Winter, weddings and the June long weekend has meant wine, tapas, pub meals, long breakfasts… Why was my tummy churning and gurgling I wondered?!
Yes there are times in my life where I indulge… I’m human right?! But this time something was really going on down there… In my gut. It was gurgling non stop and (overshare coming) the gas… The worst I’ve had! So I made a decision to detox. Not to loose weight but to restart my digestive system and work out what may be the issue… I only did it for two days and it worked a treat. It cleared the gurgling and gas and got me back to eating food that fuels me, and that tastes bloody amazing too! I’m not one to skimp on flavour, there is no way I could maintain a bland diet, or lifestyle for that matter!
So… I started to do my research and started really thinking about what had changed… I put it down to the added oil and highly processed foods I had been choosing… chips, wedges etc. Who wants a cold salad when it’s 3 degrees outside?! This opened up a whole can of worms… Or bottle of oil! I was shocked to learn what vegetable oil actually was and what food it was in.
So what is it? Well firstly it’s not a vegetable… It’s highly processed seed oil… That goes through a chemical process to change it from the ugly brown colour it is to the pretty yellow colour we see in the supermarkets. It is used to give products a longer shelf life and also to bind (emulsify) fats/oils and water in products.
It is rapeseed (canola oil), soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, peanut, etc. Not only is it added to products but it is also a cheap oil used for frying products… Double whammy there!
What are some other names? Vegetable oil, vegetable emulsifier, vegetable fat, shortening.
What foods is it in? Almost every processed food that has a shelf life. Bread, cakes, margarine, dressing, condiments, crackers, chips… the list does on. And if it’s not vegetable oil it’s preservatives, or tonnes of sugar or salt! The first time I realised it really was in everything was when I went to make bliss balls and these guys had it in them:
And these guys, who I thought were relatively ‘healthy’:
Oh and let’s not forget all of these guys:
What does it do to our bodies?
It messes with our hormones and leads to inflammation! Inflammation is the cause of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke etc. Vegetable oils also cause immune system issues, infertility, behavioral problems, and liver and kidney damage.
Why does it do this?
Due to the unnatural levels of polyunsaturated fats and Omega-6 fatty acids, genetically modified ingredients and all the additives, pesticides, and chemicals involved in processing. Many vegetable oils also contain the artificial antioxidants BHA and BHT (Butylated Hydroxyanisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene) that keep the food from spoiling too quickly, but they have also been shown to produce potential cancer compounds in the body.
Ok, where to from here?
Does this mean I can never eat out? Never buy packaged food? NO!
We are all human! Please don’t let this overwhelm you. The first step is being aware. Just start somewhere. Take one small step. Start to add in more of the good stuff… Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and you will naturally ‘crowd out’ the other stuff.
Read labels and start cooking! Make it fun… Get some friends together, play some music, light a candle, take a cooking class.
And remember… You don’t have to sacrifice your taste buds to eat healthy! And your body will love you for it!