Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kitchen Confusion

I’ve been totally consumed lately with transforming my kitchen into a warm, healthful place for me and my children.  Everywhere I turn, I read about good grains and bad grains, gluten and gluten-free, eliminating food coloring, getting rid of nitrates, reduced fat vs. fat free, why sugar is bad for you, why Splenda is good, why Splenda is bad, and which oils to use.  It’s really a lot to take in.  Depending on which propaganda you chose to believe, everything is safe and healthy for you AND it will all kill you.  It is difficult to wrap your head around.


For me, it is best to just know the facts.  Today, I found myself trying to decide if I need canola oil in my kitchen.  Why?  Because I got a new cookbook (that I’m super excited to tell you about) that has many recipes calling for canola oil.

I have never purchased canola oil and honestly, I had no idea what exactly a canola was.  So I went and visited my trusty friend Google for some answers.  Here is what I learned:

  • Canola oil is a product of a hybrid rapeseed plant that was created by scientists in Canada- hence it’s name.  Canola stands for Canadian oil, low acid; source Wikipedia
  • Canola oil is low in saturated fat, a source of Omega-6, high in Omega-3, high in monounsaturated fat, and cholesterol and trans fat free; source canolainfo.org
  • There are critics who say that canola oil may be hazardous to your health because it is derived from the rapeseed plant.  Rapeseed is high in an toxin called erucic acid and detractors believe that it is still present in canola oil.  The FDA has deemed canola oil safe and it is generally recognized as safe around the world.; source truthorfiction.com

The bottom line is, for every report that says something is good for you, there is another saying it isn’t.  The best thing you can do as a consumer is to read up and make the choice that is best for you.  So back to my original question, do I need canola oil in my kitchen?  I decided no.  I currently use olive oil.  Olive oil is also a source of Omega-3 and 6, is also high in monounsaturated fat, and studies show it can lower your bad cholesterol.  In my humble opinion, it seems “more natural” than an oil from a scientifically created plant and I just learned that it can be used interchangeably with canola oil in my baking.  So why buy yet another thing to fill my cupboards?

image courtesy of Google Images


Rita Templeton said...

Yep, I use olive oil. I've never used canola oil before either, and plus, the word "rapeseed" just sounds creepy!

BigSis said...

I learned something new today - I had no idea where the name Canola came from. I have both canola and olive oil in my kitchen because I was told that olive oil has a lower "smoking point", so the canola was good when you are deep frying, or really getting the oil hot. When I looked up the different smoke points, there doesn't seem to be much of a difference.

And, I'm with you on feeling guilty about the foods I feed my child. I've been told about a couple of documentaries I should watch, but I'm not sure I need more guilt!

adrienzgirl said...

I use both olive oil and canola oil. I cook with olive oil. Canola oil I use as a replacement for vegetable oil or corn oil. It does have a higher smoke point than olive oil.

I don't fry food very often. We don't really like fried food here at House of Romano, but when I fry things I use canola.

In baking, olive oil adds flavor. Canola does not. But really, in many of the recipes you can substitute out apple sauce for oil to keep the moistness.

I have been using canola oil for years. No ill side affects.

Just my two cents for what it's worth. I started using Canola oil when the heart doctor told my grandmother to change to it for a more heart healthy oil after my grandfather had open heart surgery many years ago.

MindyMom said...

I also have both. I mostly cook with the olive oil but for things I dont want to have that olivey-flavor I use the canola - but sparingly.

As for baking (sweet things) I use applesauce in place of oil - with very few exceptions - and you'd never know the difference except in your heart and hips. :)

You're right when there is a good and bad side to most things so I usually go with the mantra "everything in moderation.".

Anonymous said...

It drives me crazy trying to figure out what's good for you and what isnt! When sauteeing I use olive oil, when baking I use vegetable oil. Ive tried using applesauce but it doesnt always work like people say it does.

Dual Mom said...

You're right, we would just spend our days spinning like the tasmanian devil if we tried to keep it all sorted! Eat lots of fruit and veggies...that's my only nutrition guideline.

Kate said...

I also use applesauce in place of oil and actually, when baking, I generally cut the sugar by about a third and add a little more applesauce. I use olive oil when sauteing, marinating and roasting, and if I fry (which is only fish and chips when I do) I use corn oil. I don't know anything about it other than its all I have ever used! With the two heart kids I try to be very aware of what I am feeding them, but there is no way I could ever keep up with it all. My number one rule when cooking is make everything you possibly can, 'from scratch'. By the way, I <3 your blog!

Danielle said...

I just bought canola oil and now I am going to throw it away. I had always bought Olive Oil too, but it is getting so expensive.

Senorita said...

Excellent points. I just stick to olive oil. I don't bake ( I would eat it all), and I also use a fat-free non-stick spray.

I refuse to cut out bread and sugar. Splenda is nasty, and I can always tell the difference.

Alicia said...

oh lady, i never can keep up with what's what! i use both...mainly olive oil, but it depends what i'm making!

Tracie said...

I use olive oil for sauteeing or vegetable oil when I don't want that flavor. (Like when making pancakes.) I'm using Relish for my menu planning and there was a recipe that called for canola oil. I was wondering if I needed to buy it. Never used it before.

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