Since I read your follow-up to my comment on your twins I have been researching hydrogenated oils and their effect on breast milk and our bodies. I guess this is a little new to me as I haven’t really thought or heard much about this before, but I am very glad you brought it to my attention. (I am kind of ashamed that I haven’t been awakened to it sooner as I try to be reasonably attuned to our nutritional needs, but I don’t normally do a lot of researching in this area). I intend to make some changes right away. I think it will be tough in some ways, though…I mean, we go through a LOT of peanut butter and I don’t know if it is reasonable to think that we could just start making our own since we don’t even have the equipment to do so…(what do you do? Do you have a grain mill and an attachment to make your own p-nut butter?) What do you use for cooking oils? I read here that canola, corn, and safflower oils should be avoided, so I am curious about how you do it and would appreciate your input to help me get started, when you have time. Do you use coconut oil? I purchase 50# pails of it for my soap making business, but have never once used it for cooking (although it is food grade). Do you use lard in place of shortening? Do you make your own bread, and if so, what do you use for the oil? We actually sell a lot of honey wheat bread since my oldest dd has gotten quite proficient at it, and we took it to sell at our local farm market every Saturday this summer. I’m realizing that perhaps my baby’s birth weight was noticeably lower so that I would come to learn about this nutritional concern for our family. But if you have any links to share or helpful info, esp. on how you do it. I’d love to hear it!
I kept putting off answering this until I had some time to do a little research and post links, etc., but realize that may not happen for some time still. But it is an interesting subject to Google should you be interested, and anyone can do it (Google stuff, that is). The basic gist is that hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats all have a deleterious effect on breastmilk - production and the actual constitution of the milk.
What I'll do instead is just answer the basic questions and share our experience. :)
When I first started learning about oils, which ones are health-supporting and which ones are not, I could not afford to just change everything we did overnight. Firstly, I did not know how, secondly, it would cost too much and be wasteful of what we had on hand. So, like every other change we made in our diet and lifestyle, when something ran out, we replaced it with something better... never to go back except in an emergency. When the canola oil ran out, (that the media had told me was so good for us), I bought extra virgin olive oil. When the margarine was gone, I started buying real butter and have not looked back.
It was more expensive to replace the bad stuff with the good stuff, but we squeezed money from somewhere else to make it work. We purposely canceled our health insurance policy and used the money to add to our grocery budget and to learn about our health. We also changed around how we shopped by buying in huge quantities in order to save more money to put into healthier ingredients.
Now, we only use three main things as oils for cooking. I use extra virgin olive oil for anything raw like mayonnaise or salad dressings (because it is unstable when heated). I use coconut oil and butter for cooked foods. Coconut oil is very stable at high temperatures, so it is what I use for anything fried. I also use coconut oil for most things that call for shortening. Pie crusts turn out best for me with butter, though. I buy the coconut oil in 5 gallon buckets, too. With grocery prices going up so much recently, I stepped back to expeller-pressed coconut oil (a lot cheaper) instead of the virgin coconut oil that I had been buying, because it was going to overly stress my grocery budget. I purchase butter 36 pounds at a time from a local food co-op.
We do not use lard (pork fat) at all because it is not part of what YHWH has called food for us. Trust and obey... for there is no other way, right?
We make our own bread (gotta love that Zojirushi!) and use either butter or coconut oil in our bread recipe. The coconut oil seems to make the bread keep a bit longer, too.
Peanut butter is a tough one. We use it a ton, too, but I do not think I have it in me at this time to actually make it. (I have to be honest and admit that it never crossed my mind before.) Too many other irons in the fire, I guess. What we have done in the past is buy 5 pound containers of peanut butter whose only ingredients are peanuts and salt from our food co-op. That is a great plan if you really want to cut back on usage, because it does not taste as good (at least to us). A better plan that actually works out to be very close in cost is to buy Smuckers brand natural peanut butter from the grocery store. If you have a Trader Joes nearby, they also have a good price on healthy peanut butter. If the cost is still an issue, spread really thin. :)
[EDIT: Be sure to check the comments below, where Amy tells us how she makes peanut butter from scratch with just a food processor!]
So, I hope that helps. I'd be happy to help with more questions, too, if you need!