My world is an interesting dichotomy. I workout like a fanatic and incorporate all manner of healthy foodstuffs into my daily diet, and yet I go to the movies and respond, “hell yes!” when asked if I want the butter-flavoured topping added to my popcorn.
I’ve embraced the healthy and holistic while continuing to indulge in the less-than-natural and not-so-good-for-you.
I call it balance. Everything in moderation.
That said, the one area I’ve tried to be pretty hard-core about is the use of pharmaceuticals. With so many interesting and purportedly effective natural remedies available, why not shun big pharma and look to Mother Nature to treat our woes?
When I started my oil pulling experiment it wasn’t to address a specific health concern, but I couldn’t help but be excited to test its effectiveness when I found myself succumbing to a head cold on Monday. I was sure that this cold wouldn’t stand a chance against 1,000s of years of Ayurvedic tradition.
I was wrong.
By Tuesday my nose had turned into a prolific snot factory. I marveled at how it was possible to produce that amount. Where does it all come from???
And then I played the imagine-if game.
Imagine if I could produce oil, or gold, or something valuable at this rate. Shit, I would be mega rich.
Since oil pulling was failing miserably in the cold-fighting department, I turned to Dr. Google once again.
Enter Garlic Feet.
100 times more effective than antibiotics? Stop the presses! I had to learn more.
After much investigation on Pinterest and Google, I discovered that the process is quite simple. You rub a paste made of garlic and oils onto your feet. The garlic draws out toxins and boom, your cold is banished!
Below is a lovely info-graphic that I found on Google. This one suggests using Vaseline to thicken the garlic/oil mixture into a paste. I wanted to go all natural so I opted for coconut oil instead.
Looks simple enough, right?
Yeah, not so much.
Sure, it was easy enough to peel, chop and crush the garlic. Add some olive oil? No problemo. Mix in some coconut oil to thicken it up? Absolutely. Easy peasy.
Now put it on your own feet.
What a mess.
I suppose I could have asked Mr. Enthusiasm for his help, but he had already retreated to the man cave, cursing something under his breath. I caught ‘stupidity’ and ‘stink’. Fine, be that way.
My first mistake was attempting to do this in the living room. You know, the one featuring hardwood floors and an area rug.
I thought a few rags and some paper towel would provide sufficient coverage, completely underestimating the slippery mess that was my garlic paste.
Let me set the stage for you. I was seated in an upholstered slipper chair, area rug underfoot, with bowl of garlic paste, strips of rags (to wrap my feet) and socks at the ready. And what I thought was enough rags and paper towel to protect the mess.
Mr. Enthusiasm, if you are reading this, look away now. Stop reading!
I began slathering garlic paste on the sole of my left foot, and watched it promptly slide right off and onto the rags below. But some of it seemed to have gained an unnatural momentum and went flying well past the rags. I gasped as I saw oily chunks of garlic landing on my lovely rug. Shit. Shit. Shit. I reached for the strips of cotton rags and desperately tried to wrap up my foot, hoping to contain the damage.
That’s when I realized that gauze would have been a much, much better option. The cotton strips unraveled as soon as I wrapped them.
In a final act of desperation, I threw all the remaining rags on my loosely rag-wrapped foot, watching as oil still dripped from it. I had to get to the safety of the tiled kitchen floor. And I had to do it without having my left foot touch the rug or hardwood between my current location and my safe place.
Enter the phase of hop-on-one-foot-while-you-balance-a-bowl-of-garlic-paste-plus-one-sock-plus-a-bunch-of-rags. Not my most graceful moment.
Once I arrived in the kitchen, I plopped down on the floor, unwrapped the mess on my left foot and started all over again.
Eventually I got enough garlic paste on both feet, wrapped them reasonably well in cotton rags and then covered them in thick socks.
Pleased with myself, I stood up so I could start to tackle the mess on the kitchen floor.
That’s when I noticed the oily footprints I was leaving with each step I took. Evidently the rags and socks were no match for the power of the oily mess on my feet.
I put one of those bad boys on each foot; problem solved.
Yes! Finally something goes right.
With rag-wrapped, sock-clad, Ziplock Freezer Bag-covered feet, I cleaned the oil off the kitchen floor and then sat down to watch some TV.
It was around this time the smell of garlic started assaulting my nose from inside my head.
It seems crazy and impossible, but 10 minutes in I felt as though I could actually taste garlic in my mouth. It was burning in my nostrils. I had no idea if it actually smelled outside of my body, but it seemed to permeate inside of me.
I should note that at some point during all of this, Mr. Enthusiasm had passed me on his way up to bed. He didn’t say a word.
It was getting late, so I decided to head up to bed as well.
The sound of plastic on the wood floors of the bedroom got his attention. What the fuck, Nanc? Really?, he questioned.
I calmly explained that I needed the Ziplock bags to avoid any oil seeping through the socks and onto the bedding. He shook his head and turned away.
And then I climbed into bed.
Approximately 1.7 seconds after pulling the covers up over myself, the odor wafted up and hit us hard, delivering with it the answer to my question about whether the smell was external or just internal.
My ever-loving husband threw his hand over his mouth and nose and told me to get the hell out of the bed.
He grunted something about me being ridiculous, rolled over, threw a pillow over this head and promptly fell asleep. [Side note: how is it possible for that man to fall asleep 3 seconds after his head hits the pillow??]
Eventually I, too, conked out. It was a fitful sleep though; lots of tossing and turning. The smell was…so bad. So, so bad.
At 4:08 am the stench became too much for me to bear. I had to either get that shit off my feet or risk choking on my own vomit while I slept. I chose the former.
I crept into the en suite, perched my ass on the edge of the tub and threw my legs in. Ziplock bags came off, then socks, then rags. The Ziplock bags seemed an ingenious choice right then as I realized I could put the entire stinky mess back into the baggy, and then seal it airtight, locking the odor in.
This seemed to be the best decision I’d made all night.
I scrubbed my feet as best I could, in a dark bathroom, at 4:15 am, and crawled back into bed. As I drifted back to sleep, all I kept thinking was, this better have fucking worked. This cold better be gone tomorrow. That was Tuesday night.
By Friday my head cold had morphed into a phlem-y rattling cough. Thank you garlic feet.
I abandoned all natural remedies and embraced every over-the-counter cough and cold drug I could get my hands on. Finally, on Saturday, I started feeling semi normal.
Big pharma 1, Mother Nature 0.
Those vampires know what’s what. Just say no to garlic.