Black Olives: Rich, Nutritious and Dangerous! Might be the cause for your eczema?

Black olives

When our second born was about 16 months we gave her black olives. She loved them, so they became a regular on her plate. By the time she was 18 months she began having tons of red bumps with white flakes on her skin. It covered her back, chest and shoulders. She also began having this extremely chemical odor in her urine every time I changed her diaper. I was baffled!

Our nutritionist suggested that I take her off black olives because the chemicals they are processed with are toxic. Within 2 weeks of removing them from her diet her skin was completely clear and her urine odor was back to normal.  Avoid canned olives that are pasteurized and/or soaked in ferrous gluconate, and olives that are pickled in vinegar as they tend to be acidic to the body.

Apparently when black olives are picked they’re green. In order to get the pit out they use a chemical called lye.  Here’s an excerpt from

Much like bell peppers start out green and ripen to another color, so do olives. Thus green olives are unripe, and black (or brown/purple) olives are ripe. Olives are inedible in their raw state and must be “cured” to remove the bitterness.

The majority of olives are cured in two ways:

  • Artisanally cured with a brine (salt and water; plus whatever herbs, garlic, vinegar, etc. one chooses to add)
  • Or industrially cured with food-grade lye.

As you might guess, the lye treatment process is used for mass production and is thus much shorter (the same day) than the artisanal one (months). Unfortunately,
it is impossible to tell from sight alone how an olive was cured (unless it’s wrinkled and conserved without liquid, which usually indicates dry-curing with salt).

But let’s get to those dreadful pits. In order to “man up” the olives to withstand the mechanical pitting process, chemicals are added to the brine. Be wary of olives sold in heavy marinades with lots of garlic or spices to hide what may be a chemical flavor or deficiencies in the olives. The absolute worst are those flaccid black “California olives” in a can that you may have, at one time, stuck on the ends of your fingers before eating. (Hey, no judgment here.) Not only do they undergo
lye curing, but, because they have been picked green and unripe, the solution is then pumped full of oxygen to make them turn black, after which an iron supplement solidifies the color. Ever notice the texture and the taste? Not good.
(Convinced yet?)

Try Masseria Maida’s black olives from the Naples area of Italy.

Hazardous reactions[edit] Taken from Wikipedia

As is common with other corrosives, the major safety concern with lyes is their potentially destructive effects on living tissues such as skin, flesh, and the cornea. Solutions containing lyes can cause chemical burns, permanent injuries, scarring and blindness, immediately upon contact. Lyes may be harmful or even fatal if swallowed; ingestion can cause esophageal stricture. may cause additional burns or ignite flammables.


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