Tooth Truth

What’s up with my teeth? It came to me as quite a surprise when I pulled down my lip to reveal my gums receding below my left and right lower incisors. I know this raw food vegan thing is hardcore, but I’m not willing to give up my incisors for it. Receding gums isn’t something that happens overnight, at least I don’t think it does. I had to take a moment to reflect back upon my teeth cleaning habits in the months leading up to this discovery. What I realized was that it must have started before I left for Europe in April and progressed during my travels. Where did it all begin? It began when I ran out of store bought toothpaste and decided to make my own blend. Keep in mind I don’t use the toxic crap they pass off as toothpaste in the store. If you’re reading this blog post and you currently use toothpaste that contains sodium fluoride, stop reading, go into the bathroom and throw that toothpaste directly into the trash. Sodium fluoride is toxic and has no business being in toothpaste, a dentist’s office or our water supply. For more information about the toxicity of sodium fluoride click here to see an article in TIME magazine. There are other more in depth resources online regarding fluoride toxicity as well.

I had done some research online looking at the ingredients in tooth soaps and had come to the conclusion that I could brush with Himalayan salt and coconut oil. While the theory behind this is sound, the execution was a bit flawed. First of all healthy salt is antimicrobial. That is why it is used as a preservative. In fact sole (so-LAY) which is a super saturated solution of salt and water can be used as a mouth rinse or for brushing.  I figured I’d just take out the water portion and use the salt granules added to coconut oil. Coconut oil is known for its antimicrobial properties as well. Medical studies have shown it to be effective against bacteria, fungi, viruses and even against the parasite giardia. Coconut oil is known to be specifically effective against the bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities. So there was my one-two punch.

I consider myself to be part squirrel, flying squirrel that is. This is because of my tendency to leap out of trees and figure things out on the way down. That’s pretty much what I did with this “tooth soap” project. I took the leap by melting coconut oil and adding Himalayan salt to it. I then shook up the bottle thinking it would disperse evenly or even dissolve in the oil. This bit of wishful thinking was a combination of naiveté and laziness. What actually happened was the salt just sank to the bottom. Eventually the oil cooled and became semi-solid. My brushing ritual had me dipping my toothbrush into this mixture and then brushing it into my teeth. I have to say the salt/coconut oil blend tasted like buttered popcorn to me. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Along with brushing I was also using a water pick to blast food from the little pockets between my teeth. There’s one spot that is always chock full of a days worth of eating. When I hit that spot with the stream of water, half a kale salad and a quarter cup of hemp seeds escapes. With the salt on the bottom and the oil on the top of my brushing mix, I was fine for a couple of months. I’m guessing it’s when the oil level dropped and I began brushing with more salt than oil that the trouble began. The salt grains mixed with the oil on the bristles of my toothbrush acted like sandpaper on my gums. Over the course of a month I brushed as if it were business as usual. This was while I was in Europe. Why I didn’t top off the coconut oil is beyond me. I’m sure it would have taken the edge off a bit. I imagine grinding the salt into a fine powder would have helped as well. In the end though, sole is the best “solution” to this brushing dilemma.

The “tooth soap project” has led to the “fix your receding gums project”. Really it’s just the left side that’s looking scary. It makes sense too that it’s on the left because I brush with my right hand, which favors heavily brushing the left side of my mouth. Since this incident has occurred I’ve tried a variety of solutions. First of all I stopped using the salt/coconut mix. Second I switched to the softest bristle brush I can find. For a period of time I used the water pick with neem seed extract in the water. This didn’t seem to help. After a bit of research I’ve begun oil pulling using cold pressed sesame oil. I’ve also started rubbing neem oil over my teeth and gums. It tastes terrible but it’s a small price to pay for keeping your teeth. One other technique I’ve been practicing for healing my gums is with fresh aloe. At night I will slice pieces of fresh aloe vera and place them between my lip and gum so that it is in contact with the receding area. The interesting thing is that I will fall asleep with the aloe in place and wake with no sign of it. I’m guessing I just swallow it in the night since I haven’t found it in my hair or stuck to my pillow. Between the oil pulling, neem oil and aloe vera I’m hoping for the best. This whole tooth and gum thing has me conscious of what I put in my mouth and how it affects the health of my teeth and gums. Everyone can benefit from rinsing and even brushing after meals. Chewing chlorella tabs, while they turn your mouth green, is an effective way to alkalize and clean your mouth after meals. I’m learning not to take the simple things like teeth for granted. I hope this information is entertaining and informative. Anyone else out there have similar experiences with teeth and gums? Let me know how you remedied your issues. I’ll be sure to update everyone on my dental progress.

Until next time… Keep it Live!

blog, How To, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Maple Chia Porridge

Got Snow?

My visit to Canada introduced me to many new flavors and experiences. Aside from the obvious differences between Northern Ontario and North Florida, like the weather and landscape, there was chaga tea, maple syrup and my new favorite ingredient maple butter; a creamy maple product made from cooking down the maple syrup, cooling it and then whipping it. Though maple syrup is a cooked product I feel that it is an acceptable addition to my kitchen quiver of ingredients. I’m already gadgeting ideas in my head of confectionery creations that I can make with maple products. Recently I made this yummy chia porridge using the ingredients listed:

  • 1/2 C chaga tea
  • 3 T chia
  • 2 T gojis
  • 1 T maple butter or agave, palm sugar
  • 1 T hemp butter or your favorite raw nut/seed butter
  • 1 T vanilla water -soaked vanilla beans blended in water
  • 1 T maca blend – maca, lucuma, mesquite, cinnamon
  • 1/4 C hot water
  • pinch of Himalayan salt

For this recipe you can use your favorite tea. Something with a bit of spice to it might be nice. Chaga has a mild and slight vanilla taste. Soak the chia and gojis in the tea or water in a bowl for a half hour. You can set things up to soak the night before and have it waiting for you in the morning. Take 1/4 C of the soaked chia and goji mixture and add it to the blender, add the hot water, hemp butter, vanilla, maca blend and salt. Blend smooth and add mixture to the chia mix remaining in the bowl. Mix everything together. You can sprinkle hemp seeds and cacao nibs on top.

That’s it, a yummy, warming, healthy, vegan breakfast creation that will blow your mind.

Maple Chia Porridge
blog, How To, Recipe

Kimchi for You and Me

This jar will take 5 cabbages

Tis the season for fermenting vegetables… the weather is cooling off in Florida and the cold weather veggies are coming into season. I’m in the process of editing a kimchi making video and I just wanted to share the recipe while I had a chance. This recipe should safely fit into a 1 gallon jar when mashed down.

2 heads of cabbage – save several large outer leaves to cover the finished product
2 large carrots
shred and salt, shred it good and massage salt in so cabbage sweats, you want it juicy.

Puree these ingredients and mix in with cabbage and carrots

Everything you need

1 onion
1 clove of garlic
3 hot peppers, dry or fresh
3 T fresh ginger

Optional: 1 T  probiotic (Body Ecology)

  1. Shred cabbage and carrots, salt and massage.
  2. Puree above ingredients and mix in with shredded cabbage.
  3. Stuff cabbage mixture into jar and mash down removing all the air pockets and bring up the juice level.
  4. Place saved cabbage leaves on top of kimchi. Press down completely covering kimchi. Use a ceramic bowl, mug, small plate… anything to weigh down the leaves. You want enough pressure to bring the juice above the level of the kimchi mixture. Get creative, make it work. If all else fails add a mixture of 1 T salt to 1/2 C water. Add enough to bring level up.
  5. Cover with a towel to prevent bugs from getting into it and place in a cool dark place. Check on it regularly. It should be read to refrigerate in a week.

Kimchi and ferments like sauerkraut and miso are great immune boosters and they also help to repopulate your healthy internal flora. Fermented veggies are a daily staple in countries like Korea, China and Japan where cancer rates are much lower. These foods must be unpasteurized. Don’t think you’re getting the benefits from eating a kraut covered hot dog, it ain’t the same. Check out The Body Ecology website for great information about friendly ferments and how they can change your life.

I’ll be posting a video shortly. Keep it Live!