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Eating Petroleum

From: Cinay Deva
Subject: Eating Petroleum
Date: Wed 20 Jul 2011 14:12:06 -0400



Some people are eating petroleum without realising it. This post examines who is most prone to ingesting petroleum, how to recognise it on your food, and how to remove it.


Those who get their fruit and vegetables from large-scale supermarkets, those who live in big cities (especially in the US and Europe), and those whose food comes from far away locations are all eating petroleum on a regular basis - whether their produce (i.e. fruits and vegetables) is organically grown or not.

If you fall in one of the above categories then certainly you are are eating petroleum on a regular - if not daily - basis.

This is an acute problem in the western nations which means that sooner or later all are at risk. Because the western lifestyle is being mass-replicated all around the globe.

Really speaking then, this is a letter for everyone.


The main problem is that a coating is applied to most of the fruits and vegetables that are sold in big food markets. The food comes from far away places - sometimes shipped from even half-way around the earth. So they apply a "coating" to protect and preserve the food, i.e. fruits and vegetables. Most often this coating is petroleum jelly, and sometimes jelly from a plant source. By this way the fruit and vegetables look bright and shiny even after being transported for weeks on buses, trains, trucks and airplanes.


Here it should be understood that this problem is not limited to conventional (i.e. non-organically grown) produce i.e. fruits and veggies. Petroleum is also applied to organically grown fruits and vegetables.

As sadhakas, we all try to make healthy choices in life. To that end, some may be spending a little extra to purchase organic produce. We see the label; we see the quality of the vegetable or fruit, and we think, "Yes, this is the healthy choice to make."

In His Ideal Farming book, Baba provides us with many excellent techniques for growing food organically, i.e. without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. So in Ananda Marga we strongly support organic farming.

But the way organic farming is done in today's ultra-capitalist schema is not totally pure. In this big-business, high-profit era, organic produce (fruit and vegetables) has become a high-stakes market. The mega corporations have jumped into the organic food business. Even Walmart now sells organic produce.

It is commonly known that big business bends the laws in their favour to increase profits. Nowadays it is legal for organic food distributors to coat their fruits and vegetables with petroleum jelly.

This is standard practice. What they are doing is affecting our health, so we should all be acutely aware.


The application of petroleum jelly is especially common with harder fruits and vegetables or items with a distinct peel. These include: Apples, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, citrus fruits, and many other items which are far too numerous to name here. Suffice to say that most fruit and vegetables are affected in this way.

Here are some of the most common responses to this unhealthy protocol:

1. The majority of the public simply does not notice. They think that they are eating a fruit or vegetable and therefore it must be healthy. They do not know that with every bite they are ingesting petroleum.

2. Then there are still others who simply think that since their produce is "certified organic" then it must be perfectly pure. Such persons are also in the dark and we may or may not be able to wake them - though certainly we should try.

3. Those who are somewhat aware generally haphazardly rinse their fruit and vegetables in water and then eat it or cook with it. But a simple rinsing is not enough to remove the wax or jelly.

4. Some are more aware and use a brush to remove the petroleum. This is a step in the right direction but does not entirely solve the matter.

5. And there may be other techniques which people use. What do you do?

6. Further down in this letter is a very good method to fully remove the petroleum coating from your food.


Firstly, you must determine if there is petroleum on your fruits and vegetables. The tricky point is that petroleum jelly has no taste so you will not notice it if you take a small or large bite.

One of the best ways to determine if your fruits or vegetables have this wax or jelly is to submerge your organic tomato or apple etc in warm water. Let it sit there for 5 - 10 seconds or so and then touch it with your hand. If it feels sticky, slimy, greasy or waxy then you know that it was coated with petroleum jelly etc. To be perfectly sure, compare that with a locally grown item (i.e. the same fruit or vegetable) and feel the difference.

If you do not have access to warm or hot water, then simply put your fruit or vegetable in the sun or any warm area then the jelly will become apparent. Here again if you touch it, it will be sticky, slimy, and gooey.


There are a few ways to remove this petroleum jelly from your newly purchased produce (fruit and vegetables):

1. You can peel your fruit or vegetables. This works with apples, carrots, cucumbers and so many others - but not with peppers and tomatoes etc. But then you have to realise that you are losing the nutrients of the peel, and even more critically the nutrients on the inside of the peel.

2. You may blanche it: Simply place it in a pot of boiling water and remove the peel. This works very well with tomatoes since the peel is easily removed this way. Plus the peel of tomato is essentially indigestible and should be removed anyway.

3. Another way to avoid the petroleum coating on your food is to purchase your fruit and vegetables from a local grower. It may or may not be organic, but since they need not ship it they will not be applying the petroleum jelly. Best of course if it is organic, i.e. grown without herbicides and pesticides. If it is not organic then it will be covered with poisonous chemicals.

4. Finally and this is perhaps the best way. If in fact you are sure that there is petroleum jelly on your fruit or vegetable. Then wash or scrub it with a wheat flour or baking soda mixture. Just take a partial spoonful of wheat flour or baking soda and mix it with just a touch of water on your hand. The mixture should be more like a paste than a watery solution. Then rub the mixture briskly all over the surface area of each piece of fruit or vegetable. It must be done one by one. Both wheat flour and baking soda are grease-cutting agents and will thus remove all the petroleum jelly completely. Rub strongly and then wash thoroughly with water to remove all remnants of the flour or baking soda. Then your fruit or vegetable will be perfectly clean and ready for eating. 


Usually people think that they are eating "healthy" if they are eating fruits and vegetables. But they do not recognise that they are eating petroleum jelly also. That is an unwanted chemical for the body. Our body does not run on petroleum - we are not automobiles etc. If we ingest petroleum then it causes problems. Petroleum is not sentient - you will notice on the below list of sentient food, petroleum is not included.

Baba says, "Sáttvika Áhára: All the staple food-grains such as rice, wheat, barley, etc.; all the pulses except masúr [an orange-coloured lentil] and khesári; all fruits and roots; all kinds of vegetables except violet-coloured carrots, white brinjals [white eggplants], onions, garlic and mushrooms; milk and milk products; all green and leafy vegetables except red puni and mustard." (Caryacarya-3, Procedure for Eating)

Baba says, "As a result of eating sentient food and performing spiritual practices, the cells of the human body become sentient. Naturally, an effulgence emanates from these cells creating an aura around the physical body of the spiritual aspirant. This is the reason why many pictures of mahápuruśas [highly-evolved persons] show them with radiant auras. If cells are affected by food and water, and if the nature of the cells affects the nature of the human mind, obviously human beings should eat the correct diet, because food and mind are closely related to each other. Any food item, whether good or bad, must not be taken indiscriminately because it may lead to mental degeneration. Sincere spiritual aspirants must follow the dictum: Áhárashuddhao sattvashudhih [“A sentient diet produces a sentient body”]." (Yoga Psychology, Food, Cells, Physical and Mental Development)


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