Fooled by the ‘Oil-is-Good-for-You’ hype?

Colorful steamed healthy vegetables in cooking pot with ingredients on rustic background, top view. Vegetarian food or diet nutrition concept. Horizontal

I bet you’ve heard and read this over and over again: certain oils are ‘very good’ for you.

Then along comes Nicki, the Vegan Wellness Coach, and says “WHOA…hold your horses! Don’t get fooled and start splashing ‘good oils’ all over your foods.”

Let me explain why…..

You already know that processed sugar is a junk food. You got that.

Yep, it tastes nice and sweet but in the end, sugar is derived from plants by throwing away all the goodness…the fibre, beneficial nutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc. etc. and ending up with the pure concentrated sugar content of a plant.

Nice taste, shame about the health impact.

For this post, I won’t harp on about the dangers of sugar. Let’s leave that for another day.

Instead I’ll harp on about oils, because they fit into the same ‘junk food’ category: a highly processed concentrated food, which had its major nutrients stripped out so one can end up with liquid oil. Or fat.

Because after all, let’s not beat around the bush…that’s what it is.  FAT.  😥 

Yep, it tastes nice. One can get pretty hooked on the mouth feel and the awesome crispiness it lends to foods when we bake or fry.

Boiled veg anyone? Yuck! Then how about sautéed veg in garlic butter or basil infused olive oil? I bet that got your interest.

But I’m here to share that there’s a way around this taste dilemma. I’ll even give you a couple of cooking tips on how to decrease oil in your meals and still make them taste awesome.

The thing is this: if you’re interested in your health, then fats and oils must go on the backburner together with sugar.
No matter if they are butter, coconut oil, sunflower oil, flax seed oil, olive, hemp or avocado oil.

I am not saying that oils are the devil incarnate. But if you’ve got a weight problem or heart disease in your family….then oils are to be used with great caution.

belly1) Weight problem? Oils and fats offer 9 calories per gram. And without really noticing it, you’ll consume close to a couple of hundred calories that quietly sneak around lettuce leaves in your salad. I can write a few books on that subject, but for now I simply state that you need a  deficit of 3500 calories before losing 1lb. Therefore: Ditch the oil. You’ll reach that deficit faster.

2) Heart disease in the family? Cooking oils, dairy products and meat (including chicken & fish) injure the delicate endothelial cells within our arteries. And in doing so, they reduce the number of functioning cells. This means plaque blockages build up and grow, and eventually cause heart disease and strokes. Eating too much oil, ages you faster. 

Then what’s all the health hype about olive oil in the Mediterranean Diet?

Each day scientist and nutrition researchers are discovering new information about how foods effect our well-being.
They publish their latest updates in eye-wateringly boring papers. But many of us cannot keep up with reading all that stuff.

So what happens is that information which was brought out five to even ten years ago stays around in the media. And people follow it without being aware of the updates.

But that’s what I’m here for.

I read all that ‘stuff’ for you.

And the latest research says this: actually the main benefits of the Mediterranean Diet come from the delicious wholefoods…the colourful high fibre veg and salads, fresh fruit, whole grains, the wonderful herbs, spices, whole olives, plus by avoiding slabs of animal proteins and animal fats in favour of olive oil and small servings of seafood and minimal amounts of meat.

at the grocery store

Or in my case, no meat 😎 Thus the benefits are not simply due to the olive oil. It’s a combination.

Lately even Jamie Oliver stopped pouring bucket loads of oils over his awesome meals. Go Jamie!
So… what should you do? How do you get nice flavours happening without addition of large splashes oils?

Here’s my suggestion:

Step #1
Reduce your use of cooking and salad dressing oils. Although there are some respected folk that suggest to totally omit oils, perhaps that might be a bit drastic for most people.
After all, I want you to love your healthy food…Not simply force it down. But if interested, try oil free recipes from here

Personally, I tend to spritz a small amount of organic virgin olive or avocado oil sprays into my fry pans. Or just a small teaspoon of oil to start the sautéing process.
When using no or minimal oil, one has to use low to medium heat for cooking.

Step #2
To prevent scorching [and thus preventing carcinogens] gently brown or caramelise your veg and then add tiny splashes of vegetable broth stop food from sticking.
This will not work if you are quick frying meat. The splash of veg broth is for veg preparation only.

For roasting, I spray my cut up vegetables with a little oil instead of drowning them.

Where will you get your good fats from?

mixed nuts

You’ll get those from avocados, olives, nuts and seeds and nut butters, tahini, and…..a seriously SMALL amount of high quality olive, avocado and walnut oils…

Healthy eating is not about deprivation. It is about learning smarter ways of food preparation that allow you to enjoy flavours and textures.

To sum up: for optimum health, minimise the use of oil and eat 7 – 10 servings of fruit and veg each day [about ½ a cup is one serving]

If you prefer to keep eating dairy, meat, chicken or fish, they should also be kept to a minimum. One serve per day or preferably only 5 serves per week.
What’s a serving of animal protein? Look at your palm. No fingers. That’s about the right amount.

Or do what I do: instead of animal based protein, I eat beans, lentils and tofu plus have the occasional vegan protein shake. It works!

If you need further information, please contact me at I’d love to help you gain better understanding about nutrition and weight loss.

Don’t forget to share this with your confused friends. They’ll benefit from reading up about healthy nutrition too. After all, they don’t want to age faster either…..

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