Amidst a sea of ingredients, sometimes fishing out the healthiest pick is daunting. Here is my take on oils. I should put a disclaimer...whenever I post it is to the best of my knowledge. However, I am never afraid to be wrong or to change when presented with new or more accurate information. In fact I love learning new things.
Case in point...Five years ago you would have found me using soy 3-5 times a week. After being presented with new information I now use zero soy in our house (excluding the raw soybean, edamame). I will post on that journey another time...
I cook exclusively with 2 oils. Olive oil and Coconut oil.
Olive Oil-Whenever possible I used cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. It has a dark green color and a rich flavor. It cooks well, but adds a distinct flavor. If the flavor is too strong for my recipe I use an extra-light olive oil. This is a more refined oil, which means it has lost a lot of its nutritive value, but I feel it is still a better alternative than most.
Coconut Oil-This is a little known extremely healthy oil. Look for virgin, organic varieties. The oil should have a nice coconut aroma. It is solid at room temperature. Although it is a saturated fat, which we have been trained to avoid, it's nutritive qualities are myriad. The chemical structure is slightly different than other oils which results in some very positive benefits. These include lowering cholesterol, weight loss, and anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is worth doing some research on if you are skeptical. Coconut oil is great for sauteing, granola*, pancakes, waffles and as lotion. In fact it makes the best baby oil. Little Emmett has enjoyed plenty of tropical scented massages!
(*Note to readers: If you have not made the multigrain granola you have got to try it. I just made it again yesterday. It is sensational. A must-have-on-hand item. It is worth searching out the ingredients even if they seem obscure!)
I am not converted to using coconut oil in baking. I have not had a good deal of success in substitution. But some recipes work. I purchase my coconut oil online from Mountain Rose Herbs. I have also used Nutiva. The Nutiva is slightly superior, in my opinion, but also a bit more expensive. I am always looking for other sources, when I find them I will let you know. The other great benefit of coconut oil is it will keep indeterminately. I have 6 gallons stored away in my basement for a rainy day.
I stay away from all other oils, including canola, soy, vegetable, corn, and any hydrogenated or partly hydrogenated oils.
I also use an oil sprayer for all my non-stick cooking needs. Brands in the grocery store may say they are pure olive oil, but they contain harmful accelerants. Purchase one you pump yourself. These are available at any kitchen supply store or online for under $20.
There are also oils like flax, hemp and others that are great, but I don't use too much in my daily cooking.
t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.