Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Fields and Fields of Canola—But is the Oil Healthy?

Bert Gildart: “Hey, Bert and Janie! Have you seen the deer all covered with yellow?”

That’s what our next door neighbors asked yesterday as we were returning from a bicycle ride to the small settlement of Creston, about four miles away. We hadn’t, but we’d sure like to, especially after the enthusiastic descriptions Larry and Dawn provided.

Where your Canola oil comes from

Where your Canola oil Comes from

“When they stepped out of the fields,” our neighbors continued, “some had wreaths of canola brush wrapped around their heads. It was really quite a sight.”

This is the first year in the 12 years we’ve been here (in this house) that farmers have planted so much canola, but it’s everywhere. Most conspicuously, we see it out our picture window, and the acres of fields create a gorgeous foreground, back dropped then by the Swan Range, which includes Strawberry Mountain, and Mount Aneas, the highest mountain we see from our picture window. We also see it all along our four-mile wild-rose flanked bike route–and in many other places as we drive throughout the Flathead Valley.

But why all the canola? We’re not entirely sure, and so I did a little searching on the internet and discovered that much controversy surrounds the crop.

wild roses, also going to seed

Wild roses also going to seed

According to proponents, Canola oil is widely recognized as the healthiest salad and cooking oil available to consumers. It was developed through hybridization of rapeseed. Rapeseed oil is toxic because it contains significant amounts of a poisonous substance called erucic acid. Canola oil contains only trace amounts of erucic acid and its unique fatty acid profile, rich in oleic acid and low in saturated fats, makes it particularly beneficial for the prevention of heart disease. They also say that if you take a spoonful a day, you will reduce the risk of having a heart attack.

Continuing, proponents say canola oil contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids; that the rapeseed blossom is a major source of nectar for honeybees; and, finally, that Canola oil is a promising source for manufacturing biodiesel, a renewable alternative to fossil fuels. If that’s the case, canola may be the boost some of our farmers now need.

On the other hand, detractors say that Canola oil is a poisonous substance, “an industrial oil that does not belong in the body.”

It contains, they say, the infamous chemical warfare agent mustard gas. Moreover, some say it causes mad cow disease, blindness, nervous disorders, clumping of blood cells and depression of the immune system.

Wow! That’s enough to make one conduct a little more research, which I’ll leave up to you, for the sources seem to be infinite. Here’s a source to get you started.

In the meantime, my interests are focused on the deer sporting those yellow wreaths, but if I get to photograph them, it’s going to have to be soon, as the plant (along with the wild roses in our yard and along our bike route) is now starting to loose its yellow sepals and petals and go to seed.

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