Trying to live a holistic life in an unholistic world

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Canola……the real deal.

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So, quick pop quiz.

Coconut oil comes from…coconuts. Sesame oil comes from…..sesame seeds. Soybean oil comes from…..Monsanto soybeans.
Canola oil comes from….canola seeds? Canola leaves? Hang on, what exactly is a canola? A plant? A seed?

Alright, stop, collaborate and listen.
Whole*istic’s back with brand new information.
False claims grab a hold of me tightly,
Flows like FAKE OIL daily and nightly.
Will it ever stop?
Yo, I hope so.

^^(Click the above link for an explanation for this lyrical rap genius….haha)

Anyway, back to 2013. And the mystery surrounding what exactly the ‘healthy, omega-3 Canola Oil’ is made from if there are no canola plants in existence.

Canola is actually a man made acronym for CANadian Oil Low Acid, which is made from a man made, genetically modified rapeseed plant. (No wonder they chose a more friendly sounding name to market the oil. Canola, rhymes with granola, evoking healthy images. Rapeseed evokes, well the pillage of a seed, which in actual fact, is what has happened to the new franken-seed-rapeseed.) After rejecting the first name of LEAR (Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed) due to fears the consumers again would reject the name rapeseed, as if lear (leer) is any better, Rapeseed Oil became LEAR which became Canola.

Oh the games they play.

Rapeseed, in its original, unadultered state, dates back many thousands of years ago, with usage in cooking in India and China, therefore it must be safe right? However a big difference, was the seeds, in small quantities only, were cold pressed to be used immediately as once exposed to oxygen, the oil would spoil very quickly.

Following this, rapeseed oil was used in Europe in oil lamps and with the development of steam power, a lubricant to steam train mechanisms. However, when World War 2 blocked European and Asian sources of rapeseed oil, mass shortages resulted in Canada ramping up its small rapeseed production.

Rapeseed oil in its preGM’ified state contains (reportedly) toxic substances glucosinolates and erucic acid. Glucosinates act as a natural insecticide with bugs avoiding the seeds from this plant as they have a strongly unappetising bitter taste. (Hence its use in insect repellent) The presence of chlorophyll also renders the oil an unappealing green colour. Studies from animals have shown that the consumption of erucic acid can cause heart damage, an increase in blood pressure, insulin resistance, increased risk of stroke, causes kidney lesions, and shortens life span (to this date there have been no human studies – except for the current selling of Canola Oil – eat at your own will, paying to be a guinea pig!?!) whilst livestock fed feed with rapeseed oil wouldn’t eat it. The above symptoms in animals is not linked directly to the fatty acid content of the oil, but other unidentified substances unique to canola oil. I understand there are unidentified things in the world. Aliens and their spacecrafts, ghosts. These are things unidentified and I’m ok with that. But, people, unidentified food. Food. Food we put into our bodies to nourish and protect us. Why on earth would you want to eat something that has yet to be identified?

It was for these reasons, rapeseed was the victim of seed splitting in the 1970’s, to reduce the above unsavoury symptoms, whilst also dramatically changing the nutrition profile. This genetic modifying has still continued right up until 2011 to change the plants durability to weather and drought conditions, allowing the seed to truly replicate its namesake. Raping of a seed.

And who pays the penalty? What outcome will this have on our health, our bodies, our land?

But that’s not all that has changed. To make rapeseed oil into canola oil fit for human consumption and to stay pre packaged in plastic bottles for years at a time on a supermarket shelf, flown in a plane several thousand kilometres , you can imagine the highly scientific and mechanical process involved. If your imagination got stuck at ‘plane’ and you’re now imagining holidays on the beach in Thailand with a coconut in one hand and a good book in the other, let me notarise the whole arduous process:


1. At a processing plant, oil is removed from the rapeseed through a combination of high temperature mechanical pressing.2. This oil is further refined through hexane solvent extraction. Despite considerable refining, traces of hexane still remain.
3. A second caustic refining, to bleach and degumm the oil.
4. Due to the high levels of good fats, 11% omega-3 and 21% omega-6, the oil becomes rancid and foul-smelling when subjected to oxygen and high temperatures. Therefore the oil must be further deodorised. This standard deodorisation process removes a large portion of omega-3 fatty acids turning them into (da da da DA) trans fatty acids. Compare this with olive oil (which is apparently having problems in Italy with the mafia cutting it with canola oil.) {BTW – what’s with all the food crimes – as if our food isn’t having enough problems as it is. Forget robbing banks, maple syrup anyone? oysters?}
Back to olive oil, which is comparatively coldpressed  to reduce the oxidisation of the oil.

Interestingly, 43% of the rapeseed seed produces oil. The remaining 57% (eh, how do you like them math apples) is used as animal feed. So, even if you avoid canola oil, chances are, unles you’re buying grass fed meat, you’re still ingesting the lovely GMO rapeseed. And soybean. And corn. And….just….say….no.

And, of course, with canola oil being touted as the healthy alternative to fry food in or a good alternative to butter or other oils in baking or cooking, a bad oil is only made worse with heat. Heat effectively kills all the Alpha Linolenic Acids (ALA) which is the omega-3 fats found in the original rapeseed oil. If you remember the process to make canola oil above, these omega-3 and omega-6 fats have already been killed off and transformed during the high heat oil extraction process. Any that escaped this process of being turned into trans fatty acids, receive no saviour during heated food preparations.

So, whilst I’m not bashing the actual rapeseed. When used as nature intended, in small, freshly extracted using cold pressed oil extraction methods, like any other natural foods, I am sure rapeseed has its benefits and wonderful uses. However, what grinds my gears, is that this is a genetically modified food and whilst the pro’s are seemingly miraculous, science has created a seed which has taken away all the negative properties from a food we maybe weren’t really meant to ingest in the quantities we do today or made it easier to be farmed and withstand harsh climate conditions, herbicides, insects etc, but at what cost. This is an oil that was introduced in the 1970’s, with new genetically modified seeds being introduced right up to two years ago, probably even now. How can we possibly know the results of our mutiny? With no human testing done, bar the mass consumption of this oil as we speak (and let’s face it, humanity isn’t fareing that well at the moment are they) are you willing to be a guines pig, let alone pay for this honour?

Go on…..you deserve it :/


Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 24, 2013 at 04:44

Kitchari. Vinyasa. Meditation. Repeat.

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Do you ever find yourself consumed by something, be it a food or a recipe, a creative endeavour, a new hobby, a lifestyle change or destination? And this thought snowballs as you try to find out everything about it; what defines it, what destroys it, what you have and what you need, the logistics of making it possible. As this thought metamorphoses into a reality, it becomes so deeply etched in your mind and daily life that it beats like a drum in tune with your heartbeat.

You know that it is the way forward, more than merely a passing phase, yet cannot for the life of you remember what it was that triggered the first interest, what sparked the direction of your thoughts. However, it doesn’t even matter. Life has a peculiar habit of drawing you in the direction you need to be.

Upon the death of my father, I had a similar all-consuming desire to practice Bikram Yoga. I had never heard of such a practice. Nobody I knew engaged in this discipline of yoga and there were only two studios in the entire city, one being a short 5 minute bus ride away albeit in a direction I had never been.

I cannot stand hot weather. I loathe feeling warm, and I grew up in tropical Queensland, Australia.

Yet, for 6 months I practiced Bikram 5-6 days a week. I sweated out my anger at losing my dad. I meditated for the duration of the 90 minute class to grasp control of my grief. And, I challenged and pushed myself more than I ever did through school or university.

I never sat down, laid down, drank water or vomited once in the class. There were times I didn’t want to go, times I thought my practice was getting worse, times I thought I wouldn’t make it through the class. But then there were also times I felt I was finally in control of something in my life, times I thought this was my calling and I would pay the ridiculous tens of thousands of dollars to become a Bikram Yoga teacher.

And then, I’m not really sure what happened. Like everything, in which I seem to go all or nothing in to, oneday, I just stopped.

But, this post is not about my obsessive foray into Bikram Yoga. That was just more of a long winded comparison. A warm-up. A pre-game. A precursor.  An appetiser. 

So, sometime in the last fortnight, upon exiting my cave of depression, something was guiding me in the direction of all things ayurvedic, yogic and holistic. I took time to remember my intrinsic beliefs, to take things back to basics, strip myself of all prescriptions, partying and poisonous food and behaviours in order to have a cleaner, lighter, more focused mind, body and soul.

“The path of meditation requires a moderate, regulated life,
avoiding too much or too little food, work,
and sleep, or use of the senses.
The attention must abide in the soul all the time.
For such a person, yoga destroys all sorrows.”

— Bhagavad Gita

It is no surprise that in my kind of unconscious search (I started reading books again – chosen off my bookshelf, not before read – Light in Yoga, Clean and The Power of Now – which I still cannot get in to) I found myself late one night pulled in the direction of Kitchari.


I had never heard of this. Never eaten this. Cannot rememember how I even found it. But, almost daily, I have been researching this cleansing, detoxifying yet nourishing one-pot-wonder that is a staple in India and as part of an Ayurvedic cleanse to purify the body by flushing out toxins.

Kitchari led me to research Ayurveda more, which I had always had some sort of interest in, however previously, upon face value, the practice had lost me completely at “no onions or garlic”


I love nothing more than roasting some garlic cloves to consume straight up. I eat raw red onion until my stomach hurts.

Which is probably in essence why Ayurveda practices restriction or lowered intake of such sharp foods.

It’s funny though how we can immediately dispell a whole practice, centuries of research and proven results via longevity of life in good health merely because we disagree with one principle.

So, basically, the goal is to follow a Kitchari cleanse for 7 days – wherein Kitchari is the only meal consumed – then, assess the situation upon seeing the results. See, I mentioned in my last post I had been conducting all manners of experiemnts on myself. This is no exception. In order for this cleanse to be most effective, I will also be starting my day with a 15 minute meditation followed by Vinyasa yoga. Nights will also include another Vinyasa session and meditation before bed.

If after this (and I am prepared to do this cleanse for 30 days) I don’t feel changes in my mood, thoughts or energy levels, I just may give up on holistic nutrition and therapies and resolve myself to heroin.

Ummm, joking.

So anyway, what exactly is kitchari?

Directly translated, Kitchari means mixture, and usually pertains to a mix of two grains. Traditionally these are basmati rice and mung beans, however I did see many recipes using brown rice, yellow split peas, red lentils and even the Mr Famous grain, quinoa.


Whilst the variations are endless, with the additions and omissions of different spices, vegetables and even substitutions of different rice and lentils, I have refined my own recipe based on literally, about 50 different recipes, research into my dosha (Ayurvedic body and personality type – which I believe to be a pitta/kosha mix) and my own personal taste to come up with the following recipe:


1 cup basmati rice (I got from Foreign Food Mart in Seoul – however will be buying organic off iherb for half the price)
1/2 cup mung beans (Again same as basmati rice – in future will be getting off iherb)
6 cups of water
2 tbsp coconut oil (I don’t want to use ghee, ie no dairy for me)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 cup vegetables (I’m using cauliflower, broccoli, peas whilst in season – Ayurveda strongly recommends using seasonal produce, in line with my ethos too :))

Soak beans and rice overnight.
In a stainless steel or enamel pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add in spices and stir. Add in rice and beans and vigourously mix to thoroughly coat as this will prevent the rice and beans from turning to mush.
Add in the water and simmer covered for 30 mins.
10 minutes before cooking time is finished, add in any hard vegetables like carrots, sweet potato or in my case, cauliflower. 5 minutes out, add in softer ones like broccoli or peas.
Kitchari should resemble a thick dahl more than a soup. To finish, garnish with coriander and salt and pepper if desired.

Will be posting daily through this cleanse!


Written by ayearinpatissiere

June 7, 2013 at 21:13


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Written by ayearinpatissiere

September 9, 2012 at 13:07

Posted in Uncategorized

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