Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baby Steps-Healthy Oils

olive-oil-bottle Pictures, Images and PhotosOils and fat are things I grew up being taught that they should be avoided. I was a teenager during the whole fat free trend. My mother still believes this is the best way to go. I on the other hand have had a change of heart. Maybe I am wrong, but I feel that the body needs fat to run properly, but like all things it should be used in moderation. Fat is naturally occurring in foods that are left alone and not messed with by man made ideas. Have you ever noticed that the low fat milk is cheaper then the whole milk? I can not figure out that one considering they have to work harder to get the fat out of the milk.

After doing a lot of reading and research of the last several years I have come to the conclusion that the healthiest forms of fat and oil include olive oil (mentioned many times in the Bible as a healthy oil), coconut oil, butter, ghee, and if you have nothing else lard.

Yep, I said lard. I don't know if I could eat it, but it is a naturally occurring and cheap form of fat. I have seen it mentioned in the Maker's Diet and Nourishing Traditions. Both are great books to have in your library if you have not read them yet.

Olive Oil
Your best bet with olive oil is extra virgin olive oil. It has an excellent taste and is the best for your body. You do need to make sure that olive oil is not super heated or it will lose all of it healthy benefits. It is best used as a marinade, dressing, or dipping oil. I will admit that I have used it in baking before when I have been out of anything else.

Another great use for olive oil is as a moisturizer for your hands and legs after a shower. It does not stay greasy and absorbs very quickly. I have hear that this is what women in Italy do and have you ever noticed how beautiful these women are?

You can buy extra virgin olive oil in most grocery stores. Lately I have been getting mine at World Market in large bottles for around $8-9.

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a high in saturated fat oil that comes from, you guessed it, the coconut. It has been used by people for many years, but has just recently become popular again by those of us who do not live in a tropical climate. At first I was very unsure about using this oil do to the saturated fat, but my mother started putting about 1 teaspoon in her oatmeal every morning and the doctor could not believe how much her cholesterol had come down.

Thanks to Lindsey at Passionate Homemaking for pointing out this article excerpt from Sue Gregg about why we should not fear coconut oil.

According to Sue Gregg, “There is a double reason not to fear coconut oil. First, it is highly debatable that saturated fats cause heart disease. Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD in The Cholesterol Myths (www.NewTrends Publishing.com) presents the facts of exhaustive research over the decades to disprove this theory. Secondly, the saturated fat of coconut oil is different than the long chain fatty acids of meats and also of polyunsaturated fats.” Read the full article here.

Coconut oil has been said by some to be a miracle oil for it's many health properties and uses which include:

Diaper rash ointment
Deodorant (recipe coming soon)
It is heat resistant and great for cooking
Heart health
Cholesterol lowering
The list goes on and on

If you are interested in reading more about the health benefits of coconut oil you can check them out here.

Coconut oil can be bought in bulk online with Azure Standards or Mountain Rose herb. If you are concerned about price you may consider buying a large amount and splitting it with a friend.

Other places I have seen it area at Walmart (Spectrum brand) and all health food stores.

Some other good oils to consider...
Sesame oil
Peanut oil
Unrefined sesame oil
Palm oil
Grape seed
Flax seed

Lindsey has a great article regarding these oils here. I considered getting more in depth with them, but this post would get really long if I did, and I think Lindsey does a great job.

Oil to avoid:
Canola oil
This has been considered one of the most healthy oils in the last several years and is nearly impossible to avoid in processed foods.

I can say first hand that it is not good for the body. I used it to make doughnuts before I studied it and became very ill. To the point of the Dr doing a sonogram to find out why I was having such terrible intestinal distress. They never found anything, but I began to notice that whenever I used my canola oil the pain started all over. Needless to say I tossed the bottle.

What is canola oil? I got to thinking one day olive oil comes from olives, peanut oil comes from peanuts. What in earth is a canola? I discovered that canola is a highly processed oil that comes from the rapeseed plant which is considered toxic in it's natural form. Well that was it for me on using this so called healthy oil.

Other oils to avoid include:
ALL hydrogenated oils
Soy, corn, and safflower

These have all been linked to heart disease, fertility issues, learning disabilities, as well as many other things.

Well I think that about sums up my view on oil. They may be a bit more expensive then some other products on the market, but you only need to use them in small amounts. I think my health is more important then saving a few dollars.

As an afterthought if you are wanting to cut down the cost of baking you can always swap out butter for applesauce, bananas or other fruit. This will also cut down on the amount of sugar you need to use as well.

Thanks for hanging in there for this LONG post.


  1. I didn't think your post was too long. And I just wanted to add about coconut oil is that it tastes great with scrambled eggs. The oil imparts a pleasant sweetness to them that is yummy.

  2. What kind of oil is best for baking?

  3. What kind of oil is good for baking?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Anonymous,
    That is a great question. I have been using melted butter, coconut oil, or apple sauce. Does anyone else have any suggestions?

  6. I use coconut oil when a recipe calls for shortening. I have used palm oil in the past, but really love the coconut flavor..another use for coconut oil is for arthritis pain relief. My hubby and I started putting 1 tsp. coconut oil in our morning coffee about 6 weeks ago and have not had any joint pain...and we live in the Pacific Northwest where the rainy season starts in Oct. and ends on July 5!

  7. Not long at all, what about vegetable oil is it bad?

    I read in a raw diet book that is recomended to consume 3-4 tablespoons of cononut butter daily. so is coconut butter and coconut oil the same?

    thanks great blog.