Did you know that all the various fats and oils that line our cupboards should be used in specific ways? If they are not used properly, they can become rancid (e.g. harmful). When we first started looking into all the different fats and oils, we felt like we needed a chemistry degree to understand how heating up a fat/oil (or not) can alter its composition. The way we use fats and oils can result in many different outcomes. For instance, a dab of butter on freshly cooked vegetables can actually increase the health benefits of that vegetable by making its nutrients more readily available for absorption. On the contrary, heating olive oil past a certain temperature turns the olive oil rancid and ruins any of the nutrients in the olive oil. Consequently, the olive oil (and whatever was cooking in it) becomes quite unhealthy for consumption. Even though fats and oils may still taste delicious when they are cooked improperly, the chemical make-up of the fat or oil is altered in an unhealthy way, making it harmful to our bodies.
Additionally, our bodies need fat! It is one of the most important components of our diet. The cells in our bodies desperately need the right kinds of fats in order to operate properly. Our bodies have been designed to need fats/oils in order to survive (If you’re not picking up on it yet, I’ll tell you now, I’m not a fan of lowfat diets. Seriously! Have you seen all the chemicals that are in “lowfat” foods? Gross! Plus, whenever I eat something that is “lowfat” I am hungry twenty minutes later so I always ended up eating more food anyways!). Certain fats actually improve the health of our bodies and they aid in the absorption of nutrients and minerals that are in food. This may sound completely contrary to our popular culture, but when our family switched to using healthy fats and oils, Ryan and I actually lost weight. We eat lard, butter, coconut oil, eggs and drink lots of fresh whole raw milk and cream and overall we feel better. We have more energy. So, after much doing a good amount of research on what fats and oils to use and how to use them properly, I made the following cheat sheet that is now taped to the inside of my cookbook for quick reference:
- Baking: Virgin coconut oil (much better for you and can be used in place of vegetable oil in most recipes)
- Sauteing: Melt 1/2 desired amount of unrefined/unfiltered extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 desired amount of unsalted butter
- Frying: Goose fat, chicken fat or lard (unhydrogenated)
The more natural the fats and oils we use, the better/less harmful they are for you if they are used properly. Our family avoids all types of hydrogenated and commercially concocted fats like vegetable oil, margarine, and shortening because the way they are made and processed makes them incredibly unhealthy for you. Plus, we’ve found that once we’ve switched over to more natural fats, things taste a lot better and they fill us up for longer periods of time. So, give it a whirl! Try it for yourself and see what a difference it makes!
You can find unrefined/unfiltered extra virgin olive oil at most major grocery stores. The best place we’ve found so far for goose fat is Amazon (We’ve found it is easier to buy goose fat and use it than finding unhydrogenated lard. So we usually just use goose fat instead of lard.). We’ve been able to find coconut oil at most major grocery stores and health food stores. However, for the best prices on virgin coconut oil buy in bulk online (we’re still trying to find the best price for buying in bulk since there are so many options available).