Its been a week and a half since I was exposed to oil. I thought that I had managed to avoid the worst of the effects by swift application of counter measures. But yesterday I realized that I had not. Although I had been feeling pretty okay mostly and many of the stomach symptoms had not manifested, yesterday afternoon I started experiencing aching limbs, brain jolts, tremor, lethargy, mild fever, anxiety and depression. It felt even more profoundly dreadful because hours earlier I had been feeling just fine.
The offending ingredient this time was sunflower oil on, of all things, dried cherries. Specifically Cherry Republic cherries that my neighbor had given to me for Christmas. In the past these were one of the few dried fruit products that had not used oil in the preservation process. Not only did I love the fact that the company didn’t use oils, I loved the cherries themselves. I’d never really liked dried fruit until my neighbor had given me a small bag of theirs. It really was an eye opening experience. Of course being a gift, the cherries were not in the original package and I thoughtlessly didn’t consider the fact that companies can change their minds about how they do things. So I ate a few. My dad meanwhile had gone online to look up how much a box of cherries would cost and noticed that they had sunflower oil listed as an ingredient.
My first thought was panic. My second was shame and that I should have known better than to eat something without checking. Which leads me to why I’m writing this post. Sometimes we make mistakes. It is to a certain extent inevitable. My mother says that its not the mistake that matters most, it is how we comport ourselves afterwords that makes the biggest difference in our lives.
After an exposure I feel a lot of bad feelings, both towards myself and the people who make the offending foods that make me sick. It’s hard not to be angry when my research into industrial seed oils has shown that they are truly awful for human health. Still blame is not terrifically helpful; after all, what’s done is done. Thus, I do my best to keep these unproductive thoughts to a minimum and focus on living my life and doing what I can to make myself safer and regain my health.
Last night I channeled some of my frustration into writing a letter to the Cherry Republic. I hand wrote it on stationary with the hope that perhaps it will have more impact that way. Today I looked at the company website to find an address to send it to. They describe a pretty amazing return policy which makes me hope that they might be open to information about questionable ingredients.
On an unrelated note: Amazon lists sunflower oil on its website in the ingredients, but the company website has no mention of sunflower oil or any other oil on their dried cherries.
I include a copy of my letter here for posterity.
Dear Cherry Republic,
Up until Christmas 2014, I loved your cherries. They had amazing flavor, and unlike most dried fruit didn’t have skin like deer hide.
I say loved because, although your cherries taste the same, they are now covered in sunflower oil. Strangely enough I have a food intolerance to sunflower oil and all other industrial seed oils, so when I ate a few of your formerly safe cherries as a Christmas treat, I got the gift of becoming violently ill for several weeks.
Apparently your company is unaware of the toxic nature of refined seed oils. Science has known since the 70’s that processed oils, and not animal fats, are actually responsible for heart disease. More recent research has shown them to have other more worrying effects on human health. I’m sure that as in the case of DDT and cigarettes the public will eventually be made aware of this science. Until then people like me will be the canaries in the coal mines, tweeting about the danger. (Thankfully I’m not dead.)
It’s a sad thing that your company has chosen to contaminate wonderful food with poison.