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Monday, July 12, 2010

Are You in Need of an Oil Change?

Over the last century or so we have been in the midst of a coup d'etat by the vegetable oil companies of our food system.

A coup d'état (English: /ˌkuːdeɪˈtɑː/, French: [ku deta]; plural: coups d'état), or coup, putsch or overthrow, is the sudden unconstitutional deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either civil or military. A coup d'état succeeds when the usurpers establish their legitimacy if the attacked government fails to thwart them, by allowing their (strategic, tactical, political) consolidation and then receiving the deposed government's surrender; or the acquiescence of the populace and the non-participant military forces.
Foods our ancestors have eaten since the beginning, even thrived on for generations have been pushed aside to make way for new, technologically advanced "food".  One of the BIGGEST changes that has taken place during this time is the types of oil/fat we consume. Butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil and other traditional fats have become the victums of the coup d'etat by highly refined, purified, and even chemically altered vegetable oils. We too are the victums.

If you traveled the world and ate in rural China they would serve you food made with lard, if you went to Thailand everything would be cooked in coconut oil, in India they use ghee and coconut oil and if you decided to visit the Hunza in northern Pakistan they would serve you food with butter and goat fat. Oh and when you ended your trip in Italy and Greece you can bet you will be eating olive oil.

Oils have been an important part of the human diet for generations. The most common being the ones easiest to obtain - butter, coconut oil, animal fats, palm oil and olive oil.

Vegetable oils that we eat today began as industrial oils. One of the drawbacks of polyunsaturated oils is that they become rancid (oxidize) quickly but this was advantageous for industrial use. You see when oils oxidize they harden and a thin layer could become an impervious shell - voila'! Paint! Varnish! Paint Thinner! Lacquer! Linoleum! Yum! Before WWII soybean and other polyunsaturated oils were used almost exclusively for industrial purposes.

What happened? Well someone came up with a cheaper way to make  paint and the seed oil industry was losing $$. Farmers were experimenting on ways to make their animals fatter on less expensive feed. By increasing the fat content of the feed the animals would gain more weight and bring bigger profits with lesser expense. Brilliant, right? WRONG.

What went wrong? Well, the farmers discovered that corn and soybean oil not only added more calories but also had an antithyroid effect and they were developing tumors and had other degenerative health problems. Diseased cattle do not sell well so they stopped using vegetable oils.

Once again the seed oil industry was loosing $$. Some unbelievable marketing then turned what the cattle industry had turned down into FOOD FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. Luckily for them it was just about the time saturated fats began to get a bad rap. They were able to market this "food" as being heart healthy.

The problem we now all face is that what the oils did to the cattle is now happening to us - we are becoming increasingly fatter and more unhealthy. Thousands of years of eating saturated fats have had no harmful effects, but as soon as we replaced them with polyunsaturated vegetable oils waistlines have gotten fatter, cancer diabetes and other degenerative diseases have shot through the roof.

Look at your labels, do you use margarine, shortening and vegetable oils in your cooking? It is everywhere! If farm animals became fat and developed horrible diseases eating this stuff do you really want to be putting it in your body??

Time for an oil change don't you think?

This post is my contribution to Two for Tuesdays Blog Hop! Come join the fun and link up! Don't know what a Blog Hop is? Look here to find out!

I am also linking this to Breastfeeding Moms Unite's Vegetarian Foodie Fridays
and Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday


  1. Awesome post!! I try to convince everybody I know to throw out the margarine and use some REAL fats =)

  2. This is so informative! I continue to slowly try to rid my home and cooking of processed oils.

  3. Christy! I am laughing so hard right now because I was just reading a side bar in the nourishing traditions cook book ALL about how polyunsaturated oils should make up NO MORE than 1-4% of your diet! I completely agree with your wonderful article but would also add that saturated fat simply TASTES better and isn't gummy. So I choose it over other oils intuitively! Thanks for sharing the real food love on this two for tuesday recipe blog hop and welcome to hosting! :) Alex

  4. It's terrifying how much of what is sold to us as "food" is really just some industrial waste product, a way for some supercompany to make another buck. And all the time, we are just guinea pigs...

  5. Wow! That's very informative, even i have this oscillation in my mind which oil to use?
    Very good post.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your lovely comments, also thank you for following me:-)

  6. Great post. I only stopped using vegetable oils recently (last few months). Even the vegan margarine that I was spending lots of money on got tossed. Now it's butter, olive oil and coconut oil all the way.

  7. Thanks so much for all the history, Christy. I had no idea those oils were *that* industrial! Paint, varnish -- yikes!
    I love my butter, coconut oil and olive oil. I need to find a good source of organic lard so that I can try cooking with it, too.

  8. I remember being shocked the first time flax seed oil was recommended to me as a healthy oil. The only time I'd heard of it previously was from a friend who polished some sort of machinery with it!

    That said, while hubs thinks I'm nuts because I believe that cholesterol is good (at least cholesterol in food), he LOVES my frying in coconut oil. Why? Because it's "light". Veg oils soak into the food and make them heavy. Coconut oil doesn't seem to soak in at all and makes nice, crispy fries.

    I haven't convinced him on the butter and bacon front yet, though.

  9. great info, a little scary but something everyone should know!

  10. I'm all about healthy oils! Great post.

  11. Great post. im all about the real fats, too! I have a little summary of the oils/fats i prefer at my blog:

  12. Great post!

    A friend of mine very recently asked me how I can have my deep fryer sitting out with oil in it without it smelling horrible. I didn't know the answer at first, but then it came to me that I fry with peanut oil and I'll bet any amount of money that she fries with canola oil. That canola "varnish" on it is rancid, causing the awful smell, I bet.

  13. Annie - I don't know - that is a great hypothosis. I am not real familiar with peanut oil - I have never used it.

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