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I want to empower your health with the steps that freed my life of chronic pain and medications.

Reader Interactions

68 Comments

  1. I don’t shop your prepared food section for a reason……….GMO’s in the canola oil……. ” Since the year 1995, biotech giant Monsanto has manufactured rapeseeds that are genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide RoundUp. Today, about 90% of the world’s canola crop is genetically modified.” http://authoritynutrition.com/canola-oil-good-or-bad/

    No need for a response from Whole Foods unless you tell me you are switching to non GMO verified or organic oils. I am also tired of reading labels on all your other products too. Just make the move toward organic/nonGMO exclusively and be done with it please.

  2. Thanks for addressing this problem!! It’s been bugging me for awhile. I took your advice and email them:
    “Whole Foods,
    The use of canola oil in your products has been deterring me for quite some time. My family owns a health consulting business and preaches against the use of canola oil and products that contain it! I would be so much more confident in buying your soup, salad, and hot bar prepared foods if they instead used coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil. I am aware that some of your prepared food options are cooked in olive oil and others, like the banana chips, use coconut oil. I enjoy purchasing those products and would like to see more.
    Please prioritize the health of your customers and use healthy oil options like olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil instead of canola oil: http://empoweredsustenance.com/canola
    ~Rosie”

  3. There isn’t a single point here that is in any way evidence that canola is dangerous more dangerous than other similar oils. This entire article seems to be someone trying to make himself out to be a hero by vilifying something. Too bad it also clearly shows signs of a powerful prejudice preventing the author from considering the evidence honestly. Maybe the biggest give away is the heavy use of scare quotes and sentences meant to appeal to emotion over reason (using scary words like “chemical slovants” and “genetically modified”).

    “By the way, more than 90% of the canola grown in the U.S. is genetically modified and, as a result, is heavily sprayed with pesticides.”. Modified how? Common bandannas and dogs and corn are all genetically modified. If you mean to assert that it has been modified in some way that is dangerous, you should explain how.

    And how does it follow that being genetically modified results in being heavily sprayed with pesticides? Is it your contention that the plant’s genes were modified to make it attract more insects and there need more spraying?

    • please watch the video provided and tell me that you want to eat that…and if you’ve followed anything in the past decade, you would know what genetically modified means and why there’s some concern. The effects may not be known yet, but I would rather be safe and eat actual food, wouldn’t you?

    • Things that are genetically modified are modified so that they may be sprayed with chemicals, most of them are sprayed with Roundup or a similar product. Since a few weeds do survive and have a tolerance, more chemicals are put on to kill those weeds.

  4. I don’t think you really understand what heat stable means, especially when you say butter is “highly heat stable”.
    Butter is in no way a heat stable fat. Butter burns easily. Yes, I’m talking about clarified butter. Non clarified butter burns at an even lower temperature.

    Avocado oil depends on if its refined or not.
    Butter 121 C
    Canola 204 C (refined, the type your talking about)
    Avocado 190 C
    Avocado refined 271 C
    Safflower refined 266 C

    Refined avocado is one of the highest temperature heat stable oil. Strange how you pick that rather then one of the many other oils that are similar to canola, or worse.

    I’m curious, do you only eat food that has been extensively studied? If so, that must make for a rather tedious diet.

    • Butter is pretty heat-stable for cooking and ghee is even more so, because the milk fat solids are not present to burn. Interestingly, the smoke point of an oil does not necessarily correlate to the heat-stability of an oil. Please read the article I linked, The Oiling of America, for more information. The author, Mary Enig PhD, is extremely knowledgeable about healthful fats and describes in more detail why saturated fats are more heat stable than polyunsaturated.

      • Hello, what about organic cold pressed canola oil?? But i would rather use a different oil anyway, i love coconut and olive oil . What about using grapeseed oil is that bad if its organic , just to have a option that is flavorless and more mild for some recipe . I am totally against gmo ! So any oils i buy must say organic and cold pressed . If not most are also processed with hexane

  5. Lauren, you referred to Trader Joe’s as a health foods store. It is by no means a health foods store. They may have some things that could be considered healthy, but they are a complete sham of a company, in my opinion. I feel that they try to pass themselves off as a company who is interested in health, but upon closer inspection are, in fact, not even close.

  6. Sodium hydroxide, or lye, is used in many different foods.

    “Lye is used to cure many types of food, including lutefisk, olives (making them less bitter), canned mandarin oranges, hominy, lye rolls, century eggs, and pretzels. It is also used as a tenderizer in the crust of baked Cantonese moon cakes, in “zongzi” (glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves), in chewy southern Chinese noodles popular in Hong Kong and southern China, and in Japanese ramen noodles.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lye

    I’m sure your aware of one of the most corrosive substances known:
    Oxygen.
    Without it, we would die in minutes, yet it can turn a forest into ash. A small amount is necessary, too much is poisonous. Yes, they use lye to process Canola oil. That doesn’t mean canola oil contains lye.

    Your practically demanding studies that show canola oil to be safe, yet your promoting various treatments for traveling, including an Epsom salt and baking soda bath for radiation detox? And Bach Flower Essences Rescue Remedy Flower Essence for, something…
    Do you have any studies to show these are safe? Or that they work?
    http://empoweredsustenance.com/healthy-air-travel/

    Radiation detox with Epsom salts and baking soda? Do you honestly believe this works? And what, exactly does it detox? Does it remove broken strands of DNA from your body? By what method does it work?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people using quality ingredients. But I think some of your arguments are at best mistaken, at worst disingenuous.. Don’t be another “Foodbabe”, a woman who uses fatuous arguments and her internet following to force a Subway to make changes to recipes to avoid manufactured bad publicity rather then facts and any problems in reality..

    And if you really want to complain about Whole Foods, complain about their support and sale of homeopathic “medicine” which is nothing more then some of the highest priced water sold on the face of the earth. Homeopathic medicines have been shown to not be effective and possibly prevent people from using real medicine that can cure life threatening ailments.

    Homeopathy claims to “let likes cure like,” by using highly diluted forms of the ailment it is treating. The water supposedly has a memory of the ingredient, which is then diluted so much that the average dose contains not a single molecule of the ingredient. They never explain why the water doesn’t have memory of fish and animal feces and rotting corpses.

    Australia just released a study that showed homeopathy is noneffective
    http://consultations.nhmrc.gov.au/public_consultations/homeopathy_health
    (One study of many showing homeopathic medicines do not work)

    List of scientifically controlled double blind studies which have conclusively demonstrated the efficacy of homeopathy:

    No, there are no double blind studies that show homeopathic medicine works.
    .

    I look forward to trying avocado oil where appropriate just as I use canola oil, sunflower oil, grape oil, olive oil, butter and even beef and chicken fat when and where appropriate. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reply to your article, and I hope you have a really great day, week and life.

  7. I emailed them twice. My own store, and a random one down in California. Wish I knew which one was head office.. Whenever I complain to my regular store, they say all decisions come from head office, so thats where you need to emai.

  8. As soon as I finished reading this, I both shared it on Facebook and emailed Whole Foods. Thought you might like to see the response I just received (more blah blah baloney):

    “Thank you for contacting Whole Foods Market with your concerns. Canola is a specifically bred variety of rapeseed and is part of the mustard (or Brassica) family whose other members include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and mustard greens.

    There appears to be a great deal of confusion concerning the safety of canola oil. At Whole Foods Market, we believe canola oil is a safe and wholesome food and, therefore, will continue to sell it in our stores. There are no research studies indicating that canola oil is harmful to humans when consumed as recommended. None of the vast number of number of purported side effects attributed to canola consumption like loss of vision, disruption of central nervous system, and anemia, to name a few examples, have been reported in medical journals.

    We use canola oil in many of our Prepared Foods recipes because it is very versatile. Canola is fairly heat stable, so it is suitable for all types of cooking and it has a neutral flavor, making it suitable for all kinds of dishes. We use non-GMO canola oil in all of our Prepared Foods.

    If you have any further questions please use our on-line response form.

    Best regards,

    Carijane Grigsby-Etter

    Global Customer Information Specialist | Whole Foods Market | 550 Bowie Street | Austin, Texas 78703”

  9. Lauren, just noticed one small typo you may want to fix:

    “While the unprocessed oil of the canola plant does contain some omega-3, the high-heat processing denatures this delicate, heat-stable fatty acid.”

    Should probably say heat-sensitive instead of heat-stable.

    Otherwise, rock on! Time to get this toxic fake oil out of the food supply, and especially the so-called health food stores.

  10. I sent my store an email. I see many people skip on getting prepared foods once they read the ingredient label sign. Some people even ask if they have any foods without canola oil. Let’s vote with our dollars!

  11. I have to say something for WFs. I used to eat at the hot and salad bars. I stopped when I took the whole non gmo plunge. After about a half year (which was about 4 months ago) I noticed they switched some of their canola oil based things to olive oil. The cranberry nut salad I get is now made with olive oil. Also, they used to use corn starch in all of their cooked dishes that needed some thickening, I have now noticed arrowroot starch being used in some. I think they are trying, just not as quick as we would like. I bet they have tons of overstock of canola oil and corn starch and want to use it up. I could be wrong, but have noticed some improvement and do agree with stressing it more, just know we will probably get there sooner than it looks at this moment.

  12. While I agree with the article 100% in the fact canola oil is bad and I wish places like whole foods would stop using it. It needs to be called it’s correct name, Rapeseed oil. The oil is from pressed rape seeds, there is no such thing as “canola” seeds.

  13. You inspire me so much! So I stepped out of my comfort zone and emailed them. This was there sad excuse for a response (note the typos):

    Thank you for contacting Whole Foods Market with your concerns. Canola is a specifically bred variety of rapeseed and is part of the mustard (or Brassica) family whose other members include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and mustard greens.

    There appears to be a great deal of confusion concerning the safety of canola oil. At Whole Foods Market, we believe canola oil is a safe and wholesome food and, therefore, will continue to sell it in our stores. There are no research studies indicating that canola oil is harmful to humans when consumed as recommended. None of the vast number of number of purported side effects attributed to canola consumption like loss of vision, disruption of central nervous system, and anemia, to name a few examples, have been reported in medical journals.

    We use canola oil in many of our Prepared Foods recipes because it is very versatile. Canola is fairly heat stable, so it is suitable for all types of cooking and it has a neutral flavor, making it suitable for all kinds of dishes. We use non-GMO canola oil in all of our Prepared Foods.

    It’s really sad…

  14. The fact that Whole Foods did not support prop. 37 and can’t get gmo’s out of their stores until 2018 tells me there is no urgency to protect their customers from the negative effect of gmo’s!

  15. Olive oil also turns into a trans fat when heated, so it should only be consumed cold pressed and unheated. Coconut oil and butter are your bests for heating. I’m not sure about heating avocado oil.

  16. You continue to post some of the most interesting and informative holistic health articles I’ve ever read. I was expecting this to be a short post with a link to a petition but my gosh it was so much more! So informative; you truly covered every aspect of the argument against canola oil. Well done, as always.

  17. Thank you Lauren for this article… I too have continuously been baffled by Whole Foods using canola oil in every single soup or item in their salad bar. Let’s change this:)

  18. Don’t like Canola oil, or the fact that WF uses it in their prepared foods? Then how about you just don’t buy it? It is clearly advantageous for them to use it in their product because it is much cheaper than using coconut or olive, and those oils are much more detectable in foods (not that I personally care; I love those two oils). I personally choose not to ingest rapeseed oil or other seemingly unhealthy refined oils, and in doing so, I make sure to spend as little money and give as little support to those using it, which is one reason I don’t buy any of WF prepared foods. It is up to us to take care of our bodies; it is not up to our government or our Whole Foods to make sure we are nourished and healthful. This is how the free-market works. I personally don’t support them with my money, and if in discussion, I will share what I know about rapeseed in the hope that others don’t consume it. But Whole Foods is a business. They are trying to make a profit, and clearly enough people don’t care enough about rapeseed oil in their food to stop buying it; so maybe instead of trying so hard to shout and yell at the Whole Foods customer service team, how about we make it not profitable for Whole Foods to even continue doing do? If we think that rapeseed oil is genuinely dangerous, it is not up to our “all-knowing” government to swoop in and save the day and ban it, nor is it up to our “all-powerful” Whole Foods to appease a fringe group of us Weston-Pricer’s, when it would clearly mean a bad business decision for them. Instead of trying to change Whole Foods and criticize them for selling items that are clearly profitable, why not refrain from buying them yourself, as well as encouraging others not to buy them either. This way, you are taking away the profitability away from them, as is done in a free-market. If not enough people care about rapeseed oil, then that’s the way it goes. It is futile to shout at a corporation for selling something; things don’t just sell themselves – people have to buy them, therefore, the blame is on the people, not on Whole Foods.

    I personally agree that rapeseed is a nasty refined oil, so I choose to refrain, but from a holistic, philosophical point of view, I am just trying to point out that it is not conducive to change by yelling at a corporation that is simply selling something that makes them good money.

    • This is not to say that we can’t share our opinion about it to them, in letters, tweets, etc – but judging from their clearly copied/pasted responses about it, it appears that they will continue to stick to using it until it no longer becomes profitable (i.e. once enough people stop buying it, they start seeing a decline in prepared food profits, and inevitably realize it is better for them to switch to another oil.

  19. For three and a half years, I had been in excruciating pain with burning in my chest. I have been to five Gastros, heart specialist, and a general doctor which found nothing wrong with me, except that I was in pain. I had No acid reflux. Therefore I kept a diary of everything I ate. I studied all the ingredients in everything I ate. Every time my pain burned and stinged very badly, there was Canola oil in the food. It was in bread, cakes, cookies, soup, and many other foods. I finally found a fantastic Gastro that said the nerves in my asaphagus were causing the pain and prescribed medication that I’m on for years that finally healed it. I’ve been fine for years until last week, I had a cookie and didn’t realize if contained canola oil. This time the burning is in my upper stomach and have an appt to go to the Gasto next week. I don’t feel very well right now. So whoever stated that Canola oil is safe, they wouldn’t enjoy the way I feel right now from it!

  20. Lauren
    This was the response from WF. They are so foolish!

    Thank you for contacting Whole Foods Market with your concerns. Canola is a specifically bred variety of rapeseed and is part of the mustard (or Brassica) family whose other members include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and mustard greens.

    We use canola oil in many of our Prepared Foods recipes because it is very versatile. Canola is fairly heat stable, so it is suitable for all types of cooking and it has a neutral flavor, making it suitable for all kinds of dishes. We use Non-GMO Verified canola oil in all of our Prepared Foods.

    If you have any further questions please use our on-line response form.

    Best regards,

    Michael Morowitz

  21. I just wanted to take the time to say that I appreciate your work. As a fellow NTP and health & food advocate I cringe at some of the hateful, mean, and down rite rude comments left on your page. I want to remind you to keep up the good work. I see what you are doing and unfortunately there is always someone that has to be mean, cruel, or bash. Not everybody gets it but those who do will forever be touched by you taking the time to share what you have learned.

  22. By the chemical treatment, I’m not a fan, yu won me there… but as a technically learned person, I have some SERIOUS problems with the arguments presented here.

    “By the way, more than 90% of the canola grown in the U.S. is genetically modified and, as a result, is heavily sprayed with pesticides.”
    – genetically modified does not mean automatically that it’s sprayed with pesticides; some genetic modifications of foods are even used to reduce the amount of pesticides required!

    “refining process that includes chemical solvents, lye, high pressure, and high heat!” – high pressure and heat don’t mean anything! why are they being mentioned?! if high pressure is a problem, then everybody should avoid all seed-based oils because that’s how the oil is extracted: a high-pressure squeeze!

  23. We live on a small farm where we grow everything organically. Recently, a naturopath shook our world by telling us that my 9 y.o. son should never eat fruit or any products derived from fruit (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc) for the rest of his life. I am only telling you this because you list these products as being non-allergenic. We have turned to organic canola oil and also butter to fill in the gap for now but plan on going to a doctor of Chinese medicine for a real solution to this heart-breaking problem.

  24. Bottom line, seed oils, and other concentrated fats to one degree or another, but especially seed oils in the smallest amounts comparatively, readily cause inflammation within ones body, variable per ones body’s buffering abilities, which is revealed by inflammation,.. such as, for example, pink patches/small rashes,… commonly on the face, but can occur elsewhere.
    Your body reveals what’s up, by noticeable indicators,… doesn’t require lab tests to notice.

  25. Hi and thanks!

    I wanted to double check on cooking with butter and coconut oil , both are safe under heat?
    Which is the better choice health wise, or both about the same?

    I only have a microwave for cooking , is this a big mistake or acceptable ?

    Thanks much, Ted
    By the way I signed up for email newsletters, and the prompter didn’t seem to like my email address, kept asking for a real one….

  26. Hi I am a young farmer from Nebraska and have grown canola for the last two years. Neither year did we use any pesticides. If you didn’t realize using less or no chemicals to grow a crop decreases our cost of production which increases our income. As for the process of high heat, solvents, and bleaching. Those are processes used in large oil seed plants. Those same methods are used in all oil extrusion from seeds or nuts contains oils. We have used an alternative process called cold pressing in which the seed and oil never reach temperatures above 120 degrees F. So many of the nutritional values are still in the oil including omega 3 fatty acids.

    I would just encourage you to visit ant farms in you area or anywhere in the US to really see how our food is made and not just watch one YouTube video. Also remember that we eat the foods we grow too.

  27. Good article, but I think it can be improved by mentioning from the outset that you’re talking about non-expeller pressed canola oil. Solvents/chemicals aren’t used in expeller pressed. Thanks.

  28. I kind of feel like saying to WFoods and places alike… I don’t care if you think Canola is healthy. MY money will go where Canola is not so do you want my business? If enough people do that, regardless of what they believe – they will change. Money talks.

  29. Canola and Rapeseed are the same thing. Canola stands for Canadian oil, Rapeseed is the original name. Canola oil is a little more attractive than saying Rape oil.

    Yes your oil can be cold pressed which is basically the same as just squeezing Apple juice from apples.

    There are basically 3 different processes that are used.

    1 cold pressed which is the healthiest no pre-heating of the seed is performed and seeds are pressed at low temperatures. This however results in lower oil yields an is why the big crushing plants do not do it.

    2 hot pressed which is where the seed is pre-heated to around 250 degrees f prior to pressing or some sort of preconditioning. This aids in oil yield around 10% increase in the amount of oil you can squeeze out of the seed because of the lower viscosity of the oil at higher temperatures. However with the increased temps you loss some nutritional value and create gums in the oil that will need to be removed and maybe bleached out.

    3 solvent extracted is the most common sold in most of our vegitable oils. It is the worst process because it uses heat and hexane solvents to get the highest possible oil yield maybe 20% increase from cold pressed.

  30. By the way, more than 90% of the canola grown in the U.S. is genetically modified and, as a result, is heavily sprayed with pesticides.
    Rather strange cause-effect, please expand on this.

    in a vat of chemical solvent
    Water is also a solvent, and it is also a chemical. In fact, everything you touch is made out of chemicals

    First, it’s washed with sodium hydroxide.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_hydroxide#Food_preparation ,in low concentration its perfectly fine. Like you would also not drink water saturated with kitchen salt.

    While bathing in lye, it is spun in a vat so the centrifugal force separates the “natural impurities.
    What is wrong with this, centrifuges only speed up precipitation.

    Finally, the oil is washed and filtered before undergoing a bleaching process.
    Bleaching only breaks double bonds in your oil, thus lowering the color intensity. This can be done like the old days using bleach (hypochlorite) or as they do know, using hot steam and oxidizing the oil with the oxygen in the water present.

    Please never write something “scientifically” anymore. You embarrass yourself.

  31. The most successful dietary trial of all time, The Lyon Diet Heart study used canola oil and the results were FABULOUS for cardiovascular mortality. Cold pressed organic canola in small amounts is a good thing. Lose your biases, go with data.

  32. You describe an unnatural process for making canola oil. Could you also include in your blog a description of milk and beef processing – how we get milk from cows – the life of a dairy cow from conception through birth and the slaughter of all of the cows in the end – baby males and cows that no longer produce enough milk – describe the slaughterhouse? Is that natural? And those local, small-farm, grass-fed cows and young males go to the slaughterhouse too. Also, I read in your previous post about those field mice that are destroyed when grains are harvested for vegan cereals? Farmers must raise a lot more grain and kill a lot more field mice by feeding the grains to the cows, so humans can eat cows and drink milk, rather than humans eating the grains directly. Do you know anything about eggs and chickens and the processes for producing chicken meat and eggs?

  33. I am using sesame oil. For those of us who have blood oxygen issues, both olive and coconut oils are vasoconstrictors (constrict blood vessels), while sesame oil – and sesame seeds – are Vasodilators ( open the blood vessels.)

  34. Pretty sure Whole Foods isn’t using the expensive organic, cold pressed Canola oil. That’s the point of the petition. I don’t buy prepared foods there.

  35. Genetically modified plants use FAR LESS by way of pesticides, that’s why they were invented.

    Get your basic facts right rather than simply turning against all technology for no good reason.

    Humans have been genetically modifying plants through selective breeding for over 9000 years, only back then we had no knowledge of what the effects of our changes might be. We now do and we make choices very carefully.

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I’m Lauren Geertsen, an author and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. When doctors told me that surgery and medication were the only answers to my chronic health issues, I decided to use the power of nutrition and a natural lifestyle instead.
My mission at Empowered Sustenance? To show you the simple steps on your path to vibrant health.

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