Could I get through a whole day without palm oil? I took the challenge and am here to tell the tale.
As you’ve heard me say countless times – palm oil is in almost everything! I’ve been on a mission to find out as much as I can about unsustainable palm oil and how to live without it and have decided to log my day to see how easily I could have a conflict palm oil free day. Now, it’s not all palm oil I am avoiding, if a company has been transparent about their use of certified sustainable palm oil, I will use that product if there is no alternative. It’s companies like this that we do need to support instead of those that are making no effort to stop investing in palm oil industries that create social conflict, mass deforestation and associated destruction of native wildlife and communities (see What’s the Deal on Palm Oil).
So without further ado, here’s how my Sunday sans unsustainable palm oil panned out:
Started the day off with a cup of peppermint green tea and a bowl of porridge (see recipe here) – all palm oil free!
Brushed teeth – Sadly, I am still looking for alternatives toothpastes that contain no palm oil – it is frustrating to see that there is nothing in the way of supermarket stocked toothpaste that is palm oil free. I will have to consult my dentist to see if DIY methods are a viable alternative, or look into ordering fair trade toothpaste such as Dr Bronner’s.
Put on a face mask of honey and oats (see recipe here) and relaxed for 15 mins. This was a good time to check Facebook and reply to comments and messages.
Washed mask off face and washed hair with Natio shampoo and conditioner. Finding a shampoo and conditioner that is transparent about their palm oil use is extremely difficult. I have trusted the Natio brand for years now and love all of their products. They state in their FAQs that they do not use pure palm oil in any of their products, however, some products do contain palm oil derivatives, sourced from suppliers who are members of the RSPO. The only ingredient in their products that I am unsure about is the use of Propylene Glycol in their conditioner, which is listed in the alternate names for palm oil list here.
Visited the supermarket to stock up on some goods, I shopped at Coles, which is pretty transparent when it comes to palm oil in their Coles branded products. It states on their website:
“Coles is increasingly sourcing grocery products and fresh produce from environmentally responsible growers and suppliers and working with industry groups and other organisations to find solutions…Coles also labels palm oil where it is used in Coles branded products, to make it easier for customers to make informed purchasing decisions. Our policy ensures we always identify palm oil instead of using the term ‘blended vegetable oils’.”
I also gave the Palm Oil Investigations barcode scanner a go. It’s hard not to be a bit conscious of people wondering why on Earth you are scanning barcodes but honestly it’s kind of exciting and it was hard not to get carried away! The app is pretty good for finding out what major brands are palm oil free, implement a no deforestation policy or have failed to provide requested information and it gives you the option to email the company if information is unavailable. The app expands its database when people send in product info through the app.I have no idea where the purchase, product alternative and exclamation point buttons lead but this gives me something to investigate in the future! Overall the app is free, easy to use and I think it is the most innovative app on the market to identify palm oil when shopping. Here are some examples of what kind of info the app picks up:
Ate some leftover rice paper rolls for lunch – recipe inspo here.
Headed to the library to study like a good student, brought with me some tea and macadamia shortbread biscuits (palm oil free) as study snacks.
Made dinner of corn fritters and salad – recipe inspo here (I added feta and grated zucchini, delicious)
Scrolled the internet for topics related to palm oil and caught up on the latest posts from influential palm oil campaigns as well as catching up on some of my blog posts.
So this was basically the most exciting parts of my day (sorry to disappoint!). Apart from items like toothpaste and conditioner, I was able to live quite normally without too many palm oil products in my life. Living a conflict free lifestyle is possible, however, you will need to be prepared to research companies and always choose wisely when it comes to your purchase decisions.
The Australian Government needs to turn over a new leaf and introduce the mandatory ingredient labelling of palm oil so that we as consumers can make informed choices in our every day purchase decisions. Sign the petition here: http://bit.ly/1VryJAs to help amplify the message!
By Chelsea W | A New Leaf Project