Going palm oil free
Is it possible to completely avoid palm oil?

Day 22 – little successes and Little Chef

As three weeks of Lent are over, I think so far the challenge has been successful. Sometimes it surprises me a few products I find that I can add to my slowly growing list that are OK.

  • Naan bread – Waitrose naan bread does not use palm oil! A nice surprise and it went down a treat with home cooked curry at the weekend
  • Mayonnaise – Sainsbury’s own brand low fat mayo is OK. Full of vegetable oil, yes, but clearly labelled that none of it is palm oil
  • Walkers Crisps – I’m surprised and almost reluctant to accept this but I should give credit where it is due, it genuinely seems that only sunflower oil is used.

True, I may have transgressed but at no point have I done it knowingly. Three possibilities come to mind, and it speaks volumes of the uncertainty of ingredients and labelling in food that I genuinely don’t know …

  • The peanut butter incident – duped by a change of branding and packaging, in choosing “extra crunchy”, have I chosen a brand with palm oil?
  • Mayonnaise – most brands include palm oil, although the brand I chose doesn’t (Sainsbury’s own brand reduced fat). However … on one occasion earlier in Lent, I chose coleslaw on my baked potato for lunch. High in mayonnaise, could this have contained palm oil? Since it was bought from a cafe, I really don’t know
  • The dilemma of eating out

Twice in the last week I have used best educated assumptions. Once, with no food in the house and wanting a takeaway, I considered my options. Chip shops we know are generally not good. The standard American fast food chains are known to mostly all use palm oil (with the exception I believe of KFC), but I went to our local Chinese takeaway. Needing (and wanting) something full of carbs rather than loaded in fat, I went for boiled rice, vegetables and cashew nuts. I have to assume that was probably OK – it’s a dish unlikely to be loaded in vegetable oil and my research suggests that it’s not likely to be used by Chinese restaurants as their vegetable oil of choice. But I just don’t *know*

And secondly, and similarly, I was faced with a late journey home last night, having not eaten for nine hours. Food options are scarce on my journey from Oxfordshire to Cheltenham, giving me the option of Burger King (no.), a small Tesco supermarket (unlikely to find anything for a main meal and unclear labelling anyway) or Little Chef. Ignoring all options with bread or fried potatoes of some description left me pretty much one dish – chilli con carne and boiled rice. Again I think it’s unlikely they used palm oil to cook that it. But I just can’t know.

My conscience is clear and I’ve probably avoided palm oil successfully in food and drink for another week. It would be nice to know for sure, wouldn’t it?

8 Responses to “Day 22 – little successes and Little Chef”

  1. Dear Madam,

    Please read http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8534031.stm

    Unfortunately, the westerners are being misled by the so-called ‘environmentalist’ when it comes to the deforestation issue. palm oil often gets the blame when it comes to deforestation. the fact of the matter is two-thirds of rainforest are being cleared by impoverished people looking for shelter and food! westerners should get their facts right before deciding to boycott palm oil altogether! Even the European Commission recognizes this fact. read http://www.worldgrowth.org/newsroom/?sec=0&subSec=0&id=470

    More often than not, the westerners fail to realise the severity of poverty in many developing countries. and instead of championing the rights of your immediate ‘brothers and sisters’ (i.e. fellow human beings) to a better living condition and to eke out a decent living for them and their children, most chooses to champion the rights of your distant ‘cousins’ instead (i.e. the orang utan). isn’t that amusing?

    When the you are at home, sitting on your leather couch, wearing your plush terry cotton bathrobe, sipping margarita while watching BBC news on your flat screen HD-ready TV, you’d have no idea that there are 2 billions people in developing countries all over the world that survives on less than $2 a day would you? Do you think that these impoverished folks would care less about the rainforest when they can barely feed their hungry children? developments comes at a cost. where these people lives, everywhere used to be a forest. to bring development such as proper houses, schools, hospitals, community centres, agricultural systems etc to these unfortunate folks, would require some parts of their areas to be cleared. However, if we listen to all the ‘environ-MENTAL’ goons, then we should all leave the forest alone! but what about the hungry folks? ohh, that’s easy, just let them continue living in the dark forest with their mosquitos, leaches and orang utans while eating tree bark and drinking from the puddle, all in the good name of the ‘environment’ and to prevent ‘deforestation’? meanwhile the westerners can merrily keep on living in their huge mansions, drive their gas-guzzling humvees, drink their wines and eat their pork chops. That’s right ma’am! keep on listening to the ill-informed and misguided ‘environ-MENTAL’ retards. before long, you’ll be hugging a tree in Papua New Guinea instead of feeding a hungry Melanesian child a bowl of rice. Well we can thank Friends of Earth and Greenpeace for that.

    • Sir,

      For someone who makes a lot of assumptions about my lifestyle and places such assertions on so called facts, let me tell you that “Dear Madam” is not a good start.

      It is true that palm oil is just one of many reasons why deforestation in poor areas is rife. This is a one issue website but there are myriad reasons why rainforests need to be preserved, not destroyed. Indonesia’s clearing of forests on peatlands makes it the world’s third largest contributor to greenhouse gases leading to global warming, or would you dispute that too?

      The EU may have come to their decision to classify palm oil plantations as “continuously forested areas” but they are wrong to do so, as they do not take into account the destruction of rainforest and ecosystem habitats to do so.

      In fact I do not advocate the total avoidance of palm oil. I would not dispute the fact that as a vegetable oil, it is the cheapest, most economical available and that explains its undoubted rise in popularity. With production regulated more efficiently it will continue to be a major industry bringing great economic benefits to Indonesia and Malaysia.

      I only advocate raising the issue of its unlabelled presence in so many foodstuffs, and that with current sustainability criteria so far behind where we would want them to be, at the moment we are contributing to rainforest and habitat destruction until sustainable production improves. We have a choice based on these facts on how we choose to buy our consumer products and the multinational companies are not making those choices easy for us.

      I’m not going to answer the rest of your diatribe which becomes more and more inaccurate, personal and offensive as it continues – I have better things to do. Suffice it to say your assumptions about my thoughts and lifestyle are as accurate as those about my gender.

  2. […] Day 22 – little successes and Little Chef « Going palm oil free […]

  3. Dear Ed Faisaly

    the world is over populated. The human race is destroying this beautiful plant. We produce too many children, too many useless mouths to feed. Innocent victims such as the orangutans have no guilt, they too want to feed their babies, but they dont want progress, they dont want leather couches, mobile phones. Thankfully people such a Kusasi and myself are spreading the word on bloody Palm Oil and similar ‘progress’ related products.

    Fried Egg Fred

  4. I got the same posting from dear old Ed on my blog about palm oil too (Dear Madam was accurate in my case!) I too have replied but they haven’t got back to me either. I think it shows we’re getting to them if they feel the need to attack us. Good luck with the continued good work on Lent.

    • Thank you Fred and Sue for your support! I guess you’re right – an attack is a sign that we are being noticed and taken seriously.

  5. Well done on your trying to give up Palm Oil for lent! I do
    too wish it is easier to tell if you are eating palm oil and
    whether or not it is from a sustainable source. Does Mr Ed have
    first hand experience of what he writes? Has he travelled on a bus
    for 14 in Indonesia had seen nothing but palm oil plantations along
    the way? Oh no sorry that must be people looking for shelter doing
    that …

  6. Firstly, I apologise for calling you Madam. It was a mistake on my part.

    Now, for my argument:

    You avoid palm oil because you allege that palm oil causes deforestation and subsequently kills orang utan.

    Here’s an interesting fact. Global demand for oils and fats (food) is increasing at a rate of 5 to 6 million tonnes per year on average against a total consumption of 165 million tonnes annually.

    To cater to an increasing world population (about 70 to 80 million annually). The world needs to produce an additional 5 million tonnes of vegetable oils and fats annually. The interesting fact is, palm oil yields 10 times more than its closest rival, soybean. which means that soybean needs 10 times more land to produce the same amount of oil. Therefore, if the world make do without palm oil, (like what you are propagating now), 10 million hectares of land will be required to plant soyabean, as opposed to only 1 million hectares, if oil palm is the choice.

    Now let’s say that you are successful in your campaign. nobody consumes/uses palm oil anymore. every country stops planting oil palm. so, deforestation will stop thus no orang utan will be harmed. right?

    The correct answer to that hypothetical question is actually a resounding NO!

    Without palm oil, the world will have to rely on other oils instead i.e. soybean, rapeseed, sunflower, olive etc. but the conundrum is, instead of destroying 1 million hectares of rainforest/land to plant oil palm, the world then need to destroy 10 million hectares of rainforest/land to plant soybean, rape, sunflower, olive etc… is that not fundamentally going against what you have been propagating in the first place? to conserve more land? so that orang utan can live merrily and happily ever after? oh, wait you didn’t see that coming did you? next, maybe you’ll be like our dear friend, Fried Egg Fred blaming ‘useless’ mouths to feed as he’d rather be feeding the mouth of hungry apes.

    That’s right folks. the path has been set to you by the greenies. now lets just blindly follow that path and lets together destroy our planet much faster, shall we?

    Looking back, I think your campaign is based more on emotion rather that science. At the risk of being a hypocrite, and if you are sincere in trying your level best to conserve land/rainforest, then I guess I’ll be seeing a ‘nosoybean/rape/olive/sunfloweroils.wordpress.com’ blog coming from you soon. right? afterall, those oilseeds destroy more land to produce less oils. so, shouldn’t you blame those oils instead?

    To MicheyMoo, ‘first hand experience’? how much more ‘first hand’ can I get from living and growing up around oil palm plantations?

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