A Quick Chat About Canola Oil: A Letter from Michelle

Most newsletters right now are about joy and being merry. And while I do feel personally joyful, there is something that is seriously bothering me about the food industry and I am taking to this newsletter to share.

When we started Organic Krush, we had “rules” for our kitchen: 100% organic fruit and vegetables, a gluten-free bakery, NEVER pasteurized juices, and NEVER canola oil, corn oil, or soybean oil in the kitchen! We were aware that most other restaurants used those oils in bulk (due to their low cost and high frying temps) but we KNEW these oils were GMO’d and high in all the wrong types of fat. Our easy substitutes: safflower oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, butter, olive oil. Delicious, healthy, and yes… more expensive.

This was a cost we choose to absorb because the impact on our health is dramatic.

The reason I am bringing this up now is because my recent experiences going out to dinner have led to un-joyful feelings (lethargy, headaches, etc) the next day. (December was a very social month :)!! And for me, I know it’s because of the oils the restaurants are using to cook our food.

The most commonly used food in restaurants is canola and corn oil. We all know by now that corn oil is terrible for us, but have you spent time researching canola oil? Do you know what Canola oil is? What does a canola plant look like? Where does canola grow? Exactly. Nobody knows what canola is, yet it is the most widely used ingredient in the restaurant industry. I happen to know what canola is because for the last 15 years it sits on my “Do Not Ever Eat / Serve” list.

Canola – or rapeseed – is a plant that was discovered in Canada. Scientists crossbred the rapeseed plant to create a canola plant that has seeds that can be used to create oil. In typical high-industrial food production fashion, the plant is now genetically modified to be able to tolerate hefty doses of herbicides. To clarify, a plant was developed by scientists, and then genetically modified (it’s internal gene structured was altered) to be able to tolerate abundant spraying of herbicides. That way, farmers can grow this crop– spray massive amounts of herbicides to kill everything surrounding the crop while allowing the Canola plant to live. Then the canola plant and seeds are harvested and turned into … cooking oil. Its cheap, its abundant, and this oil has become the main ingredient in processed foods (check your oat milk ingredient list and let me know what you see) and restaurant cooking.

It’s time to take a stand and we can’t do it alone. Here are some suggestions:

  1. At home, do not purchase Canola, corn or soybean oil. Have fun with healthy fats and oils like Butter, Ghee, Olive oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, avocado oil, pumpkin seed oil. In your frying pan, cook at lower temps if you are using the seed oils.
  2. Add olive oil after cooking. Use steam, roasting, or an air fryer.. then top off the meal with beautiful delicious oil.
  3. Here’s the most important step: When you are at a restaurant.. ask you server what type of oil the restaurant uses for cooking. When they tell you canola, ask if they would consider switching in the near future to safflower or grapeseed or butter. If we don’t speak up, things will never improve. The more a customer requests, the more change there will be. I’m sure of it.
  4. For now, if you want to feel good after a night out, do what my partner Fran does.. order salads with no dressing. Just olive oil on the side. Order the freshest items you can pluck off the menu choices and eat lightly. I’m all for lean meats, perhaps the restaurant grills them and there is minimal oil involved.
  5. When you visit Organic Krush, let us know how happy you are with our oil choices :)! It would mean the world to us.

Here’s to joyful customer engagement and changing food one restaurant at a time!