Since the American Heart Association released their latest article on how bad coconut oil is for us, I’ve received a few requests to comment on press articles seeking to add their own two cents worth to the “healthy oil” saga.
Here’s Thrive’s definitive take on coconut oil and every other oil out there that won’t change with which lobby group is funding the flavour study of the month or the health fad of the day.
My opinion will fundamentally never change because it’s based on how the body works and on bloody common sense, which frankly, seems to be lacking these days.
Health & wellness journalism seems to be premised on the belief that the key to health is for the consumer to know what’s bad and avoid it at all costs. No grey area allowed.
Coconut oil – bad.
On many occasions, these articles are seasoned with a healthy dose of “fear”:
Extra virgin oil – good. BUT only if you know your source.
And, don’t forget “guilt”:
Unless it’s organic, grass-fed butter, you are pumping your child full of inflammatory fats, antibiotics and hormones. Bad on you!
Goodness gracious! How are we still alive with all these dietary terms & conditions! How are we meant to choose which oil to buy at the supermarket?
Let me make it easy for all us fortunate consumers faced with the first world problem of which cooking oil to buy at our local grocer:
IT HARDLY MATTERS WHICH COOKING OIL YOU’RE USING IF YOU’RE NOT EATING A “LIVE FOOD” DIET RICH IN LEAFY GREEN, CRUCIFEROUS AND RAINBOW VEGETABLES AND A DAILY PORTION OF RAW FRUIT.
Seriously – if your diet is toast and coffee for breakfast, a ham & cheese sandwich at lunchtime and a pasta bolognaise for dinner – don’t bother putting coconut oil in your bullet-proof coffee or going to the local farmer’s market to find grass-fed butter for the bread on that sandwich. You will not be lowering your risk for heart disease – I can promise you that!
Here it is in a mathematical equation:
FAT (ANY FAT) + CARBS AND/OR SUGAR = INFLAMMATION
HEALTHY FATS + VEGETABLES AND/OR RAW FRUIT = THRIVING HEALTH
Now, the question is: what fats are healthy?
Again – let’s keep it easy.
Healthy fats are those found in nature and whole, live foods, e.g. coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, flax oil, the beautiful omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, the rich omega-6 fatty acids found in avocados. Healthy oils are those which have not been heavily processed or refined, such as ghee, butter and those mentioned above.
Unhealthy fats are those found in dead food, e.g. crisps, chips, crackers, biscuits, fried take-out food. These fats are not found in nature’s bounty, e.g. spreadable butter (made in a lab), margarine. And the oils used to make all these dead foods are generally canola, sunflower, palm, soya bean, peanut. If it’s an oil in a yellow bottle with a green lid – generally, I try to avoid it for home use.
When determining which oils to use for cooking, I choose from my selection of healthy oils with a high smoking point because they create the least amount of free radicals.
FREE RADICALS = BAD = INFLAMMATION = HEART DISEASE.
That’s why a cholesterol-free dinner of french fries and a vegan falafel deep fried in canola oil is worse for patient with heart disease than a cholesterol-rich meal of steamed salmon & broccoli seasoned with a tablespoon of olive oil.
Now, once we start from the basis that we’re using healthy oils in the kitchen – should you be stressing about whether you are using coconut oil, ghee, avocado oil or olive oil? NO!
Two fundamental reasons which most (if not all) articles on healthy cooking oils fail to address:
Because if you’re really health savvy, you’re not frying all the time anyway! You’re steaming, you’re broiling.
you understand that healthy cooking is about preserving the nutritional integrity of the raw food material.
It’s about getting the full benefit of the antioxidants and healthy fatty acids in the food. It’s not about coating it in panko crumbs and drowning it cheese sauce!
Because you’re pairing these healthy fats with vegetables and not with a carb and sugar overload.
Let’s apply the above equations so that you see how this concept works in practice.
BUTTER + CROISSANT = INFLAMMATION
BUTTER + STEAMED CARROTS = THRIVING HEALTH
COCONUT OIL + COFFEE = I DON’T EVEN KNOW WTF THIS IS
COCONUT OIL + CHIA SEEDS + ALMOND MILK + RASPBERRIES = THRIVING HEALTH
OLIVE OIL (USED INSTEAD OF BUTTER FOR YOUR “HEALTHY CAKE”) = INFLAMMATION
OLIVE OIL + ARUGULA + CORIANDER + CHERRY TOMATOES = THRIVING HEALTH
Common bloody sense.
We need healthy fats to help our digestive system absorb fat soluble vitamins like the vitamin A found in carrots. We need healthy fats for hormonal regulations and brain health. It’s important to know what these healthy fats are.
But healthy fats can only work their health magic when paired with a LIVE FOOD diet.
Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and money.
EAT LIVE FOOD and apply Thrive’s SLEEP LOVE POOP philosophy.
And don’t let fear or guilt-based journalism control how you make your dietary decisions ever again.
Cristina Tahoces is a holistic nutritionist and owner of Thrive Nutrition Practice, which focuses on digestive healing, blood sugar regulation & post-natal recovery. Please join her Facebook Group "Thrive Nutrition Practice" for weekly articles, recipes & promotions.
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