Don’t Use Vegetable Oil!

Don't use vegetable oil: BrownThumbMama.com

“What?” you exclaim. “You don’t use vegetable oil? Seriously? You must be using canola oil then. That’s healthy, right?” Nope, I don’t use vegetable oil, canola oil, or soybean oil. In fact the only cooking oils I use are olive oil and coconut oil.

To learn why, we need to talk about how vegetable oil is made–it’s a 6-step process.

1. Harvesting
First, you need to harvest the extract the oil from the plant seed. For example, canola oil is made from a hybrid version of rapeseed–usually genetically engineered to resist the huge amounts of pesticides applied to them.

2. Pressing
The seeds are husked and cleaned. Then they are crushed, heated to high temperatures (up to 180F) and pressed with heat and friction to extract the oil from the seed pulp.

3. Hexane solvent bath
Yep, you read that right. The seed pulp and the oil are put in a hexane solvent bath to extract more oil. Hexane is produced by refining crude petroleum oil. According to the EPA, “Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure of humans to high levels of hexane causes mild central nervous system effects, including dizziness, giddiness, slight nausea, and headache. Chronic (long-term) exposure to hexane in air is associated with polyneuropathy in humans, with numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headache, and fatigue.”

Don't use vegetable oil: BrownThumbMama.com

Image credit: oilmillmachinerysupplier.com

4. Centrifuge
Next, the oil is separated from the seed residue in a centrifuge and phosphate is added. The residue that is collected is often used as animal feed. Ack.

5. Neutralization and bleaching
Now that the oil has been super-heated and treated with solvents, it’s called “crude oil.” It has a terrible smell and an awful color. This, of course, means even more processing. Any impurities in the oil will cause it to oxidize (spoil), so they are neutralized and drawn off with caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) or soda ash (sodium carbonate). Then the heated oil is treated with bleaching agents to remove any unwanted color.

6. Deodorization
This is the last step before bottling. Pressurized steam at temperatures of 500 degrees or more removes volatile compounds that cause the final product to taste or smell bad.

Now it’s ready to eat! Or you can add just two ingredients and make biodiesel. Anybody grossed out yet?

So what should I use instead?

Good question. Let’s compare how vegetable oil is made to how my favorite coconut oil is made–Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions. Then you can decide which you’d rather eat!

Organic coconuts are used fresh (within 24-48 hours of harvest) from small family farms on Mt. Banahaw and other rural places in Quezon Province, the coconut capital of the Philippines.

Don't use vegetable oil: BrownThumbMama.com

Image credit: TropicalTraditions.com

The fresh coconut meat is shredded and then the water from inside the coconuts to is added to make coconut milk (wet-milled). The coconut milk is then allowed to sit for about half a day, while the oil naturally separates from the heavier water.

The oil is then heated for a short time and filtered from the curds (coconut solids). No chemicals or high-heat (e.g. steam deodorization) treatment is used.

That’s it! The oil is ready for us to use–in cooking, for homemade remedies, natural body care, and more. Virgin coconut oil is very mild and doesn’t add flavor to your food.

Want to know more? The good folks at Tropical Traditions have lots of resources for you.
What is virgin coconut oil?
How can I use coconut oil?
Frequently asked questions about coconut oil.

In addition, if you order through this page and are a new Tropical Traditions customer, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you!

Don't Use Vegetable Oil: BrownThumbMama.com

This article was shared on Clever Chicks, Fabulously Frugal Thursday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Unprocessed Fridays, and Fat Tuesday.

Comments

  1. Vee. says

    It was my late partner who told me about cooking oils and got me started using Olive Oil. Now I’m glad he did. Thanks for the info! :)

  2. Erin says

    Are sunflower and safflower oils made the same way? I was under the impression that they were made in a similar way to olive oil. Their use should still be limited due to the omega 6 content, though.

  3. oursimplelifesc2014 says

    Thanks for the great information. We are trying to stay away from oils as well. We planted a whole field of sunflowers this year in hopes we have enough to press sunflower oil.

  4. Linda says

    I lived in the Philippines for 3 yrs back in the early 80s (Air Force). I know the area in the post. I watched men scurry up coconut trees to cut a coconut. He hurried back down, hacked the end of with his machete and gave it to me to drink the milk!

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