I went to a gorgeous gathering at a divine Soho loft in New York last night. The kind of apartment one could only fantasise about living in in a city that packs people in so tightly performing a salute to the sun is challenging.
While the conversation varied, much of it had a wellness slant. Allergies, gluten-free options and yes, oil pulling.
The holistic talk was accidental I'm sure, as it was an eclectic group of people - a documentary filmmaker, a life coach, a flight attendant, a fashion PR, a digital strategist - and while there was lots of chatter about the state of current affairs, God-fearing Texans and slave labour in the Middle East, people's dietary concerns and natural approach to skincare and healing was proof that the world really is on the cusp of a wellbeing revolution.
And yes, it was a cocktail party, but half the party were drinking sparkling water instead of sparkling wine and we munched on raw veggies and organic cheeses.
Come 10pm I was ready to head home and as I said my goodbyes, one of the hosts was captivating guests with his experience of oil pulling - he revealed sparkling white teeth and swore he felt an elimination of toxins as a result.
I've tried oil pulling a few times but was never able to commit to it for longer than a few days in a row. But what did I come home and do? Yep, I washed my mouth out for 15 minutes with coconut oil. And I can honestly say I woke up to whiter teeth!
The ancient Ayurvedic practice is said to improve everything from oral hygiene to skin conditions, hormone imbalances and hangovers. The idea is that swishing around a cold-pressed oil (coconut, sesame, sunflower) for 15-20 minutes removes toxins being held in the mouth where billions of bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and toxins like to hangout. Daniel Vitalis (who I recently heard speak at the IIN conference in NYC) describes the mouth as the doormat to your body - you know the one you wipe your feet on before you go inside to remove dirt and debris? Uh huh.
It's suggested that oil pulling is best done first thing in the morning. Those mouth-bound nasty micro-organisms will adhere to the oil as you swish it around making it a toxic waste hellfire so do not swallow! Preferably spit the resulting salivary mess into the bin, not down the sink unless you're on good terms with your plumber.
Tip: use organic cold-pressed oil - anything chemically manufactured doesn't make sense for detoxification.