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

Day 41 – ice cream and other guilty pleasures …

Sometimes you just fancy something, you want it, you deserve it, and you know it will hit the spot. A guilty pleasure.

Yesterday, I ran a half marathon. Sometimes runs go well, and sometimes badly. But when they go well, endorphins kick in, you feel rightly proud of yourself, and on that “high”, you want to treat yourself. My Garmin (a GPS gadget worn on my wrist) told me I burned off 1900 calories. I beat my personal best by 15 minutes (though when you’re as slow as me in the first place that explains how it would be possible). I felt good.

I headed for the ice-cream van. There it was, just what I wanted. Cool, refreshing and memories of childhood. A “99” icecream with Flake. For those who don’t know what a 99 is – here it is immortalised by the Royal Mail on a British stamp.

Just as I approached the back of the short queue, I remembered. Processed whippy ice-cream, it’s probably got palm oil in. Come to think of it, so has the cornet. Oh, and even the Flake, which is Cadbury’s milk chocolate. Disappointed, my nose smelt another mouthwatering smell – that of bacon wafting over from another stall. Bacon cobs/rolls/butties, call them what you will – manna from heaven.

But won’t the rolls, processed out of a supermarket packet, contain palm oil? Probably. And can I believe what they are spreading? I can. I can believe that it isn’t butter too …

Somewhat deflated, I headed back to the car for a Nature Valley cereal bar. I love these things and they are palm oil free. But somehow, as third choice, this one didn’t seem so good.

Today – after my flying supermarket visit (always longer that they should otherwise be due to the need to vigilantly check labels) I did what I didn’t do on day 8. I went into the fish and chip shop next door, still looking for that treat. There was no queue, so I didn’t feel out of place asking the question. I thought carefully how to phrase the question, and rehearsed the answer I wanted to hear in my head …

“Excuse me, can I just ask a quick question before I order? What oil to you use to fry your fish and chips, is it sunflower oil?”

“Oh, I don’t know, let me have a look”. The assistant left the shop front, but clearly in view stared at a large vat of oil, before returning with a smile. “No … it’s palm oil”.

It’s hard work being virtuous and sticking to a principle. Today at work there were Krispy Kreme doughnuts for all to share and every day offers temptations. I can’t complain – I have all-butter palm oil free shortbread staring me in the face now as I blog. Options are limited and spontaneous ones even more so. But if one more person asks why I, of all people, am turning down doughnuts and ice cream to nibble on cereal bars and home made flapjacks, then the word is spread a little further and it’s worth it.

11 Responses to “Day 41 – ice cream and other guilty pleasures …”

  1. Brilliant to have a blog about tryng to go without palm oil. Not easy. What I want is a list of the products you can buy in the UK that now do NOT contain palm oil – though equivalents do.

    I have found tht SunPat peanut butter has not taken out the palm oil. And instead of buying Flora, which contains palm oil, the Clover spread says it just contains butter and sunflower oil.

    But does anyone else have other examples of makes they know of that have no palm oil? It would be really handy if we can pool our knowledge on this, and save everyone having to spend hours scouring labels in supermarkets.


  2. Sorry – meant to say Sunpat has NOW taken out the palm oil, not NOT

  3. Hi, I think what you’re doing is great.
    Not sure if you already know or not, but someone set this petition up
    To make it compulsary for packages to have palm oil clearnly laballed.
    i think it would be a good idea.
    I hope you will sign it and pass it on also.

    Keep up the good work. I’ve bookmarked your blog and will come back to read regulary.
    Its incredible how much stuff palm oil is used it. I really had no idea it was this widely used.

  4. So, this started as a Lenten project – it is now Easter and Lent is about to end. Are you going to continue the quest? My guess is that you will.

    My breadmaking has had its ups and downs. My house is a bit chilly, so as far as the dough is concerned it is down! Luckily I have found a couple of brands of part-baked French bread (Asda Easy being the cheapest, especially now on special offer) which are free from the demon-oil. I did have to have words with them about their “butter” part-baked croissants though. Guess what is included in the ingredients? Not specified as Palm but vegetable oil of any sort certainly isn’t butter!

    For your previous correspondent asking about a list, there are some if you Google but things are changing all the time and trying to go Palm oil free in detergents etc. would be a nightmare.

  5. Well done!
    Very proud of you! Keep it up. For the die-hard fans of natural alternatives, soap nuts can be used to clean just about anything palm-free.

  6. I think the Nature Valley I bought before I read the ingredients recently contained “Vegetable oil”

  7. Clover does actually contain palm oil – it’s just not listed separately. See http://greenhouseneutralfoundation.org/articles/2010/03/20/palm-oil-products-and-the-weekly-shop/

  8. I only just found this blog, and am super curious as to if you managed to complete your project… ^.^

  9. Hi, inspiring stuff!! I have recently pledged to go as palm oil free as I can…environmental awareness is the making of me! Recycling does my nut too with the lack of clear labelling for easy public interpretation! But anyway back to palm oil, can anyone recommend where I can find toothpaste, soap and shampoo n conditioner palm oil free?? My beloved dove soap I have been loyal to for years now and have a mild additction is gonna have to go! Need any advice as poss..thank you 🙂 I suppose making your own soap is an idea..has anyone done that? Also love the homemade peanut butter idea, genius! Keep up the brilliant hard work!


  10. hey!

    Really enjoying your blog, im organizing an event to raise awareness of palm oil and funds for savetheorangutan.org and your blog has been realy helpful.

    keep up the good work 🙂

  11. I think that your blog is great as it educates the users of palm oil. I myself am alergic to it therefore it is very hard to find food that i can eat. I also hate the fact that the monkey who live in the palm trees are close to becoming extinct because of de forestation

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