A few posts ago, I subtly mentioned that Jake and I have stopped cooking with olive oil and stopped buying nuts, and I think I terribly frightened a few people (my apologies!). After all, up to this point on the blog, several of our recipes here have involved cooking with olive oil. But, we reserve the right to change our mind as we learn more and continue to improve our knowledge of what is most optimal to eat. We do hope that the more we study and learn, the more we can make informed choices about what we eat. And although, Jake might argue that my 1 hour of Gossip Girl every Monday night isn’t exactly expanding my horizons (after all, that time could be better spent reading Robb Wolf’s new book), I still like a little variety :)
So here’s the low-down:
Several of the previous recipes posted on here involved Olive Oil for cooking meats and roasting nuts and veggies. Since broadening our paleo knowledge (really folks, it helps to read some books here!), we learned that olive oil is best when used cold or low-heat cooking, and should be avoided when doing high-heat cooking. Be sure to check out Mark Sisson’s Definitive Guide to Oils for more info. We also realized that we were eating nuts as our primary fat source, and due to their high concentration of Omega-6s, we decided we should make a valiant attempt to vary our fats towards most-helpful fats. (Curious about your favorite nuts? Check out their Omega-6 content here!) So, we stopped purchasing nuts for a while and added a few new favorites items to our cupboard:
- Avocado Oil – still not perfect for super-high heats, but has a higher smoke point than Olive Oil. The taste is minimal, it’s a gorgeous green color, and it has a very thick texture to it – I actually use less amounts than I’m used to with Olive Oil.
- Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil – has a fantastic amount of saturated fats & is great for high-heat cooking. We use it for almost everything these days! (Note: the refined coconut oil has a less “coconutty” flavor, but we highly recommend against its use – it goes through a nasty process to become unrefined, and won’t benefit you the same way as in its natural, unrefined form).
- Ghee – Ghee is clarified butter (purchase a butter from grass-fed cows), the clarifying removes the lactose and the casein milk proteins that are the major gut upsetters & the reason we avoid dairy.
- We do plan to mix a batch of Coconut Oil & Ghee together for one of the best-reviewed cooking substances around. Learn how to make your own here!
- Avocado – great all by it’s green-self or mix it up with some homemade guacamole for a tasty dip!
- Coconut Flakes – These were forced up on me at the Whole 9 workshop last weekend. Dallas had been enjoying them in between speaking to the group, and when I opened up my stupid mouth and asked if they tasted “coconutty,” it wasn’t a moment later they were under my nose. I succumbed to the peer pressure, gnawed a flake, and proclaimed, “I could eat this.” They’re a fun texture, and are Jake’s new favorite snack at work now as well. And for those of you worrying about the expense of going paleo, these are a super cheap treat!
- Coconut Butter – For those of you on Paleo missing your peanut butter, YOU HAVE GOT TO TRY THIS! In my opinion, even though there is a bit of that coconut flavor (which I used to avoid like crazy), the texture is what makes this so delicious. Made of 100% coconut flesh, a spoonful of this delicious treat will melt in your mouth like you wouldn’t believe AND provide you with a fantastic source of fat. If you’re in a hurry, a spoonful of this is a great way to go! I think it’s a closer comparison to peanut butter than almond butter. Not kidding.
- Coconut Milk/diluted – The So Delicious brand (unsweetened) has been a staple in our fridge for several months. This is significantly watered down, but tastes great and goes down easy. Fill yourself a full glass (or two) for plenty of good fats.
- Coconut Milk/concentrated – Canned coconut milk is a pantry staple for lots of paleo folk for its density – a great way to get your good fats in your diet quickly! This has more of a smoothie-like texture. You can also use coconut milks in recipes for cooking.
Do you have some favorite ways that you incorporate healthy, paleo fats into your diet? I would love to hear what works for you – take a moment and share in the comments section!
Happy eating :) Joey