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Is canola oil good for you?

It is nearly common knowledge that canola oil is “healthy” – it is lowest in saturated fat and highest in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat of all oils. And contains omega 3’s.

Many believe canola oil is developed from the rapeseed plant which contains toxic erucic acid. While this is not entirely untrue, canola oil is derived from the canola plant which was developed through natural hybridization of the rapeseed plant. The canola plant contains trace amounts of erucic acid.

Rapeseed is a member of the mustard or cabbage family and its oil is traditionally used in Japanese, Indian, and Chinese cultures. Up to 60% of rapeseed oil is made up of eurcic acid, which is linked to fibrous heart lesions.

Canola oil is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration and is deemed one of the healthiest by most main-stream health professionals.

Canola oil is used as an edible oil as well as an insecticide, lubricant, fuel, soap, rubber, and ink. Ew, huh? Well, just as canola oil has alternate uses, so do most oils. Coconut oil is used as a moisturizer, soaps, and other cosmetics and flaxseed oil is used in paints and linoleum. Yummmmmmy… 😉

Others would argue that canola is the result of genetic modification. Sure, okay. Personally, I’m okay with this. If someone buys 100% organic foods and only eats 100% organic foods, I guess they have taken their stance. For the general population who does what they can in purchasing organic and local foods, it’s important to come to terms with genetically engineered foods…because it’s every where. Maybe even inescapable.

I think there are a lot of myths floating around about canola oil being toxic and “fake”. And the story of canola can be altered in a way to make that seem believable. Bottom line: all major health organizations (i.e. American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, MayoClinic, etc.) support canola oil as 1) safe and 2) healthy.

If you are a “clean eater” (despise that term with a fiery passion, but I know you’re out there!), then no, canola oil is probably not for you. But be realistic in the foods you choose to eliminate and don’t demonize certain foods without examining all the food you consume. Just to keep things legit. I really dislike when people slap a label on their dietary intake, demonize certain foods, and then aren’t educated enough in their decision to know how to put it into action..or are just to stubborn, lazy, or uncommitted to do so (I’m just saying…)

And, there will always be a study dispelling the main stream knowledge. Always.

So have your canola oil. Or don’t. But include everything in your arsenal in moderation. 😀


Onwards to the GRUB!

Quiche is one of those foods I really love, but never make. For some reason, quiche intimidates me. But I put that to rest last night. Faith amazes me. Her recipes are always beautiful, balanced, and boast-worthy. Her ingredient lists alone make me salivate. This unique quiche caught my eye and as I read through the directions I thought, “Even I can do this.” So I did, and I’m so glad I did. DELICIOUS!

Spaghetti Quiche with Roasted Asparagus slightly from An Edible Mosaic

1/3 lb multi-grain spaghetti (or any kind of spaghetti)
3/4 lb (12 oz) fresh asparagus
1/2 1 TB olive oil
4 extra large eggs plus 2 extra large egg whites
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup low-fat fat-free milk
3 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded
2 small tomatoes, sliced (I used Roma)
Salt and pepper (approx. 1/2 tsp each)
Butter olive oil (to grease the pan)
10-inch oven-safe frying pan

Roasted Asparagus:  Preheat the oven to 425º F.  Wash the asparagus and pat it dry.  Snap off the tough ends and arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then use your hands to roll the asparagus around so it’s evenly coated with oil, salt, and pepper.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, giving the pan a shake halfway through cooking.  The asparagus is done when it’s golden brown in places and fork-tender.  Allow the asparagus to cool slightly, then cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1-inch long).

Prepare the spaghetti to al dente according to the package directions.

In a blender or food processor, process the cottage cheese and milk until smooth.  Pulse in the eggs, egg whites, and a pinch of salt and pepper until combined.

Turn the oven down to 350º F.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch oven-safe frying pan with butter.  Spread the spaghetti on the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle the asparagus on top.  Pour in the egg mixture evenly over the asparagus and spaghetti, sprinkle on the cheese, and arrange the tomato slices on top, pressing them down slightly.  Bake for about 40 minutes until the quiche is set and the bottom and sides are golden brown. Yield: 4 large servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 375 calories; 15.8 g. fat; 236 mg. cholesterol; 713 mg. sodium; 36.5 g. carbohydrate; 6.3 g. fiber; 24 g. protein

Question: Do you have any special Cinco De Mayo events or menus planned? And just for fun: margarita, Corona, or agua? 😉

I’m looking forward to homemade enchiladas! Ey ey ey!

P.S. Mr. Prevention and I signed up for a 5K on Saturday night! I’m excited! We ran this race last year and it involved beer at the finish line. My kinda race! 😉

Ta ta for now,

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  1. May 4, 2010 / 5:57 am

    Thanks for the info about Canola Oil. I can’t keep up with what’s better for you – I always thought it was Olive Oil. Good luck in the 5k, sounds like a run race on a Saturday night!
    Cinco de Mayo in Detroit is huge – people take the day off to drink Corona’s all day πŸ™‚

  2. May 4, 2010 / 6:14 am

    I use olive oil for my savory cooking, almost exclusively, and canola oil for my baking. I’ve decided that it’s healthy and that I can’t be so picky about everything. I’d rather have organic blueberries than worry about canola oil, ya know?

    I loved this recipe of Faith’s, and yours looks super delicious!

    So excited for you and your 5K! That is EXCELLENT!

  3. May 4, 2010 / 7:39 am

    LOVING this info you are posting about the different oils. I am learning so much!

  4. May 4, 2010 / 8:21 am

    I love your blog because you’re so knowledgeable and practical. I feel like you’re not a crazy insane health nut who is exacting in the foods that are β€œgood” and the ones that are β€œbad”—and takes offense when people stray from them. Thank goodness. This was a great post. And to answer your question: Margarita!

  5. May 4, 2010 / 8:22 am

    There are so many fruits and vegetables out there that are hybrids, they’re almost inescapable. Take Meyer lemons and all the different types of apples being newly introduced to market. I personally don’t avoid hybrids.

  6. May 4, 2010 / 8:39 am

    One thing I really like about coming here to this blog is that you keep it real and provide information based on sound science–and you have a practical, balanced approach to including all foods in the diet.

    Yes, Cinco de Mayo is very much celebrated in these parts of California–Modelo Especial is my Mexican beer of choice.

  7. May 4, 2010 / 8:46 am

    Thanks for the information. I don’t use it in excess anyway but I’d been hearing different things about it for ages so it’s good to get that cleared up. πŸ™‚

    Haha I don’t think I’ve ever celebrated Cinco de Mayo. It’s, for me, like St. Patrick’s Day – has nothing to do with me and it’s kind of just another day. But hey, nothing wrong with celebrating with food. πŸ˜‰

  8. May 4, 2010 / 8:51 am

    Really great information, thank you!

    I personally adore Margaritas and I’ll be having some tomorrow for sure!

  9. May 4, 2010 / 8:59 am

    i try to stray away from oil and just use my cooking spray if i ever am in need of some oil to fry, etc.. i don’t know why but it is true.

    i do use canola oil though if i am making a box of brownies or cake and it calls for it

    you are right everything in moderation… you are amazing

    and that dish you made is BEAUTIFUL

  10. May 4, 2010 / 9:16 am

    Your quiche looks great. I always say this, but I am soo going to make that! πŸ™‚

    We had a fun Cinco de Mayo party on Saturday night. There were margaritas and Coronas enjoyed by all..

  11. May 4, 2010 / 9:17 am

    Loved reading this Nicole! I just love discovering these things from you – and love how you speak the issue from all sides. I will most definitely continue to use canola – not everyday, and maybe not in every baking recipe, but I will still use it!

    Corona with lime, please. πŸ™‚

  12. May 4, 2010 / 9:35 am

    I don’t have any Cinco De Mayo events planned. I never have…is that weird?
    Thanks for the info on canola oil. I’ve always wondered about it because I see it in the store, but had heard it was bad. Now I know πŸ™‚

  13. May 4, 2010 / 9:48 am

    What a unique quiche! Sounds so good. I’ve been making quiches lately and loving it. Beer after a good run especially in the heat is pretty refreshing.

  14. May 4, 2010 / 10:19 am

    That sounds like my kind of race!

    I love the way you show all sides to different foods. You recognize that canola oil isn’t necessarily the purest food out there, but that it is still okay to eat and not really any less worthy than other oils that people swear by. I especially like how you pointed out many oils are used for various purposes and that its okay. I also like how you point out the unrealistic side of expecting to eat 100% organic, “clean”, “perfect” food all the time and that the important thing is moderation. Basiscally, you rock!

  15. May 4, 2010 / 10:29 am

    As always, an intelligent, insightful post on a topic I’ve often been curious about. I learn SO much from reading your blog!!!

  16. May 4, 2010 / 11:49 am

    Has it really been a year since the beer race?! πŸ™‚

    Interesting on the canola oil. I always figured it was natural…now I know. Interesting post!

  17. May 4, 2010 / 12:51 pm

    The quiche looks great; love the composition.

    I have no special Cinco de Mayo plans. My final answer: agua…

  18. May 4, 2010 / 12:51 pm

    Great looking quiche. I have some issues too when people hate on genetically modified foods. This has been going on for years. Why is it ok to do it to a strain of flower that will look pretty and no one complains about it, but as soon as it is food it is a problem. Honestly, there are tons of fruits that are sold that are genetically modified, including my favorite, the pluot. Some apple varieties were long ago genetically modified.

  19. May 4, 2010 / 12:55 pm

    GREAT POST!!! I love that you are sticking up for the Canola oil! haha!

  20. May 4, 2010 / 2:27 pm

    Good luck with the 5 K this Saturday Nicole! You will do superb.
    I am actually doing another cooking class tomorrow night with the theme being Italian. Kinda confused as to why the chef choose that but oh well. And I am definitely a Corona Light with lime kinda girl.

  21. May 4, 2010 / 4:27 pm

    Oh I am SO glad you posted this. Ive always wondered about canola oil.

    I agree with you about when people demonize certain foods. I did a post a week or so ago about a friend of mine that went on a rant on Facebook about genetically modified foods. That REALLY got to me.

  22. May 4, 2010 / 4:45 pm

    Thanks for the great info on canola oil!!

    That quiche is gorgeous!!!!!!

    Margarita, por favor!! πŸ˜‰

  23. May 4, 2010 / 7:17 pm

    Thanks for all the info on Canola Oil. When I cook I tend to use Coconut Oil- I enjoy the taste plus that it’s one of those healthy fats out there and doesn’t change when it’s heated. I’ll have to give Canola a try one time

  24. May 4, 2010 / 7:28 pm

    Cinco de what? No plans…to be honest I’d have to google it right now to remember what it is πŸ™ Been waiting for my olive to run out before trying out canola next.

  25. May 4, 2010 / 7:28 pm

    ohhh that’s right maΓ±ana is cinco de mayo…I guess I will celebrate by having an Amy’s Burrito hahaha

    good luck on the 5K

  26. May 4, 2010 / 7:31 pm

    Thanks for the pointers on canola oil. I am clueless with oils, so any bit of info is well received!

    I must admit, I totally didn’t know it was Cinco De Mayo tomorrow until my friend at work told me today. But I would have to choose Cornoa!

  27. May 4, 2010 / 8:51 pm

    Great post Nicole!!! I loved your coconut oil post as well. It really bothers me too when people demonize certain foods.
    Tomorrow, we are having tacos… probably with some margaritas!

  28. May 4, 2010 / 9:33 pm

    No cinco de mayo celebrations in the works. Maybe I’ll make tacos though.

    Corona light for me.

  29. May 4, 2010 / 9:43 pm

    Oh, for crying out loud….all those extreme clean-eaters kills me! If you’re gonna be so nit-picky about everything, then honestly, you might as well starve to death, because nothing is completely “clean” these days. I loved your advice and info on it, though. I think you’re so practical and well-balanced, which is why you’re such a great RD.

    Faith’s recipes never fail to amaze me, too. That girl is a culinary goddess!

  30. May 4, 2010 / 9:44 pm

    Great info on the canola oil. I made quiche for my nursing class for a potluck at the beginning of our journey through nursing school. Now they are always requesting it. I might have to try this recipe out though. Mine is getting old

  31. May 4, 2010 / 10:04 pm

    Thanks for your take on canola oil. As always, I like your realistic approach! πŸ™‚

    And when should I come over for the enchiladas tomorrow? I’ll even bring some Coronas! πŸ˜‰

  32. May 5, 2010 / 6:42 am

    Great info on canola oil. I have actually always wondered about some of those questions I get form people, such as “what is it made from”? I knew rapeseed, but I wasn’t sure of the process exactly. I agree with you that genetic modification doesn’t bother me entirely, when it comes to certain things, such as canola oil. If I tried to stay away from it totally it would be VERY difficult!!

  33. May 5, 2010 / 7:02 am

    I just read your comment from my house blog….WHAT????!!!!! Moving to Columbus?!?!?! I couldn’t be MORE EXCITED!!! Please please please keep me updated, that would be SO AWESOME!!!

  34. May 5, 2010 / 11:33 am

    What a gorgeous quiche with the veggies on top! So perfect for Mother’s Day -yum!

  35. May 5, 2010 / 1:44 pm

    Thank you Nicole. I learned something new about canola oil. There’s always–and will always be there–a debate about which oil to use, from olive, to corn, to canola, to coconut. I don’t think there’s one right answer. You always have interesting things to read about!

    Quiche looks great!

  36. June 21, 2012 / 1:46 pm

    I’m one of the general population that eats non-organic and GMO’s, though I’m taking baby steps to change that. Eventually I would like to cut out as many as I can, and canola oil was the first to go since it is nearly impossible to find non GMO canola oil. But I’m all over other healthy oils! This video is 20 minutes long but so informative and worth the time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixyrCNVVGA&feature=player_embedded

  37. April 19, 2013 / 3:28 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I am an RD and just came from a health fair I demoed at where a personal training student asked how I felt about canola oil (since I used it in my granola recipe that I offered samples of). Having had “run-ins” with this particular student regarding nutrition before, I knew what he was getting at. I felt stupid at the time because, while I knew there were negative feelings about canola oil, I couldn’t remember why, so I just gave my standard response when I don’t know, which is “well, I know there have been a few studies done saying that it’s not as healthy as it claims to be, but what have you heard?” He of course went into the whole rapeseed explanation, etc, all the while having a look of disbelief on his face that I didn’t know all about this. I then asked what oil he would have used as a substitute and he said maybe coconut oil (which I don’t have a problem with, seeing as it does seem as though health benefits are legitimately being discovered about coconut oil…I always follow that statement with the statement that it is *still* a saturated fat though). I try very hard to play nice by asking these types of people questions, but I cringe when they recite all of these minute studies and propaganda. I’m getting so very tired of people like this (can you tell?), thinking dietitians are brainwashed and stupid when they’re the ones who are listening to all of the propaganda. There seem to be more and more popping up everywhere and it makes it difficult to feel like a legitimate source of information, especially since they are so forthright and stubborn in their beliefs. The minute you use the word “FDA,” these people completely shut you out, because they feel the FDA is completely evil. Anyway, sorry to use this as a place to vent but your post made my day. πŸ™‚

    • Nicole, RD
      April 21, 2013 / 11:42 pm

      Hannah: I hear ya! πŸ™‚ LOL! RD’s are all very alike πŸ™‚

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