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Domination

Hey Guys!
 
Who’s ready for our in-house throwdown on Saturday, September 27th?! I can’t wait! There will be NO CLASSES on the 23rd, so if you want in on some group exercise action at CrossFit Boston, you’ll have to sign up for the throwdown! The deadline for signups will be 11:59 PM Tuesday, September 23rd. In case you missed it, here are the throwdown WODs:
 

WOD #1: Bulgar Wheat

10 Minutes to complete:
500m Row each
20 Burpee Lateral Jumps each
AMRAP Squat Cleans (135/95) or (95/65)

1. One rower per team, movements must be performed in order
2. Partner #1 may perform burpees and squat cleans while Partner #2 rows
3. However, once 1000m row is completed, only one partner may work at a time

4. Score is number of squat cleans completed

WOD #2: A More Chipper Eleven Point One
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
60 kb swings (American, Red/Green) (Russian, Black/Blue)
45 Sit-Ups
30 Double-unders or 30 singles
15 Power snatches (75#/ 55#) (45#/33#)
 
1. Partners MAY work at the same time
2. All reps must be completed before moving on to next movement
3. All movements must be completed in listed order
4. Each partner must complete at least one-third of the reps of each movement
 
 
WOD #3: Partner Cindy
 
Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
5 Pull-ups
10 Push-ups
15 Squats

1. Only one partner may work at the same time

2. Rounds of Mary are an acceptable substitution for rounds of Cindy

 
 
#PostWOD Notes:
 
1. From Linh, re: Spartan Racing:
 
Mickey, 
 
I saw your post this morning and wanted to reply but my browser is having issues! Can you include this on your blog and help me build a critical mass of Spartans? 
 
Thanks!
 
Athletes of all fitness levels will enjoy participating in a Spartan Race and the feeling of accomplishment that comes at the finish line.The Spartan Race at Fenway time trial is one of my favorite race venues! I’ll be running at 9AM (for time) and 11:30AM (for fun) and willing to run more if people are interested and can’t get in those heats (Season pass perks!). Think about the epic group photo we could get as a group in the ball park if we ran as a team! Use code: NJ20E when registering to get 20% off! I had to run 8.5mi up and down Mountain Creek in Vernon NJ last Sunday at the Tristate Super for this discount so please take advantage! Or, volunteer for half a day and run for FREE! Can’t make Fenway? If you’re interested in joining me in Killington, VT for the Beast, use code VT50 for 50% off SUNDAY’S Race. Oh, did I mention free craft beer, professional photos, and NBC Sports may be on site filming! Have kids? Bring them and sign them up for the Kids Race! 
Hope to see you all at the finish line! AROO!
\m/arrior Linh
 
2. Drinks at Lulu’s this Friday at 8 PM. There is talk about doing karaoke (Japanese for “drunken screaming” afterwards at Do Re Mi.
 
3. Thanks to Ricky, Lauren, Shannon, and Courtney for coming out to 6B Lounge on Friday. More to come soon!
 
4. Did you know that CFB has a book club? If you’re interested in an in-depth discussion of either (A) a book or (B) CFB gossip, then email me at [email protected] and I’ll set you up on the book club email list!
 
That is all. Peace and bacon grease,
 
Mickey
10 Sep 2014

Why Running Makes You Go

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277844911_92897c47b1_zSince half marathon/marathon/spartan race season is upon us, I thought a little post on running and GI issues was in order. I think many habitual, sometimes, and “only if a bear is chasing me” runners alike probably know the feeling of having a perfectly beautiful run (or 5K test, whatever), and then BAM you gotta go. I have even heard the joke that you’re not a real runner until you’ve gone to the bathroom in public. But why does this happen?

More often than not, the source of stomach pain and bathroom breaks on a run is because of food choices, and the biggest culprit is sugar. Many runners use sugary chews, goos, or snacks to stay fueled during the run. This is smart, obviously – readily available carbohydrates at periodic times during an endurance activity will help you maintain the activity longer. So what’s the problem?

IMG_3168Osmosis is the problem. Remember from biology class that osmosis is the movement of water molecules between a semi-permeable barrier to the side with higher solute concentration so as to equalize the concentration on both sides. Your body likes to maintain a particular balance – known as homeostasis – and osmosis helps it do this. So when that high carbohydrate, low everything else fuel item of choice is digested very quickly in the stomach, it moves to the intestine. Now the intestine has a high concentration of “solute” (the sugar. Osmosis kicks in, and water is drawn into the intestine, which makes stool (that’s health professional speak for poop) looser. And I think we all know where this is going.

How Can You Fix It?

There are a few ways you can try to fix this. Of course, everyone is different, so it will likely come down to some self experimentation. 

  • Avoid corn sugar. According to a blog post on constipation by Dr. Reddy, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Western Michigan University School of Medicine, corn syrup – along with apple, pear, and prune juices – is not absorbed very well by the intestine, and have a stool loosening effect.
  • Space our your fuel – intend of eating a whole bag of chews (for some, up to 45 grams of sugar) all at once, eat 2-3 chews (or about 10-15 grams of carbs) every half hour. This will result in slower infusion of sugar to the intestine, which will avoid the large osmotic response. 
  • Don’t over hydrate – it’s good to drink water, of course. But water IN the intestine is kind of the problem. So having a lot of water at once, especially with your fuel, could cause the same issue. Try to sip water throughout the run/race, aiming for about 8 -16 ounce an hour. 

Image 1 c/o Vicki Wolkins

09 Sep 2014

Guess Who’s Pregnant?

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No one that I know of, other than the usual suspects!

IMG_1534

We did, however, have a wonderful Sunday morning class filled with donuts, cider, and a whole lot of community! Nearly forty members, past and present, joined in welcoming Dave L. and Nigel C. into their golden years and it was AWESOME! Alright, back to gossip and rumors!

Do you want to work on your pull-ups? Well, after class every Tuesday, you have an opportunity to do exactly that! If you’re inspired to get more pull-ups in your arsenal, take a look at the 20 pull-ups program, here:

     http://twentypullups.com/20-pull-ups_ilka-helo.pdf

I will print out that PDF and post it on one of our boards. This week will be “Week -2″ in the PDF. If you already have three or more pull-ups, then just sit back and rest on your laurels for the next two weeks. If you don’t, please follow the programming for “Week -2″ in the PDF!

 

Who’s up for a Spartan Race at Fenway Park? Linh N. and Chrissy S. are looking for people to run a Spartan Race with on Saturday, November 15th. If you sign up using the following link, Linh will get some kind of benefit, though it’s unclear exactly what that benefit is!

     http://fbuy.me/bd-Jm 

 Audrey H. would like to shout out Judith D., who was recently quoted by Hiawatha Bray, the Boston Globe’s tech guru. Audrey would also like to congratulate Judith on her new book, The Social Machine!

 
 Finally, after a successful outing to Lulu’s last Friday evening, an intrepid group of CFB members will be journeying to 6B Lounge in Beacon Hill this Friday night where yours truly will be filling in for the regular ’90s night DJ! Come dance your face off. Party kicks off at 10 PM, though if you get there by around 9:45, there’s no cover. I have a few slots open for my guest list, so if you’re down to boogie, email me at [email protected] and I’ll get you squared away.
 
Alright kids, that’s about it. Next week, I think we’ll talk about laundry. Oh, and the third and final WOD for our in-house throwdown (September 27th) will be partner Cindy. That’s right. Partner Cindy!
 
Peace and bacon grease,
Mickey
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05 Sep 2014

FIRE IT UP FRIDAY! 9/5/14

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First week of September is in the books and this week some of CFB’s OG’s hit some great PR’s on “Grace” and reshuffled the leader board. Big congrats to Carolyn B, Jo B, Audrey, and Vijay for dominating the leader board! The key to their success has been consistency. Each trains 3+ times per week and have put in time for the last 6+ years. Great work!

The "Gingers" conquering Grace.

The “Gingers” conquering Grace.

Audrey and Vijay at 7am leaving their mark on Grace as well.

Audrey and Vijay at 7am leaving their mark on Grace as well.

WEEKLY PROGRAMMING

This upcoming week the strength days will fall on Saturday, Tuesday and Friday. If you don’t make it in on those days, it is important that you make up the strength workouts either before or after your training sessions on the days you do. The last set of the strength WODS is a max rep set. So if you see 5+ then you hit at least 5 and then all else is gravy. 

The new Pocket Coach is going to be launching soon so be sure to be logging your records so you have the data stored.

Saturday 9/6

1. Shoulder press
5 reps @ 60%
Max strict pull-ups BW, rest 2:00
5 reps @ 70%
8-10 strict pull-ups (AHAP) BW+, rest 2:00
5+ reps @ 80%
8-10 strict pull-ups (AHAP) BW+, rest 2:00

2. Complete 3 rounds for time
Row 500m
35 Air Squats

Sunday 9/7

Nigel’s Filthy Fifty

For time:
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders

Monday 9/8

AMRAP 15
24 Step ups, 20″
12 Power clean, 135/95
6 Push jerk, 135/95

Tuesday 9/9

1. Deadlift
5 reps @ 60%, rest 1:00
Handstand push-ups, 4-8, rest 1:00
5 reps @ 70%, rest 1:00
Handstand push-ups, 4-8, rest 2:00
5+ reps @ 80%, rest 1:00
Handstand push-ups, 4-8

2. Complete 5 rounds for time
Run 200m
12 Toe 2 Bar

Wedensday 9/10

“Tabata This!”

Tabata Row
Rest 1 minute
Tabata Squat
Rest 1 minute
Tabata Pull-up
Rest 1 minute
Tabata Push-up
Rest 1 minute
Tabata Sit-up

The Tabata interval is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 intervals.
Tabata score is the least number of reps performed in any of the eight intervals. Unit for the row is “calories”.

Thursday 9/11

“Glen”
For time
30 Clean and Jerks
1 mile run
10 rope climb
1 mile run
100 Burpees

Friday 9/12

1. Push Press
5 reps @ 60%
Bent over BB rows, 8-10 reps; rest 1:00
5 reps @ 70%
Bent over BB rows, 8-10 reps; rest 1:00
5+ reps @ 80%
Bent over BB rows, 8-10 reps

2. AMRAP 4
10 Pistols
10 Burpees

rest 4:00

AMRAP 4
15 calorie row
10 Burpees

03 Sep 2014

The Politics of Diet

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I’ve noticed that diet has become quite political these days. Many people feel very strongly about their chosen diet, and love to share news articles and studies supporting their particular view. And boy was everybody tweeting about that low carb v. low fat diet study yesterday. 

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 8.11.47 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-03 at 8.11.28 AM

I hadn’t had time to read the study, but I did get to read Dr. David Katz’s take on it (he’s the Director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, so I guess he’s kind of smart) and I’m glad that was the first thing I read. It highlights how important it is for us (well, our journalists should be doing this but they sadly rarely bother) to read these studies. Nutrition science is still new and there are still a lot of challenges, but we don’t need to muck it up further by conducting and publishing truly crappy studies. 

Since Dr. Katz essentially wrote everything I would have – and likely better – I’m going to yield the floor to him now.  From Dr. Katz on LinkedIn:

 

Diet Research, Stuck in the Stone Age

You cannot get a good answer to a lousy question.

The current diet study making headlines purportedly asked, and answered this question: which is better for weight loss and improving cardiac risk, a low-fat or a low-carb diet? For starters, that is a truly lousy question, resurrected from something like the Stone Age. I doubt even the Paleo clan find the question attractive, since they like prehistoric food; not prehistoric research questions about food.

Why prehistoric? Because it is long known and well established that dietary fats run the gamut from good to bad to ugly. No good diet should willfully exclude the monounsaturated fats and omega-3s in nuts and seeds and avocados; I’m pretty sure everybody not stuck under a boulder knows that.

There is on-going debate today about specific effects of specific fats, but the wholesale cutting of dietary fat intake was pretty much yesterday’s news yesterday. The relevant concept today would be plant-based eating, which at the extreme of veganism, tends to be low in fat- but as an effect rather than an objective. This was not a study of a vegan diet.

The concept of low-carb is also terribly outdated, and was silly when it was first spawned. Everything from lentils to lollipops is carbohydrate; why on earth would anyone want to treat such a vast expanse of the food supply as if it were just one thing? Sillier still, all plant food is a carbohydrate source. A truly “low carb” diet is, of necessity, low in all plant foods- including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils along with whole grains. This is directly at odds with everything we know about diet and health across the lifespan.

Read more.

PS If you like reading about a common sense approach to health and would like to read about it more often than my once weekly blog, use the link above to follow him on LinkedIn.

Nigel Battling Dave

Hey guys! How was your Labor Day weekend? Mine was awesome. I got a chance to relax, see Tiff, DJ a former member‘s wedding, and witness a full house at CFB tackle Fight Gone Bad! Talk about inspiring!

In any case, this coming Sunday, we will be taking on the Filthy Fifty in honor of Nigel C.’s and Dave L.’s birthdays. I’ll be spinning some awesome WOD jams and there will be food/drink/merriment afterwards. There may even be some panda dogs running about, but I’ll make no promises! If you’re interested in taking a plate of Soul Fire BBQ to the face, please email me at [email protected] Food will be a mere five bucks ($5) per plate.

Also, I’d like to provide an update on the in-house throwdown that we’re having on Saturday, September 27th. There is a sign-up sheet posted on the events section of the white board. So far, we have twenty-four slots filled so it means we only have six slots remaining! Again, this throwdown is meant to be a fun event rather than a super-competitive event, so definitely sign up if you’re on the fence. We’ve got a couple of sponsors lined up (including RacePak, Via Privé, and Progenex), so the winning team will get some neat prizes!

Here is WOD #2:
 
A More Chipper Eleven Point One
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
 
60 kb swings (American, Red/Green) (Russian, Black/Blue)
 
45 Sit-Ups
 
30 Double-unders or 30 singles
 
15 Power snatches (75#/ 55#) (45#/33#)
 
1. Partners MAY work at the same time
2. All movements must be completed in listed order
3. All reps must be completed before moving on to next movement
4. Each partner must complete at least one-third of the reps of each movement
5. These conditions may change after loop-holes are discovered.
 
Who will take the remaining spots in the throwdown and more importantly, WHO WILL TAKE HOME THE CROWNS*?
 
Peace and bacon grease,
Mickey
 
 
* Most likely paper crowns from Burger King.
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Vermont_cowWell, that is, if you are drinking milk. A while back I wrote a post on organic produce, the point of which was essentially “Meh, nutritionally organic and conventional produce are very similar”. But that’s not gong to be the point of this article. The point of this article is that if you put dairy products into your body, they better damn well be organic 99% of the time. 

How Milk Is Made

Conventional dairy farming can be a nasty business. Cows live in close quarters, are fed corn/grains (not the natural diet of a pastured animal) and receive antibiotics (scary fact: somewhere around 80% of antibiotics produced in the US are given to animals). None of these things is particularly healthy for the cow. And I haven’t even gotten into the pooping – how much, where it goes, and what that does to the environment. I’m not going to either, there’s enough on that circulating the web. (Or, if you’re interested in a comprehensive book on industrial dairy and meat production in the US, check out Animal Factory). 

In contrast, the standards for organic livestock include:

  • Organic feed
  • Access to outdoors
  • Ruminants must have access to pasture during growing season (at least 120 days)
  • Preventive healthcare plan
  • Prohibited use of antibiotics, growth hormones, genetic engineering, or cloning

Source – Extension 

Why It Matters

849495f62ae31738eeeb06ec3e3a6c85The biggest reason organic dairy matters is the antibiotics. Hold on, I”m putting on my public health hat for a minute.

OK there we go. Antibiotic resistance and superbugs are a HUGE HUGE HUGE problem that is continuing to grow. The more antibiotics are used when they shouldn’t be (like for prevention in all of our livestock, or when you have a virus like cold or flu), the more opportunity bacteria have to build resistance. And bacteria we can’t kill leads to disease and death. Can you imagine dying because you cut your foot at work? Before antibiotics, it happened. If you want to read something terrifying about antibiotic resistance, read this article on a post antibiotic era.  

Another benefit of organic dairy is the actual nutrition, and there’s some evidence to back it up.

As far as dairy is concerned, several studies demonstrated the superiority of organic dairy compared to conventional. A review conducted in Germany added data from the last three years to an existing pool of data and found that organic dairy products are higher in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and have a higher omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio than conventional products. Typically, the Western diet is high in omega 6 fats and low in omega 3 fats, but a higher omega 3 to omega 6 ratio is thought to reduce inflammation and risk of heart disease. The authors suspect that these results are due to the differences in the way organic and conventional dairy cows are fed. (Palupi E, Jayanegara A, Ploeger A, Kahl J. Comparison of nutritional quality between conventional and organic dairy products: a meta-analysis. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Mar 19. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.5639. [Epub ahead of print])

Another study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture looked at the fatty acid and antioxidant profiles of various input levels of conventional and organic milk found that “highest concentrations of nutritionally beneficial compounds were found in the low-input organic system. Adapted grass-based feeding strategies including pasture offer the potential to produce a distinguishable organic milk product quality.” (Kusche D1, Kuhnt K, Ruebesam K, Rohrer C, Nierop AF, Jahreis G, Baars T. Fatty acid profiles and antioxidants of organic and conventional milk from low- and high-input systems during outdoor period. J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Jun 5. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6768. [Epub ahead of print]).

How To Choose The Right Dairy

3417003146_cffee297fa_zLook for the organic label. Bonus points for grass-fed. And to avoid sugar, stick to plain dairy – no Strawberry milk, fruit on the bottom yogurt, etc. Also remember to look for organic when you are buying cream for coffee, too.

 

 

 

 

Photo c/o http://www.pinterest.com/hamcohealth/infographics-posters-memes/

Photo 2 c/o Mica Monkey 

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Hey Everyone! Just thought I’d provide an update on some events you may be interested in checking out:

 

1. Friday, August 30th at 6 PM – Our very own Joe Mathias will be presenting a clarinet recital in the Marshall Room of the Boston University Campus (855 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd Floor).

2. Monday, September 1st – There will be one class at 9 AM.

3. Sunday, September 7th – On this glorious day in place of (and extending beyond) the 9:30 class, we shall celebrate the ascension of two of our more venerable members into their golden years! Both Nigel Costolloe and Dave Lapidus will be kicking off their 50th year with a very special edition of the Filthy Fifty WOD. The programming for the day will be the Filthy Fifty, there will be food from Soul Fire BBQ available for purchase ($5 cash per plate), music by me, and there are rumors that there will be additional beverages provided. Drop me at line at [email protected] if you are interested in a plate of BBQ.

4. Saturday, September 13th – At 4 PM, our very own Candy Saunders will be roller derbying her butt off in Wilmington. I’ve seen a couple of bouts and it’s awesome! https://www.facebook.com/events/877739245588591/

5. Saturday, September 27th – Are you ready for our in-house throwdown? Over the last week, I’ve been letting folks in classes know that the event is going to be a 2-person TEAM throwdown. So far, we have about a dozen people signed up to participate and my goal is to have fifteen teams. In terms team formation, we would like to mix things up as much as possible. We’d like to pair Rx athletes with scaled athletes, newer members with “older” members, morning class attendees with evening class attendees, etc. What will the WODs, you may be asking? Excellent question! Here’s the first one:

WOD #1: Bulgar Wheat

10 Minutes to complete:
500m Row each
20 Burpee Lateral Jumps each
AMRAP Squat Cleans (135/95) or (95/65)

1. One rower per team, movements must be performed in order
2. Partner #1 can perform burpees and squat cleans while Partner #2 rows
3. When 1000m row is completed, only one partner can work at a time

It’s sure to be a great time, so sign up with the link below!

Peace and bacon grease,

Mickey

 

Click Here to Register to Compete or Volunteer/Judge!

21 Aug 2014

To Belt or To Not To Belt

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HOLY PR’S BATMAN!

Do you follow us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/crossfitboston)? Twitter (@crossfitboston)? If so you will see the pics of members hitting new personal bests during class. Cindy was lights out with 4 of you (Nigel “Pencil Neck”, Isle, Paul, and Shirtless Bob) all completing more than 20 rounds. Great work! Beyond that accomplishment there were many that completed the WOD as Rx for the first time and Audrey hit all of her pull-ups unbroken for the first time. Wicked cool!

TO BELT OR NOT TO BELT…

That is the question. Some CrossFit purists would argue wearing a belt is cheating or blasphemy. The belief is that the amount of lifting performed in CrossFit training develops our midline and that a belt is doing for us what our own body should be doing. Is this thought process correct? What exactly does a belt do? 

Erik B chooses no belt BUT he loves lime green!

Erik B chooses no belt BUT he loves lime green!

Nick Horton from Breakingmuscle.com wrote an excellent piece outlining the pros and cons of a lifting belt and Mike Robertson wrote a piece for T-Nation. Read more about them here and here  then post your thoughts to comments.

I have been barbell training for 26 years and I have always worn a belt for anything over 70% of my maximal lifts. Should you? That is for you to decide.

PROGRAMMING

We are continuing finding the 3RM this upcoming week for some strength lifts. Be sure to upload your results to Pocket Coach. The revamped version is due to launch this fall. You will want to have your information up to date so that you can get the most out of your training.

Saturday 8/23

1. Power Clean – 2RM

2. 21-18-15-12-9-6-3
Squat clean @ 50% of 2RM
Sit-ups
20 Calories on the A/D (12 calories on the rower)

Sunday 8/24

With a partner each perform the following 3 rounds for time in Relay style alternating each round

Run 400m
21 Kettlebell Swings, 24kg/16kg
12 Pull-ups
15 Power Snatches, 135/95

Monday 8/25

1. Front Squat – 3RM

2. AMRAP 4
Run 200m
5 Pull-ups

rest 5 minutes

AMRAP 4
Run 200m
5 Hang Power Clean, 95/65
5 Burpees

Tuesday 8/26

1a. Handstand Push-ups cluster 2,2,2 x 3; rest 1:00 between sets
1b. Pistols cluster 4,4,4 each leg x 3; rest 1:00 between sets

2. Complete this couplet for time (alternate movements)
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Thrusters, 95/65
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 Chest to bar pull-ups

Wednesday 8/27

“Hockey Night”

10 rounds of
30 seconds of wall balls, 20/15
30 seconds ball slams, 20/15
2 minutes rest

Thursday 8/28

1. AMRAP 4
Deadlift, 275

rest 8 minutes

2. AMRAP 4
Double Unders

rest 8 minutes

3. AMRAP 4
Pull-ups

Friday 8/29

1. Jerk from the rack – work up to a heavy single

2. EMOM Row 15/12 calories on the rower.

How long can you continue? 10 rounds? 15 rounds? 20?

photo-3Sometimes deciding what to blog about is hard, so I love when you guys ask me questions and give me some inspiration! Shout out to Shannon Flahive for emailing me  a question on olive oil v. canola oil to get this blog rolling. If you’d like me to answer a nutrition question in the blog, email me at [email protected] 

Canola oil has been making headway in the US as a “healthy oil”. Multiple sources cite it as having the following benefits:

  • Less saturated fat (only about 6%) than any other oil
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Higher level of mono-unsaturated fats (observed to be good for cholesterol) than any oil except olive

But what really IS canola oil? There is, after all, no such thing as a “canola” plant. And is it really healthier than other oils, like olive?

Rape Oil

13976697616_6fe78de2a2_zNo, really. Canola oil comes from the seeds of the rape plant, in the same family as mustard, radishes, and cauliflower. Rapeseed had been used in Asia and Europe as lamp oil, and later cooking oil, and later became useful for lubricating steam engines on large ships. The oil from the rapeseed was not ideal for eating because of high contents of eurcic acid, which has been linked to heart muscle damage, but in the 1960′s and 1970′s Canadian plant breeders used traditional cross-breeding practices to mostly eliminate the eurcic acid (subbing in oleic acid instead) and create an oil fit for human consumption. Canola Oil – an abbreviation for Canadian Oil – replaced rapeseed oil production by the 1980′s and is produced in Canada. Canola oil is most often used for cooking or salad. dressings.

Olive Oil

903447_10104168548671861_461021652_oOlive oil is – obviously – produced by pressing tree-ripened olives. Olive oil is produced in a variety of places, and the taste can vary based on origin. There are several types of live oil: extra virgin (the result of the first press of the olive and has less than 1% acid  - this is widely considered the best type), virgin olive oil (also first press, but higher acid content of up to 3%), Fino oil (a combination of extra virgin and virgin olive oil), and simply “olive oil” (a combination of fino and virgin or extra virgin oils). In the US, we also have light olive oil, which is simply olive oil refined to create a lighter color and less intense flavor (the calorie and fat numbers are the same as regular olive oils). 

Uses

Olive oil has a smoke point of 375 degrees F, making it best suited for lower temperature cooking like sautéing. The light olive oil has a smoke point of  468 degrees, making it more suited to frying (or baking, given its light taste). Canola oil’s smoke point at 400 degrees also makes it good for frying. Imagine that – a “healthy” oil ideal for frying.

Many food companies and retailers are using canola oil in their products, likely because it’s supposedly healthier and more versatile given that it is flavorless and has a high smoke point. 

Health

Isn’t this the big question? There have been some scares about canola oil circulating the internet, but so far I didn’t find much to be worried about. 

Olive – A litany of research has shown olive oil to be beneficial for health, and a Mediterranean diet including olive oil has been associated with lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, and lower cholesterol numbers.

Canola – A quick review of PubMed turned up nothing remarkably scary or miraculous. A review from 2013 in the journal Nutrition Reviews found “substantial reductions in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, as well as other positive actions, including increased tocopherol levels and improved insulin sensitivity, compared with consumption of other dietary fat sources”. 

The Verdict

image-2From what I can tell, Canola oil isn’t terrible for you. It may also not be great for you. Just because it is lowest in fat does not make it healthiest. It’s worth pointing out that olive oil has been around since before Jesus was cool, but Canola oil has only been around since ZZ Top was, so olive had a bit of a head start (and a longer proven record) than canola. 

If you’re looking for a new oil to cook with, well… why ? Olive oil is fantastic for sautéing and makes everything (in my opinion) more delicious. Coconut oil or grass-fed butter are good for the limited amount of baking you should ideally be doing. And if you need to fry something – I guess Canola oil works. But so does light olive oil.  

If you find canola oil in your Whole Foods Hot bar or other prepared or packaged food, it’s fine in moderation. But you’re better off cooking for yourself with an oil that wasn’t derived from what was once engine lubricant :)

Sources 

Statistics Canada: Canola Oil – A Canadian Success Story

About.com Food Reference: Smoke Points of Fats & Oils

Photo 1 c/o Massmo Relsig

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