Commercial food grade oil refinery.
When I was still a student of natural health I quickly became known at my workplace as the "one who eats healthy". If I ate the occasional free office pastry everyone seemed to take note. My favorite chagrined response became, "Well, there is healthy and then there is free." While there is no doubt that our wallets play a large part in our health choices, I no longer believe that being healthy means I have to spend a ton of money. I also believe that when it comes to my health and the health of my family... some things are worth paying for.
A customer shopping in our store recently noticed our Grapeseed oil in the refrigerator. They had heard of the benefits of Grapeseed oil both internally and externally but were taken aback by the price. I agreed that the price was indeed high when compared to other oils but this is one area that I am unwilling to compromise. We could certainly sell a cheaper Grapeseed oil, they are easy to find from several suppliers but I would rather not compromise on my customer's and client's health. To explain what I mean I want to quote from our supplier's website because I feel they have said it very well. This is from Mountain Rose Herbs:
"All of the oils we stock have different and varying degrees of quality. And all of them have been processed by distinct and various methods. The information below will help you better understand not only our line of oils, but also the entire industry of oils and their methods of extraction."
"Cold Pressed - A method of mechanical extraction where heat is reduced and minimized throughout the batching of the raw material. This helps the oil maintain its original state, constituents, and depth. Temperatures are rigorously controlled to ensure that it does not exceed 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Although not a practical method of extraction for all vegetable oils on the market it is highly regarded as the extraction method of choice." (emphasis is mine)
"Expeller Pressed - A method of natural, mechanical extraction and processing of oils where a small amount of heat is produced simply through the frictional heat created by hydraulic presses. This is usually around 120-200 degrees Fahrenheit and makes the oil suitable and economical as a base for cosmetics because of its fairly undisturbed molecular state. It also makes a fine food grade oil."
"Refined - A fully processed oil where it has been exposed to all methods of refinement including a flash fluctuation in temperature as high as 450 degrees and winterization as low as -30 degrees, deodorization, which removes the heavy and often unsettling odor in oil, and finally bleaching, where natural clays and other mediums are used to alter or remove an oils color, and scent. This makes for an economical oil in cosmetics and body care products, but it is not the healthiest as a food grade oil."
"Partially Refined - A process where only some of the methods available are employed to produce a manufactured oil. Only one or two of the three available methods are used in a partially refined oil. These include, but are not limited to; deodorization, winterization and natural bleaching. These methods are used for oils which have been known historically to go rancid quickly, and they are also used to further stabilize an oil or remove its heavy odor and deep color."
"Unrefined - A process of mechanical extraction and screen filtering where no additional refining process has taken place. This ensures the finest quality product and makes the oil the most exquisite for food and cosmetic preparation. The unrefined process helps oil retain a rich, strong flavor and color that is true to its natural state. Unrefined oils are always darker in color and richer in scent."
The polyunsaturated fatty acids found in oils are very fragile and go rancid quickly at high temperatures. This means many of the methods used in the refining process (all high heat processes) result in damaged fatty acids and an increase in free radicals. Whether your goal is to use the oil internally or externally - unrefined oil is best for your health. The Grapeseed oil, and all of the other base oils we carry are unrefined and either cold pressed or expeller pressed based on the type of oil. Our Grapeseed oil is a rich greenish color rather than the clear that is typically found. It is several times more expensive than the refined product but it is quite simply of the best possible quality.
I will continue to research all of our products and strive to offer the highest quality that we can. We will also do our best to make these products as affordable as possible to you the consumer as well.
Kathryn Doran-Fisher is a Traditional Naturopath, Certified GAPS Practitioner and owner of Elder & Sage.