Yesterday I wrote a post about REAL food and ranted about being given margarine and vegetable oil at at restaurant as opposed to the butter and olive oil that I asked for. I cringe to think this, but I realize that some, maybe many of you, quietly asked yourselves, "But what's wrong with margarine and vegetable oil?". "Aren't they better for you?", you may ask. "Aren't these two lower in FAT", because fat is the BIG BAD WOLF of diet. I have no simpler way of answering this except to tell you that what's wrong is that, these are not REAL FOODS.
The more complicated answer, is to explain to you, why margarine and vegetable oils are not real foods, and why this is a problem. But I am going to tell you anyway, in as simple and practical terms as possible. I attended a conference where an Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Gary Fettke, brilliantly illustrated for us how these same foods, as well as "sugars", are the major culprits of INFLAMMATION and a lot of the issues we are being faced with today, including heart disease and even joint disease (arthritis=inflammation). Any condition that ends in -itis means it is inflammatory. I am sure you can think of a lot of them: gastritis, dermatitis, bronchitis, appendicitis, colitis, mastitis, encephalitis, hepatitis, cystitis, conjunctivitis, vasculitis... you get the picture. In fact, many more diseases that don't end in -itis are also inflammatory, like arteriosclerosis (inflammatory heart disease), cancer and autoimmune conditions. So this is why INFLAMMATION is so darn important. The sticklers are gonna respond by saying inflammation is the body's normal protective mechanism. Absolutely, but what happens when it gets out of hand? We get sick. Really sick. And so, this brilliant doctor asked us in the lecture: "Do you want to die old, or do you want to die sick?", you tell me!
So how do margarine, vegetable oils and other processed foods cause inflammation? Very simply, I believe, they are foreign bodies, and the body will fight them like any foreign body and cause inflammation. That's the body's protective mechanism (sticklers). But that's not what Dr. Fettke told us. What he asked, very eloquently, was "Ever tried taking an oil out of a vegetable? Good luck!!!" That's where the PROCESSED part comes in. Those factories are AMAZING and those chemicals too, they work wonders. Anyways, I got offtrack there! What Dr. Fettke reminded us, was what we learned in chemistry: vegetable seed oils are polyunsaturated fatty acids and have double bonds, that's why they are flexible and liquid at room temperature! These flexible double bonds are very fragile and susceptible to making free-radicals when exposed to oxygen, that's called OXIDATION. Some of you may be seeing cancer red flags everywhere as I am talking... and to make a long story short, this oxidative damage leads to INFLAMMATION and the more vegetable oils you have in your body the more double bonds and the more inflammation and it goes on and on in a vicious cycle. He also talked a lot about SUGAR and INFLAMMATION, but I will leave that for another post. So now you see why I got a little angry yesterday when I was left with no choice but to eat chicken with a dry salad???