If you are anything like me, you spend a sizeable portion of your time wondering exactly what Gwyneth Paltrow is doing at every hour of the day.
I can’t help but nurse an absurd amount of awe for someone who is so skilled at the art of euphemistic, delusional rebranding: This is a woman, after all, who announced the end of her marriage through a blog post on her own personal lifestyle website and did not call it divorce but rather, “conscious uncoupling.”
Because of this, whenever I am feeling blue, I like to think not of what Gwyneth would do because, of course, she would never have such difficulties as I, with lowly “boy troubles” and “job searching” (or, as Gwyneth would call them, “sub-gender quandaries” and “spiritual livelihood quests”). Rather, I ruminate on what Goop might be doing in this exact moment.
Perhaps she is relaxing with her close friends Beyoncé and Jay Z on their private island, sipping a kale-spirulina cocktail and mulling over the pros and cons of purchasing the nation of Greece. Or maybe she is having a “me” day and has confined herself to her own private island to weave a necklace out of algae, chia seeds and solid gold thread whilst undergoing a colonic.
It is very soothing. Sometimes, though, I turn to “facts” and try out some things that Gwyneth actually does do. This once led me to go gluten-free for a summer, which was a pretty bad time, and, more recently, do a very weird thing called “oil pulling.”
What is oil pulling, you ask? It’s 3,000 year-old Ayurvedic practice that, like yoga and meditation, has more recently been capitalized upon by Western culture with the promise of helping its disciples find inner peace and lose weight. To do it, you take a tablespoon or two of oil (preferably coconut) and swish it around in your mouth for twenty minutes, and then spit. And that’s it! According to a website I found that once dedicated an entire blog post to “The Best Kale Salads from Instagram this Week,” this practice whitens teeth, increases energy, clears the skin and promotes weight loss. Gwyneth told People magazine last year that she has added it to her beauty regimen, saying it’s “amazing!”
Now, everyone who knows me is aware that I am always “jonesing” for an effortless way to become skinnier and more energetic (which is why I used a slang term that arose out of the heroin addict’s vernacular), and thus, I decided to give this a go. I “pulled” for a week.
To start, I purchased a jar of Spectrum Coconut Oil at Target for $6.99. This is kind of expensive for something you are not actually planning on consuming, but you get a lot of it! 14 ounces, to be exact, which is much more than it sounds like because coconut oil is actually completely solid. I learned this as soon as I returned home and eagerly plunged a spoon into the jar, only to find that it got stuck.
Once I excavated my spoon, I swished. This is weird! The oil, which initially is solid in a slippery way (think butter right after you take it out of the fridge) (isn’t this appetizing?), melts after about a minute, and then it is just kind of…there… for the remaining nineteen. It tastes the way that Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen smells, which is not entirely unpleasant but lends itself to a good deal of cognitive dissonance.
While doing this religiously every day for a week, swishing, I found, is very distracting. I tried to use my twenty minutes to watch The Wire but could not focus and instead had to turn to more mindless activities, which is how I accidentally read twenty pages of a Suri Cruise fashion blog in one sitting.
The results? My teeth are a little whiter, I think. I did not lose weight. I did not turn into Gwyneth Paltrow. But my hopes are still high! I shall continue oil pulling, because I would like to own a private island, and because I have a lot of leftover coconut oil.