Living an “additive free life” is a new hippy buzz phrase for not eating processed food or using chemicals in the home. It’s really on the same line as “Sorry I don’t eat wholes grains I’m paleo.” It’s like taking on a new first name without officially declaring it on your birth certificate. Then you have the “I’ve quit sugar” tribe. Why someone would quit sugar, I have no idea. It’s natural, isn’t it? It comes from cane, and yes, it grows from the ground – in case anyone has forgotten. These tribes love promoting themselves on social media, and through personal blogs. It’s like stating to the whole world “Hey, look at me, I’m doing something for my health and I deserve a gold medal.” While we all that agree eating less processed foods and more fruit and vegetables have tremendous health benefits, it is in fact believed that up to 35% of all cancers can be prevented by diet alone. But do we need to form a tribe and give ourselves a label?
While these food tribes take their health seriously, there comes a point where these well-intended ideas/bloggers become so extreme, that the information they blog about or the products they sell can cause serious and significant health consequences. In this case, it is essential oils – essential oils that you can put into food and digest because they are “food grade” or my favorite bogus statement of all time, they are “CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®”
Essential oils are highly concentrated, highly potent and these concentrations can change from product to product and bottle to bottle. Concentrations of oils change depending on location, weather, crops, district, farming practices, harvesting, transportation and storage. A simple explanation for this is to take an orange from a supermarket – one might be super juicy and another may be dry. Same applies to oranges – an orange grown in the United States will taste different from an orange grown in Australia. Concentration and flavor can also change from season to season, year to year and you will never really know exactly how potent these essential oils can be. The phrase, “CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®” is nothing more than a statement/claim that you will find in all the promotion material of doTERRA International. doTERRA even adds the symbol ® to claim it is a registered trademark; well it’s not even registered. Talk about a porky!
The other porky is that there is no official independent body anywhere in the world that grades essentials oils. In fact the FDA has even sent a warning letter to the CEO about false marketing and claims about using their essential oils.
Now just for fun, let’s look at this post/package I found on a website that is bundled together called “Let’s Eat Pack.” It’s from the sistermixin website, which states in the heading, “Let’s Eat” Yep, let’s eat some essentials oils. I don’t know about you, but I will definitely pass, but let’s just look anyway; these oils are from doTERRA, and include – wild orange, lemon and peppermint essential oils.
Wild Orange: According to doTERRA, wild orange is extracted from the peel which is also known as bitter orange in the medical world. It can affect people with the following medical conditions when taken or used: diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, heart disease, surgery and people affected by an irregular heartbeat.
Lemon: As there is not enough scientific information regarding the use of lemon, then it is best to use whole lemons for a lemon flavor. However, we do know that lemon can cause phototoxicity this is when applied topically and if one goes out in the sun, it can cause sunburn or a much deeper burn.
Peppermint oil: Can increase the effects and side effects of certain medication and can affect the liver. Some of the medication includes over the counter ibuprofen and Voltaren. Peppermint oil has also caused breathing to stop in young children. While this may not scare some of you – it scares me, I know some of the doTERRA cult followers – oops sorry, consultants will swear by “eating them” and “nothing will happen”. It’s just totally ignorant. Here is more information on why you should not “eat” or “add” essential oils to food or even digest.
TGA does not recommend the use of essential oils in food and states that they should not be ingested. Other well-established medical reference sites do not recommend ingestion of any essential oils.
While these essential oils are expensive, it’s often cheaper to use whole foods. In this case, use fresh peppermint or squeeze some lemon or orange juice. You can even grate some of the rind for some tangy zest. The choice is endless, get creative with herbs and spices, you will be amazed at some of the flavors you can come up with.