A Hopeful Guide to Buying Authentic Olive Oil from Good Karme

Last night 60 Minutes aired a piece on the "Agromafia" about the faux olive oil market. We found out that about half or more of the "olive oils" sold are fake. Eeks! And, that the black market for olive oil sometimes has better margins than the cocaine market. Double eeks!! 

So, the fact that these olive oil mobsters are lying to us is enough to want to pull my hair out. But, even more, many of us who purchase EVOO are hoping to get the touted health benefits of EVOO (real EVOO can make our blood vessels more flexible - less rigid - and may have anti-inflammatory properties - much like ibuprofen or aspirin). 

In general, some guidance for doing your best to choose an authentic oil:

  • Dark Bottle: EVOO should be in a dark colored bottle. The oil should not be in a clear bottle. Since olive oil is really 100% fruit juice, it will go rancid when light hits it. 
  • Price Tag: you get what you pay for, and you can be fairly certain you're getting fakey oil if it is the cheapest. Sorry. :-/
  • City or Region: The bottle gives the name of the region or city that the olives were harvested from.
  • Domestic Oils: California olive oils might be more likely authentic with potentially stricter regulation.
  • Buy Direct: You'll see below that you can purchase directly from some producers. You're cutting out the potentially devious middleman/woman. 

Well, you asked for it. I made a list of olive oils that I hope are pure. Unfortunately, and honestly, I must admit that I canNOT 110% guarantee that these oils are pure and this is NOT an exhaustive list (I'm certain there are other good quality olive oils out there). I researched other blogs, visited the olive oil companies' websites, and just used some gut instinct (my best educated guess). I'm a consumer like you all, so I'm doing the best I can, too! If you know of a good quality olive oil or you produce one, please email me at leigh@goodkarme.com and tell me about it! 

What I Learned Yesterday - Non-Nutrition Book Reviews + A Podcast

I'm a bit of a podcast nut. Beyond Serial, though, a Chiropractor friend recommended Tim Ferriss's podcast. I have to say, he's a little meat-heady, but he's a Princeton graduate, so super smart, and his podcast/show is fascinating because he gets interesting interviews that span health & fitness, pop culture, charitable giving, and one of my recent favorites Derek Sivers who - among other things - founded "CD Baby" (one of the first, if not the first) online music sales websites in the late 90s. Anyway, Derek's recent interests have included reading, reviewing and rating books, and WILY is that he helps you decide whether a book is worth the 30-40 hours of reading time to invest. I know it's not a nutrition-related topic... 


Also, check out Tim Ferriss's podcasts


Why Prepackaged Nutrition Puts You in a Box

You know how it goes when you attend a bridal or baby shower (you can tell what stage of life I’m in, huh?) or a dinner party, meeting new people, and the default question “So, what do you do?” enters conversation within the first 10 seconds? I have a love-hate relationship with that question. On the one hand, I love knowing what lights the fire of people I’m meeting for the first time. What is their spark? Their passion? On the other hand, I appreciate the bias we have as a culture, that our career defines our existence. What box can I put her in? This is one of the various reasons I really can’t believe I'm a nutritionist. I hate being put in a box… or maybe I just love surprising people: (most of the time) I don’t fit so neatly in the boxes they expect to put me in. Gap tees, jeans, straight brown hair, drive a Honda… plain-ish Jane. Have you put me in a box, yet? Fine with me. :)

Like the boxes we like to put people in socially, we also put people in boxes within the healthcare world. We often want to treat all diabetics with the same calorie-counting diet, give all cardiovascular patients the same “heart-healthy” oatmeal, avocado, almond and olive oil diet, and encourage all patients with cancer to just “eat as many calories as you can, it doesn't matter what they are.” But when it comes to our nutrition, one size does not fit all.

Individualized or personalized nutrition care is about looking at the whole person from a biochemical perspective (What level of vitamin D does she have? What might her cholesterol labs tell me?), from a lifestyle perspective (How many hours during the day is she sedentary? Does she have support from family and friends?), from a dietary history perspective (How has she been eating throughout her life up to this point? What might be missing that could contribute to her health status?), from a stress and sleep perspective (What stressors could affect her health and nutrition choices?), and from a genetic perspective (What is her family history? Can her genetics help tailor our nutrition plan?).

The above are all questions I regularly ask myself as I’m assessing someone. And, the answers come together to form a holistic picture of what that person might need, nutritionally. You are more than what you eat: you are what you can absorb, you are what you prefer, you are what your parents passed down to you, you are what your favorite (and least favorite) foods are…

You are… You.

Willpower is a Limited Resource

How many times do we say or hear “Oh, if I (he/she/they) only had a little willpower, then I (he/she/they) wouldn’t be so…”?

There is certainly truth to the importance of willpower and the idea that it is a muscle to be strengthened.

Willpower is also a limited resource. I repeat, willpower is a limited resource (see link above). We can only talk ourselves out of the donuts in the break room so many times, and then we cave.

In addition to building your willpower muscle, why not create an environment in our lives that we don’t need our willpower to make healthy choices all day long. Instead, why don't we build our home, work, and even social environments for success?

Some examples: don’t be the person at work with a candy dish (or ask the person who is to hide it form plain view); don’t go to the store hungry so you don’t come home with junk that tempts you before bed; make a decision to take a walk with a glass of water when you feel pressure to join friends to get a snack at the vending machine or café at work.

Let’s use our limited resource wisely.