Every month a group of us foodies and health seekers gather to learn about something new, connect with others who are on a similar path, and share a meal. We've been meeting in this way for at least 6 years and honestly, it's one of my favorite days of the month. I always learn something I didn't know (usually more than one thing), meet new people, and always leave feeling fulfilled mind, body, and spirit. It's truly amazing what connecting to people with shared values and interests does for a person.
A couple of weeks ago we welcomed Dr Will and Liz Schlinsog of Walkabout Health Products to talk about Emu Oil. Prior to that day, I'm fairly certain that I'd never heard of Emu Oil. Fish oil? Yes. Coconut oil? Obviously. Tallow and Lard? Mmmhmm. Butter oil? Yes and yum. But Emu Oil? As in the oil from that funny looking bird from Australia? No.
Turns out I didn't know much about Emus either. The emu is a prehistoric bird (how cool is that), and Aboriginal Australians have used their oil for something like 40,000 years! That's a long history! So what's so special about Emu Oil? Well, as with many traditional foods, we are just beginning to understand the health benefits. When Weston A Price , a researcher and dentist who traveled the world in the 1930's searching for the factors that contributed to good dental health, noted the exceptional health of the aboriginal Australians who ate their traditional diet that included Emu meat, fat, and odd bits of the flightless bird. The oil was taken both internally as a food and applied externally to promote healing of the skin and as protection from the sun. Today it is also used as an anti inflammatory for conditions ranging from skin conditions to achy joints.
Nutritionally, Walkabout Emu Oil contains omega 3, 6, 7 and 9, vitamin D3, the elusive vitamin K2 MK-4 (Dr. Prices Activator X), E and A, CLA, ATP, and arachidonic acid. It is highly anti-inflammatory and a potent inhibitor of angiogenesis, formulated by Mother Nature. This nutritious fat is stored on the emu's back to be used as nourishment for the long stretches of time in which food might not be available such as while the make emu sits on the eggs for 8 weeks.
Like most things, the value of the product lies in the specifics. When it comes to animal food, those specifics include how the animal was raised, where the animal was raised, what the animal ate, and what process was used to obtain the desired product (in this case, the oil). Working with farmers in Australia, Dr Will and Liz learned which genotype provided the highest quality oil. By raising and breeding that specific genotype, and allowing the birds to eat as they would in their natural environment, they were able to secure a consistently quality product with the desired nutritional profile. Using traditional methods of rendering the fat without using harsh solvents, high temperatures, or additives adds to the list of what makes Walkabout Emu Oil unique.
So, did I buy any and what did I think? Yes, of course I did! The nutritional profile is similar to Cod Liver Oil in that it has the Omega 3,6,9. We take our cod liver oil in conjunction with Butter oil which gives us Vitamin K2. I felt like working emu oil in to our routine would be beneficial so I bought 2 bottles to try. They also have a topical oil that I was interested in so I bought that as well. Now honestly I didn't expect any big revelations here. I don't have any acute health issues so for me it's about maintaining good health and energy. On Sunday I put some of the oil on my skin. By Sunday evening my face began itching in very specific areas. I looked in the mirror but there was no redness or irritation, so I kept it on for the day, experiencing some itchiness here and there. At the end of the day I washed my face as usual and went to bed. The next day I did the same. On day 3 I decided to look at the places my skin seemed to be having some sort of reaction to the oil. I must admit that I rarely look at my skin up close. No reason really. Most of the time I'm being rushed out the bathroom door by 3 little people who have exciting things to show me. If I get my teeth brushed and mascara on, I count it as a win. If my hair looks nice enough to not be in a ponytail, I feel fancy.
When I was pregnant with my third child, I developed a lovely case of melasma on my face. I only noticed it after spending some time in the sun one day. Although most darkened areas disappeared after baby was born, a few spots remained even 2 years later. They sort of bugged me so I'd tried some other recommend remedies but nothing really helped. When I looked in the mirror on Day 3 of my Emu oil experiment, I recognized that the itchy spots were those darkened areas of skin that had never gone away. What's more (and I almost couldn't believe it) those dark patches were beginning to break up and lighten. I wish now that I'd taken a picture of the before, but I had no expectation that anything would happen. It's now 10 days later and a couple dark patches are completely gone. Others are continuing to fade. This is all very exciting to someone like me who is not used to experiencing visible changes from a single product.
In regards to the Emu oil we are taking orally, my kids really like it. They tell me it either tastes like nothing or tastes buttery. I think it tastes slightly nutty. We will definitely Continue to alternate this into our daily routine.