4 Foods That Tricked Me!

While I was in Tibet, I traveled with an incredible group of 14 people. There was a teacher, an acupuncturist, an Eastern medicine doctor, several authors, business owners, and a health food store founder! I learned so much from them, especially about food and the myths surrounding it.

1. Canola Oil

If you have been following my blog for any amount of time at all, you know that I put canola oil in everything.

This morning, I smashed the bottle. I’m angry. Canola oil is such a health impostor! Originally, canola oil was rapeseed oil. Then the rapeseed was genetically engineered to have a higher ratio of good fats to bad fats. In order to make canola oil, extremely high temperatures and hexane are used to extract the oil which is then bleached, degummed, deodorized, and refined. Basically, it is an extremely processed sham of a health food.

I will be deleting canola oil from all of my blog recipes. Instead, we should bake with real butter or grapeseed oil, saute with coconut oil, and use Extra Virgin olive oil (cold pressed) for everything else! (One particularly useful source.)

2. All soy products.

One of the men on the trip, Daniel Ried, is the author of The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity and The Guide to Traditional Chinese Medicine. He’s brilliant and all that jazz, but the man can talk. When he feels passionately about something, he will not stop until he has you convinced. He literally spoke to us for over an hour over dinner about how NO ONE should eat ANY soy products. The only exception he would make was for straight up bean curd, unprocessed and non-GMO of course.

Tofu , soy burgers, soy milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt, and the hundreds of other soy products out there are not healthy. They are not even kind-of okay.  This is because they are so highly processed. If you want to eat soy, the only way to safely do so is with unprocessed, non-genetically modified soy beans. There are very few products out there where the soy beans aren’t so processed that they taste like something else! There are many detailed articles and studies out there explaining how the refining of soy turns the innocent little bean curd into a ball of health hazards, so if you are interested, get reading! Here is a nice little summary.

3. Agave Nectar

I was shocked when I heard this on the trip. I was thinking “No0o way! I can’t wait to blog about this!” But when I returned to the US of A, it seemed as though while I was away, everyone else learned about the agave nectar scandal. Once again, the reason why agave nectar is not the health food it is touted to be is because of howprocessed it is.

Agave syrup is heated for 36 hours at at least 140 degrees –> this increases the amount of fructose –> this makes it sweeter.

So why is it unhealthy? Agave nectar is 90% fructose and 10% glucose, which makes it a low GI food. Usually low GI is a good thing, but not in this case. Fructose interferes with copper metabolism, is hard on the liver (which must process it), increases the risk of diabetes by making us less sensitive to insulin, increases uric acid levels which are linked to heart disease, and can give you a little more cushioning (because it is converted to fat quicker and easier than glucose)!

A good source.

4. Raw Cashews

At first, I was horrified when I heard this! I eat raw cashews all the time! It is true that completely raw cashews have a natural preservative in them, urushiol, which is toxic. However, the “raw” cashews you find in health food stores are typically steamed, for the very purpose of removing the urushiol.

Food lately…

Plain kefir with blueberries, soaked nuts, coconut shreds, and oatmeal

Lentils with sauteed mushrooms, baby cauliflower, green onions, ginger, garlic & topped with coconut shreds

Brown rice noodles with stir fried veggies, onion, ginger, soy sauce, and a fried egg

21 thoughts on “4 Foods That Tricked Me!

  1. Wow. I am forwarding this to some people I know.

    And why is steaming the cashews bad? I hope I don’t sound totally clueless, but is steamed cashews bad for some reason? I know they aren’t completely raw then, but is that the only reason?

  2. It looks like you learned SO much from such a wonderful trip.
    Oh yea, and you look ADORABLE in the below post with the flower band. So cute.
    Are you gearing up for Fall qrter @ Davis? =P Hope you having a wonderful rest of the summer! 🙂

  3. What about the Asians who’ve been eating processed soy for so long and never had problems? Okay, we don’t use tofu as a replacement for meat or other products (tofu burgers, soy yogurt, soy cheese… sounds weird to me) but we have been eating tofu and drinking soy milk for a long time. Strange… Don’t get too worked up about the Canola Oil. Science is susceptible to change… but the other two I knew about. 😛

    1. Many Chinese people make their own soymilk from soybeans in their natural form and make their own tofu. Legit tofu and soymilk go bad in just a few days, whereas ours can sit on a shelf for months in the store. So I am not saying that all soy is bad, just processed soy, especially if its genetically modified.

  4. Oh wow, this post was very helpful – thanks for sharing! BTW I wanted to tell u, that I was very impressed by ur Tibet experience! It must have been awesome to be able to learn directly from the people, seeing and participating in their beautiful culture, not to speak of the breath taking landacape 🙂 wishing u a beautiful day!! xoxo Mel

  5. luckily i’ve never eaten soy. i was always told to stay far away!!! and surpisingly i heard of everything else except the cashew thing. thanks for spreading word! 🙂

  6. I loved reading your Tibet recap! It actually initiated an interesting, albeit somewhat morbid, conversation about sky burials and how we (Amor and I) want to handle our funeral arrangements. I agree that cemeteries are not a very good use of land, and Amor and I agreed that we’d like to be cremated, then have a tree planted in our ashes. =)

    Ooh, those health food impostors irk the heck out of me! I got burned by flaxseed — all those phytoestrogens in it were making me so sick! It was as bad as soy was to me. (I also found out that all the calcium supplements I was taking was making me sick, too; needless to say, I’m now wary of anything I’m told that I “need” to take because of my diet. =P)

    I heard about Agave been a health impostor, too. When I crave sweetness, I actually like a bit of maple, because it actually *tastes* good, too. Never knew about the raw cashews, though! I actually prefer roasted, but it’s still something to keep an eye out for.

    Thanks for the informative post! 😀

  7. Re: your email 😀

    I never thought of discussing death as romantic, but hey, if we’re planning on sticking together that long, it’s a good sign, ne? 😉

    I’m VERY sensitive to phytoestrogens. A few tbs of milled flaxseed a day for just a month totally threw my menstrual cycle of out whack (made it start early, and it lasted several days longer than usual, and gave me mood swings like crazy) and caused tons of health issues. Soy made me seriously ill, too, but there are more phytoestrogens in flax than in soy (albeit a different kind, called lignans).

    http://www.dietaryfiberfood.com/phytoestrogen.php is just one source of information (scroll down to the chart for the amount per 100g). You can find tons of data just by googling it.

    There’s tons of info — but then again, take everything you read with a grain of salt. I know it didn’t work for me, but what might be harmful to me might help somebody else. =)

  8. Aaah, no! Don’t say that (about the carrot-zucchini bread)! Your recipe was wonderful! I definitely made the mistake of putting in too much zucc. I even looked at it in the measuring cup but I was just like oh whatever, what difference could it make, it’ll taste even better with more. Haha, but I didn’t think about the watery-ness it would add. So no! I loved your recipe, thank you! And I absolutely will use it again next time 😀

    I’ve heard about the controversy around agave here and there but I never really listened because I liked it too much to give it up. But I think after I finish my bottle, I won’t repurchase it anymore. However, I had no idea about the raw cashews! :/

  9. Wow! I didn’t know agave nectar was THAT processed! I thought it was like pure stuff. Also, raw cashews? Geezz i would’ve never known! I have a ton in my refrigerator right now..

  10. your post about canola oil is very true. i only use grape-seed oil for cooking. unfortunately science text books still list canola oil as the healthiest oil; as a result few people few people know about this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s