As an example, if your habit is to slather lotion on after showering, skip a day, or use less overall.
Most all self-care products typically contain palm oil. These include shampoos, conditioners, and soap as well.
If you can use one these products one less day a week than you usually do, that will extend the life of your product, thereby reducing demand.
If you can’t skip a day, maybe you can use less of it when you use it.
Eating less Processed Foods to lessen demand
Try eating a little bit healthier each week. Processed foods often contain palm oil.
Use what you have
It’s common to find expired foods in cabinets and molding fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator.
We have a different habits now that we have larger refrigerators and more kitchen storage. Also, we have easier access to food than generations ago.
Sometimes we stockpile.
Start trying to eat what you already have instead of going to the store to buy more food.
When you shop, focus on buying real, whole foods.
Shop with a list
When you shop with a list, you will be less apt to buy processed foods that contain it.
Buy more fruits and vegetables
Pick up fruit and vegetables for snacks at home and as side dishes to your meals.
There are many that are easy to pack to eat on the go.
Some examples are grapes, bananas mandarins, oranges, snap peas, snow peas, carrots, etc. Nuts are also a portable snack.
Cook at home
Try to limit the processed foods you eat at home by making homemade meals a couple times each week. It doesn’t have to be complex.
If you cook dinner four times a week, try making a little extra each time so you will have leftovers for the other days.
Determine what to eat at home and what to eat on the go
We often buy processed foods for school lunches, road trips, and for snacks.
If you can reserve those snacks for when you need them — instead of snacking on them while you are at home — you will buy less processed foods overall.
Some examples are power bars and other snack and granola bars. Don’t eat these at home. Save them for when you are out and about and need a grab & go snack.
Read labels at home
Get familar with the foods you are buying. Read the ingredients, and use less of the ones that have “palm” in them.
Do you choose margarine, which contains palm oil, instead of butter, which doesn’t? Try using a little less one day a week.
Ways to reduce consuming palm oil in Drinks
Drink water instead of sports drinks.
Stopping for coffee
Do you stop for coffee every day? Try going one less day a week.
Unless you are buying black coffee or tea, the coffee drinks likely contain whipped toppings, milk, creamers, etc. — all of which contain palm oil derivatives. Bottled coffee drinks do as well.
Vitamin A Palmitate — a palm oil derivative — is common in milk, creamers, and in milk alternatives.
Making coffee at home
If you regularly make your own coffee at home, one day a week can you use less creamers? They often contain palm oil, Vitamin A Palmitate, and/or Mono- & Diglycerides which are palm oil derivatives.
“Naturally Flavored” can mean it contains palm oil. Buy whole beans and grind them at the store. They have this option at most major grocery stores and Costco.
Use less while Cleaning
Dishwasher detergents and laundry detergents contain palm oil derivatives.
Run the dishwasher and clothes washer only when they are full. If you don’t have a full load, use less detergent.
Most all cleaning products contain palm oil. This is true for cleaning products that look eco-friendly, “all natural,” and green.
We have yet to find cleaners for kitchens, baths, floors, dishes, etc. without palm oil ingredients in them.
Look online for ways to use baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar for cleaning.
Use microfiber cloths wash floors.
There is a company called Norwex who makes cloths you can use without any cleaners. You wet them and use them to kill bacteria. You can use them to wash floors, counters, sinks, windows, showers, bathrooms, etc. without any chemicals.
It’s more prevalent than ever before
Remember, palm oil and the hundreds of derivatives means it’s a versatile oil. It can be used in hundreds of ways, in hundreds of products.
Palm oil causes our son to have allergy-like symptoms. It literally makes him sick. To lessen our palm oil usage, we cook and bake from scratch. Below are items to make it easier to live palm oil free.
We use all of these items regularly.
We now buy more “real” foods. Overall, we choose products with as few ingredients as possible.
In addition, we don’t buy processed bakery or pre-made desserts from stores because they most always contain palm oil. Instead, we’ve learned to bake everything from biscotti to doughnuts.
We’ve been doing this for 2+ years. Along the way, we’ve found some products have really helped us.
While we want to be environmentally-friendly and not buy more stuff, these items help us to live palm oil free by doing one or more of these:
Saving us time
Helping us shop, cook & clean
Keeping us organized
Giving us a way to make products at home
These are our favorite things. They have made a difference for us and perhaps can help you. See our tips to avoid palm oil as well.
Items to make it easier to live palm oil free
Palm oil free apps
We love the Spoon Guru app.
While many palm oil apps note the foods that contain sustainable palm oil, Spoon Guru filters out the foods that contain it, even in the form of palm oil derivatives.
With our son’s palm oil sensitivity, this app is helpful to verify we didn’t miss one of the hundreds of names for palm oil derivatives. When he gets older and gets a phone, it will help him as well.
Please note, we don’t rely on apps but use them to double-check we haven’t missed an ingredient.
Dishpan for baking supplies
We bought two dishpans which we use to organize our baking supplies. You can find them at Target and Walmart.
After we learned about our son’s palm oil intolerance, we couldn’t buy premade confections and desserts anymore. Prior to this, at best, we made boxed cake and boxed brownie mixes. We bought canned frosting. All of these contain palm oil.
So we learned to bake from scratch. At first, we had a mishmash of baking supplies. It was a stress to even make homemade pancakes.
Now, we have a miscelleanous bin for random baking ingredients. We have another with ingredients for foods we make often, such as waffles, cakes, brownies, etc.
It’s a lot faster and easier to pull out the dishpan and have all the ingredients we need.
Belgian waffle maker
Buying a waffle maker was one of the best things I did. You do need room to store it which may not work for all households.
For us, it has been a great way to enjoy palm oil free waffles. Most all waffle mixes and pancake mixes in stores contain palm oil derivatives. Owning a Belgian waffle maker has been a great way for us to enjoy them at home.
While the recipe book included several recipes, we use the original / basic one with the least amount of ingredients. Sometimes we add Enjoy Life Mini Semi-Chocolate Chips.
My son loves these homemade waffles.
It’s also an easy breakfast when we have company. I am so glad I bought the double one. It didn’t cost much more and enables me to bake them twice as fast.
We can make the batter in 20 minutes. The batter sits for 60 minutes (with occasionally mixing). The batter makes about 12 waffles in our maker.
I keep some in the refrigerator and freeze the rest. They are easy to pull out for breakfast when we need them.
Our waffle maker is: Cuisinart WAF-F20 Double Belgian Waffle Maker Stainless Steel
We use our Vitamix a lot to make smoothies. Buying frozen organic berries are economical and ensures we’ll always have them on hand. I’ll use these berries with whatever else we have, including greens and a banana.
In addition, we buy organic berries mixed with kale and spinach from Costco. We use this for when we are out of fresh spinach, spring mix, kale, etc.
There’s so much you can do with a Vitamix. We make applesauce in it as well as use it to chop onions, garlic, carrots, cauliflower, etc. It will help save you time and make it easy to eat healthier.
One of our favorites is blending frozen bananas, organic vanilla extract, and 100% cocoa powder for chococolate “ice cream.” Before we learned to find ice cream without palm oil, we made this often.
While you can typically find popcorn without palm oil in bags, popcorn-eating is more of a fun event when you pop it yourself. You can air pop it and then add salt, real butter, etc. for a palm oil free snack.
Once we melted marshmallows on the popcorn. It tasted like Rice Krispie Treats which is something my son hasn’t been able to eat with his palm oil intolerance.
Rice Krispies — like most cereals — contain Vitamin A Palmitate — a palm oil derivative. This means we can’t even make them at home. The pre-made ones in stores also contain palm oil ingredients.
See snacks without palm oil for other palm oil free ideas. When you know what you are looking for, it becomes easier to choose snacks and other foods without palm oil.
Our son doesn’t eat bread except for Dave’s Killer Bread for French toast.
The bread maker helps us live without palm oil but our son doesn’t eat it.
Most store breads contain palm oil. There are a lot of chemicals in breads to make them shelf stable. Even breads “fresh baked on-site” often contain palm oil.
By baking breads at home, we don’t worry about palm oil derivatives. We make pizza dough, rolls, and loaves of bread.
We just follow the recipes in the booklet. It’s easy and fun to make palm oil free breads from scratch.
We owned this product before we learned about our son’s palm oil sensitivity and have baked breads dozens of times.
The one we use is Oster CKSTBRTW20.
Products which make it easy to live palm oil free
It’s difficult to clean without palm oil because so many of the chemicals in cleaners contain palm oil. Using Norwex cloths means we don’t need them.
In the kitchen, we use Norwex EnviroCloths. We have different color towels for cleaning the bathroom.
To clean our windows, we use their EnviroCloth and Window Cloth which enables you to wash windows without spray cleaners. We also have the dust mitt for dusting.
Using these cloths eliminates the need for cleaners and also means we aren’t using paper towels making it more environmentally friendly.
I haven’t read the ingredients in their spray cleaners to know if they contain palm oil. However, we love the cloths because we don’t need them.
At some point, I hope to get the Norwex floor mopping system, EnviroWand, Optic Scarves, and their entry rugs.
In the meantime, we are using a Swiffer floor sweeper — but not the Swiffers. We aren’t sure what’s in them. We wrap a damp microfiber cloth around the Swiffer sweeper base, and use it for our floors.
There are times we need to take food on the go. EcoLunchbox containers make it easy to do that.
We have a set of three containers from EcoLunchbox we pack for school lunches. These enable my son to bring real, whole foods easily. The containers are made from food-grade stainless steel and are leakproof.
For school lunch, he brings two containers filled with fruits and some vegetables. Often I will put watermelon or pineapple in one. In the other, I will put a variety of produce. Some examples:
Cut apple, snap peas, and pepper
Peeled mandarin and snow peas
Cut up strawberries and blueberries
Carrots and peppers
I am happy I can wash these in the dishwasher. In addition, I’m thrilled they aren’t plastic. While most of the plastic containers available now are BPA-free, etc., I still much prefer his food in stainless steel.
He doesn’t usually bring the larger one to school because he doesn’t eat sandwiches, and he doesn’t bring leftovers to school. However, we use it a lot when we are out. I’ll pack salmon or ham and lettuce with peppers.
In addition to the above containers, we also have a set of LunchBot Dips. These are perfect for our son to bring to lunch as well.
They are leakproof, lightweight, and don’t take up a lot of room in his lunchbag. They are easy to open and close. In addition, they are dishwasher safe.
They come in a set of three. Some of the things we use them for are:
Our son doesn’t use ketchup or dressing but these are an easy way to pack ranch dressing, etc. for your child’s lunch or to bring to work.
Easy-to-use containers to pack healthy snacks and foods for when you are away from home are essential for us. They make it easy to not have to rely on restaurants and fast food.
Lotus Produce Bags
Now that we’ve been avoiding palm oil, we buy more fruits and vegetables than ever before.
While much of the produce in stores is already packaged, we try to buy it loose. But we don’t want to have to use the disposable plastic produce bags from the stores.
We try to bring Lotus Produce Bags with us when we go to the grocery store. They are mesh bags that list the tare weight on them as well.
You can store your vegetables and fruits in them at home too. They allow for airflow which is helpful when storing produce. They are machine washable so you can use them as cheesecloth and for other purposes.
Soap holder ~ SoapStandle
You may surprised to learn how common palm oil is in self-care and personal care products.
We only use bar soap because all the liquid soaps we found contained mulitple palm oil derivatives.
When you buy soap, shampoo, and conditioner in a bar or block, it has a better chance of not containing palm oil.
The issue, however, from these blocks is that they sit in water when you are done using them.
This leaves a mess — but even more importantly — it breaks down and disintegrates your soap bar. Your soap and shampoo won’t last as long when it’s sitting in water.
The SoapStandle is a small plastic that rests on your countertop. You keep your block of soap, conditioner or shampoo on it so that it can be lifted out of the water and so that air can circulate around it.
We have a SoapStandle at every sink and in every shower of our home.
Stainless steel water bottle
For sports and other activities, our son can only drink water.
Once, a sports drink with a palm oil derivative made him so sick, we don’t even read the ingredients on them anymore. He just knows to not have them.
Therefore, having a water bottle is important for him at school, when we are out, on vacation, etc. Everyone in our household brings them.
Coffee pot and coffee tumbler
While our son doesn’t drink coffee, the adults in our house do. Having a coffee pot means we can make our own coffee at home. In addition, having a stainless steel coffee tumbler means we can take it with us.
Many “naturally flavored” coffees — such as Vanilla Creme Brulee, Caramel, etc. — can contain palm oil derivatives. The creamers and whipped cream do as well. When you make it at home and take it with you, you have a better chance of having less palm oil and less impact on the earth in general.
List of palm oil derivatives
This is a very helpful item to live without palm oil. It’s been a game-changer for our family so we wanted to share it with you in case you or someone you know suffers from a palm oil allergy or palm oil intolerance.
This list of the ways palm oil is in foods and non-foods has helped us learn more about the ways companies use palm oil.
It’s helped us to be able to read ingredient labels to know what not to buy.
The International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme (POFCAP) has a list of palm oil derivatives which helped keep our son safe when we didn’t know all the ways palm oil was hiding in foods and non-foods.
We are forever grateful for this list. We have a condensed version you can bookmark. Even though we’ve been avoiding palm oil for over two years, we still reference this list.
Companies continue to find ways to hide palm oil in products so we reference it often. Learn palm oil uses and products that contain it so you can learn how to avoid it.
Products to make it easier to live without palm oil
We do our best to live palm oil free.
Palm oil is more common in foods now because the FDA banned artificial trans fats from foods. Many companies turned to palm oil as an alternative. Why? Palm oil is trans fat free and it is inexpensive.
There are consumers who avoid palm oil because of the environmental concerns. Others avoid it because they have reactions from it or other health concerns.
When you avoid palm oil, you most likely end up living a less-waste, healthier life overall. Remember, palm oil isn’t in fresh foods. Here are ways to use less palm oil.
It’s a lot easier to live palm oil free when we have these items to help us.
While it’s certainly challenging to reduce your dependence on palm oil, there are products you can use to make it easier. They can help with making food, storing ingredients, shopping, making products last longer, cleaning, etc.
Palm oil is prevalent in personal care items such as soap, shampoo, lip balm, etc. Palm oil makes our son sick. This is a list of the personal care items he uses in order to stay healthy and live palm oil free.
Palm oil is common in processed foods as well as in non-foods.
When we first made the connection that palm oil was causing him to have allergy symptoms, we started logging what he ate. We eliminated foods.
At that time, we only knew to eliminate foods with “palm oil” and “palm kernel oil” from his diet. Still, he was having reactions.
We didn’t know why until we came upon the list from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme (POFCAP). We learned there are hundreds of names for palm oil ingredients. Many of them don’t have “palm” in them, making them more challenging to recognize.
We printed out this list of names for palm oil and didn’t buy any food until we cross-referenced it against their list. It continues to be a tremendous help.
At that time, we didn’t know palm oil is common in non-food items as well. Our son was still getting sick. Oftentimes it was from personal care products that contained palm oil.
After we drastically cut down on processed foods, there were other times he would get sick — sometimes right before our eyes. Meaning, he would have an almost-immediate reaction to a product.
During this time, we started to learn how prevalent palm oil is in all types of products, including soap, toothpaste, and shampoo, etc.
Reactions from lip balm
He had such chapped lips that we put a free sample of a Rodan + Fields serum on them before he went to bed. While his chapped lips went away overnight, he woke up with a bad sore throat.
We looked up the ingredients, and sure enough, there were at least two palm oil ingredients in it. (The ingredients had “palm” in the name.)
Reactions from toothpaste
Awhile later, he had dry lips and cracking in the corners of his mouth. When we learned there is palm oil in toothpaste, we sought out to find a different one. When we finally found one — he used Redmond Earthpaste — his lips healed in days.
Reactions from soap
Never again do we use the free samples in hotels, no matter how eco-friendly the packaging.
After using soap from a hotel, our son got such a bad sore throat, he was sick for days. Whenever we travel, we bring a full-size palm oil free bar with us for our family to use.
How does our son live without palm oil? This is a list of the foods he eats. Here we discuss the personal items he uses regularly.
Learn how to use less palm oil; One way is by using less of these types of products when you use them. Another is to skip a day, especially for something like lotion.
Personal care items without palm oil when you have a palm oil intolerance
It’s important to know that even companies who seem to be environmentally-friendly often use palm oil in their products.
You may see companies highlight the “coconut” in their products only to look at the rest of the ingredients and see many palm oil derivative names.
Also, if they don’t spell out the source, as in Tocopherol (Soy) or Tocopherol (Sunflower) it most likely contains palm oil.
Always try to find products with the least amount of ingredients. For non-food products, these tend to be the ones that don’t have scents.
Smaller, independent, speciality companies also will use higher quality ingredients. Remember, palm oil is inexpensive. That’s why so many companies use it.
We have many lists of personal care products without palm oil in which we list all of these smaller companies and their amazing palm oil free products. Our household uses many of them.
For this post, we are listing what our son uses regularly.
Please note, we aren’t guaranteeing any of these are palm oil free. You don’t know if something is 100% palm oil free unless it has the Palm Oil Free certification labeling. These are products our son uses safely.
Davids Natural Toothpaste
We are grateful to have found this toothpaste. It foams and is minty. He feels his teeth are clean after using it.
Unfortunately, we haven’t found a fluorinated toothpaste without palm oil.
Typically, there is more than one palm oil ingredient in toothpaste, no matter how eco-friendly it may seem. Some of them include Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, and Propylene Glycol.
Ingredients in lip balms vary greatly. You will find some products with just a few ingredients and many others with 10+ ingredients. Remember, the more ingredients something has, the greater the chance it has palm oil.
Like all of these personal care products, there are many palm oil derivatives to watch out for. Some include Tocopherol, Vitamin E, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Propylene Glycol, etc.
Badger Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Zinc Oxide Sunscreen All Season Face Stick
Badger Sport Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream Clear Zinc
Whether you are looking for a cream, lotion, or a spray, it’s difficult to find this palm oil free. The palm oil derivatives are usually in the Inactive Ingredients. There are many to watch for, including Tocopherol, Vitamin E, Glycerin, Glycerol Stearate, etc.
Personal care products you can use if you avoid palm oil
We have others items he uses on occasion but these are the ones he uses most often. While we are always looking for more products he can use, we try not to change his products because we know these are working for him.
Using less overall
By using less products overall, it is better for the environment. It also saves money. In addition, it means less ingredients and chemicals our body has to process.
When you start looking at the long list of ingredients in most self-care products and non-food products you buy, it’s incredible.
Most of the ingredients don’t have “palm” in the name.
Before intentionally giving up palm oil, our household never took much notice. Were there always so many ingredients in these products? I don’t think so.
Back in the 1990s, I switched to an eco-friendly brand of shampoo and conditioner. I found the Sodium Lauryl Sulfite and the Aluminum Lauryl Sulfites and similar type ingredients in other products affected my scalp.
Fast forward twenty years, I was still buying from the same company but the products affected me. They weren’t the same “clean” type ingredients they used to be.
This company built an image as being environmentally-friendly — and even though they’ve changed ingredients to lower quality / cheaper ingredients in so many of their products — most consumers don’t know or care.
Why Palm Oil Free labeling certification is important
Palm oil is in all of types of self-care, hygiene, and beauty products.
It’s in shampoo, conditioner, lotion, sunscreen, and deodorant. It’s in shaving cream, cosmetics, lipstick, nail polish, hair dye, hair gel, and face paint.
Most consumers have no idea many of the ingredients in these items are derived from palm oil.
The only way to know is if the product has earned Palm Oil Free certification.
Remember, if you are avoiding palm oil for environmental reasons, you may be fine with purchasing products that use sustainable palm oil. However, if you avoid it because you have a palm oil sensitivity, you need to know if it has palm oil in it.
When a product has a Palm Oil Free label on it, you will know for sure that each ingredient was thoroughly researched, down to the source.
How to find hygiene items without palm oil
Choose products with the least amount of ingredients.
Assume “Glycerin” and “Tocopherol” are made from palm oil unless they state the source. See our other posts for the ways palm oil derivatives are present in these types of products.
Know that most hygiene and personal care items contain more than one palm oil ingredient.
When looking for palm oil free personal care type products, it’s best to patronize small businesses and artisans. Go to your local farmer’s market. Check out the label from a bar soap when you are in a specialty shop.
These are the opportunities to support small businesses while also getting a much higher quality product.
List of favorite palm oil free care products
Davids Natural Toothpaste
Grandma’s Baking Soda Soap / Remwood Products
Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap
Booda Organics Original Lip Balm
Vaseline Lip Therapy Advanced Healing Moisturizer
Badger Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Zinc Oxide Sunscreen All Season Face Stick
Badger Sport Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream
Ethique Coconut & Lime Butter Block
Thank you for reading and for being an Informed Consumer!
My son gets sick from palm oil. Many times, people ask us what he can have. We created this eating without palm oil list specific to my son. These are the foods he likes and eats safely.
We created this site to help others who might have sensitivities and intolerances to palm oil. As we learned more about palm oil, we learned about the environmental concerns as well.
Eating without palm oil list ~ What my child eats because he is sensitive to palm oil
Our son reacts to even trace amounts of palm oil as well as palm oil derivatives so we believe these items are okay if you are avoiding palm oil. But note they are not guaranteed. We update this list regularly.
Something positive that’s come of this is we all eat healthier, cleaner foods. We cook and bake from scratch regularly. We have less processed foods and eat out less.
Overall, we eat more real foods and buy products with less “ingredients.”
While we have comprehensive lists of palm oil free products, this list is specific to my son will actually eat.
In general, we keep things simple.
When buying packaged foods, we stick to original flavors which tend to have less palm oil than complicated flavors. We also choose products with the least amount of ingredients as possible.
Whenever possible, we choose the less processed option. Example: We buy nuts in their shell instead of already shelled.
He eats a lot of fruits every day. He can have all fruits except for grapes which upset his system. As far as we know, grapes and palm oil ingredients are the only things that affect him. (We need to research if they are botanically-related in some way?)
We buy frozen organic berries and frozen organic berries with spinach and kale to keep on hand for smoothies. They are more economical than buying organic berries fresh.
Again, we buy organic when possible and keep in mind the Clean 15 and dirty dozen.
Take extra care to wash citrus. We learned sometimes companies use palm oil to make them shinier. We typically buy these in bags when they are less likely to be “shined.”
He will eat any meat. In restaurants we order it with just salt.
At home, depending on the meat, we cook it with salt, real onions and garlic cloves. If it’s chicken, turkey, we may add avocado oil.
We cook ground beef with garlic, onions, and salt, or with bacon and onions. Sometimes we use a little bit of:
Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
Most often, we buy raw meat. However, he also eats these on occasion:
Kirkland Signature Bacon
from Costco; regular bacon in blue bag
He’s had other bacon when we’ve been out and has been fine.
Banquet Brown ‘N Serve Original Sausage Links
Hormel Natural Choice:
Honey Deli Ham
Smoked Deli Ham
Crazy Cuisine Mandarin Orange Chicken (without the sauce)
Crispy Strips (yellow and green bag)
Chicken Tenders (yellow and green bag)
He’s been able to have any seafood. In restaurants we ask for it plain — just cooked with salt.
At home, we use avocado oil for fish. For shrimp, we use real butter and fresh garlic.
For seasonings, we keep it simple. We use real (not from containers) limes and lemons, garlic cloves, and onions. We use basic table salt as well.
He can also have Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning but we only use it on ground beef and sometimes on a roast.
In addition, sometimes use fresh herbs: basil, rosemary, or sage.
Important: We avoid oil blends completely. We only buy 100% of whatever the oil is.
Mostly, we cook with avocado oil and organic olive oil. For baking we use canola oil, soybean oil, or avocado oil.
barkTHINS Snacking Chocolate: Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt (They now sell big bags of this at Costco.)
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: original; regular packaging; no holiday versions
Hershey’s bars: Milk Chocolate, Almond, Special Dark
Hershey’s Kisses: Milk Chocolate, Almond
M&M’s Milk Chocolate, Almond
Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chips (We also use when we make waffles.)
Sour Patch Kids
Jolly Rancher Hard Candies
He can have any “real” chocolate as well. We choose the ones with as few ingredients as possible. As an example, the chocolate chips we buy only contain Cocoa Butter, Unsweetened Chocolate, and Cane Sugar.
Other marshmallows with the same ingredients as above are likley fine.
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar: any size
Honey Maid Grahams (Many other brands contain palm oil and palm oil derivatives such as DATEM.)
We have to make all of his desserts because the ones in bakeries and grocery stores contain palm oil. Together we make brownies, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and biscotti. In addition, we make our own frosting easily with confectioners sugar, real butter, whole milk, and pure vanilla.
The only mixes we use are:
Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix
Pillsbury Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix
I make these brownies and freeze them for when he goes to a birthday party, etc.
Baking ingredients we use
Whole milk without Vitamin A Palmitate
Red-Star Yeast in the 3-pack is the only one we found without palm oil derivatives.
We use Lucerne from Albertson’s/Safeway
Kirkland Organic Eggs from Costco
Simply Organic Pure Vanilla Extract
Any “pure” extract is likely fine.
Pure cane sugar
We use C&H Pure Cane Sugar. Any sugar with just “sugar” listed is likely fine.
King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Probably most any flour would be okay.
Confectioners sugar / powdered sugar
We use C&H Confectioners Sugar to make frosting.
We use Clabber Girl Double Acting Baking Powder.
Pure baking soda
We use Arm & Hammer.
Chocolate chips: Enjoy Life Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Red Ape Cinnamon (It’s certified Palm Oil Free.)
100% pure maple syrup
We are used to making substitutions.
He can’t have Rice Krispie treats because the cereal contains Vitamin A Palmitate; however, we can use the marshmallows and real butter to coat air-popped popcorn for a treat just as delicious.
We vary how we cook the meats. If we are out, we ask for them to cook the meat with salt.
Again, we cook meats with garlic cloves, chopped onion, salt. Sometimes we use avocado oil, lime, lemon, peppers, etc. for additional flavoring.
We cook with as simple ingredients as possible. Because onion and garlic powders can contain palm oil, we only use real, fresh onions, and garlic.
In addition, we buy lemons and limes and use them; we don’t buy the squeeze lime juices, etc. These contain additives that we aren’t sure are safe for him.
He eats a wide variety of fruits and raw vegetables.
Eating at fast food restaurants without palm oil
We are grateful when restaurants publish their ingredients online so we can check in advance.
Many restaurants list which products contain the major allergens but don’t spell out the ingredients. Palm oil isn’t recognized as an allergen so that doesn’t help us.
Other restaurant chains spell out the Nutritional Profile with the calorie count and fat content but not the actual ingredients. It’s frustrating.
Important: Many restaurant French fries contain palm oil.
If they make the French fries fresh on-site — like In-N-Out Burger and Five Guys — they most likely won’t contain palm oil.
We are loyal to these restaurants because these are places he can go and won’t get sick.
(Their fries contain palm oil.)
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Hamburger meat plain; no bun
Four hamburger patties plain
We are so grateful to In-N-Out Burger. This is one of my son’s favorites because he can have their fries and shakes. This is the only place he has shakes / ice cream.
Sometimes he orders the burgers wrapped in lettuce.
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers:
Cane’s Combo (He can eat the chicken and the fries and doesn’t eat the bread.)
Eating palm oil free at other restaurants
At sit down restaurants, he orders meat cooked with salt. He doesn’t eat bread.
At Mexican restaurants he orders fajitas and just eats the meat, not the tortillas or cooked vegetables. He doesn’t have the tortilla chips. We rarely go to Italian restaurants.
Typically, we don’t go out to eat unless we have to. When we do, we look for places that will have meat they can cook-to-order with just salt. We’ve had luck at Outback Steakhouse and others.
Going on vacation when you are avoiding palm oil
One of the biggest stresses is eating away from home when you are trying to avoid palm oil. Vacations are stressful.
We always pack palm oil free safe foods when we travel.
For vacations, so we don’t have to rely on restaurants, instead of staying in a hotel, we usually rent an AirBNB or VRBO with a kitchen. Then we can continue to buy the above foods.
It’s a lot healthier to eat this way too. And it saves us money.
When traveling, we always bring RX Bars, nuts, fruits, and other safe snacks whether we are driving or flying.
If we go on a road trip, we will bring a cooler so we can keep more fresh vegetables and fruits.
School parties and class treats without palm oil
My son brings a lunch to school everyday so we don’t have to worry about any palm oil in school lunches.
Oftentimes, our son has to miss out on treats and snacks at school. There are sometimes food rewards and class parties.
In addition, students are allowed to bring in treats for their birthdays. If you have 27 kids bringing in doughnuts, that’s 27 doughnuts my son isn’t able to eat. (This isn’t necessarily a bad thing!)
We can’t anticipate birthdays so he will usually eat something from his lunch bag. Every so often, I will give him a Larabar Chocolate Brownie to keep in his backpack. If we know in advance, I will give him brownie that I made and froze.
For classroom parties, depending what they are asking for, I typically send in something safe he can have.
If it’s a party with desserts, I send brownies or cookies. If it’s a classroom celebration without dessert-type foods, I will send in fruit, Cheddar Goldfish, Rold Gold Pretzels, Pirate’s Booty, potato chips, or popcorn.
Trying new foods when you can’t have palm oil
It’s scary trying new foods. Palm oil ingredients don’t have to be specially labeled.
Natural Flavors can contain palm oil.
Before buying anything new, we consider the type of product it is, and if it’s something that usually contains palm oil. We know that some products will always contain palm oil, and we won’t ever buy them.
In addition, we think about palm oil uses and how it’s used in the product. For example, if it’s a product that uses an emusifier, is there another emusifier listed that spells out the source, such as Soy Lecithin? If so, then this might be a safe product.
After that, we further look at all of the ingredients and cross-reference it against the list of hundreds of names for palm oil, knowing that palm oil can be hiding under many different ingredient names.
We introduce new foods sparingly and always one at a time. We watch for symptoms. If he is symptom free, the next time we will give him a little bit more. Once we determine it’s safe, we will add it more regularly.
Asking companies about palm oil in their ingredients
When we find something that seems safe, we email to ask the company about it — many times they don’t respond. Many times they don’t know.
Oftentimes, they respond saying there isn’t palm oil in it but after pressing further, we learn there is.
Companies changing ingredients to include palm oil
We’ve also learned to always check labels before buying these products above. Companies change ingredients often.
Since we learned of our son’s palm oil intolerance, there have been many processed food items he was able to have until they changed ingredients.
Some of these include Peanut M&M’s, Mr. Goodbar, Honeycomb Cereal, and Oreo cookies. No loss on not having these products except that it’s discouraging to see more and more companies and products using palm oil.
For most products, I keep the packaging with the UPC codes as a reference. I also take pictures of them and mark them as Favorites so I can easily find them on my phone while I’m in the store.
Companies discontinuing products that they made without palm oil
We’ve also found this happen many times.
There were many KIND bars my son was able to safely eat until they discontinued them. This has also happened with Dark Chocolate Mint M&M’s.
It’s happened with several store brands of crackers and snack bars as well.
Palm oil free certification labeling is important
When a company has a product which earned Palm Oil Free certification, that’s of tremendous help.
That means the company has taken the time to submit their product ingredients to an independent third-party organization. The organization checks all the ingredients in the product(s).
They check them down to the source — from the supplier. An example: We see Citric Acid on a label. The Palm Oil Free certifying organization will dig deeper to find out the source of that Citric Acid — what is in it?
Two independent Palm Oil Free certification companies are:
International Palm Oil Free Trademark Certification Programme (POFCAP)
Our family seeks out products certified with a No Palm Oil label.
What do you eat if you can’t have palm oil?
We are using his palm oil allergy/sensitivity as a positive reminder to eat healthier food.
We have learned SO MUCH about all the chemicals in foods and all the ways they use inferior ingredients to save money.
Our son knows how to read labels. He knows the common ingredients to look for which include Mono- & Diglycerides, Glycerin, Glycerine, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 80, Tocopherols, and anything with Stearate, including Magnesium Stearate and Calcium Stearate.
If he is in doubt, he doesn’t eat it.
We’ve learned to assume everything has palm oil in it and be happily surprised when it doesn’t.
He knows what he can order at the fast food restaurants if he’s out with friends. He says “no thank you” a lot to food.
Sometimes it’s difficult.
He’s a kid in a processed food, snack-all-the-time, food-rewards-for-everything world.
However, we started this website as a way to empower our family — to feel like we were doing something to create awareness about the way palm oil is hidden in so many products. See About Us here.
We also learn a lot by trial and error and like that we can log everything here, on this website, so we can reference it.
We wanted other people to start reading labels and to see how companies are hiding palm oil in so many ways.
Most people just toss a box of Poptarts and everything else in their carts without considering the ingredients.
We didn’t think our son could be the only one who has a palm oil allergy or palm oil intolerance. Even for consumers who don’t have symptoms from palm oil and palm kernel oil, we know many avoid it for environmental reasons.
There are a lot of people who even if they don’t give up palm oil completely, might be interested in buying it less often.
There are many consumers who avoid palm oil for health reasons. This may include dietary or allergen concerns. Yet the question remains, is palm oil good or bad for you?
While environmental concerns may still be a leading reason people avoid palm oil, there is a growing segment who seek alternatives because they experience reactions from it.
Others may be concerned about palm oil’s saturated fat content.
What are palm oil health dangers? Are there palm oil health benefits? What’s the difference between red palm oil and palm oil?
Is palm oil saturated or unsaturated?
As reported in health.com, palm oil’s nutritional profile is similar to other edible and cooking oils. According to the USDA, one tablespoon is the equivalent to 120 calories and 14 grams of total fat.
Of those 14 grams, 7 grams are in the form of saturated fat, and 5 grams are monounsaturated fat. There are 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat. .
Palm kernel oil contains 11 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon.
To compare, olive oil contains 2 grams of saturated fat.
Palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil are high in saturated fat.
Many health and wellness experts believe food high in saturated fat negatively affect the heart.
What is saturated fat?
In general, the higher the saturated fat content, the more solid it is at room temperature.
This makes it ideal for baking. It also contributes greatly to mouthfeel — think creamy products like ice cream, frozen desserts, chocolate candies, dough, canned frosting, margarine, and more.
Palm oil is versatile. Just as it can remain semi-solid at room temperature, companies can also process it into liquid form for cooking.
Is palm oil bad for your health?
There hasn’t been enough research to determine the potential health affects of palm oil.
The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health states the main argument against using palm oil as an edible oil is because it contains palmitic acid which is a saturated fatty acid.
They report that would contribute to rising total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
They note its effects on serum lipid levels and cardiovascular disease in humans is still a point of discussion.
Is palm oil dangerous to health?
This is a popular question, perhaps because there is a lot of controversy around palm oil. The biggest reason is its impact on the environment.
Palm oil has a high saturated fat content which many argue affects cardiovascular health. Most health experts recommend other oils — olive oil in particular — for cooking.
Please discuss with your health professional if you suspect you are allergic or sensitive to palm oil. Many people report having digestive issues when they have palm oil.
Palm oil has become one of the world’s most widely produced edible fats. The palm oil that’s now so common in foods and non-food products comes from the African oil palm: Elaeis guineensis.
Most of the world’s palm oil grows in Malaysia and Indonesia.
It used to be that people who were avoiding palm oil did so because of the environment.
Now that it’s become more commonplace in foods, people are starting to take notice of it. They see it on labels more and more.
Much of this is because the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned food manufacturers from adding artificial trans fats into their products.
In 2015, the FDA gave companies until 2018 to phase palm oil out of their food products; some have extensions until January 2020.
Many companies turned to palm oil as a replacement for artificial trans fats.
As companies worked through their ingredient reformulations, palm oil appeared on labels more frequently.
Palm oil became and is now a common ingredient in margarine and other butter substititutes. It’s a staple in shortening, canned frosting, frozen desserts, desserts, candy, cookies, snack bars, and cereal. It’s in everything from Twizzlers to Dunkin’ Donuts.
Many companies are using palm oil and palm oil derivatives in new products and flavors they introduce to market.
Consumers are eating more of it than ever before.
While palm oil is an edible vegetable oil, non-food companies use it in many non-food products as well.
We have a popular post, Can You Be Allergic to Palm Oil. I wrote it because my son gets sick from anything with palm oil in it. There are consumers who are negatively affected by it. Palm oil affects their health. They have reactions from it, and they are seeking answers.
Whether it’s an allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity, palm oil is proving to negatively affect some people.
In addition, in BakeryandSnacks.com, the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme (POFCAP) explained they want to “help consumers find foods without palm oil for ethical, allergen, or dietary reasons.”
As the demand increases and its prevalence is more common in foods, consumers are eating more of it in processed and packaged foods than ever before.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that palm oil production almost doubled from 2003 to 2013. This was even before the FDA banned the use of artificial trans fats in foods.
Palm oil is now in half of packaged foods and consumer goods.
In addition to processed foods, consumers are also exposed to palm oil in cleaning products, toothpaste, cosmetics, lotion, deodorant, soap, over-the-counter medicines, sunscreen, and many more products.
Some consumers are noticing reactions to it. Others may be concerned with the saturated fat content in the foods.
Is palm oil healthy? Is palm oil good for you?
The question of whether palm oil is healthy for you is a common one. Many wonder: Is palm oil good for you?
According to Harvard Medical School nutrition experts, palm oil is better for us than artificial trans fats. However, they encourage consumers to use olive oil and canola oil because — unlike palm oil — they are naturally liquid at room temperature.
Is palm oil carcinogenic?
Healthline.com also reports that palm oil is high in saturated fat and that it’s been linked to a cancer risk. They cite a study from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) which reports palm oil can cause cancer when processed at high temperatures, approximately 200 degrees Celcius (393 degrees F).
Their expert Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain found glycidol to be a carcinogenic and genotoxic.
As reported on WebMD, the EFSA stated palm oil may cause cancer based on studies on mice. Note, the study didn’t test on humans.
Glycidyl fatty acid esters, or GEs
Glycidyl fatty acid esters (GEs) are a new class of food-processing contaminant.
When palm oil is heated to temperatures above 200 degrees C or higher, harmful substances form. These are called Glycidyl fatty acid esters — GEs. The highest form of them are in palm oil.
Avoiding palm oil for health concerns
While consumers avoid palm oil for health reasons and environmental reasons, if you have reactions to palm oil or other conditions, talk to your doctor. Please do not use this for medical advice.
It’s very common in everyday products. It’s a very versatile oil. Companies use palm oil in many ways.
Because palm oil has so many different applications in so many types of products, it goes by hundreds of names. Many of them do not have the word “palm” in them. This makes reading labels challenging — though it can be done!
Since the artificial trans fat ban went into effect in the United States, companies needed to find other cheap alternatives. They used trans fats because they were cheap. Now they’ve turned to palm oil.
Red palm oil health benefits
Red palm oil originally attracted attention for its health benefits.
Virgin red palm oil — in it’s most natural state and still red — is high in lycopene, beta-carotene, and tocotrienols.
They recommend up to 1 – 2 tablespoons per day as well as using ones that are sustainable.
Is palm oil good or bad?
RealSimple.com tries to answer the question if palm oil is bad for you. In one section, they compare the palm oil industry to that of the tobacco and alcohol industries. Palm oil is big business. It’s also very political as well.
Companies are burning and deforesting rainforests in Malaysia and Indonesia for palm oil plantations. However, in both of these countries, companies are not allowed to sell products advertising “Palm Oil Free” and “No Palm Oil.”
When you read about palm oil, it’s critical you determine the source. Also consider who may be profiting from the study or may be damaged from the study.
This is particularly important as you research sustainable palm oil and the Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil. There are many sides to this issue. Just because a company says it uses sustainable palm oil doesn’t mean it is.
POFCAP — the organization who certifies products as Palm Oil Free — estimates up to 80% of what’s considered sustainable is not.
So no matter what you read, be aware of who is circulating those lists and how they may benefit from positioning palm oil in a positive or negative light.
Palm oil health
Now that palm oil has become more common in foods, especially in the United States, there are questions about palm oil health. Consumers see it on labels and wonder what it is and if it’s good for them.
As consumers are more exposed to palm oil, it’s likely medical experts will take a better look at how it may affect them.
Some experts believe palm oil health dangers may surface now that consumers using more products with it (in the United States) than ever before.
Whereas consumers come in contact with palm oil and may consume it daily, this was not the case 5 – 10 years ago. Many people unknowingly use it morning, noon and night. It’s in their soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant. It’s in their creamer and muffin as well as their granola bar, bread, and spices.
Many consumers experience trouble digesting palm oil. Others report allergy-like symptoms. If you experience reactions from palm oil, be sure to report them to the FDA.
Report symptoms to FDA
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has a MedWatch Voluntary Reporting online form. It’s easy to complete and submit to report your symptoms. Just be sure to have the product information.