Newsletter Library

Read OLDER Newsletters Online or download PDF files.

Sign up for our Newsletter

Subscribe to the occasional email from Piko Wholefoods:

Fats and Oils Part 2 – November 2000

Our June newsletter ( Part 1), discussed 'Essential Fatty Acids' and 'Omega 3's'; terms such as 'unrefined', 'cold pressed', 'saturated' and 'monounsaturated fats'; Flax seed oil, Olive oil, Almond, Hemp and Walnut oils.

This newsletter focuses on some other popular, kitchen-use oils ... Canola, Sunflower, Safflower and Sesame.

Canola oil, the low erucic acid rape seed oil that replaced high erucic acid rape and mustard oils in North America, contains less than 5% erucic acid. (This seems to be an acceptable percent for most people- there has been much
debate and confusion about erucic acid.) Like soybean oil, canola oil is sometimes partially hydrogenated, destroying its LNA (Omega 3) to prevent off flavours due to Omega 3 deterioration.
Unless you see "unrefined" on the label, your canola is a highly refined product. Unless you see "organic" on the label, the plants probably were sprayed before being harvested.
One of the major selling points of canola is that it contains only 6 percent saturated fat, the lowest of all commonly used vegetable oils.
Another of the major selling points of canola has been that it is one of the rare sources of omega-3 fatty acids. This would be important if the canola were unrefined and packed in an opaque container to keep out the light. But the
omega-3 is far too sensitive to withstand the brutalities of refining and the bombardment from photons of light coming through clear glass. Fred Rohe (see references), goes on to write (as was concluded in June newsletter) that if you are concerned about omega-3, look to fresh flax oil.
And for salads and cooking, he recommends certified organic extra virgin olive oil which is mostly reliably unrefined. He says, "Forget canola unless you absolutely need a bland oil for a particular recipe...You deep-fry occasionally...canola oil would be fine; high oleic safflower would work even better. But whatever refined oil you choose, will not be getting solvent residues..."
Piko sells organic canola oil in glass bottles.

Sunflower oil and safflower oil make it into Erasmus's 'Good oils' section of his book 'Fats that Heal...'. They supply good quantities of the omega 6 essential fatty acid. They lack the omega 3 essential fatty acid so should be used in conjunction with omega 3 oils.
Piko has 'on tap', a high oleic-(can mean it is relatively resistant to deterioration), organic sunflower oil; and in dark bottles a not high oleic sunflower oil, 375 ml, Kialla NAASA and BFA certified organic, close to 'Omega-flo' method. It
has a raw, strong odor, but pleasing to those of us who are prepared for oils to taste like the seed.
Piko has 'on tap', an unrefined, unfiltered, safflower oil that is also Kialla NAASA and BFA certified organic, milled close to the strict, no heat, light, oxygen-'Omegaflo' method. It has been cold pressed at 35 degrees. It has a nice flavour.
Safflower oil has rancidity problems, hence our new black containers, and we do the best we can to stock the freshest available in this form. The particular black plastic containers it is stored in has been checked out by the Waihi Bush mill for estrogen or endocrine system mimics and they are satisfied.

Sesame oil, also listed under Erasmus's "good oils" section, has a pleasant natural flavour, and is easy to press without heat. For ideal health, it should be unrefined and untoasted. Sesame oil contains natural preservatives (sesamol, sesamin) that stabilize this relatively omega 6 rich oil, so it keeps longer than expected. This is most important especially in places that have very hot weather such as Turkey from where the sesame paste originated.
Piko has 'on tap' untoasted, unrefined, organic sesame oil and dark glass bottled, extra virgin, unrefined, organic sesame oil. Piko also has toasted sesame oil 'on tap'.

More on... Unrefined oils ...
These are mechanically (expeller-) pressed only, under relatively low heats of approximately 160 F; in some cases they are filtered once to remove the residues. They retain the original taste, aroma, and colour, and sometimes appear cloudy. Unrefined oils retain their vitamin E content, which tends to preserve the oil from rancidity and also reduces free-radical damage in the body that can easily occur from consumption of the polyunsaturated portion of any oil. Like other unrefined foods, unrefined oils contain numerous nutrients not found in the refined variety.(Not all expeller pressed oils are unrefined.) The majority of vegetable oils are refined. The bland taste and unclouded look of these oils is what people have come to expect. The rich flavour of unrefined oils is a new taste for most of us.

The Nature of Fats according to Oriental Wisdom...
...fat consumption supports the yin principle and creates a sense of security, heaviness, and a slowing, grounding influence. Fats build the tissues, enhance the fluid metabolism, and direct nutrients into the nervous system. Then the
predominantly yin aspect of fat gradually changes into a yang physically energising, and warming quality. This is why fats, whether from oils, nuts, seeds, or animal products are so highly valued - people like to feel secure, to slow down, and to have ample energy and warmth.
Precautions; Fats and oils should be used sparingly by those who are overweight, candida yeast overgrowth etc... (see Pitchford page 119- 120, and 35.)
These cautions, however do not apply to the use of omega 3 and GLA oils.

Till Next Time...
We hope you have enjoyed reading about the values and complexities of fats and oils and will be able to make some decisions about what suits you.
If you come into the shop asking for the best oil to fry in we will probably say olive oil.
If you want oils for dressings to get the omega 3, 6 and 9 balance of essential fatty acids, we will probably recommend the Waihi Bush 'Essential Balance' with olive oil, or your own blend - such as Flax seed for omega 3, safflower, sunflower, or sesame for omega 6, and olive oil for omega 9.
(Remember too much omega 3 can set up symptoms similar to too little! See Pitchford, Erasmus and Newsletter June 'Fats and Oils' )
For cooking that's up to you and your tastes!
Canola is the bland one.

'Clarifying Canola', article by Fred Rohe in 'Natural Foods Update', owner of Organic Marketing and a freelance writer in California.
'Healing with Wholefoods – Oriental Traditional and Modern Nutrition', by Paul Pitchford, North Atlantic Books, California, 1993
'Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill', by Udo Erasmus, Alive Books, 4th printing, 2nd edition, Canada, 1996

New Products
On the snack counter:
'Sezme' Organic Sesame and Almond bar $2.41 for 25g
Organic roasted and salted soy nuts $18.74/kg
'RosyGlo' vegan, GE free chocolates, great selection – try the 'lime sour' mmmmmmmmmmmmm $3.33 each

For the gluten-free:
'Mrs Leepers Rice and Vege Penne Rigate' $4.45 for 340g
'Kea Cookies' are back and they are GE free! Flavours include coconut, carob fruit and nut, almond, and more!
Lots of new 'Envirokids' cereals (2 are gluten free), very tasty and child friendly!
Gluten free Buckwheat and Corn bread from the 'Breadman Bakery', 600g for $4.37, arrives Tuesdays and Thursdays, (something to add to your October newsletter on Bread).

And lastly:  Organic peanut butter, crunchy and smooth $4.57 for 250g

New Books!
Piko has for your reference, three new and excellent books. They need to stay in the shop; you are welcome to make use of them there.
'Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill' - as above in references, and the main inspiration for these newsletters on fats and oils.
'Healing with Wholefoods - Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition', - as above. You may need to ask for a chair to read this one! Very interesting, and well indexed to make it user-friendly. Great recipes.
'The Staying Healthy Shoppers Guide' by Elson M. Haas. Useful, clearly laid out sections. United States written but still plenty relevant to N.Z.
Chapters include "What we need to know before we shop", "Food storage," and "Nourishing our Children".

Read OLDER Newsletters Online:

Contact us

Phone: 03 366 8116
Phone Office: 03 389 5062

Follow us


  • People before profit
  • Environment before Convenience
  • Quality before Quantity