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.