I believe that upgrading your oils can be a game-changer to your healthy lifestyle. I wanted to talk about healthy cooking oils because there is a lot of old and conflicting information out there. Just a short time ago, I felt very confused on what oils and fats, I should be eating. Once I fell into the holistic and Paleo community, I learned a lot of information and it all started to come together for me.
How Cooking Oils have Affected my Body…
In my own life, I have seen how oils have hurt my health. For example, I would eat popcorn at the movie theater coated in buttery oil and my skin would develop a cyst the size of my entire chin. It felt like the oil I was eating was trying to detox from my body and would all drain right to my chin. This has also happened to me when eating pizza or other greasy foods. I had also noticed times where I would get a slight headache that would slow down my thinking (food intolerance headache) and cause excessive thirst. (thirst occurs so you drink water to flush it out) These are both signs that your body is trying to get rid of some toxin.
I noticed this happening to me again and again.
After understanding a bit more about the types of fats likely used in these foods that I ate, I started connecting that these vegetable oils were VERY inflammatory. My body wanted to release them as quickly as possible. (through my skin and telling me to drink lots of water)
A little background info….Most oils used in processed foods and restaurants are either canola oil or soybean oil. These are both very popular vegetable oils. Vegetables oils were touted as a health food in the back in the 80s-90s. At the same time, animal fats were labeled as “bad” and instead encouraged to replace with man-made fats like margarine and Crisco. Yikes!!
The Problem with Canola Oils….
1. Canola oil is VERY processed. If you watch this video, it explains how canola oil is made. The process to make it involves heating it and using chemicals like a petroleum solvent to extract the oil from the vegetable. And more chemicals are added to chemically deodorize the awful smell. They are then put in a clear plastic bottle to become more damaged from the light.
Here is a photo of the entire process of how canola oil is made….As you can see it is QUITE lengthy…..After all this – it is no wonder that is becomes a damaged fat!
Unfortunately this the types of oil you find in most if not all processed foods! Even whole foods uses canola oil in their hot bar. ☹ Salad dressings pretty much only use vegetable oils as their base oil. I recently found a dressing that said “made with olive oil” to only flip it over and found that it was mixed with canola oil!! 🙁 Read your labels when it comes to all processed foods!
Why We Need to Be Concerned…
- Fat is so important for the health of our body. It is used to re-build cells and hormones. When we consume these vegetable oils on a regular basis, our body must use these damaged oils to repair the body. This leads to inflammation in the body and mutation in our cells.
- ANY damaged oil causes oxidization in our body. Our goal through a healthy diet is to fill it with antioxidants not oxidized foods! We encounter enough oxidization through daily living that we don’t need to make worse through eating damaged fats.
How Do We Avoid Damaged Oils?
Coconut oil, butter, and lard are all stable fats. In general, these are safe for cooking because they are not easily damaged by light, heat, and air.
Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are all unstable fats. This is why they are in liquid form. You will find all these oils in a dark glass bottle because they are easily oxidized by the light.
When it comes to unsaturated oils, we want to look at the oil’s smoke point to determine how we want to use. Ideally it is not recommended to use unsaturated oils for cooking because of their instability. I choose to use avocado oil for light cooking because it has a higher smoke point. I also trust avocado oil because it isn’t as fraudulent as olive oil.
For the most part, these types of oils should be used for homemade dressings or an extra drizzle of fat on your meal.
Here is a good chart that shows stable oils to least stable oils along with their smoke points.
As you can see, those people back in the early 1900’s had the right idea using lard, tallow, and animal fats!
Okay now that you understand a bit more about vegetable oils and why they are not the best option…why healthy fat is CRUCIAL for a body that repairs itself, and why even healthy fats can become unhealthy! Let’s get into the types of oils that I choose to avoid and which oils I LOVE!
Cooking Oils to Avoid.
Anything labeled “Vegetable” Oil
Any fake or man-made vegetable oil/ butter products (this includes vegan options)
Cooking Oils to Consume.
Unrefined Coconut Oil
Kerry’s Grass-fed Butter
*When purchasing oils, Always buy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils in a dark glass bottle. The dark bottle is key to protect the oil from the light which can damage it. And plastic is not ideal as the plastics from the bottle can leach into the oil.
A few more insights…..
How I Navigate Oils in the Grocery Store
I am an avid label reader. I don’t buy anything without flipping over the product and reading the ingredients. There are SO many health foods that use Sunflower Oil or Safflower Oil. It is not easy to find products without these oils. I rarely indulge in processed foods and if I do indulge – its likely tortilla chips or a whole foods hot food bar. I try not to stress too much as these aren’t day to day occurrences. My goal is to always make the best choice that I can! If I feel like crap, I will avoid these foods like the plague. If I feel okay, I will indulge if I want!
I do have non-negotiable oils that I refuse to eat no matter what. These include: Soybean Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Margarine, Crisco, and man-made fats.
How I Navigate Oils at Restaurants.
Unfortunately, this is quite tricky. I love going to healthy restaurants when that is available. But when at a normal restaurant, I try to avoid the greasy options and I also avoid salads because I know the dressing will likely give me a headache. Again I try to make the best of every situation by doing what I can. I mostly eat home-cooked meals where I control the ingredients so going out once in awhile won’t kill me. I also drink lots of water to flush out any toxins!
How you choose to navigate both these areas is entirely up to you! If I had a serious disease or health issue, I might reconsider being so lenient.
I hope this article helped to educate you on healthy cooking oils! Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed. Let the information sink in. Do some more research on your own. Decide what oils you want to purchase in the future and stick with it!
If you have any questions, post them below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to answer or point you in the right direction with resources that I trust!
Sanfilippo, D. (2014, June 10). FAQS: What are safe cooking fats and oils? Retrieved November 1,
2017, from https://balancedbites.com/faqs-what-are-safe-cooking-fats-oils/
“Wellness Mama”, K. (2017, October 5). Why You Should Never Eat Vegetable Oil or Margarine.
Retrieved November 1, 2017, from https://wellnessmama.com/2193/never-eat-vegetable-oil/