Hello to all you Remedy Health blog readers out there!
This is just your second installment of use this not that! This is a REALLY easy thing to change in your home with absolutely HUGE rewards for your health and healing.
Often, you’ll hear me in the office, answer nutrition questions like this, “This is what I think, but let me ask Doug. He and his wife, Steph, LIVE nutrition!”
SO I’m SO excited to tell you that one of my favorite topics, FAT, has been addressed by this smart, soulful, woman, Stephanie Penington. Yes, this is Doug’s amazing wife! After reading the article, please hop onto her website and sign up for her newsletter!
Now, go eat an avocado while reading this…
Cooking with Fat
When something is done everyday, it affects our lives in a significant way. This is true from how we move, to thoughts we think, to the food we eat. When preparing food, there is frequently some kind of fat/oil involved in the process, and we eat every day. Yep, this brings up the slippery conversation of which fats/oils are best to use when cooking and baking, and are we supposed to be eating fat at all?! Everyone take a deep breath and let’s look at this together.
First, let’s look at how our bodies are designed. Every single cell in our bodies has a membrane (the outer wall of the cell) and this membrane is made up of a phospholipid bilayer. That means that lipids (fats) are part of every single cell. That’s amazing, right?! Dietary fats also aid in the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E & K. And, an important fact to note is that healthy fats are a wonderful source of energy for the heart. I think it’s pretty safe to say that our bodies need a regular intake of healthy fats to maintain optimum function.
Since fats that we cook with are the topic at hand, let’s assess some of the most common types of cooking fats/oils…
Butter - mostly saturated, with dairy
Ghee - mostly saturated, butter without dairy
Olive Oil - mostly monounsaturated
Coconut Oil - mostly saturated with a high level
Lard - mostly saturated, from pork
Avocado Oil - mostly monounsaturated, has a
high smoke point, but can be easily
damaged by light, heat and oxygen
Canola Oil - mostly polyunsaturated & highly
Vegetable Oil - seed oils, mostly
polyunsaturated, highly processed
Soybean Oil - mostly polyunsaturated
Vegetable Shortening - mostly hydrogenated
polyunsaturated oils that are highly
processed and contain trans fats
Spoiler Alert: The simple summary, in my opinion, is we need to fuel our bodies with undamaged fats/oils that nourish and strengthen us.
In the chart above, of the most common types of cooking oil, the words: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are used. This describes the type of chemical structure of the oil and gives us useful information. Most every fat/oil contains all three types, but are categorized by the dominant profile.
Saturated fats = Contain no double bonds. They are saturated with hydrogen atoms. This makes them very stable and resistant to oxidation, therefore a good choice for cooking because they do not get easily damaged with high heat.
Monounsaturated fats = Contains a single double bond. This makes it less heat-stable than saturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats = Contains multiple double bonds, which means that they are most prone to oxidation (damage).
Fats/oils oxidize (become damaged) by exposure to light, air, or heat. Processing is a term that describes when there has been high heat, chemical washes and possibly dyes used in the creation of a product! They are then placed in clear, plastic bottles that sit under fluorescent lighting until someone buys it to use in their food. These oils would include: vegetable oil, canola oil, corn oil and soybean oil. In this condition, these oils are damaged, and actually generate many products that are toxic to our bodies. As I mentioned earlier, every cell has lipids as a part of its membrane and when these damaged oils incorporate into our cells, the result is damage to the cell membrane. Over time, this leads to a decreased ability of the cell membrane to communicate effectively intra- and extra-cellularly. This would be a good place to take another deep breath (maybe two).
The simple summary, (remember the spoiler alert?), is we need to fuel our bodies with undamaged fats/oils that nourish and strengthen us. Here are some practical questions to ask when deciding if a fat/oil is healthy to use when cooking...
Is the term hydrogenated oil, partially hydrogenated oil or trans fat in the label? If yes, Not Preferred
Is it in a clear, plastic container? If yes, Not Preferred
Does it have additives and fillers? If yes, Not Preferred
Is it organic? If yes, Preferred
Does the label say ‘cold-pressed’? If yes, Preferred (Some cold-pressed seed oils are healthy to consume, however, when heated may get damaged. When in doubt, choose a more saturated fat/oil when cooking)
Is the bottle a dark color glass (usually green)? If yes, Preferred
Does the label say ‘from pasture raised…’? If yes, Preferred
Sarah Ballantyne states in her book ‘Paleo Principles’, “Rendered animal fats are rich in fat-soluble vitamins and are delicious for cooking. It’s best to use fats from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals to take full advantage of their higher levels of nutrients and healthier fat profile...Some plant oils are also great for cooking…these healthy plant oils can easily be isolated from fatty fruits and nuts using a process called cold-pressing.” pg.183
I enjoy combining various fats/oils when I cook, creating a more neutral flavor profile. My favorite fats/oils to cook with are: ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, bacon grease from well sourced bacon and olive oil. Fats/oils have a very influential place in our food repertoire. When shifting towards health, making wise decisions with fats/oils leads to a huge impact.
“Since battling cellular damage is one of your body’s full-time jobs, the more you can make that job easier by avoiding poor-quality or damaged oils, the better.” Diane Sanfilippo “Practical Paleo” pg.58
Stephanie Penington is a Personal Trainer and a Nutritional Therapy Consultant. She is the creator of Fully Awake, an expression of wholeness in health. Fully Awake is an invitation to experience more of your individual potential. For more information on what she is doing, visit www.fullyawake.live
She will be sharing how to nourish your body well through some classes at Natural Grocers West in Omaha, NE. The Cooking Demos are free and the Meal Prepping classes cost $50, which includes 3 meals for 4 people ready to prepare.
21st @ 6:00 - Cooking Demo
26th @ 6:00 - Meal Prep
4th @ 11:00 - Cooking Demo
18th @ 6:00 - Cooking Demo
23rd @ 6:00 - Meal Prep