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Let’s Talk Oil

By March 19, 2014Uncategorized

Oil should not be considered a health food. In fact, oil should be left completely out of the kitchen. The only places where oil, such as coconut oil, should reside in your home is in the bathroom or the bedroom.

All too often I hear things like, “Oil is healthy for us is moderation.” or “certain oils can be a healthy addition to your diet”. Some people go so far as giving oils like coconut oil or olive oil, “superfood” titles, as if they do magically wonderful things inside our bodies.

“Oils…empty calories at best and carcinogenic junk foods at worst.” -Dr. Douglas Graham

Let’s take away all the propaganda and the studies that link oils to either the promotion of disease or the prevention of it. We all know studies can be skewed either way. We could very well dig deep and look into the studies showing both sides. But I, instead, like to look at nutrition and health in the most common sense terms when trying to help bring some perspective to the topic at hand. All oils are isolated foods. They are extracted fat from a whole food. To explain in simpler terms, coconut meat is a whole food. Isolate the fat from the coconut meat and you get coconut oil. Olives are a whole food. Isolate the fat from the olive and you get olive oil. Sesame seeds are a whole food. Isolate the fat from the sesame seed and you get sesame oil, etc.

Most everyone is in agreement that processed sugar, isolated carbohydrate from a whole food, is not a health food and should be classified as a “junk food”. An example of this is that sugar cane is a whole food. Isolate the carbohydrate from the sugar cane and you get cane sugar. Beets are a whole food. Isolate the carbohydrate from the beets and you get beet sugar.

The three macronutrients in food are carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Why do we think isolated fat (oil) and isolated protein (protein powders) are any healthier than isolated carbohydrate (sugar)? Unfortunately they are not. I actually am probed to say that oils are just as unhealthy, if not unhealthier, than sugar. Oil is 100% fat, meaning that all of its calories come from fat. In just one tablespoon of oil, you are consuming 120 calories of pure fat. And one tablespoon of oil doesn’t get you very far. When most people “drizzle” oil on a pan of vegetables about to go in the oven for roasting, the vegetables typically get much more than a drizzle, and more resembles a bath. If we were meant to ingest such high quantities of isolated fat, then oil would be found in nature, in its natural state. But, of course, there is no such thing as an oil bush.

 “Across the board, refined oils (including coconut, flax, olive, hemp, almond, borage, and the like, which are touted as “pure” or “special” because of their source or careful processing methods) are essentially empty calories, not fit for human consumption. They are stripped of the fiber, protein and carbohydrates that accompanied the whole foods from which they were derived, leaving an imbalanced fractional product that is 100% fat.” -Dr. Douglas Graham

Oil venders say their expeller-pressed oils have special health benefits because of the phytonutrients in them. But these delicate micronutrients are much more potent when eaten in their whole form, left untouched until it reaches your mouth. God created these plant foods and presented them to us in the form they were meant to be eaten in.

Oils are very sensitive to heat, light and oxygen. They go rancid very easily. Most oil companies do not take the necessary steps to prevent it from going bad. And even the one’s who tout the special care that goes into managing and creating their product, such as cold-pressed olive oil, have a high likelihood their oils have gone rancid too. This is because once it is exposed to air, it begins to oxidize. Once it goes bad it is toxic for the human body. Using oil for cooking guarantees the product to be rancid. Would you eat rotten fruit? Would you eat a moldy potato or smelly spinach? No, of course not. It is very easy to tell when whole foods have gone bad. When the sugars and starches in the food begin to ferment and break down it leaves an obvious negative smell and sight to the food. But with oil, the sugars have been removed, making it very hard to detect the rancidity.

 “In the past 30 or 40 years, processed foods have appeared, which includes oil. A whole plant your body knows what to do with; processed foods, it doesn’t.” -Nutritional Biochemist Scientist, T. Colin Campbell


Quite often I hear, “But what about our omegas? Don’t we need to supplement our omego-3’s by taking flax and fish oils?”

 In short, no. Quite frankly the omega-3 story has been distorted and widely misunderstood. We need the proper balance of omega-3‘s to 6‘s and the solution lies not in increasing our omega-3 fat intake, but rather, majorly decreasing our omega-6 fat intake. In the society we live in today we are loading ourselves with foods rich in omega-6 fats, which therefore brings us to an imbalance. The average American consumes about 30-45 percent of their calories from fat, which is much higher than it should be. Of those fats, the omega-6’s are dramatically outbalancing the omega-3’s.  All industrialized animal foods are extremely high in omega-6 fatty acids. The mass majority of seed and vegetable oils are loaded with omega-6 fats as well. These include, but are not limited to, safflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, coconut oil, olive oil etc. This alone helps to explain why oil is not healthy for our bodies. Including oil in your diet automatically creates an imbalance of omegas in your body. Unless, of course, the only oil you include in your diet is flax or fish oil. But the omega-3 oils are the most sensitive to heat of any oil, which brings you back to eating rancid food. Most people do not even realize how much oil they are actually eating. Some form of oil is found in most packaged processed foods. And it is very hard to avoid oil in restaurant foods. Soy and corn oil are currently the biggest sources of omega-6 fats in the USA, because it is super cheap and found in all kinds of processed foods. But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself and read the ingredient list on the packaged foods in your freezer and cupboard.

We thrive best somewhere between a 1:1 and 4:1 ratio of omega-6 to 3 fatty acids. The typical American diet tends to contain about 14-25 times more omega-6 than omega-3, and the common recommendation we are given to solve this problem is to increase your omega-3 fat intake. But we are already eating way too much fat. I will say again, the answer to this problem is not to eat more fat! You will never get to the optimal omega ratio by simply taking a couple tablespoons of fish or flax oil a day. The solution is much simpler than you think.
Cut out animal foods and oil from your diet, and instead, choose to eat a wide variety of whole plant foods. Nuts and seeds should be eaten sparingly, because, in nature we would not have access to bulk bin style nuts, which make it really easy to over eat them. If you had to pick the nut from the tree and open each nut by hand, I guarantee, you would eat far less than if you had a bag of nuts with each one already opened for you in your lap. By eating a whole foods vegan diet, you will naturally lower your omega-6 ratio and easily gravitate to the optimal balance for the human body. Fruits and vegetables supply us with all the omegas in the proper ratio that we need (and all the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we need for that matter!). And it is spot on in terms of one ratio to the other.

By all means, fat is an essential nutrient and is good for us. But only WHOLE plant foods, containing fat in them are beneficial to the human body. We do not need near as much fat in our diets as what is typically assumed and consumed. Fat, regardless of whether it is plant fat or animal fat, is not healthy in excessive amounts. This is why, when you eat a whole foods vegan diet and minimize your nuts and seed intake, you will naturally eat a diet low in fat. We are physiologically designed to thrive on whole plant foods, and more specifically, whole, raw fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables all contain fat in them, but in much lower quantities than the animal foods and processed foods found in the standard American diet. And the majority of other whole plant foods like rice, root vegetables such as squash and potatoes, and quinoa are all low in fat as well.  Eating a diet where about 10% of your total calories comes from fat is widely recommended by strong standing health experts and nutritionists for optimal health and fitness. Among these distinguished professionals who are consistently reversing degenerative disease in their patients are Pritikin, McDougall, Harris, Heidrich, Fuhrman, Greger, Barnard, Klaper, Graham, Campbell, and Esselstyn, to name a few. Including oil in your diet does not fit the bill and makes it very hard to keep your diet low in fat.

Here are a couple examples on ways to replace the oil in your diet for healthful foods.

  • Make your own dressings using fresh fruits and vegetables and occasionally include small amounts of overt plant fats like avocado, walnuts, or hemp seeds. A yummy example of this is by blending a little fresh orange juice with a  couple tablespoons of hemp seeds, bell pepper and celery for a sweet and savory salad dressing. Or simply top your salad with lemon juice and 1/2 a mashed up avocado. Fresh tomatoes blended with sun dried tomatoes (not soaked in oil of course) makes a wonderful raw marinara type dressing as well. The possibilities are endless.
  • When sautéing vegetables, use water instead of oil.
  • And you can easily bake potatoes, vegetables and squash on baking paper or on an ECO non stick, non toxic baking sheet without any oil at all. Better yet, boil or steam whenever you can.

To end this post I thought it fitting to include this short video clip of a presentation made by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.
“Caldwell Esselstyn Jr, MD of Cleveland Clinic has shown heart disease can be reversed 100% of the time, using a plant-based diet. Olive oil — and ANY oil — increases heart disease, the same way butter does. If you want to avoid heart disease and cancer, ditch all oils, which are in any case just highly processed (i.e., junk) food.” -VegSource

 

 

Ditch the Oil my friends. I hope you found this information helpful. I plan on doing a lighter topic for my next post! 🙂 Leave a comment down below for me if there is something in particular that you would like to see me post about!

In love and health

-Mango Island Mamma, Ellen Fisher

Author Ellen Fisher

More posts by Ellen Fisher

Join the discussion 41 Comments

  • Tessa says:

    Well done Ellen! Such a clear and simple explanation of the Omega 6/3 argument. Love you!

  • Ramola says:

    Hi Ellen I love reading all your valuable info on foods. Can I just ask if pressing oils from whole foods is not healthy as it’s isolating the fat what’s your opinion on pressing juice from fruits and veg, do you think that’s healthy?

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      hi ramola. great question! juicing fruits and vegetables extracts the fiber from the whole food, making it a fractional product as well. eating all foods in their WHOLE state is the most optimal for the human body. but one exception is fresh squeezed citrus juice, since a significant amount of the pulp is often retained with the juice. we naturally can squeeze citrus juice with our hands and even when we eat citrus we, many times, squeeze out the juice into our mouth and leave the pulp. that being said, some 80/10/10 leaders in the movement, such as kristina carillo-bucaram includes fruit and vegetable juices in their diet. it can be a good transition food for some people when first getting on the 80/10/10 lifestyle because it is easier for beginners to get enough calories by including a large fruit and veggie juice in their meal plan (as opposed to sitting down to eat a 3 heads of lettuce salad, which many people have a hard time doing in the beginning, or eating a big meal of water fruits. because their stomachs have not yet gotten used to the change of diet of eating water rich foods as opposed to dead lifeless foods we grew up on). I also sometimes like to make a fruit and veggie juice filled with loads of greens, when i feel like i have no been eating enough greens lately. but overall, eating all food in their whole state is far superior than any form of fractional product, including juicing. juicing is not necessary for health at all, and to be honest, i wonder if down the road i will completely eliminate juicing from my diet (aside from citrus juice of course). hope this helps!

  • Sydney says:

    What are your opinions on oil pulling? And do you there are even any any benefits?

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      I don’t really have an opinion on oil pulling because i don’t know much about it and don’t have any personal experience with it. but my friend had really sensitive gums for a big portion of her life and a few months ago started oil pulling for 20 minutes every day. she said it worked wonders for her teeth sensitivity.

    • Jess says:

      Oil pulling is awesome and the benefits are definitely there! Cleaner teeth, better breath, improved overall dental health…it helps mouth ulcers heal and because coconut oil is antimicrobial, it helps keep bacteria in your mouth a bit more in check. I’ve heard it’s good for tooth sensitivity as well! But you have to spit the oil out – so you’re not actually consuming oil anyway.

  • Amber Brown says:

    Gosh, I love your posts! My boyfriend and I would like to go fully raw 801010 but just don’t know how to go about it.

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      thanks amber! its easier than you think! read the book “the 80/10/10 diet” book by dr. douglas graham asap! and watch youtube videos by “fullyrawkristina” and “megan elizabeth” for meal ideas. also, ill be coming out with an e-recipe book soon! start eating fruits in abundance, by itself or with tender greens, for breakfast and lunch, and eat a salad with a cooked high carb vegan dinner for a while while u transition. if u are not yet vegan, watch the 1 hour youtube video, “the best speech you’ll ever hear by gary yourosfky” xo

  • Sue A says:

    Great post Ellen!! I can see a lot of work and care went it to this. Thank you for this information. I would love a post whether one can live a raw vegan life WITHOUT supplements?

  • Meghan says:

    What’s your beauty/personal hygiene routine and what items/products do you use? Also curious whether you believe in going to the doctor for illnesses, etc. And what does a typical day look like for you and your family?

  • Crystal says:

    Loved this post! And great explanation of the omegas! I would love to see a post on vaccinations. I’ve just had a baby a couple months ago and currently trying to sift through all the research to make an informed decision.

    Much love to you and your sweet family! x

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      hi crystal. thank you. your question on vaccinations is something i am very passionate about. my husband and i have been a little hesitant to broadcast our feelings and what we chose to do with our son, just because we don’t want to get attacked, as we have heard horror stories. but i will let you know that elvis is not vaccinated at all. if you have an instagram, follow @curingcrew. she has AMAZING informative information to help mothers and fathers be confident in their decision. email me if you don’t have an instagram so i can send u a couple links to good websites. but her instagram has loads of info and give websites to look at too which sites all the studies and the details of each study

  • Issa says:

    I have only just fallen for the coconut oil trend. I have just started to read a bit more about it. The links to heart health are scary. Thanks for the extra confirmation .

  • Jennifer Newkirk says:

    Well said about the omega debate I just learned about this imbalance in ratio in class. I am a dietetic student slowly learning how to weed out all the incorrect information I am being fed and look forward to your blogs!

  • Matt Menzer says:

    Amazing! Such a clear and congruent message, really enjoyed it.

  • Jess says:

    Absolutely ditching the oil thank you for this post :))

  • Vicki says:

    I really enjoyed your post, Ellen. You’re an excellent writer and your passion is contagious. See you soon!

  • Megan W says:

    Hi Ellen! I have been following you for some time now and love the life you live and fully agree with your videos and posts! Thanks for sharing:)

    I would be interested in seeing/hearing what you use for haircare (shampoo, “no poo method”, etc)

    Sending love from Canada ♡

  • Saga says:

    Hi Ellen! I just wanted you to know that I really enjoy reading your blog. You are doing a great job! Hugs from a newbie in the 811-movement 🙂

  • Jasmine McQuirter says:

    Hey! I have a quick question about teeth sensitivity. I’ve noticed since I’ve added A LOT of raw food to my diet that my teeth are more sensitive. Of course it gets worse with citrus but is there something I can do to help? Sources to read maybe? Thank you!

  • Gisele says:

    Don’t forget the other variables. People who follow a raw food diet high in fruit and vegetables and free of grains will naturally achieve a better state of health than their grain-eating counterparts who eat too few vegetables and too much of everything else.

    I am open to your proposition regarding fats but would like to see more facts presented than the rancidity argument and the “oils do not occur in nature” statement. I do, however, believe the ideal Omega 6 to 3 ratio would be 1:1.

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      hi there gisele, if you understand that the ideal omega 6 to 3 ratio is 1:1, then it should be self explanatory that oils should not be considered a health food. Because the mass majority of oils are very high in omega 6. To where including oil in a raw food diet of fruits and vegetables would completely throw off the proper Omega 6 to 3 ratio of 1:1. You would have to majorly increase your chia seed and flax seed intake in your diet to balance the high omega 6 oils in your diet, which would then in turn create a very high fat diet, which is not healthful at all. you see? its much more healthful and SIMPLER to exclude oil from the diet, where it becomes easy peasy to keep the 1:1 ratio in your diet.

  • […] it much healthier than just 100% fat. Check out my friend Ellen’s excellent discussion on why oil should not be considered a health food. For more information on the health benefits of eating a low-fat & low(er) protein diet, please […]

  • […] all animal foods and their byproducts, oil and salt from your diet. (If you are interested, check THIS blog post for info on why oil of any kind should not be considered a health […]

  • Kate says:

    Great post on the importance of eating whole foods and the 1:1 omega-6/omega-3 ratio. Just a side note that coconut oil is mainly (over 90%) saturated fat and thus not as prone to oxidation – its the only oil I use for cooking! I do have a question for you regarding DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid). Since the main source of it is fish and conversion of ALA to DHA is not very efficient in the body, how do you maintain DHA levels with your diet? Thanks!

  • Tanya says:

    I’ve been loving all your posts! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. I’d really love to read about your at home birth experience. Did you worry about possible complications and how you would handle that if things didn’t go smoothly? How did you pick your caregiver? Anything else you could share on that topic would be really appreciated 🙂

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      hi love. thank you! and no i feel MUCH safer at home giving birth than i do at a hospital. i encourage you to check out the documentary on netflix called “the business of being born”. it will bring you a wealth of enlightenment and information! xo

  • […] For info on why I don’t use any oil in my dishes, check out my blog post “Let’s Talk Oil”. […]

  • Tamsin says:

    Hi Ellen 🙂

    This information is so helpful! So simple to understand 🙂

    But im now wondering abou when you said “isolated fats and PROTEINS are just as bad as carbohydrates” , so i understand the carbohydrates, and now that fats thanks to you! 🙂 but what i dont understand is whatyou mean by “isolated protein” ??

    I use raw vegan bio fermented brown rice protein, As i used to have soy isolate until i found out how nasty it is!

    So i went for a raw option and thought its great! But is the one im having now still counted as isolated protein? And is this bad? Aahh i hope not

    Thanks ! 🙂

    • Ellen Fisher says:

      no need to eat isolated protein (protein powders). simply eat enough calories from whole plant foods to sustain yourself and you will be getting the perfect amount of protein your body needs.

  • Ali says:

    Hey Ellen! Loved this post about oils, you are awesome at getting me pumped about eating healthy 🙂 I am curious what your take on non animal milks is; almond, coconut and soy milk. I apologize if you have already wrote about this and I just haven’t found it yet. Have a splendid day!

  • Yonca says:

    Well written Ellen. I’ve been following you on Instagram, but came on your website for the first time and it’s obvious that you did your research. Hope you reach more and more people who will get inspired!

  • Kara says:

    You are so informative, I wish I could give you a huge hug! lol. Have you ever considered starting your own business ? You would make a great health coach! Anyways, love you’re website, and you tube channel! Sending love from Washington state to you and your family! <3

  • karla says:

    Hi Ellen,
    Hoping you might write about veganism while pregnant. Did you do anything differently than normal aside from eat more calories as pregnancy progressed?
    Thank you!

  • Lucy says:

    Hi Ellen,

    I have been attempting to transition to a raw vegan diet in England over the past few years with very little support or guidance and so much discouragement from various dieticians/health care professionals. Finding your videos has been a huge help in trusting my instincts. However I have had a few barriers and therefore have questions:

    I have been anaemic in the past and wondered if you ever have to monitor what you consume to ensure you keep your bloods at a healthy balance? (It’s something I get challenged on often)

    I am trying to build muscle and wondered what you would say are the best things to eat for that?

    Also do you have a limit you eat or do you just keep eating when you want food?

    Also when you are ill, do you access health care services?

    Thanks

  • Shannon says:

    Excellent, clear, and thorough explanation, Ellen. <3

  • Madelyn says:

    Thank you for this info Ellen! My husband and I along with our 4 children have just changed to a totally whole food, plant based diet. I enjoy your youtube channel so much and just bought your ,e-cook book. Incidentally, I am a doula in Southern CA and know your sister in law Tessa! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was watching one of your vi deos and there was Tessa and her kiddos making a smoothie with you! Small world. Blessings to you! Keep up the Good work

  • Dana says:

    Hi Ellen!

    I just discovered your YouTube channel last week and bought your cookbook for some recipe inspiration! Your video on healing your acne was very helpful. I think that this post is really great- I just finished graduate school studying holistic nutrition, and my supervising professor expressed major concerns about my omega-3s when I transitioned to eating a vegan diet. I will definitely follow up with him, referencing that the balance is what is most important to hear his thoughts. I have actually wondered why oils aren’t considered to be processed- I have felt so much better since going HCLF and now use coconut oil for making deodorant and oil pulling rather than for eating! Thanks again!

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