Posted: March 27, 2015 in Food, frying
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There is a huge battle going on about the safety of canola oil. Canola oil is made with genetically modified seeds which are doused with Monsanto’s Round-Up, so if you’re trying to avoid GMO’s and possible carcinogens in your family’s diet, you have one choice: stop using canola oil.

Canola gets its name from “Canada” and ‘Oil.” There is no “canola plant.” There is, however, something called rapeseed, which canola oil comes from. The “rape” comes from the latin “rapum,” which means “turnip,” but you can see how something called rapeseed oil wouldn’t work with the public. So: Canola it became.

Rapeseed plants have been grown for thousands of years, not for edible oils, but for lamp oils and lubricants. The presence of erucic acid, some nasty stuff that nobody really wants to eat, made it unsafe for human consumption. Rapeseed oil was in high demand during World War II for its industrial applications. After the war, the demand for rapeseed oil diminished, and it was only in the 1970’s that scientists were able to wean out the erucic acid out of rapeseed to make canola, but they had to use nasty compounds like hexane to do it. (Hexane is used as a solvent and cleaning agent in other applications, and has a long list of side effects according to the EPA:

It was in 1998 that the GMO was born when scientists developed a strain of rapeseed that could withstand herbicides like Round-Up, which is what almost all of canola is made from today. Personally, I don’t want to eat any plant that can withstand (and certainly absorb)  herbicides and pesticides.

So what about the other oils out there? If you’re staying away from canola oil, the bad news is you need to stay away from these oils as well: soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and even peanut oil and grapeseed oil. Many use Round-Up ready seeds, and most are treated with hexane.

The best oils to cook with: coconut oil, avocado oil and pork lard (or leaf lard) from humane family farms for high-heat cooking, and butter and olive oil for low-to-medium heat. (Go for a local olive oil, if possible. There have been many false label issues with imported olive oils as well.)

Basically, what our grandparents used is what we should use. Go figure. Maybe that’s why most of my grandparents lived well into their 90’s.



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