Meal delivery services like ours can make or break your diet and nutrition goals. We aim to take the hassle, planning, and time out of healthy eating for you by replacing all of that with easy meals that are as nutritious as they are delicious.
That being said, not all meal delivery services that market themselves as ‘healthy’ are actually healthy. This truly is a case of ‘buyer, beware.’
The problem is that, in addition to keeping you healthy, meal delivery services (us included) have a goal: to make money...and, from the beginning of time, whenever and wherever money is involved, business owners look for ways to cut corners and drive up profits.
If you want quality from your St. Louis meal delivery plan (and isn’t that the goal), you need to make sure your service isn’t cutting corners in places that matter….and what’s one key area in which a meal delivery services save money? The quality of the ingredients used. That’s bad news...and good news (if you know how to use it to your advantage).
The bad news is that, as a consumer, you need to be well aware that meal delivery services can not be inherently trusted. You need to do a little leg work. The good news is that, as a consumer, you have an easy way to find out if the meal service you’re considering lives up to its healthy promises. How? The best metric you have for evaluating the quality of any meal service is to take a cold, hard look at the ingredients a meal delivery service chooses to use.
Let’s dive in a little and do a case study. Some meal delivery companies actually prepare all of their foods with canola oil. They claim it’s healthy...is it?
What is Canola Oil?
Once upon a time, society largely relied upon animal fats for meal preparation: butter and natural lards...then vegetable oils hit the market. After an aggressive marketing campaign launched by Procter & Gamble in the early 1900’s (to market their new product Crisco), vegetable oils quickly took off as a cheaper, and less perishable, alternative to animal fats for use in cooking.
The third most-consumed vegetable oil today first gained traction as a lubricant for engines...yes, car engines. In fact, it’s used as a source for biodiesel today. It’s also used in cooking…
The canola oil used in meal preparation today has a long and storied history...it started as an ancient fuel -- derived from the rapeseed plant -- rapeseed oil. Though it worked like a charm for motor oil, the high erucic acid and glucosinolates contents made it dangerous for human consumption, but in the 1970’s, it was modified by scientists to become ‘canola’ oil with a low-erucic acid content….and then considered safe.
The Rapeseed Flower in Bloom
Is Canola Oil a 'Healthy Fat'?
In terms of fatty acids, canola oil is mixed: it has a ratio of 2:1 (omega-6/omega-3). Sounds ok at first glance...the problem here is that there’s a substantial difference between these two types of fatty acids...and most of us actually get too much omega-6 while we’re lacking in omega-3.
You’ve probably heard that fatty acids are disease-preventative. While that’s not a false statement, research overwhelmingly indicates that omega-3 (the one we don’t usually consume enough of) is the real powerhouse here. Believe it or not, omega-6 fatty acids can cause inflammation: they are considered to be both anti-inflammatory and proinflammatory. On a molecular level, they are composed of empty double bonds which make them reactive when they come into contact with oxygen. If they’re not balanced by omega-3 fatty acids, inflammation in your body results.
Canola oil actually lowers the amount of gluthathione in your liver -- and glutathione promotes antioxidant enzymes. Perhaps the most alarming research out there is a hard-to-find study (due to translations available) conducted by Japanese scientists in 1996 actually indicated that animals given a canola oil diet (using the oil as the only fat source) suffered grave health concerns.
Is Canola Oil Processed?
As we discuss time and time again on this blog, healthy eating means whole foods that are not processed, or are minimally processed. Oil has to be extracted from its source: this can either happen with a solvent or a type of pressing.
Overwhelmingly, the canola oil in modern foods is heavily processed. It’s manufactured by heating and crushing the rapeseed: it’s extracted using the hexane solvent (a highly volatile solvent that’s removed at the end of processing).
Cold-pressed and expeller-pressed canola oils exist, however: they are rare. Even when the oil is cold-pressed or expeller-pressed, the inherent problems with how those empty double bonds in canola oil interacts with oxygen still exist.
Is Canola Oil GMO?
Only canola oils certified as ‘organic’ can be guaranteed not to be from genetically modified rapeseed. Most vegetable oils, canola included, are genetically engineered to withstand powerful herbicides. The first genetically engineered canola crop was called ‘Roundup Ready Canola’ and manufactured by Monsanto: it was engineered to be able to withstand the herbicide ‘Roundup’, which contains the popular herbicide glyphosate.
What’s the percentage of GMO canola oil on the market? In Canada, for example, 95% of the canola oil produced is, in fact, GMO.
Although the research around whether or not genetically engineered foods is still evolving, concerns that gmo foods can both lead to antibiotic resistance and disrupt processes in the gut are, to say the least, alarming.
Bottom line? Although GMO-vegetable oils could be, arguably, healthier than cooking with animal fats….is this good enough? With all of the science and research available to us today, why should we, or would we, settle for ‘good enough’?
Our goal here at Pure Plates is to serve up excellence: excellent taste, excellent nutrition, excellent service. We don’t believe we can do that by using less-than-excellent ingredients like Canola Oil. We’ve seen local competitors, and other meal delivery services around the country, make some claims about canola oil that are, quite frankly, rather dubious. Our number one goal, above profits, is your health. We are selling nutrition: we won’t cut corners here and we don’t. We don’t use canola oil, and we don’t claim its healthy.