The other day I was scrolling down on my Instagram and saw a post about what vegans don’t eat and that included oils. I was surprised, oil-free? I’m vegan and didn’t know we supposed to eat without oils or at least that the big vegan experts do.
Of course, this post did cause some controversy and the influencer had to give it a little love to the post and inform why vegans have a big NO on oils and I was shocked even though it did make sense. After doing some extra research on myself about this topic I had to share my findings with you today and let you decide if you should eliminate or reduce oils from your diet.
Usually, when we hear about healthy fats we think about oils such as olive, avocado, and coconut, and in some part, they are way better for our health than other oils and animal products, but truth is that all oils are just highly processed foods and the only type of fat that is healthy for us are those that are found naturally in whole foods.
Oils are not a whole food, it is low or nutrient-free, it is extremely processed, it is 100% fat and it is the worlds most calorie-dense food. Oil is insanely dense in calories, like 4,000 calories per pound insane, this means that when you drizzle a tablespoon of oil into your frying pan or into your salad you already adding 120 calories to your meal, this means that oil can make a significant change on your weight goals. To be more exact one pound of vegetables have around 100 calories, one pound of fruits has 300 calories and one pound of oil has 4,000 calories.
When you consume fats in the shape of oils, (including avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, etc.) your body absorbs them rapidly and efficiently, and it is converted into body fat. However, when you consume the fat in its whole food such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and coconut, the body absorbs them way slower (fats are absorbed in minutes, whole foods in hours) and your body will burn the fat for energy without storing it. Another insane fact about foods is that the more calorie-dense it is, the less room will take on your stomach, this means that to get full you will have to consume more food and if it is full of oils the calories intake will be insane.
Is not a Whole Food
Oil is an extremely processed substance where almost all of the natural nutrients and fiber were stripped away and left just with the fat. Some oils might have some omega 3 fatty acids, however, the amount of it is so ridiculously small that you really won't be getting any health benefits from it if you want to keep the calories down. For you to get these fatty acid health benefits from oil you will end up gaining weight, clog your arteries because of the huge amount of oil you will need.
Best Eat Them Whole
The best thing you can do to get your healthy fats on your meals is to eat the fat in its whole shape, the food itself. Instead of using avocado oil just eat the avocado, or instead of using coconut oil go ahead and enjoy the coconut itself. Avocados are almost half fat, but it is trans-fat-free, it has no cholesterol and it only has 5g of saturated fat. Consuming the avocado will not only be better for you, but it will help to fill your stomach, and it contains nutrients such as vitamin A, C, Iron, and Calcium, and of course, it also contains fiber. If you had consumed the avocado oil itself, you would have consumed a ton of calories and had no nutrients or fiber at all.
Another way to get your healthy fats is by consuming nuts and seeds. Nuts are full of unsaturated fats, it has omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, and sterols (which helps lower your cholesterol). Seeds are also full of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and calcium. Consuming nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconut can have many health benefits like weight loss or/and maintenance, decreased risk of strokes and heart disease, and it can promote longevity.
How To Cook Without Oils
There are many tricks you can do to cook with less or no oil at all.
Sauteing = You can use water, broth, juice, vinegar, wine, beer, tamari, or even better combine any of these ingredients and make an insanely delicious meal. You can drop from 1-2 tablespoons on stainless steel or non-stick pan and toss those veggies and enjoy.
Roasting = Use parchment paper, silicone mat, or a pizza stone, and your food won’t stick. I prefer a silicone mat because is better for my wallet and the planet.
Baking = Go for unsweetened applesauce or puree, fresh or canned fruits, mashed banana, pumpkin puree, mashed potato, silken tofu, yogurt, and nut butter. If you are not a pro in the kitchen and don't know what would work better for your recipe then try to find recipes that are already oil-free, they are everywhere not days, and super easy to find.
Dressings and spreads = Thickened water (1 cup of water + 1 tbsp of cornstarch), Aquafaba, ground flax, or chia seed in water (1 tbsp + 1 cup of liquid), and avocado. I also use aquafaba as egg whites and heavy cream substitute, just add the water on a bowl and whip until nice and fluffy cream.
I will recommend for you to analyze where you are with your health right now and what are your goals, if you are trying to lose some weight then you should consider taking out oils for a while. But, if you want to maintain healthy body weight, then you don’t have to be super strict with your diet, I personally won’t. I think that this research has to change the way I think and feel about oils and they are going to be on my bathroom pantry to keep hair and face healthy, but they are going to be mostly out of my meals.
It is going to be hard to keep a 100% oil-free die,t if I am going to be eating out in restaurants or at a friend or a family home, I want to enjoy the moment and the food that will be served to me. Also, I love cooking and baking and if at any given moment I need my oils then I’ll go for it guilt-free. However if can start sauteing or pan-frying without them, take other options on my homemade dressings and bake more recipes that are oils free which the options are endless.