Eating Healthy Should Start with the Cooking Oils
Ok….I am bad, I admit it. It’s been a long silence and I have no excuse. Apart for my son’s surgery and me being away in Romania for the past two months. Writing articles for a living takes up most of my free time and I keep promising to myself that I’ll be more active on my blog. But 24 hours in a day are just not enough for me. Please God, could we try a 48 hour day? It would really help me a lot.
Ok, enough complaining and moaning. I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while now, ever since my article on the dangers of rancid oils was published. I’ve been on this eating healthy road for a while now. I even went completely raw for 5 days (conclusions of that detox week are still in my drafts), but I never once stopped to ask myself if I was using the right oils for cooking.
I mean, hello … we’re complaining about cancer, Alzheimer and God knows what and still continue to stir fry and cook with polyunsaturated fat, such as sunflower or rapeseed oil. For those of you not aware, these fats are very unstable and go rancid rapidly even just by sitting on the store shelves, exposed to light and oxygen. Frankly, since writing this article, I can barely swallow my food when I think about the pure poison I am putting in my body with every bite I take.
Let me explain. I am still in Romania for a while longer, waiting for Aidan to fully recover after his surgery. We live in my parents’ house and visit the in-laws every other day. Romanian hospitality has to do a lot with food. First thing my mother-in-law asks when we enter her house is “What do you want to eat?” The other thing she tells me is “I baked a tasty little cake for you! Maybe Aidan can have some as well.” Saying no to her is really difficult, bless her! Her joy is in cooking for us when we come home. Now that we have Aidan, her greatest joy is feed him her best dishes and her exquisite cakes. I am not very fond of the cake part, but we’re working on finding common grounds.
With my parents, things are easier. I say no to some things and they know never to ask me about eating them again. They have to listen. They don’t have a choice. I can look very crossed and menacing when I need to.
Back to the the oil… none of the people I know keeps the vegetable oil in other place than the cupboard. And most of the people I know in Romania and the UK cook stews, fry meats and bake with vegetable oil.
Thankfully, my mom discovered palm tree oil a couple of years ago. But my mother-in-law is using sunflower oil daily and I am not even sure she knows it’s very unhealthy. And even if she knew, she’s so set in her ways that I am almost 100% sure she would not consider switching to coconut oil.
Hell, what am I saying? The other day I went into a supermarket (one of the big German chanes) to look for wholegrain pasta. Surprise! On two long aisles I could find every white pasta shape and length existing on this Earth, but No wholegrain. NONE! Same goes for coconut oil. You can find small, expensive jars in the one and only health food shop we have in my small home town. But considering the amount of fried food a family eats over here, a small jar would last them for about… 2 hours.
Right now I feel there’s no use to talk to anyone about this, because they are too set in their ways. Sadly, we’re not talking only about my parents’generation, but also about people in my generation. Most of them have kids of their own whom they feed in the same way their mothers had been feeding them for years: with vegetable oils and iodine-enhanced salt.
Of course, nobody is wondering why all men over 30 have a beer belly and most women after getting married become overweight. And nobody is really relating their diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid and heart problems with the diet. Ok, maybe some of them are ware, but even so, they do very little to change anything. Or at least, this is the vibe.
Here and there, I am trying to talk about the dangers of unhealthy foods, of sugars and of a diet based extensively on animal protein. Sometimes I feel like one of those religious sectarians preaching about the end of the world to everyone within the radius, willing or unwilling to listen. And I see them looking at me like I am some strange creature, half mad, half out of this world.
My heart aches when I see Aidan enjoy pancakes and stews cooked with vegetable oil and in my mind, I look forward to returning back to London to my kitchen and my diet. Don’t get me wrong, until very recently I sometimes used rapeseed oil for cooking in good faith. Thanks to Sergiu’s experience as a helper in a restaurant kitchen a few years ago, we have been using also butter, which is a saturated stable fat. And since Aidan was born, we’ve mostly switched to extra virgin olive oil for a lot of our cooking. Still, I am mad at myself for totally overlooking this important ingredient in our foods.
Sadly, we live in a pretty dishonest and disfunctional society, where money is everything. How is it possible that you, the manufacturer use heat to extract the vegetable oil, add more chemicals to take away the bad odour and make it look clean and pure and sell it as a healthy ingredient that keeps our cholesterol at bay? Very convenintly you forget to mention that consuming your oils will surely give you some kind of cancer or degenerative disease and you’ll die pumped up with drugs that the pharmaceutical industry will make sure you buy in order to cure you of cancer or whatever you’re getting from the food you’re eating.
So I say…clear up your cupboards of the bad vegetable oils. And rather than having a greasy steak, why don’t you try a raw, vegetarian or vegan option instead?