Cooking Oils

eat-butter-200Not surprisingly, it turns out conventional knowledge about cooking oils is pretty much opposite of what we should be eating for optimal health.  The good news is conventional wisdom is finally starting to change as evidenced by Time Magazine’s recent magazine cover declaring “Eat Butter”.  Fats do not make us fat and saturated fats serve critical roles in the human body.

The topic of fats is well covered in a number of paleo/primal blog postings.  It can get somewhat complicated, but these posts explain in detail about the various types of fats and which are health promoting and which should be avoided.

This chart is a little busy, but nicely illustrates where the various oil choices fall on the healthy or unhealthy and better for salads or cooking spectrum.

I avoid vegetable oils and most seed oils.  I primarily use coconut oil and ghee for cooking.  I also love pastured duck fat and pork leaf lard for cooking.  I use olive oil mostly for dressings and mayo.  We don’t eat a lot of butter (often substituting ghee instead) but when we do I buy grass fed.

Coconut and coconut oilCoconut oil has so many benefits, but like most foods in a jar, you have to know what you are getting as they are not all created equal.  Here’s a good summary of how to choose a coconut oil as well as recommended and non-recommended brands.  I buy Tropical Traditions Gold Label in the gallon pail.  It is very shelf stable and we use enough to buy in quantity.  Tropical Traditions often has buy one get one free sales as well as free shipping offers which is a good way to stock up economically.  I keep a mason jar in the pantry and refill as needed.  In addition to cooking, I use coconut oil as a makeup remover, to dilute essential oils and add it to my occasional smoothies.  There are many, many more ways to use coconut oil and here’s a list of 101 Uses.

ghee in jar and spoonYou can make your own ghee but I love the convenience of Pure Indian Foods ghee as well as their coconut ghee (best of both worlds!).

When buying olive oil, keep in mind that cheap olive oils can include bad stuff like soybean or canola oil, so it’s important to find a reliable source.  I am loving the Goda olive oils and balsamic vinegars at my local Outpost co-op.

My favorite duck fat is from Fatworks.  I also love their pork leaf lard and it’s a beautiful thing to get the combo 2 pack!

duck fat