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?

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6 Discussion to this post

  1. Sergiu (the dad) says:

    First of all I must say THANK YOU for being the cure and the cause for a sensibly better diet since I met you. There’s absolutely no doubt in my head and heart as to wether I would’ve started eating healthier on own initiative…it wouldn’t hav happened! You’ve deffinitelly changed things and continue to do so. keep up the good work! As for the oils, I think the biggest problem in Romania is the amount of oil being used. Normally oil should only be used in very very low quantities with the sole purpose of a non stick and easier cooking process. A greasy steak?!?…now that wouldn’t be something enjoyable by any measure. steaks need to be lean and suculent, otherwise they’re be disgusting, as it is animal muscle (my kitchen helper experience here 😉
    I am surelly not advocating for sunflower oil, or tbh for any oil in particular. I only think it should be regerded as what actually is: a lubrefiant, something to ease cooking and preparation on foods, not an ingredient per se. Where I do feel things should change is in the quantities it is being sold in: why sell it in a 1L bottle, when all you’ll be using are drops of the stuff. Why not sell in little 100-300g ones to visually induce a wiser use?
    you’ve hit the nail on the head with observing our society’s dependence on money. But at the end of the day, the producers would not produce if the market would not ask for it. They’ll switch their prodution to what the market is asking for (see organic & free-range foods). That’s why blogs and websites like your one here are vital for the change! the internet is an incredible limitless channel throught which things can really be influenced. As I was saying in the begining of my comment: Keep up the good work! you will change things only if you believe and live what you talk about.
    P.S. I’d say opting out for raw stuff instead of a steak is really a steep transition. why not go for a roast instead with a side of nice tender veggies 🙂

  2. Malgorzata Faget says:

    I read carefully both of your articles, it’s funny, I spoke the other day with my sister who is also an eco-gig and she confirmed that the coco nut oil is great for cooking, more – great sun protector and body balm.. so you can eat it and also look more beautiful=)

    I can say from my personal perspective that living in Italy also changed my view on food, I love Polish kitchen but I find it sometimes simply too heavy… We cook everything mainly on the olive oil but thanks for enlightening me on the down sides of the vegetable oils…


  3. Maria says:

    Margo, I’ve been using the coconut oil as a face and hand cream. I also used it as an ingredient for Aidan’s sunscreen lotion that my mother prepared for him at the beginning of the summer. Not that we have much need for it here, in London. 🙂 So, yes, it’s really good for the skin as well.

    I feel the same about the Romanian cuisine. It’s heavy and very meaty…too meaty for my taste. The thing is, thank God, we have all these resources to find out more about living a healthier life. it is only up to us to discover them. Hope to see you soon and thanks for stopping by.

  4. Maria says:

    Sergiu aka the dad…coming back to your question…why the market determines the producers to make the bad oils – I think most of the people buying the sunflower oil from the supermarket have no clue about how bad it is. I didn’t know until very recently. So I think it is more a thing of ignorance than an informed demand from the consumer. Don’t you agree?

  5. […] try to go for the steamed, roast option any time you can. A while ago I wrote a post about the harmful oils we use every day for cooking. Check it […]

  6. domy z bali says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you actually know what you’re talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my website =). We could have a link exchange agreement between us!

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