates are. Taste like caramel and packed with more potassium than bananas!