Some thoughts on book reviewing

I’ve been an avid reader since I was a child growing up in Brussels, Belgium. Back then, I mostly read in French (Disney books, Belgian comics, etc.) but these days I tend to read in English—although my French book collection is constantly growing and in need of some lovin’ attention too.

I love to review books, and gladly do so after finishing a read. Since I tend to pick up another book pretty quickly after, I take notes and try to review as soon as possible, before my new read has a chance to impact my previous impressions.

Browsing through sites like Amazon.com or, even better, Goodreads.com, has revealed some interesting views / opinions on book reading and reviewing. As such, I’ve formed my own thoughts on the matter:

1. Since I made the decision to read the book and therefore to devote my precious time to it, I’m reading it all the way through. It’s only happened twice I think that I put a book aside, but I likely won’t go back to doing so. I despise that feeling of not knowing ‘what happened’ but mostly of not finishing something I committed myself to.

2. Because I’ve read it through. I’m most definitely reviewing it–good or bad! Not only is it an exercise in writing, it’s also a great way to tap into different ‘sides’ of yourself by exploring your views and maybe even getting all analytical & stuff if that’s your thing (haha). 🙂

3. I’ve been quite surprised by the many things I’ve read of people expressing their ‘shock that someone would write a negative review of something…’. UM HELLO, this is life! Life is not only filled with rosy, happy, ‘positive’ things all the time, and that reaction alone seems a red flag to me. I completely understand that people can be sensitive, and that some reviews are indeed written viciously and may be downright mean and uncalled for. That’s not the approach I’ll ever care to take, but I definitely make a point to state my honest opinion and impressions on whatever I read. I’m NOT going to NOT write my review just because the author may not be able to stomach that I gave it a low rating! If that was the case, then I don’t see how anyone would ever go creating (or doing!) anything in life, because you simply can’t please everyone! It should also teach you to develop a kind of healthy thick skin, at least in part because I like to think that we all do things for our own reasons, regardless of whether others can understand their purpose. At least that’s definitely what I do. It’s nothing personal for me, and it shouldn’t be construed that way (and again, I realize that sadly some *shall we say immature?* people actually do this). My view on this issue is that I sacrificed my time too for this read, and I have the right to voice my opinion on it–on the story itself, not the author–regardless of who likes it or not.

lotrbadbookreview

^UM yes, and also, no. Proof of an awesome, hilariously ‘terrible’ book review on (what else) ’50 Shades of Grey’ by Katrina Passick Lumsden HERE.

4. Connected to #3: The ones who are being hateful, vindictive, etc., will end up making that clear through their own actions and/or word usage, and the like. That’s why I actually think it can be ‘good’ to just leave it because it’s often more indicative of the reviewer than the person being attacked. Whoever has bad intentions is sending that out into the universe and is impacting their own good karma, so what does that have to do with you?! 🙂

5. People are different and have different tastes! As such we shouldn’t expect everyone to agree on everything, which obviously includes their views of books. Isn’t that part of the fun of life and experiences: to compare and contrast? Who knows; you may even learn from someone else’s unusual interpretation. 😉

6. Surprisingly, it can also happen that you enjoyed a book, and yet still find yourself agreeing with the negative views others have of it. This happened when I read “The Night Circus” and although I liked it, I totally understood where Lucy was coming from with her 2-star review (which can be seen HERE). Cheers for being able to see things from multiple angles!

7. Say a reader wasn’t ‘into’ a book. The shocker (or not!!!) is that it might not even have anything to do with the author’s writing (as the book could, in fact, be very well written). The thing is, the reader might not have been in a ‘corresponding’ state of mind when they picked up the book, leading to a lesser experience than desired. Hey it happens: it’s called life. 🙂

So there we have it. In the meantime:

keepcalmread

^Yup 🙂

Nancy Goldstone’s The Maid And The Queen book review

*Originally written & posted on March 19th, 2013*

Nancy Goldstone’s The Maid And The Queen recounts in historical detail the role of Medieval queen Yolande of Aragon during the tumultuous Hundred Years War between the French and English. It chronicles events both prior and subsequent to Joan of Arc’s appearance, so that Joan makes a relatively brief appearance in the larger scope of the narrative. Goldstone also posits that a popular story of the time known as The Romance of Melusine culturally, and therefore psychologically, played a role in the French population’s mind which likely—and at least temporarily—helped Joan of Arc’s cause find support.

Firstly, this book is not so much a historical account of Joan of Arc’s story as it is of Yolande of Aragon, itself intertwined in the confusing mess of French and English monarchs and political tensions of the time. As such, the book is doubtless unprecedented in its analysis of Joan of Arc as told in correlation to Yolande of Aragon. Moreover, it should also be noted that while it’s a mere 248 pages, it does not figure as a ‘quick read,’ as it is densely historical, and mostly entails descriptions of successive wars and feuding. The fact that people tended to have similar names may also contribute to occasional character confusion.

As a reader who has known about, and practically grown up surrounded by the story of Joan of Arc, her story is by no means unknown to me. As such, I read the book having more than basic knowledge on the details surrounding Joan of Arc. While it is very possible that Yolande did indeed play a role in Joan of Arc’s life, I did also get the impression that Goldstone may have ‘played-up’ things to support her thesis.

One such instance surrounds Yolande’s presumed role in getting Joan to have an audience with the rightful heir to the French throne, the Dauphin Charles VII. This was an event in which Joan and Yolande never interacted with one another, and which was instead carried out through a number of people who were somehow tied to Yolande. Given the difficulties involved in reaching the Dauphin’s attention, the author is adamant about Yolande’s role in getting ‘the right people’ to bring Joan to the Dauphin, for without this initial meeting, it’s assumed Joan would’ve never gotten her mission off the ground. But whether or not this event actually happened as stated by the author, it’s obviously largely debatable that Joan would’ve still found a way to reach the Dauphin, regardless of Yolande’s ‘assistance’ (especially if one believes in the spiritual angle of Joan’s mission).

Another example involves a rather biased approach to an earlier event involving a dream that Joan’s dad had when Joan was younger. The dream in question involved Joan being taken away by soldiers, and while there are many possible interpretations and triggers for such a dream, the author chooses the explanation which best fits her argument. The author basically dismisses this dream as strictly indicative of a parent’s worried concern (p. 96), as opposed to acknowledging its precognitive possibilities. This highlights a potentially limited understanding of the way dreams can work, and conveniently ignores the fact that a large number of research-backed books on dreams and/or quantum energy will touch upon this issue with surprisingly revealing information. While it’s clear that dream causes, interpretations, etc. is not the author’s focus, it does highlight a certain simplistic approach which conveniently serves to further the author’s agenda.

These are just a couple of examples which give the impression that information is presented in a biased way. Yet, aside from that, just as semi-ambiguous is the author’s stance on Joan of Arc. Goldstone sometimes seems ambivalent—if not inconsistent—regarding her statements on Joan; at times describing her as a pious girl following her voices, other times painting her mission as rather ‘secular’ (pg. 152). While Goldstone’s view of Joan seems to veer towards the positive, the inconsistency still stands out. And while the author’s view of Joan may not matter much in terms of providing facts, in this case it may well underline her penchant for playing-up Yolande’s cause.

There is one final thing which confuses me as well. I can’t figure out why the last image shown at the end of the book is captioned ‘Joan of Arc in her time,’ without specifying that it’s an approximation thereof (since the only image made during Joan’s lifetime is a little ‘cartoon’ drawing made from someone’s imagination at that). As such, that caption is misleading for no one truly knows what she looked like, and could therefore give anyone the idea that it’s an actual portrait made of Joan while she was alive (which is not the case).

Therefore, it is this repetitive mix of biased information combined with what I consider to be a lack of attention to detail—especially crucial in a historical book—that sadly work against the author’s presentation and may, at least on some level, affect her reception with audiences.

Regardless of the extent of Yolande’s role in Joan of Arc’s life, what’s fascinating is that it doesn’t make Joan’s story and mission any less true and/or factual. Perhaps it’s just a question of the angle one chooses to approach it from, and Goldstone has provided the previously unexplored case from Yolande’s vantage point. A recommended read for Medieval history and Joan of Arc buffs; even if just to explore another view of said events. However, those seeking books more focused on Joan of Arc herself are recommended works by renown Medievalist Régine Pernoud.

Spiritual, meditative music with Armenian duduk woodwinds and crystal singing bowls by Khatchadour Khatchadourian

I’ve recently had the chance to discover some lovely Armenian-influenced, spiritual music created by Khatchadour Khatchadourian. The following interview provides a highly interesting peek into the musician’s background and creative journey that culminated in 2 albums, “Arshaluys” and “Ascent”.

-Give a bit of your background story. What first made you want to sing? How does it make you feel?

KK: I began singing while in Syria, through a children’s chorus. That was my vocal upbringing for six years. Then my family immigrated to the U.S. I stopped singing for a decade, and it’s only recently—within the past two years—that I returned to my voice, or rather began searching for a new voice. For me singing, particularly with such emotionality, is ecstatic, healing, and profoundly relieving.

-Who and/or what are some of your inspirations?

KK: I grew up on Armenian and Arabic traditional and cultural music. I love trance music as it can elevate me to intense emotional states. I am also fond of Eastern European music, and love Bluegrass and Indian music.

-In ‘Arshaluys’, the use of the duduk (Armenian double reed) is prominent. Give some background on it and why did you specifically choose this instrument? 

KK: I began my musical return in the U.S. through the duduk, and worked with my teacher Shea A.J. Comfort for over four years. The duduk is an ancient double reed woodwind. At first, I picked up the duduk out of curiosity, but once I saw the level of work it took to train and the sheer beauty and presence of its sound, I began working more seriously with it. Since then, I have formed an affinity and acquired profound respect for Wind as a living, transformational element. ‘Arshaluys’, or Dawn in Armenian, was my first project; experimental in approach. I met my late partner Robert Kudrna (Bob) and shared some duduk samples with him. We both knew that singing crystal bowls and the duduk related well musically. So, we collaborated for over nine months and produced ‘Arshaluys’ in March of 2011. 

-In the first album, the tracks are dreamy and vary in duration. How do you get your ideas for the way a piece will sound? Do you go into it knowing how long it will be or let it unfold on its own? 

KK: The tracks unfold naturally. Initially, Robert and I were just experimenting and hearing how the tracks sounded. After a few takes we knew we wanted to begin and end on certain notes, but did not plan how the pieces would progress. This spontaneity gave us quite a bit of varied material. 

Arshaluys-Tell us a bit about the eye-catching cover art of the first album done by Armenian artist Seeroon Yeretzian. What made you choose this artist? Did you have an image in mind or did you let the artist channel her own vision? 

KK: I was curious about Seeroon Yeretzian‘s artwork and wanted to take lessons. She is located in Southern California, and I had to leave back to Berkeley, so we couldn’t arrange a time then. When the album was nearing completion, I approached her asking about her artwork. She donated the cover art from a piece she had previously done. She is a very generous and wonderful artist. Among many of her unique styles, she adapted and perfected a rare Armenian art-form called “Trchnakir” (bird calligraphy) where Armenian alphabet is illustrated with images of birds and other beings. 

-Give some comparisons/contrasts between the 2 albums? 

KK: Both ‘Arshaluys’ and ‘Ascent’ were experimental, and both were home recordings, which inevitably suffer from being far from a professional audio mix. I have learned the technical, sound engineering aspects of recording while recording. ‘Arshaluys’ was my opening up to the vastness of inner music, be it healing, experimental or otherwise. It was an open-ended pathless album. ‘Ascent’ on other hand had a bit of directionality to it. I knew I wanted to do a solo album, and experiment with cinematic sound and see how far I could push meditative music. 

Ascent-Although both albums have meditative and comforting undertones, there’s a palpable intensity to the second album. Is this in any way tied to its title ‘Ascent’?  

KK: At the time of making of ‘Ascent’, Robert had passed away, I was going through unemployment, topped with a severe neck and hands injury. In a word it was a very intense period. I felt that out of this intensity I would either hurt myself or move the energy in a positive manner. The title of the album ‘Ascent’ reflects my inner journey and response to the arising challenges. You know, we can’t control life, but can choose to work through it or reflect about it in a certain way. ‘Ascent’ was my prayer to myself and others to work through negativity with humility and hope. 

Some of the tracks came to me unexpectedly too. Track 3, for instance, “Madness of Father Gomidas“, came to me in two days, in its entirety—and I’d never worked with electronic music before. The track is unique in that it consists of 29 separate sounds…! In hindsight, the track and the album as a whole reflected my breakdown, and rebuilding of sorts. 

-What do you hope to achieve through your music? What do you hope listeners may take away from it? 

KK: I hope the music helps the listener as they are going through their life motions: ups and downs and in-betweens. Besides that, I can’t emphasize any element over others, and wish to let the listener see which tracks work for their corresponding emotional states. I do music to move energy, and in order to chart my own mental and para-psychological states. Currently I am studying sacred art and sound and want to experiment with cymatics (sound made visible). I hope to bring attention to the importance of finding our voices, our inner resonances, and ask if music can be healing? And if so, how far can we go with it? Can we create ethical, and healing soundscapes; do ecological restoration through sound? These theoretical questions of sound I hope to delve into as my life career.

To listen to the lovely sounds and learn more, be sure to visit the bandcamp pages for each album (or click the album covers above):

Arshaluys – http://crystalbowls-duduks.bandcamp.com/album/arshaluys

Ascent – http://crystalbowls-duduks.bandcamp.com/album/ascent

Potentially less than pleasant side effects of oil pulling with coconut oil – and update

*3/7/14:- Exploring alternate views of oil pulling

As with many health practices that become popular in society–and are therefore subject to becoming ‘fads’ and, in turn, corrupted in nature–I think it’s worth it to check out alternate views on oil pulling. White debateable, some concepts that have sparked my attention include the following:

–Oil pulling may be most effective when implemented as part of an Ayurvedic diet

–Issues involved in limited Western understanding of the Eastern Ayurvedic tradition from which oil pulling derives

–While oil pulling may be great at reducing bacteria present in the mouth, it may not be as ‘amazingly detoxing’ to the rest of the body as some (if not most) sources claim

Following my coconut oil pulling, I took a break, then started again with safflower oil and sesame oil. Both of these were fine–no problems whatsoever–and I can actually say I enjoyed doing it. However, I have since decided that I no longer ‘need’ to oil pull–and quite honestly, perhaps I (and many others out there) never needed to in the first place. My personal decision is based on the fact that I’m not convinced it yields many of these ‘benefits’ I’ve read about. Most importantly, I’ve been observant and feel as great when I don’t oil pull as when I do–so then what’s the point of doing it? So in this case I’m choosing to listen to my body and realize I most likely don’t need it (assuming anyone actually does?). In our quest to live healthy lives, it also helps to remember that just because something may be good and helpful doesn’t necessarily mean *you yourself* need to implement it. Would you take medicine when you’re healthy? Exactly. In the end, it was definitely a learning experience (which I suppose most things turn out to be 😉 ).

My experience has been an important reminder to OBSERVE AND LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If something doesn’t feel right, STOP! And that’s exactly what I did and hope others will consider doing too! And just as much as I enjoyed exploring oil pulling with other oils, I’m also listening to my body yet again and concluding that it’s something I can set aside. 🙂

*2/4/14 Update to the below, with further scientific insight on my experience*:

I’ve just stumbled upon a forum/thread where potential negatives of coconut oil are discussed and–lo and behold–it is mentioned that high MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) levels, which are present in coconut oil, may produce in some people an effect similar to a hangover. READ: EXACTLY what I experienced. The thread seems to have a Dr. replying to questions, and based on one of the answers given, it’s also stated that if you have a high carb diet and react negatively to coconut oil, you may be allergic to it. I’m not sure if my diet at the time was considered ‘high carb’, although I assume it was, since I was not–and still am not–on a strict diet (but do pay attention to what I eat).

The answers posted by the Doctor are understandably quite packed with scientific terms and explanations. It just goes to show that I’m not alone in having had a less than pleasant experience with larger amounts of coconut oil, and that others have also experienced the weird, intense hangover-like effect.

Forum link: http://www.carbohydratescankill.com/forums/general-questions/negative-about-coconut-oil

*7/22/13 Update to the below*:

The events listed below highlight my less-than-ideal reaction to oil pulling with coconut oil. I decided to make this post after noting an utter lack of information on such a drastic reaction, and therefore in hopes of letting others know of potential warning signs. It’s one thing to experience generally harmless, mild cleansing effects such as bowel movements, increased energy, vivid dreams, etc. than to be rendered practically dysfunctional.
Since then, I’ve had other instances involving coconut oil that have pretty much confirmed to me that I may indeed be allergic to this kind of oil. I’ve also taken up OP with safflower oil, which you can read about here.

The 2 events–which occurred months after coconut oil pulling–are as follows:

1. Coconut oil has been shown to be an effective treatment in reducing cellulite, and so I decided to try it out one evening as a ‘dry brushing’ scrub method on my thighs (seen in the linked article). As expected it made my skin super soft and I was very excited about continuing with it and seeing results. However, my plans were cut short. Why? Because the next morning, I woke up with a weird dizziness that sadly instantly felt all too familiar. The day prior had been a simple, typical day and so it didn’t take long at all for me to narrow it down to the exact culprit. Now, I do note that it was not the same extreme dizziness I experienced during oil pulling, but it was definitely worrisome and just felt downright unusual and unpleasant. I don’t get dizzy… ever! I’m a very healthy person and am in tune with my body, so that when things pop up like this, I definitely do pay attention (and think we all should! Our bodies are amazing at communicating with us =)).

This was the ‘last straw’ experience that made me say: OK, no more coconut oil for me. I loved this oil, really. I used it mostly for hair, face and my hands (I love growing my nails long and I noticed it helped made them strong!), and would also take spoonfuls of it. I never had any negative reaction to coconut oil until after the oil pulling. Or at least, I didn’t think I did, because the reaction I may have gotten may have been too small and not ‘unusual enough’ for me to notice. Also keeping in mind that oil pulling entails a larger quantity of oil than would other things like a few drops for your hair, nails, etc.–perhaps making it easier to miss some warning signs.

Which leads to #2:

2. My skin is definitely more on the sensitive, dry side. I can’t recount the times I’ve gotten rashes from wearing certain kinds of jewelry, and apparently I may also be allergic to certain materials like latex–if that’s the true source of the irritation. I would use latex gloves to wash dishes, and for quite a while, I had a tiny little rash on the knuckle on my right hand. It wasn’t itchy and it was small so that I’d usually forget about it–until I mentioned it to my dad and he believed it to be an allergy to latex. I couldn’t understand why I’d have this rash on the right hand but not the left–if indeed I am allergic–but I’ve been told that you don’t need to have it break out all over for you to show signs of an allergy. Given my sensitive skin, I just chalked it up to another small demonstration of my sensitiveness that would eventually go away (although when, I obviously didn’t know LOL)

I switched to latex-free gloves and for a while, I didn’t see much difference. Until… it dawned on me that I was still using coconut oil as a moisturizer for my hands and nails every night before going to bed. Could this be the source of my tiny, virtually harmless yet ever-persistent rash? It may have been indeed, because all I can say is that I haven’t had a rash since I stopped using coconut oil. Yes, I realize that it might simply be the switch to latex-free gloves, or it could also be the combined approach of changing the usage of both. All I know is that all the funky reactions are gone and I’d like to keep it that way. =) (Ironically, I’ve also discovered that latex-free gloves seem sturdier and last much longer than ‘regular’ gloves anyways, so that’s another unexpected yet welcomed *economical* win in this whirlwind of experiences!)

So there we have it. To add the cherry on top, a good friend of mine recently OP’ed with coconut oil and she couldn’t believe when I told her about what had happened to me. She definitely didn’t think it was a normal reaction nor a ‘cleansing reaction’ (LOL!).

Aside from coconut oil, the other oil that comes highly recommended is safflower oil. My brother has been doing it with this oil and has been loving it, which definitely makes me want to try it. And when I do, I shall update yet again!

 A better, safer alternative to coconut oil perhaps?

=)

3/28/13 original post:

A few months ago, I was looking up stuff on how to whiten your teeth, and I eventually stumbled upon a method known as ‘oil pulling.’ This is a simple, affordable method that basically requires taking some kind of vegetable oil–such as olive oil, sunflower oil, or coconut oil–and swishing it around in your mouth from 15-20 minutes (not gargling and no swallowing!). This is actually an ancient Ayurvedic method that is supposed to have great health benefits–only one of which is teeth whitening–and a method I thought would be worth checking out.

Although I’d known about oil pulling for a while, I’d never actually tried it until about a week ago. Since I had quite a violent reaction to oil pulling–or perhaps more accurately, to the oil I used–I wanted to do a post on it to warn others  to watch out for certain things. It’s my opinion that not enough has been said about its potentially harmful effects, and while I reiterate that I now realize I might have an allergy to a certain oil, I still feel it’s important enough to make a post for readers.

coconutoil

My experience entailed a total of 4 ‘sessions’ of oil pulling before my stomach reacted rather violently. I used coconut oil due to its many health benefits, and because it’s an oil I am very familiar with and use for other things (usually for my hands/nails, feet, and had experimented with it for my hair, though it’s not my favorite oil to use for my hair).

Ingesting oil is not at all weird or awkward for  me: I’ve been taking spoonfuls of olive oil since I was rather young, again due to health benefits. I would probably say that out of all the oils out there, olive oil is likely my favorite. So while coconut oil obviously has a different taste, I felt fine and not in the least intimidated by the idea of going through with it.

In the process, I would swish the coconut oil in my mouth for a little over 15 minutes. I experimented with different amounts of coconut oil, and I personally felt that a smaller teaspoon amount was better to use than a huge spoonful that I’d seen some people do/recommend. This huge spoonful quantity made little sense to me, especially seeing as after 15 minutes, your mouth’s saliva content increases and would therefore add to the coconut oil already in your mouth. I would rather not spit out anything during the process (seems pointless and wasteful to me), so I only tried a large spoonful once.

After the very first time, I felt a kind of ‘mucous’ lining/glob form and kinda ‘stick’ inside my throat, which I’d heard was probably one of the first ‘side effects’/benefits of the treatment. When I did it at night before bed, I did sometimes get the impression that it took me a while to fall asleep. That wasn’t so surprising to me seeing as coconut oil is projected to be an energy booster. Conversely, I did also experience profound, deep sleep after my 3rd treatment.

I did my 4th treatment in the morning, and felt great and very energized. I still hadn’t eaten anything when, a few hours later, I suddenly experienced a dizzying feeling that seemed to come from my stomach and moved up to my head. I’m not sure how, but I immediately attributed it to the coconut oil, especially since I hadn’t eaten anything to trigger that kind of reaction. Just going by the weird feeling in my throat and sudden distaste at the thought of anything coconut, I was convinced that was it. What followed was a brief vomiting session unlike any I’d ever experienced. I didn’t vomit any food; all that came out was clear in content, and while it’s never a pleasant experience, afterwards I want to say I felt… fine? I definitely bounced back faster from this than any other vomiting experience I’d had before, but it still wasn’t exactly a reaction I’d expected to have. I did some quick research and saw that nausea seemed a common reaction to oil pulling, but I wasn’t sure that vomiting fit into the nausea category either. So, I simply dismissed it as a semi-harmless, perhaps transitional reaction. However, I did decide to immediately stop oil pulling, since I didn’t want to risk being sick that upcoming week-end. I did wait several hours before eating to make sure my stomach was balanced again, and I was glad when that evening I was able to eat well and without any problems.

I believed the issue had resolved itself, but boy was I in for a big, and very painful, surprise.

I woke up the next day and as stated, did not oil-pull since I’d decided to put that on hold for a while. So by now it had technically been a day since I’d last oil-pulled.
I got up, felt fine, and had an apple with some almond butter.

About an hour later, I got the same tell-tale dizziness and this was followed by vomiting that lasted for hours. Basically the whole apple and almond butter I had found their way out of my body, and instead of feeling better after each vomiting session, I either felt just as bad, or worse. Vomiting sucks, but at least you usually feel better after getting rid of the offending elements, but this wasn’t the case here. It always felt like there was still more of it in my body, no matter how much I threw up. This was a gut-wrenching pain, where I thought my organs were minutes away from coming out of my body, and it hurt like nothing I’d ever experienced before. I basically wanted to die =( And I promise I’m not a drama queen, and generally have a pretty high pain threshold.

The proof of this intense reaction was made clear the next day, when I had actual cramps in my stomach muscles from the vomiting!!!! [Even my workouts don’t give me that kind of cramping!–what the…?!]

The vomiting had started at about 11am, and I’d thrown up several times between then and around 4pm or so. Even after throwing up, I maintained intense dizziness throughout the day, and I know this really worried me because it obviously affected my balance, performance, etc. All I could do was lay in bed and nap, trying to pass the time and hope my body would heal itself. I did get to a point where I worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep anything down, and because I had conflicted feelings of wanting to eat to keep myself energized somehow, but also had pretty  much lost taste for any foods whatsoever.

Later in the day, I ate a few pieces of raw vegetables so that I could try to get some energy and hopefully keep the food down. I drank a lot of water too to re-hydrate myself. It wasn’t until evening that I had some chicken noodle soup, and even then I was initially worried that I’d just end up throwing it all back up. Thankfully, the soup really helped and it seemed that my body was slowly starting to calm down.

The next day I made a point to only have certain foods, such as white toast and a glass of water with lemon for breakfast to limit acidic content in my stomach. I thankfully no longer threw up, but this second experience with intense vomiting was definitely frightening to me and enlightened me to the double-edged potency of oils. I do think I might either have an allergy to coconut oil, or that for some reason it doesn’t work well in my body in large quantities (since the small quantities I’ve had before never seemed to pose a problem).

The bottom line is that there can be adverse reactions, and it’s clearly not recommended to try the method unless you happen to be home for a given amount of time. I couldn’t imagine how horrible it would be to start this treatment, and either be at work or on the way to work, only to end up with a dangerous dizzy spell like the ones I had!!

While I am still curious about its reported benefits, I know that I’ll be taking a cautious approach to oil pulling when I try it a second time. But even that is a bit ironic for me to say, seeing as I followed the required steps the first time around. I’m not completely discarding the possibility that I may have accidentally swallowed a bit of oil as I OPed, but I’m not sure that that in itself would trigger vomiting. I also read that you’re supposed to do it on an empty stomach, which I did for sure on 2 occasions in the morning. I do feel that I’d allowed ample time in the evening for digestion, but perhaps something went wrong there? (although I note that nothing of what I ate in the evening was ever vomited).
If and when I do decide to try oil pulling again, I will be trying with olive oil (an oil I love and can never get tired of) and which I would hopefully have a better experience with.

I did also stumble upon a few things stating that a person’s blood type may dictate the kinds of oils they should use. If that is true, then it’s interesting seeing as my blood type of O+ is said to ‘dislike’ coconut oil and favor olive oil instead. But then again; I’ve also seen conflicting information saying that recent studies show that coconut oil works well with any blood type? A conundrum indeed: seems like information is ever-changing and that even studies themselves can leave you just as confused. Regardless of that being true or not, the blood issue may offer a potential explanation.

Clearly, my experience had to be halted to cater to my health. Overall, I had oil-pulled for 2 days, and was then sick for 2 days. I’ve definitely gathered experience to use for future reference, but if oil pulling isn’t something my body tolerates, then I definitely won’t be losing any sleep over it, nor is there a shortage of things people can do to enhance their health.
While I do think it’s a method worth trying out, I can only hope people are careful and watch for any negative signs, and stop as soon as these come up. I’d read things saying that ‘many people stop OP when they get nauseous and should just keep going.’ But I mean, can you blame them?! As I’ve said before, if that’s supposedly a ‘normal’ part of the process, than not only do you have to have the right time to do it, you also have to psychologically prepare yourself for some of the craziness that may come along with it. While it’s true that it might be worth it in the larger scheme of things, it doesn’t mean that these side effects should be downplayed and/or overlooked.

Best +