By now you might know that I do not like processed foods. Not one bit. After getting several questions on why I do not use oils, I decided to dedicate a separate post to this, because I do have a lot to say about it. Oils in my opinion is not good for you at all, and it does fall under the category of processed. I firmly believe that all oils are unhealthy, regardless if it is cold pressed, extra virgin or all of those things. Oils are purely 100% fat, without much fiber, vitamins or minerals and it is also the most calorie dense food on the planet! Essentially this makes oils a highly-processed, nutrient-poor food, which we can all agree on is not good for you.
But I heard that olive oil has lots of nutritional benefits?
If you actually look into the nutritional facts on olive oil vs. olives you get so much more bang for your buck by eating the olives. The oil is like I mentioned is 100% fat, whereas the actual olives contains fiber and more nutrients. Not only will that keep us fuller for longer, but also promote better health. Oils might be good to use as a hair mask or take a small dab on your skin if you have very dry skin, but consuming the oil cannot even compare to the benefits of eating the food in it’s original state .
Wait, what about the essential fatty acids?
Before you start ranting about the essential fatty acids, know that I am fully aware of the fact that we need fat in our diet, and I do in no way promote a completely fat-free diet. But if you actually looked into it you would know that there is no such thing as a fat-free diet, nor would we want it to be. All foods (even fruit and vegetables) have at least trace fat, which during the duration of the day that certainly adds up. If you are particularly worried about getting enough fat I recommend eating a lot of foods that naturally contain the essential fatty acids, such as nuts, seeds and avocado.
What can I use instead of oil then?
I do not want to completely crush your oil dream, and leave you with nothing to substitute it with. Say if you were making roasted potatoes, you can use low-sodium vegan vegetable broth instead of oil. Make sure you use enough to really cover the potatoes, combine that with a bunch of spices and seasoning, and pop it into the oven for about an hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Trust me you will not miss the oil one bit! If you are one of those who like to use oil as a spread you can always substitute it 1:1 for any kind of nut butter you wish (you can even make your own homemade using my recipe for Roasted Almond Butter). For those of you who are slightly butter-addicted I even included a brand new recipe below.
Homemade Coconut Butter
Coconut oil has gotten a lot of attention lately, being considered a superfood. I disagree with that because I believe that there is something much better available, which is where the Homemade Coconut Butter comes in as a truer superfood. I wanted to find a way to make a coconut oil-like mixture that still harnesses the vitamins and minerals that coconuts actually contain. Made from only 1 ingredient, all you need is unsweetened shredded coconut (certified raw if you wish), a good food processor and a little bit of patience.
- 450g unsweetened shredded coconut (more or less depending on the size of your food processor)
1. Place the unsweetened shredded coconut into the food processor.
2. Let the food processor run for anywhere from 15-30 minutes, or until you have a completely smooth butter.
3. Store in a jar at room temperature (do not refrigerate!), as it will thicken when it sits for a while.
I have found that if I use too little shredded coconut it is next to impossible to make a smooth coconut butter, and if I use too much it takes quite a long while for it to get done. However from personal experience it is better to use too much rather than too little! My food processor is medium sized, and 450g seems to be the smallest amount it is able to take. Alter the amount you use depending on your food processor.
Benefits of eating coconut butter as opposed to coconut oil:
- The coconut butter gives you the whole coconut nutrition, including: oil, dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Make it from scratch and it contains no additives whatsoever —only pure coconut.
To avoid being accused of being “uncertified” to write about this as I am not a doctor or nutritionist, here is a list of doctors, nutritionists and people within the medical field that promote oil-free diets and instead eating fats in it’s original form:
Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Neal Barnard, T. Colin Campbell, Rip Essetlyn, Jeff Novick, and many others.
(copied from Happy Herbivore’s article)
Hopefully this answered the question as to why I do not use oil in my recipes, or recommend anyone to do so. Keep in mind that this is simply my opinion, and you are more than welcome to disagree with me. In fact when my father (the avid olive oil user) read this article he started a 1 hour long discussion in my house, which I simply thrive on. Feel free to leave me a comment letting me know your opinion on this matter, but keep it civil.
All articles in the Real Superfoods series can be found here!