OK, so, I LOVE oils. I love cooking with them. I love putting them all over my body. I use them as masks on my hair. To treat split ends. To make my brows grow. To make my makeup set. To take my makeup off. Coconut oil as lube? I mean…You can pretty find oils in every cupboard and drawer in my house.
But this isn’t an X-rated post about coconut oil. Perhaps we’ll save that for another day. Today I want to talk about cooking with oils and other fats, like butter, because it can be pretty confusing.
Is vegetable oil ok? What about cold-pressed canola – that’s fine, right? Is it bad to heat olive oil?
These are your questions. And I have answers.
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first, shall we? Here’s a list of oils you can just go ahead and throw right into the trash can –
- Canola oil (liquid Satan)
- Vegetable oil of any kind
- Soybean oil
- Corn oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Peanut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Safflower oil
“OH SHIT. These are listed on my just about every packaged food I eat!”
Yes, that’s correct.
And look, you know I’m not the food police. You know I occasionally indulge (kettle chips from Jimmy John’s, anyone?), but SERIOUSLY – these are oils you do not want in your diet because they are full of omega-6 fatty acids which are incredibly inflammatory in our bodies.
Inflammation = heart disease, cancer, IBS, diabetes, autoimmune diseases…etc, etc.
And “organic, cold-pressed canola oil?” While it’s a far better option than the jug you can get for $3 at Walmart, it doesn’t change the fact that canola is high in omega-6. And we get enough omega-6 fatty acids in our diet through pretty much any packaged foods (I’m even talking multi-grain crackers that you find in the health food aisle) and going out to eat, that you don’t need to be adding more at home.
So it’s a good idea to swap out those jugs of cheap, processed oils for some seriously heart AND waist friendly alternatives.
But here’s the tricky part – these shitty oils are SO easy to cook with because they remain stable with high heat and they are virtually flavorless. So I get it – it can be a little confusing when it comes to, say, baking or frying especially. Here’s a little cheat sheet to help you out.
For Pan Frying
For Deep Frying
- Avocado oil
- Palm oil
- Avocado oil
- Macadamia nut oil
- Olive oil
Be sure to always purchase extra virgin, unrefined oils. They’re purer, they have more health benefits, and quite frankly, they taste a whole lot better.
And a quick note on lard and palm oil –
Extra-virgin, unrefined palm oil is an excellent source of fat but it is literally destroying our rainforests. Seriously, Google it – it’s fucked up. I only included it on the deep frying portion (and nowhere else) because it does very well with deep frying. CHECK THE LABEL and make sure it is certified sustainable.
Lard is probably a shocker. But organic, or at least pasture-raised, lard actually has a lot of health benefits and a lot of good stuff is living in that fat. BUT – animals store their toxins in their fat, so it’s very important that you aren’t buying the conventional stuff that’s filled with antibiotics and God knows what else.
What are your favorite fats to cook with? I know there are more, but these are some of my favorites and are generally pretty easy to find and are economical. Macadamia nut oil is the only one I find to be a bit pricey, but it’s really delicious and buttery so worth it every once in a while.
Here are some quick links to my favorite fats that you find on Amazon for a good price: