National Day of Unplugging, Oil Pulling, Pinterest, & Spaghetti Squash

Last Friday I wrote a post about my plans to participate in the National Day of Unplugging from sundown on Friday through sundown on Saturday. I was going to give up my electronic devices – iPhone, iPod, and laptop – for 24 hours.

At exactly 5:48 p.m, as the sun went down, I shut down my devices without any concern as to how I would make it through the next 24 hours. Good Lord was I naive.

My evening started out slowly with making dinner, cleaning the kitchen, you know typical housekeeping stuff. After dinner, I did some reading, put together my a laundry sorter/hamper, took a shower, and decided to hit the hay early about 10:00 p.m.. Ya, I live the glam life. Try not to be jealous. Unfortunately, I couldn’t sleep so around midnight, I decided to watch a movie . . . on my phone. Oops.

Saturday morning arrived way too early and I woke up with a pretty bad migraine that didn’t bode well for the rest of my day.

oil-pullingFirst thing, however, I tried oil pulling. I used coconut oil and after a false start with a teaspoon of solid coconut oil, I decided that it would be best to liquify it by zapping it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. I cannot emphasize this enough: Do not try to do oil pulling with solid coconut oil. You will gag. Trust me. My second attempt at oil pulling was much more successful and I was able to swish it around my mouth for seven minutes and only took a couple of minutes to lose the coconut taste and for me to get used to the texture. While I swished, I emptied and loaded the dishwasher. Once I finished with the dishes, I spit the oil into the garbage because you should never spit it into the sink to avoid clogs. Running my tongue over my teeth, as I walked to the mirror, I was surprised by how smooth my teeth felt. I was equally surprised by how clean my teeth looked in the mirror a few moments later. Having only tried oil pulling once, I can’t say that I experienced any of the health benefits people have reported, but I can say that I will definitely try it again. Additionally, I would be remiss if I did not tell you that it’s my belief that oil pulling is not a magic elixir. You must still have good oral health habits (i.e., brushing and flossing), but from what I’ve read, it’s not going to do any harm. New Experience 192 Done.

After making some lunch, I decided to go back to bed because I was feeling pretty miserable. Sammy and Zoey joined me because they know the healing powers of kitty snuggles. Before falling back to sleep, I did check my text messages and email, although I didn’t respond to anything. Oops #2.

I woke up from my nap around 5:30 yesterday afternoon, just as the sun was getting ready to set. My headache was mostly gone, so I decided to bake a spaghetti squash and use it as “noodles” for spaghetti. I’d never had spaghetti squash before and was thrilled with how delicious and easy it was to make.  I used a recipe I found at Whole Foods that recommended baking the squash for 30 to 35 minutes. The squash came out a little crunchy, which wasn’t bad, but in the future I’ll follow my friend Carolyn’s advice and cook it for closer to an hour. New Experience 196 Done.

Once the sun went down at 5:49 p.m. on Saturday, I quickly hopped back online and caught up on everything I missed. I also checked in with a friend who also unplugged for 24 hours. He said he had a very easy time unplugging and didn’t even think about checking email or Facebook and wasn’t tempted to answer his phone. Lucky him.

After a Twitter chat with my friend Carolyn regarding spaghetti squash, I joined Pinterest in order to trade healthy recipes with friends. I have no idea why I waited so long to join Pinterest and am confident that Carolyn created a monster in suggesting I do it. In addition to the Healthy Recipes board, I’ve also added boards called Baking, Beauty, Happiness, Home Decor, Home Maintenance, I May or May Not Be a Crazy Cat Lady, and Watervale. You can check out my Pinterest boards here. New Experience 195 Done.

Although I cheated a little by checking my email and text messages and watching a movie on my phone, I feel like National Day of Unplugging was a success for me and plan to start doing it monthly. I’m not exactly sure what it will look like and whether it will be for a 24-hour period, whether I’ll start disconnecting earlier every day, or whether I’ll challenge myself to do a full weekend, but I enjoyed reading and just having some quiet time to be alone with my thoughts. I noticed that I felt a bit isolated, which I believe comes from the fact that I live alone and did not have any plans for Saturday. I also noticed that I felt cut-off from what was happening in the world, which I definitely didn’t enjoy.

The next time I unplug, I’ll make sure I have plans with other people so I don’t so feel as isolated and cut-off from the world as I did yesterday. I think that would have made an enormous difference. National Day of Unplugging, New Experience 198 Done.

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    Jessica Gardner

    A native of Chicago's Northwest Suburbs and resident of the North Shore, Little Merry Sunshine comes by her name honestly. The story goes that as a child, she was always so happy that she even slept with a smile on her face. Her mom nicknamed her Little Merry Sunshine. It stuck, along with her insatiable desire to focus on the good in the world and to leave it a little better than she found it. She does this by sharing her passions and dreams, what inspires her, and maybe you too, and furthering the discussion about how we can listen to our better angels. You can reach her at LittleMerrySunshineCN[at]WowWay[dot]com.

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