Is Olive Oil Healthy? Depends on What You Call Olive Oil.
“… In general, nine-tenths of our happiness depends upon health alone. The greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness, whatever it may be, for gain, advancement, learning or fame, let alone, then, for fleeting sensual pleasures.”
Since I started selling olive oil, I have learned enough about it. Also I learned some things about fraud in this industry I still cannot and do not want to believe.
But right now there are two things that really matter:
1. I know where to buy real olive oil and will never look for it in the supermarket. But how much more do I not know about what the food industry is poisoning me with?
2. It is not enough just to tell how healthy olive oil is. Much harder to explain to people why they have to pay more for real olive oil. After all, the fake one looks and is called exactly the same.
The idea that most people don't understand this first came to me when I began to notice bottles with a strange liquid fat in the kitchens of my friends.
I started asking them if they know that they live in the Mediterranean and that there are enough olive farms around. Why buy this poison when you can find excellent, tasty and healthy olive oil an hour from home?
I usually get three responses: “no time”, “it’s too expensive” and “what's the difference?”
Okay, my friends are not experts and they can't know everything. They may not even know that our farmers grow unique varieties of olives and produce excellent olive oils that win gold awards in international competitions.
The real shock came when I started noticing crappy olive oil in restaurants.
And these were quite decent restaurants with an average bill of 40 - 50 EUR for lunch.
Of course, not all restaurateurs consciously buy and use this rubbish. However, nothing makes it easier to realize that they simply don't understand anything about olive oil. Just imagine: a chef cooks Mediterranean dishes and doesn’t know how to choose right olive oil.
Sometimes we offer our olive oil to restaurants.
And hearing “it's too expensive”, we answer: “Is it really more expensive than losing customers? Think again, because in a week the whole city will know that good olive oil is too expensive for you”.
Is Olive Oil Healthy for You?
Well, it depends. Olive oil is good for your health, but not just any olive oil. The only healthy olive oil is the one obtained when fresh (just harvested) olives are pressed without heat or the addition of solvents.
Healthy olive oil is a fresh olive juice, full of polyphenols that cleanse blood vessels, lower bad cholesterol and kill cancer cells.
This olive juice, as known as Real Farm Extra Virgin Olive Oil, is a cure for 60 diseases, according to Hippocrates. And we have no reason not to believe him (some more facts about why olive oil is good for health you'll find here).
To obtain one liter of this healthy olive oil, you have to press 10 kilograms of olives.
To press 10 kg of olives, you have to grow at least 15 kilos. Why so? Because one part of the fruit will be eaten by an olive fly, another part will die due to drought or frost, and something will rot and be thrown away during manual sorting.
On average, one mature olive tree produces 40 kilograms of olive fruit. Even without going into details, you can imagine how much work and money it costs to grow and maintain an olive tree that will give you (maybe!) some olives to produce 3 liters of olive oil.
Add to that the cost and maintenance of olive oil decanter centrifuge machine (Alfa Laval, for example) and other professional equipment, as well as pressing, storing, bottling costs...
I don't want to torment you any more: the cost of a liter of real extra virgin olive oil is approaching 7€ even before this product leaves the olive oil farm.
And do you really believe that you can buy one liter of this wonderful healthy olive oil cheaper than 15€ in the nearest supermarket?!
Well, you seem to be an extremely happy person and most likely you still believe in Santa Claus. No offence, we are all so naive and it is very easy to deceive us by telling us what we want to hear.
Okay, let's move on! Maybe you didn't know, after pressing olives, the pomace remains. What to do with it?
There are two options:
1. To send it to fuel briquettes or fertilizer production.
2. To press these wastes again with heat and chemicals.
The first option is good for small family olive farms that value their reputation and only produce real, naturally tasty and healthy extra virgin olive oil.
The second option is the business of a large oil mill, run by energetic, goal-oriented and successful managers.
Of course they do not deliberately poison people; they simply do not care about your health and do not bother producing healthy olive oil for you. They are just doing business, like many others.
They are interested in increasing sales, financial success, conquering the market and heroic victory over competitors. Just business, nothing personal.
They make the crap that most people call olive oil. There is no more than 10% real olive oil in this mixture and it is added there only in order to get rid of the chemical stench and to mark their product as Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
So, the answer is: yes, olive oil is healthy but olive oil is not something you can buy cheaply in the supermarket.
Five Whys Method
Why do they produce poor quality or even fake olive oil?
Because we buy it.
No, we're just saving money, and hardly because we don't have enough. After all, we can live without olive oil and yet we’ll be much healthier than in the case of using fake olive oil.
How to Buy Healthy Olive Oil Saving Money on Food? No Way.
So we buy this rubbish not because we don't have money for real fresh and healthy olive oil.
Because we don't see the difference.
Why don't we see the difference?
Because we are not interested in exploring this.
Why are we not interested?
I don't know for sure, but will try to guess.
The fact is that the average modern homo sapiens does not see the connection between food and health. We generally have a very perverse understanding of what health is.
One of the most dangerous illusions is to consider health as getting rid of diseases with the help of medicine.
However, being healthy is not about medicine. Doctors and pills will not make us healthy, they can only slow down the process of our self-destruction.
Being healthy is a process, this is a daily self-improvement: get enough sleep, do exercises, choose the right food. If you want to be healthy, you should care what you put in your stomach.
Cheap chips or fresh veggies? Cancer or life?
Now is the right time to ask yourself: Why don't we know how to buy food properly?
Perhaps the reason is that we consider buying food not as health care, but as consumption. And consumption has long ceased to be reasonable, it has become demonstrative. This means that we do not consume what we really need. We buy things that make us (as we think) more attractive in the eyes of other people.
For example, no one can see what you eat at home, so you can buy any junk.
At the same time, everyone sees your car, so it should be expensive.
No money, no problem - get a loan. You must conform to social expectations at all costs.
We choose motor oil for our cars more carefully than olive oil for ourselves. We tank our cars with only the right fuel without thinking about expenses.
We understand that by saving a hundred on car maintenance, we can pay thousands for repairs. At the same time, we do not understand that by saving money on food, we can bring our bodies to such a condition that no money can fix.
In the process of conspicuous consumption, we drive ourselves into credit slavery. We pay thousands to banks and do not want to pay for healthy food.
We just forgot that there is no other poison and no other medicine than what we eat every day. We have stopped learning what we are going to eat.
Yes, that's how we're made. We do not see feedback, since the consequences of our actions are far in time from the actions themselves. We are very primitive, in fact we are still not much different from monkeys.
No doubt, if someone ate a bag of chips and died of cancer 15 minutes later, even the most brainless official would realised it was time to ban all chips. In 1981 in Spain, about 700 people died from poisoning with fake olive oil. Officials immediately understood everything and quickly took action.
At the same time, all over the world people have been consuming fake olive oil for decades without realising that they are killing themselves. Just because it doesn't happen instantly.
What Can We Do?
Start learning. We live in the most amazing time in human history. We have not only planes and rockets, we also have free Google. All the knowledges accumulated over several millennia of the existence of our civilization are available to anyone - just google it.
You don't need a degree to learn how potatoes are grown and what skimmed milk is. Having learned to understand olive oil, I will no longer be fodder for those who counterfeit this wonderful product.
But something tells me that fake olive oil isn't the only thing the food industry is killing us with.
All we need to do is learn to ask ourselves the right questions about things that really matter. Things that are much more important than clothes, watches and cars.
Arthur Schopenhauer said that 90% of our happiness depends on our health. Of course, he did not conduct scientific research, but what normal person would argue with this statement?
So it’s time to stop considering our bodies just as hangers for fashion rags. Maybe someday we’ll understand that money spent on healthy food is not an expense, but an investment.
The way we treat our health can turn our lives into pleasure or hell. And no one but us will make the right choice.