Earlier this year, I had a discussion with a very knowledgeable coach about what to do when faced with a choice between virtues and values (and now that I’m reflecting on it, it’s not so much VIRTUE versus values, but what we know is good for us versus values we hold dear). It led to more of a heated discussion because I brought up the subject via everyone’s “favorite” topic — eating lifestyles. They say never bring up religion, sex, or politics at a dinner table, but “new eating practices” might be on that list of forbidden topics as well (says the health coach who brings up eating habits ALL THE TIME!).
Soybean Oil is the New Palm Oil
In our heated discussion, I mentioned my stance on palm oil (if you aren’t sure about my stance, check it out here, here, and here...and maybe here). The other person brought up soybean oil and challenged me that soybean oil is way more harmful than palm oil.
I fell silent after that, because while he is not an expert on conservation subjects, this person was very much informed on nutrition. And I knew he was right in one capacity– if you want to eat better, eliminate processed food. I’ve been doing that with palm oil for the past 7 years, and I’m really good at putting foods back on the shelf if they have palm oil in them. With this simple act, I’ve eliminated 75% of processed foods. So I was feeling really good about myself with my methodology until this person brought up soybean oil.
The truth is I’ve never researched the environmental issues of soybean oil. Until after that fateful interaction. What I’ve learned has once again changed the way I look at the Food Industry and how I eat.
And, to be honest, I’m still not completely sure which “oil” is the worst (and I might as well lump crude oil for motor vehicles along with palm oil and soybean oil– they’re all bad for the environment). What’s happening in southeast Asia with palm plantations and the slash and burn methods of clearing land is atrocious. But after a couple months of research, palm oil has some fierce competition in the way of environmental catastrophes with soybean oil.
Don’t Know Much About Soybean Oil
What do you know about soybean oil? Like, really? Because I was actually shocked at how little I knew about this ingredient that’s in E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. I thought palm oil was in everything, but au contraire mon sœur. It’s laughable how little palm oil is in products compared to soybean oil. I mean, they inject this stuff into our meat. (1)
And this stuff is horrible for us. Soybean oil is a vegetable oil, like canola (rapeseed) oil, corn oil, and peanut oil. These oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, and are highly inflammatory. In research studies, soybean oil may even be linked to diabetes, liver disease, and heart disease. And other studies show it may even affect our brain health and function. (2,3)
So, you want to just stop using soybean oil?
Well, best of luck to you. I don’t mean that sarcastically, it’s sincere best wishes. Because when I mentioned earlier that it’s in everything, I truly mean it. Soybean oil is much cheaper than other oils, including canola oil. So manufacturers of processed and packaged foods rely on it heavily to make their products. Because of this, soybean oil is the most consumed oil in America.
Small Steps to Success
Soybean oil is so prevalent, it feels overwhelming to just cut it out of our lives. And honestly, it is. Going too big can make our new habits difficult to adhere to. So, start small. What’s one thing you can do to make minor improvements? As we progress in our journey, we can take slightly bigger steps forward, until we reach our goal. If you make the steps small enough, the journey will also appear pretty effortless.
When I started out on eliminating palm oil from my diet over 6 years ago, I didn’t cut it all out completely. At first, I used it to resist holiday treats. It was just around Valentine’s Day and quickly followed by Easter when I began practicing my ZooFit program. So, I focused on just candies and chocolate. And at first, I sincerely allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted, so long as it didn’t contain palm oil. Gradually I added other food groups– snacks, sauces, packaged food– until eventually all the food in my kitchen was palm oil-free.
Try that next time you go to the store. Pick one or two food items that you frequently buy and practice getting in the habit of reading food labels. If you want to take the practice further, put the food back that contains soybean oil or palm oil. Slowly progress to adding more foods that you check until you are a food-label-reading machine! I promise, it gets easier the more you do it.
Eating Positive Challenge
Another way to help us with our Eating Green habits is to learn as much as you can about soybean oil (and palm oil). You can learn more about soybean oil during my Eating Positive Challenge on Patreon as I share how I’m using training methods to cut out soybean oil from my diet once and for all. I started writing about soybean oil for the Eating Positive Challenge, but one thing led to another and I realized I wanted to make this a post for everyone to read, not just Patreon members. My Eating Positive Challenge officially starts in July, perfect for Plastic-Free July, and when I should get my Viome test results back.
I feel taking my practice and training for eliminating an unhealthy food from my diet to the next level can also be a part of my challenge, showing each of us what we CAN do, not what we “should” do. Celebrate our wins. And keep spiraling up.
So, if you would like to participate in the Eating Positive Challenge, it’s super-easy. There are no challenge exercises, or recipes you have to try (unless you want to). All you have to do is sign up for the Eating Positive tier on Patreon for $3 a month, and you will automatically get notified when I post a new article, video, or photo to the challenge. You don’t actually have to commit to anything, just read or watch what you want. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
More to Come...
Yeah, I’m far from done on the topic of soybean oil. Subscribe to this blog to be alerted for future posts, like my continuing saga of Soybean Oil, as I discuss the ramifications of soybean oil on the environment.
Because putting the dangers to our health aside, there are even more reasons to put the soybean oil down and slowly back away. It has a long sordid history of destroying the planet. But it’s not all doom and gloom. With knowledge comes power! We can make choices that we can feel good about! Doing what we can to make a difference in our lives and the world around us. One step at a time!