Oils Ain’t Oils!
Never before have we seen such a selection of oils on the supermarket shelf and still growing! Many labels praise to be healthy and rich in Omega 3!
How good are they really for our health? Which one is better? I remember the days of cooking and baking with animal fat – hmmm, we were much healthier then!
It is a fact that our body needs fat in order to stay healthy. The “fat-free fad” has been most detrimental to our health. Over the past 60 years, since the beginning of industrialisation after WW2, our food has changed by means of equipment and processing. It has given the corporations higher profits and yields; however, not improved the quality of food.
Oil is one of the industries which benefitted handsomely by use of machinery due to the invention of heat extracting the oil from the seeds instead of the cumbersome manual process. Unfortunately, this heating method destroys the highly-fragile essential fatty acid enzymes, especially Omega 3 and the good Omega 6. However, it gives the oil almost endless shelf life. We consume too much of the bad Omega 6, the hydrogenated oil. Our body cannot produce these essential fatty acids (EFA) and we need to consume these every day, ideally in form of food, not pills.
Another factor to deal with is the genetic modification of many plants used for oil production. Eating healthy is confusing – animal fats are supposedly no good for us and the oils depleted of nutrition?
Here comes the good news! The best oil is cold pressed Flaxseed oil, also known as Linseed. It has the highest content of Omega 3, 58 percent, more than fish oil! It also contains Omega 6 to a lesser degree. This oil must not be heated; it has to be totally shielded from light and kept under refrigeration. The lifespan is limited and it should be consumed ideally within three months of production. I only use Stoney Creek from Victoria and Barlean’s, imported from Canada, but it is not always available.
You will not find quality cold pressed Flaxseed oil on the supermarket shelf but at the health food stores in the refrigerated section. Cold pressed oil, such as olive oil, should be stored in a dark place. It is best to buy oil in small bottles for quick consumption. Refrain from purchasing cold-pressed flaxseed oil from supermarket shelves; it will most likely be rancid and tasting bitter.
For heating I can only recommend organic Virgin Coconut oil, also called Coconut butter! It comes in a glass jar in various sizes. Some supermarkets now also stock it, but you will not find it in the oil section. Coconut butter solidifies when cold and it is liquid when temperature’s high. It does not become toxic when heated, withstanding high temperatures. It has many health benefits outside cooking/baking. Coconut oil does not require refrigeration and does not become rancid.
Please remember that the terminology “cold pressed” is one of the most over-used descriptions in this industry! Cold pressed means extracting the oil at below 40 degrees heat! Anything above this temperature destroys the essential fatty acids so necessary for our health.
Hence, I stick to the brands which give guarantee of being “cold pressed” with quick turn over! Quality flaxseed oil is extremely healthy. It is worth noting that you can store flaxseed oil in the freezer to retain freshness.
Worth noting, if cooking oil praises “added Omega 3” as I have seen in supermarkets … don’t bother! If it has not already gone rancid in this large container, it will, of course, be destroyed by the cooking process.
My Favourite Salad Dressing Recipe
Salad dressing (basic) using flaxseed oil: 2 tbsp flaxseed oil, 3 tbsp Apple cider vinegar (I use the one with mother), pinch of pure sea salt, fresh ground pepper to taste. Put into a glass jar and shake well. Add some water if it tastes too strong.
Vary by adding garlic or other fresh herbs to suit your palate.
UNDERSTANDING FATS & OILS, Michael T. Murray, N.D. and Jade Beutler, R..R.T., R.C.P.