Olive oil comes from olives. Sesame seed oil comes from sesame seeds.
But what is a canola? Canola is actually a made-up word for a genetically modified product.
Canola stands for “Canadian oil low acid.” It’s (sadly) a Canadian invention and subsidized by the government. The subsidies make it very cheap to use, so almost all processed or packaged foods contain canola oil. Be sure to read the ingredients. Here’s why you should:
THE SCOOP ON CANOLA
Canola oil is developed from the rapeseed plant, which is part of the mustard family of plants. These oils have long been used for industrial purposes (in candles, lipsticks, soaps, inks, lubricants, and biofuels). It’s an industrial oil, not a food.
Rapeseed oil is the source behind mustard gas, and on its own it causes emphysema, respiratory distress, anemia, constipation, irritability, and blindness. But through the beauty of genetic modification, we now sell it as an edible oil.
The claim is that canola is safe to use because through modification it is no longer rapeseed but “canola.” Except… canola is just genetically modified rapeseed. It has been marketed as a wonder oil that is low in saturated fats with a beneficial omega-3 fatty acid profile. It is recognized by the American Dietetic Association and the American Heart Association based on the belief that the absence of saturated fats alone makes it healthy.
It is now believed that rapeseed has a cumulative effect, taking almost 10 years before symptoms begin to manifest. One possible effect of long-term use is the destruction of the protective coating surrounding nerves called the myelin sheath. This is like having raw, open wires in the body. Some symptoms include:
- tremors and shaking
- uncoordination when walking or writing
- slurred speech
- deterioration of memory and thinking processes
- fuzzy or low audio levels
- difficulty urinating/incontinence
- breathing problems/short of breath
- nervous breakdown
- numbness and tingling in extremities
- heart problems/arrhythmia
From a nutritional perspective, canola oil has been found to deplete Vitamin E. It has a tendency to inhibit proper metabolism of foods and normal enzyme function. It also depresses the immune system.
THE SCOOP ON GMOs
Today, 72% of all products from the United States are genetically modified. The top 3 genetically modified foods are:
Not too far behind them are potatoes, tomatoes, sweet peppers, peanuts, and sunflower.
Companies that commonly use genetic modification are:
- Miss Vickie’s
- General Mills
- Labatt beer
- No Name
- President’s Choice
- Quaker Oats
When an attempt was made for new legislation to force the labeling of genetically modified products in grocery stores, the three companies of Kellogg’s, Monsanto, and DuPont spent $55 millions to fight it and eventually won. It is not mandatory for companies to let the consumers know when they have used genetic modification. Which is why today I refuse to use a Kellogg’s product (very corn-based). Produce that is genetically modified is sometimes identified by a 5-digit number on its sticker that starts with an 8. But not always.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF GMOs ON HUMANS
Apparently they have GMO Christmas trees that glow in the dark. Slightly cool, but kind of disturbing. They can also make pigs glow in the dark by injecting them with jellyfish.
2. Allergic reactions
Our bodies were not built to recognize and consume GMOs. They are foreign substances in our digestive system and in our bloodstream.
3. Antibiotic resistance
Many plants are engineered to become resistant. We consume those same toxins and may in turn develop resistances.
GMOs are an offense to our cells. They depress our immune system and may allow for the onset of cancer.
Our immune system doesn’t recognize GMOs. It works to expel them from our bodies as soon as possible, and has less time to work towards our general well being.
Besides the above, GMOs have a negative effect on nature. It upsets the balance of the earth, harms wild plants, and disturbs the life cycle of wild animals.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Since learning the above, I’ve made some changes. They’re small, but I feel good about them.
- I don’t buy or use anything that contains canola.
- I don’t buy or use any Kellogg’s products.
- I look at the produce stickers on my fruits and vegetables. Just in case.
- I stay away from processed foods, as they are most likely GMO.
GMOs are a big scary topic. But even without labeling, most of us can incorporate small changes to eat more naturally.
Hey all! Thanks for the comments! So – I posted this shortly after starting the blog over a year ago.. it’s straight out of the notes of my Ecology class at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.
I’ve since moved to San Diego and my notes are in Canada, so unfortunately don’t have access to the sources the instructor used. I didn’t think to put references at the time since I had approximately two readers, and one of them was my mom .. However, there are now tons of links in the comments below if you feel like scanning them.
THAT said, obviously this is not a scientific source (it’s a blog…) and you should ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS do your own research when it comes to what you eat/don’t eat (duh). Do what you think is healthy for your own body and try not to be cruel to others. Thanks for reading!