Welcome to my kitchen!
Did you know that regularly consuming the wrong oils contributes to inflammation, chronic disease, and obesity? Here I discuss a variety of fats and oils that are an important part of a healthy diet. Specifically we will cover olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, tallow, ghee, and avocado oil.
Why it matters to know your fats
In this video I introduce you to several of the oils and fats that I think are useful in cooking. I don’t have just one, because not only do they lend different flavors to your food, but they have different smoke points. The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil will become damaged and free radicals develop. Free radicals cause inflammation in the body – and we all want to prevent inflammation sources if we can.
Olive Oil and Extra virgin olive oil
Do you know the difference between these two popular oils? One has been partly refined, while the other is closer to the raw state of actual pressed olives. Olive Oil can be used over heat, for sauteeing, and can withstand a temperature of approximately 450 degrees F.
Extra virgin olive oil, however, is cold-pressed, and will become damaged and therefore damaging to our tissues, at a lower temperature. EVOO’s smoke point is around 350 degrees F or so. So I recommend using this oil in room temp or cold dishes, and not heating it in the oven or on the stove.
While I absolutely love coconut in all its incarnations, I know many people who say they can’t stand coconut, or simply don’t like the way their food tastes when cooked in its oil. Still, it’s health benefits are undeniable. It is a medium chain fatty acid, which means it’s readily available for the body to burn for energy. Unrefined, it is solid at room temperature, while you can also find refined CO as a clear liquid at most stores. Since I love coconut oil, and prefer all things in their natural state when appropriate, I have never purchased refined. You can read more about the difference between refined and unrefined here, and here, from two of my favorite producers of quality coconut oil.
This is fat rendered from beef. I end up with a lot of it when I make my homemade bone broth. I take it off the top after it’s been refrigerated. We’ve been indoctrinated for decades to believe that saturated fat causes heart disease, but I don’t buy it. Of course, I would not recommend eating fat from animals eating anything but their natural diet in a low stress environment. Like lard, it can be used for frying. Again, if you use lard, which is rendered pig fat, make sure you know what the animals ate and how they were treated while alive!
When you heat butter gently and remove the solids, you are left with a clarified butter, also known as ghee in India, where it is an essential ingredient in cooking. Now you can find ghee in jars from grass-fed cows without too much effort. I like the rich flavor. If you are dairy sensitive you may be able to tolerate it since the proteins are removed. While I’ve made my own before, I tend to buy mine because I am dairy sensitive and would rather err on side of caution!
I’ll mention this one last since it’s been appearing in paleo foods and at Costco and you may wonder about it. I like it mainly for it’s high smoke point of 400-500 degrees F. This makes it useful for pan frying, which I use often. This article mentions that it is actually doctor recommended in France for it’s ability to treat arthritis! So I say, give it a try. It’s flavorless, and so can be used in baking also. A great alternative to canola oil if you ask me!
I’d love to hear how you use oils and fats in your everyday cooking or even for your beauty and health routines so please send me a note! Below is my video you can share with others as well!