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Not All Oils Are Created Equal

With all the choices of oil nowadays, it’s hard to know what to use and when.  Here is a simple fool proof way of using the proper oil and reaping the most benefit.

Olive Oil: Virgin or Not?  Olive oil is the most widely used oil.  We have all heard the many health benefits.  However, for instance using extra virgin olive oil to saute is not a great idea; in fact, you’re merely breaking down the raw, unfiltered-healthy molecules due to the low smoke point of merely approximately 320 degrees Fahrenheit.  Save this gem for salad dressings, and my favorite: dipping a (gluten-free, of course) baguette with fresh minced garlic. 

Olive Oil is generally a blend of olive oil using some sort of alteration (refined by chemical, thermal or mechanical) and has a higher a smoke point of approximately 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Ghee (Clarified Butter) – this is my absolute favorite to saute eggs, vegetables, garlic, etc.  It has a high smoke point of 485 degrees Fahrenheit (versus 350 for regular butter.)  It boasts of health benefits of lowering oxidative stress in the body (for what we all take those antioxidants), strengthens the immune system, reduces gastrointestinal inflammation (a major problem in the western world) and maintains a healthy heart. 

Vegetable Oils – soybean, corn, canola, and peanut oils I generally steer clear of simply because they are all genetically modified.  In place of these, I generally recommend avocado oil. 

Avocado Oil – Also, unrefined, like extra virgin olive oil, this oil has great health benefits as well. It is monounsaturated and boasts of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that is difficult to find in food sources, other than avocados. I also use this for baking, which is when we generally need a vegetable oil.  It also has a very high smoke point of approximately 480 degrees Fahrenheit.  Interestingly, it is one of the few oils not derived from seed, but from that brilliant green flesh that most of us love to consume on an almost daily basis!  This oil is also great to put on the body to moisturize (be sure to test a small area first.) 

Coconut Oil – This is also a great option to sauté vegetables when I’m cooking Thai or Indian, but also for baking. This oil is saturated and is more controversial than most.  Although most triglycerides are long-chain, coconut oil has medium-chain.  This means rather than being broken down they head straight to the liver, where they can be converted to ketones (energy) immediately.  There are current studies looking at ketones for use as brain food and in treating epilepsy and Alzheimers, the prevalent disease associated with aging.  I use this one regularly, but not daily or in large quantities.  You can decide for yourself if you believe it’s healthy but it’s also great to slather on the body for dry skin as well, and you smell like a tropical beach afterward, not a bad side effect.

I hope this is helpful, with all the oil choices today!  If not, email me at: for any particular questions and I’m happy to speak to you individually. 

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