I was doing a short pantry cleanse over the weekend and noticed my graveyard of cooking oils gathering cobwebs. I had a standard bottle of vegetable oil, canola oil, and corn oil sitting in the corner. I hadn’t touched them in over a year. They went right in the trash. Why, you ask? Because they are chock full of GMO’s (genetically modified products) and while marketed as ‘heart healthy’, are actually pretty harmful to your health.
I know, we have all been duped by the low fat, no fat craze of the 80’s and 90’s. It’s not your fault. We all thought we were doing what was best for our health. Margarine, vegetable oils, soybean oil, canola oil, partially hydrogenated oils, etc.. These were supposed to be so much better than (gasp!) full fat butter or lard. And lard, (even bigger gasp!), really got shoved in the back of the cupboard.
See, these processed vegetable oils were supposed to grant us heart health, lasting ‘ticker’ vitality, so we didn’t slump over prematurely. They were toted as low in cholesterol, therefore, a much better substitute for products with fat. And since cholesterol was the cause of heart disease, then these other ‘better’ oils must be do the trick! Wrong, wrong, and wrong. Do your research and you will see that cholesterol has very little to do with heart disease risk.
As a matter of fact, increased consumption of these oils has been shown to increase heart disease and obesity as well as risk of neurological disorders, cancer, liver problems, Alzheimer’s, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) to name a few. Part has to do with the way they are processed, the other part is how they are used – way too often, in almost every fried food, and at very high heat.
Most processed oils are derived from genetically modified plants. Canola? There is no such thing as a canola plant found in nature. Yes, you can find it in a lab, because it is a hybrid bred from the seed of a rape plant. (And the rape seed, FYI, contains high amounts of erucic acid which is toxic to the human body.) But good ‘ol Mother Earth didn’t give us a canola. Soybean and corn are the other two highest GMO offenders.
The process of creating vegetable oils is pretty funky as well. The biggest dupe of all is that vegetable oils aren’t even made from vegetables! How’s that for food for thought?
Vegetable oils and margarines are extracted from seeds, but you can’t squeeze oil from these seeds, so it is chemically removed instead with petroleum solvents and high heat. Plus, more chemicals are added to “deodorize” it and make it look edible. We wouldn’t even touch vegetable oil after the immediate processing stage because it looks gross and stinks to high hell!
Want to get an appetizing visual on this? Do a Google search for this video: “fathead butter vs canola oil”.
So now that I have taken away most of your oil options, you are probably wondering what the heck you are supposed to be using instead. Use products where the oils separate naturally. Butter and coconut oil are good examples. (Stop worrying about the fat… another dietary myth.) Butter, ghee, and medium grade coconut oils are all great for medium to high heat cooking. Plus, the medium grade coco oil has very little coconut aftertaste.
A high quality olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil are great choices for non-heat use such as salad dressings. You can use the EV coconut oil for higher-heat cooking too, but it will have a slightly sweet, coconut taste. Try sautéing veggies in it!