Monday, April 11, 2011

Headache Mystery Solved

A headache is no fun for anyone, especially if it doesn't go away over night. My least favorite headaches are the ones that carry over to the next day. 

Lately I have been experiencing these kinds of headaches. I very rarely get sick and very rarely have headaches, so this has been a mystery that I have been trying to solve for some time now.

I finally solved that mystery today, and wanted to share with all of my readers. I think this might affect many of you reading.

My diet is pretty pure. We eat mostly organic produce and try to stay away from processed foods as much as possible. We shop at health food stores and really maintain a well balanced diet. Sometimes when we are on the road, we purchase things like granola, health food chips, or other more processed foods than we are used to. This is usually when I experience headaches. Yesterday I began experiencing a headache after I ate steel cut oats, which was quite perplexing to me.  I'm not one to take medications, so I took it easy for the night. I woke up this morning and had the same headache again.

This morning I realized what I did differently yesterday. I put rice milk in my oatmeal. The culprit?


After doing more research I realized that I am not the only one experiencing headaches from canola oil. There are hundreds of others out there saying the same thing. The research isn't much, however, I found many good articles that talk about the harmful effects of canola oil.

In our household we try really hard to avoid canola oil. This oil is one of the most rancid and health damaging oils out there.

Canola is actually not the name of a plant, but instead is a compound of two different words. Canola was developed from "Canada" and "oil". This "canola" oil is one of the most genetically modified crops and comes from the Rapeseed plant. According to AgriAlternatives, The Online Innovation, and Technology Magazine for Farmers, "By nature, these rapeseed oils, which have long been used to produce oils for industrial purposes, are.... toxic to humans and other animals."

Did you catch that?

"For industrial purposes." Rape is an oil that is used as lubricant, fuel, soap, and synthetic rubber base. It is not meant to be a food. Many people report other side effects like: emphysema, respiratory distress, lung cancer, anemia, irritability, blindness and constipation, not to mention other neurological effects.

One article pointed out that rape seed was fed to cows, pigs, and sheep who later went blind and began attacking people. After the rape seed was discontinued, there were no further attacks (this comes from John Tomas' book, Young Again).

Many parents and teachers have shared that they have never seen such poor behavior in their students before. The younger generations are violent, disruptive, can't concentrate, and are sicker than ever. This is sad but true: We are doing this to our children by feeding them foods like canola oil.

Pesticides are rarely used on Canola plants (rapeseed plants), because this plant is so toxic that insects avoid it.  Canola oil is an E.P.A. registered pesticide.

Surprisingly enough, if you are not reading your labels, then you are probably consuming a lot of canola oil. The rice milk that we purchased contains canola oil, some health food granolas have canola oil. In fact, most products at the health food store that have been prepared in a "healthy" way have canola oil! On top of that, most, if not all, processed foods contain canola oil.

After discovering this I went back to my cupboards and checked a lot of our food. I was still SHOCKED. As I said before, we try to avoid canola oil when we buy groceries. But, most of our stored foods contain canola oil... and most of them come from the health food store! This is another sad but true statement: most of the processed foods that come from the health food store are not healthy. Check your labels. Even if it says "may contain the follow: canola oil" then it probably does contain canola oil. Avoid it at all costs! Some companies also get tricky by using "rapeseed oil"...this is the same thing.

Also avoid cooking with canola oil. Most "vegetable oils" contain canola oil (that we use so much for frying food). The canola industry has said it is good for heart health since it doesn't contain any saturated fat. This is a lie. Some articles reported increased incidence of heart disease from diets high in canola oil. Instead, replace your 'vegetable oil' with healthy oils like coconut oil. Coconut oil can be heated and still maintain its cell structure. Olive oil should only be used on salads (raw and cold pressed) as it becomes rancid when cooked. Coconut oil is a beautiful gift you can give your family! It will feed the brains of your children so they can sit still in school and focus (along with other oils like cod liver oil and flax oil).

After revealing this to my family, we agreed that we would no longer purchase foods with canola oil. Surprisingly (or not), they said they have also experienced low grade headaches (and even some breathing problems). I hope you and your family can do the same!


Svea Lynn is a traditional Naturopath, classical homeopath and holistic doula. Her private doula practice can be found here. Her Montreal Natural Fertility site can be found here


  1. I have had the same problem with this I have only just figured out that this could be the cause. Thank you for this, A real interesting and helpful read.

  2. Did you send any sample to the lab? Nice story thou...

  3. No sample sent to the lab... It's possible that the lab wouldn't find anything - since the culprit seems to be canola itself - many other people report a sensitivity to canola. It's not necessary to send to a lab - just to be aware of.

  4. I've been eating a lot of store-bought hummus over the last few days, which contains a fair amount of canola oil. Fortunately I keep a record of my dietary choices...and I'm pretty sure I just solved my own headache mystery too! Only a few days of experimental abstinence will the way, folks, you know you can make your own hummus fairly easily? Much better for you.

    1. We also make our own hummus - no canola oil and it's YUMMY :-)

      I'm happy that you also solved your headache mystery.

  5. Thanks so much, this also helped me to solve my headache problem. Cheers!

  6. Just happened on your site. I, too, solved this same problem about 20 years ago, at that time thinking I was the only one having this issue. Got two and three day headaches, depending on how much food I ate that was fried in canola oil. Unfortunately, canola is finding its way in more and more processed foods. And who knows what other bad effects it has on us!

  7. Headaches, morning, noon, night and in the middle of the night. I switched to using canola oil for almost all of my frying. I even have been using Butter and Canola Blend as my only source of butter for about 4 months now. Unbelievable. Starting having much worse breathing problems. I blamed the headaches and the breathing problems on my inhalers, something in the air, OMG I just started thinking Canola Oil. So I opened up the site for side effects from canola oil and I am stunned. Thanks.

  8. I've also been having issues that I've suspected are from canola oil (bloating, mood changes, etc), so I've avoided it like the plague for about 2 weeks. Things were going good, then I started getting heart palpitations and severe migraines the last few days. The only thing I had added into my diet was a German candy called "Fritt", which seemed to be a somewhat healthier snack than most candies for those 'sweet' cravings. I thought the sugar was bothering me, but then I read the ingredients more closely and saw "Vegetable Fat" - which I hadn't equated to being the same as "Vegetable Oil" in the U.S./Canada. Now I'm wondering if it has nothing to do with sugar at all...wondering if its made from canola oil or soybean oil. But good luck in finding a customer service number for a company in Germany...

    Scary stuff, this canola. Supposedly so heart-healthy and yet we have more heart disease than ever. More behavioral issues. High blood pressure. Reproductive diseases. The list goes on. Glad to see your article, hopefully others will become more aware of this as time goes on.

  9. You just solved my week long headache mystery. Thanks a lot! :)