Newsletter April 2014

An invitation to share your recipes

We volunteers learn so much from you, especially about inventive and healthy new ways of using the food you find at fareshares. We’d like to invite you to contribute any special recipes or preparation advice you’ve got for using FS products. Here’s the place to do it on our website:  Recipes. If you’d rather just write it down please put it in the feedback at the desk and we’ll upload it for you!

Coconut Oil Pulling

The ancient Ayurvedic technique – or is it – that involves swooshing oil around one’s mouth for 20 minutes became a contemorary fad thanks largely to this post by Erica Stolman on her Fashionlush blog .  That this news comes from an American fashionista indicates that it is likely to be (a) bullshit or (b) shinola: a sophisticated hype, perhaps intended to promote raw coconut oil?

The rather simplistic notion behind oil pulling is that the sticky oil attracts toxins, which are pulled out of one’s system and expelled when one spits it out. Deepak Chopra, who advocates the practice in his book, Perfect Health, says that some of the oil is absorbed through the tongue & makes its way through the body. There’s an internet meme that claims a doctor named F. Karach (or, sometimes, Karachi)used oil pulling to cure his own blood cancer, but found no evidence that he even existed.

Sceptics think detoxification is a myth and point out that the evidence for the efficacy of oil pulling is only anecdotal, but Dr. Bruce Fife of the Coconut Research Center
makes extravagant claims for it in his book, Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing. Dr Bruce believes coconut to be the king of saturated fats and his book The Coconut Oil Miracle is now in its fifth edition.

Huff Post, last year, declared 3 Reasons You Should Try Oil Pulling:
1    Whitens teeth, improves gum health, eliminates bad breath & makes a prettier smile.
2    Clears up acne & reduces the appearance of skin blemishes.
3    Leads to a healthy, glowing complexion.

Given that the perceived health benefits of pursuing this practice are entirely subjective, I experimented with a 200mg jar of Biona organic raw virgin coconut oil from FareShares, slooshing a teaspoon of it around my mouth for twenty minutes every morning for about three weeks. The oil, solid in the jar, slowly melts in the mouth as one swooshes & swirls it around. It is not unpleasant.

After 20mins, do not spit oil down the sink or toilet, because the fat will solidify in the pipes and clog the plumbing. Spit in bin! Having spat, rinse your mouth thoroughly, preferably with salty water. Failure to do so will result in toxins being re-absorded and leave your tongue and palate coated with an oily film. Which is a film no-one wants to watch.

So, I reckon there WAS a detectable difference in all three areas: my smile, complexion & general sense of well-being all improved as we passed the equinox and the days began to get longer. I WAS more conscious of my teeth and gums for spending 20mins swooshing  every morning. It tastes OK & swooshing time wasn’t wasted ‘cos I could do Facebook, or whatever, although spitting the oil out did seem a bit wasteful.

My conclusion is that oil pulling is harmless, if not massively beneficial, and I may carry on with it if I feel that way inclined, definitively.


Have you ‘liked’ our Facebook page? If you really like us, consider adding a review with a star rating of FareShares’ service. This will make us to feel appreciated, but more importantly it helps demonstrate to our landlord, Southwark Council, that FareShares is not a shop but an experiment in community.

Scroll down to the ‘reviews’ box on the right hand side, click the star rating and add a few words. Maisie Collins gave us 5 stars and wrote, ‘I love Fareshares! I do the lion-share of my food shopping here and everyone’s always super helpful and friendly. Lovely produce and lovely people.’ Thanks, Maisie!

#HOWDOWEDOIT: Zaytoun’s Palestinian olive oil

Zaytoun was founded ten years ago to assist Palestinian farmers market their products, starting with oil from some of the world’s oldest olive groves, and was initially funded by hundreds of people willing to put up their money well in advance of receiving their oil. In 2009, Zaytoun launched the world’s first ever Fairtrade olive oil, a tribute to the hard work of its Palestinian producers and processors.

Palestine is the home of the olive tree, whose fruit supports over half the population. Gnarly olive trees predominate in the agricultural landscape. The Mediterranean climate, rich fertile soil and use of organic traditional farming methods disionguishes Zaytoun’s Palestinian olive oil. You’ll find it in the far corner of Fareshares, atop the pasta cabinet, on the Solidarity Shelf. In solidarity with Zaytoun’s mission, Fareshares adds no mark up to the price we pay for its wonderful products.

Zaytoun organises annual trips to the olive harvest and this year’s tour runs, 2nd – 8th November. It’s a rare chance to visit the communities who supply Zaytoun products: not only the olive farmers in Jenin, but also those who make the maftoul (couscous) & za’atar (spice mix), dates & almonds, not forgetting the soap-makers of Nablus. Numbers are limited to a bakers’ dozen, so get in touch early if you think you can afford the frontline gastronomic holiday of a lifetime this winter!.

For further details and enquiries please contact or call 0207 832 1351.