I don’t consider oils to be health foods. Not even the cold pressed, organic and extra virgin kind. Whole food fats are where it’s at! Oils are an isolated macro nutrient devoid of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fibre. You may hold the belief that they are essential to cooking and making your food taste good. But this is far from the truth. We need to relearn how to prepare food if we are looking to achieve optimal health and heal from disease. I wanted to compare the nutrient density of some of the most commonly used oils with whole foods sources of fat.
I understand that there are many people who will tolerate consuming oils. An extremely healthy individual with a healthy liver and lymphatic system, optimal bile secretions and a strong constitution may not experience any negative effects. For those who are healing from chronic illness however oils are not your friend. They slow down healing and detoxification. They stress the liver and overburden the lymphatic system. They are congesting and make it difficult for the body to let go of accumulated toxins stored in fat, tissues and organs. Overeating fats in general can cause these issues as well, but oils are a concentrated source and tend to be more problematic. As you can see below, they also provide very little value nutritionally.
This is in no way an anti-fat post. All macro-nutrients play essential roles in maintaining optimal health, but whole foods are always superior!
I am all about nutrient density! Swapping out isolated oils for whole food fats is supplying your body with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, fats, carbohydrates and fibre.
Here are some examples of the nutrient density of various oils and whole food fats. I wanted to show you how much more nutrition you are getting for the same caloric intake.
Coconut Oil (20 grams serving) – 185.7 calories. Fat 21.4 grams. Saturated fat 18.6.
Coconut Butter (28 gram serving) – 183.8 calories. Iron 2.5 mg. Carbs 7.0 grams. Fibre 5.3 grams. Sugars 1.8 grams. Fat 19.3 grams. Saturated fat 15.8 grams. Protein 1.8 grams.
Avocado Oil (20 gram serving) – 176.8 calories. Vitamin E 2.5 mg. Vitamin K 18.3 ug. Fat 20 grams. Omega 3 0.2 grams. Omega 6 2.5 grams. Monounsaturated fat 14.1 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 2.7 grams. Saturated fat 2.3 grams.
Avocado Hass (85 gram serving) – 178 calories. Vitamin C 7.1 mg. Calcium 39.5 mg. Phosphorous 40 mg. Potassium 482 mg. B1 0.1 mg. B2 0.1 mg. B6 0.6 mg. Folate 75.5 mg. Iron 0.7 mg. Carbs 5.9 grams. Fibre 4 grams. Fat 17.8 grams. Monounsaturated fat 9.9 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 2 grams. Saturated fat 5 grams. Protein 2 grams.
Olive Oil (20 gram serving) – 176.8 calories. Vitamin E 2.9 mg. Vitamin K 12 mg. Fat 20 grams. Monounsaturated fat 14.6 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 2.1 grams. Omega 3 0.2 grams. Omega 6 2.0 grams. Saturated fat 2.8 grams.
Sun Dried Puruvian Olives (15 Olives) – 176 calories. Beta Carotene 483.6 IU. Vitamin C 1.1. Vitamin E 1,7. Vitamin K 1.7. Calcium 105.6 mg. Copper 0.3 mg. Iron 4 mg. Magnesium 4.8 mg. Phosphorous 3.6 mg. Selenium 1.1 mg. Zinc 0.3 mg. Carbs 4.3 grams. Fibre 3.8 grams. Fat 7.1 grams. Monounsaturated fat 12.9 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 2.1 grams. Omega 3 0.1 grams. Omega 6 1 gram. Saturated fat 2.1 grams. Protein 1 gram.
Pumpkin Seed Oil (20 gram serving) – 178 calories. Vitamin E 0.6 grams. Fat 20 grams. Monounsaturated fat 5.2 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 10.4 grams.
Pumpkin Seeds (30 gram serving) – 172 calories. Niacin 1.3 mg. B5 0.2 mg. Folate 17.1 mg. Beta carotene 2.4 IU. Vitamin C 0.5. Vitamin E 0.2. Vitamin K 1.3 ug. Calcium 15.6 mg. Copper 0.4 mg. Iron 0.4 mg. Magnesium 165 mg. Manganese 1.3 mg. Phosphorous 352.2 mg. Potassium 236.4 mg. Selenium 2.8 mg. Zinc 2.3 mg. Carbs 4.4 grams. Fibre 2 grams. Fat 14.7 grams. Monounsaturated fat 4.7 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 6 grams. Omega 5.9 grams. Saturated fat 2.6 grams. Protein 9 grams.
Flax Seed Oil (20 gram serving) – 176.8 calories. Vitamin K 1.9 ug. Calcium 0.2 mg. Phosphorous 0.2 mg. Fat 20 grams. Monounsaturated fat 3.7 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 13.6 grams. Omega 3 10.7 grams. Omega 6 2.9 grams. Saturated fat 1.8 grams.
Flax Seeds (33 gram serving) – 176 calories. B1 0.5 mg. B2 0.1 mg. Niacin 1.0 mg. B5 0.3 mg. B6 0.2 mg. Folate 28.7 mg. Vitamin K 1.4 ug. Vitamin E 0.1 mg. Calcium 84.2 mg. Copper 0.4 mg. Iron. 0.9 mg. Magnesium 129.4 mg. Manganese 0.8 mg. Phosphorous 211.9 mg. Selenium 8.4 mg. Zinc 1.4 mg. Carbs 9.5 grams. Fibre 9 grams. Fat 13.9 grams. Monounsaturated fat 2.5 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 9.5 grams. Omega 3 7.5 grams. Omega 6 1.9 grams. Saturated fat 1.2 grams. Protein 6 grams.
Sunflower Oil (20 gram serving ) – 177 calories. Vitamin E 8.2 mg. Vitamin K 1.1 ug. Selenium 4.5 ug. Fat 20 grams. Monounsaturated fat 3.9 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 13.1 grams. Omega 6 13.1 grams. Saturated fat 2.1 grams.
Sunflower Seeds (30 gram serving) – 175 calories. B1 0.4 mg. B2 0.1 mg. B3 2.5 mg. B5 0.3 mg. B6 0.4 mg. Beta Carotene 15 IU. Vitamin C 0.4 mg, Vitamin E 10.6 mg. Calcium 23.4 mg. Copper 0.5 mg. Iron 1.6 mg. Magnesium 95.5 mg. Manganese 0.6 mg. Phosphorous 198 mg. Potassium 193.5 mg. Selenium 15.9 ug. Zinc 1.5 mg. Carbs 6 grams. Fibre 2.6 grams. Fat 15.4 grams. Monounsaturated fat 5.6 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 6.9 grams. Omega 6 6.9 grams. Saturated fat 1.3 grams. Protein 6.2 grams.
Hemp Seed Oil (20 gram serving) – 167 calories. Fat 18.7 grams. Monounsaturated fat 2.7 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 14.7 grams. Omega 3 3.7 grams. Omega 6 10 grams. Saturated fat 1.3 grams.
Hemp Seeds (30 gram serving ) – 166 calories. B1 0.4 mg. B2 0.1 mg. B3 2.8 mg. B5 0.3 mg. B6 0.2 mg. Folate 33 mg. Beta carotene 3.3 IU. Vitamin E 0.2 mg. Vitamin K 1.8 mg. Calcium 21 mg. Copper 0.5 mg. Iron 2.4 mg. Magnesium 210 mg. Manganese 2.3 mg. Phosphorous 495 mg. Potassium 360 mg. Selenium 7.7 mg. Zinc 3 mg. Carbs 2.6 grams. Fibre 1.2 grams. Fat 14.6 grams. Monounsaturated fat 1.6 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 11.4 grams. Omega 3 2.8 grams. Omega 6 8.2 grams. Saturated fat 1.4 grams. Protein 9.5 grams.
Sesame Oil (20 gram serving) – 177 calories. Fat 20 grams. Monounsaturated fat 7.9 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 8.3 grams. Omega 3 0.1 grams. Omega 6 8.3 grams. Saturated fat 2.9 grams. Vitamin E 0.3 mg. Vitamin K 2.7 ug.
Hulled Sesame Seeds (30 gram serving ) – 189 calories. B1 0.2 mg. B3 1.7 mg. B5 0.1 mg. B6 0.1 mg. Folate 34.5 mg. Beta carotene 19.8 IU. Vitamin E 0.5 mg. Calcium 34.3 mg. Copper 0.4 mg. Iron 1.9 mg. Magnesium 103.5 mg. Manganese 0.4 mg. Phosphorous 200 mg. Potassium 111 mg. Selenium 10.3 ug. Zinc 2 mg. Carbs 2.6 grams. Fibre 0.9 grams. Fat 18.4 grams. Monounsaturated fat 7.2 grams. Polyunsaturated fat 7.6 grams. Omega 3 0.1 grams. Omega 6 7.6 grams. Saturated fat 2.7 grams. Protein 7.7 grams.
You may be wondering, how do you prepare food without oil?
Steam your vegetables.
Dry bake your vegetables on unbleached baking paper and season with celtic sea salt, garlic, herbs and spices.
Stir fry your vegetables with a little water.
Lightly simmer your vegetables in water or broth. Remember to drink the broth that some of the vitamin and minerals have leached into. You can also puree the vegetables after the first step to make a lovely hearty soup. The addition of coconut butter or coconut cream is absolutely delightful. You can make amazing unctuous curries that are so tasty and satisfying.
How do you replace oil based salad dressings and sauces?
I am all about the sauce!
My very favourite way to get healthy whole food fats into my diet currently is by eating avocados, grinding flax seeds and soaking seeds prior to blending them into a zucchini based dressing. It might sound strange. But don’t knock it until you try it! If you want to access the nutrients these seeds contain it is best to either grind or blend them.
Here is an example ~
Pumpkin Zucchini Dressing
Soak 30 grams of pumpkin seeds overnight.
Rinse and place into a small personal blender.
Add 1 peeled and chopped zucchini ( I use the peel in my salads), turmeric, lemon juice, garlic and herbamare or celtic sea salt to taste.
You may need to add a little water.
Now blend until smooth!
Because the weather has been cold I have been making warm salads. I like to steam some of my vegetables and add them to a salad containing a huge amount of leafy greens, nori, garlic, lemon juice, dulse, red onion, tomatoes, herbs and zucchini ribbons. I then pour the pumpkin dressing over the top, add some ground flax seeds and maybe some sliced avocado.
You can make this zucchini based dressing with any soaked nuts or seeds! I love hemp, sesame or raw tahini, sunflower and pumpkin seed based dressings. Cashew and macadamia based dressings are very delicious as well.
Another great salad dressing or sauce is made by literally mashing avocado with lemon juice, a little filtered water to desired consistency, garlic, red onion, smoked paprika, celtic sea salt, coriander or any herbs and spices you desire. You can also add finely chopped olives, capsicum, grated carrot or cucumber for an additional vegetable and nutrition boost. Add this to a salad and massage it through. Heavenly! Or use it as a dip.
One last dressing or sauce idea is a raw tahini based dressing!
Simply put 1 – 2 tablespoons of raw tahini in a cup or a small personal blender, combine either by blending or manually mixing with lemon juice, finely chopped garlic, celtic sea salt or herbamare and paprika. Coconut aminos also pairs well with tahini.
Another great way to get healthy whole food fats into your diet is by making cashew cheese with cashews, lemon juice, garlic and salt. You can add some beautiful fresh herbs as well.
I will leave you with one last oil free recipe ~
Hemp & Broccoli Pesto
You will need ~
1 head of broccoli chopped, steamed to slightly al dente and then cooled.
1 raw garlic clove, chopped finely
2 – 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds (I like to grind before adding to the food processor)
Celtic sea salt of Himalayan salt to taste
2 cups of coriander or basil. I love coriander!
You can also add spinach either raw or steamed and it is delicious.
Process everything together in a food processor and voila! You have pesto. I love it with steamed vegetables, salad and zucchini pasta.
Have fun experimenting with different ways to include these nutrient dense whole food fats into your diet.
My wish is for every being’s food to be as nourishing, healing and nutrient dense as possible.
Have you tried omitting oils?
What has the experience been like for you?
I would love to hear from you!
With love, Amy X
I also want to acknowledge that in some circumstances the active compounds found in certain oils like coconut oil (Lauric Acid) can be very helpful when used therapeutically because they contain antimicrobial properties. I still personally prefer to consume the whole food version, whole ground coconut flesh or take a Monolaurin supplement which is what Lauric Acid is converted to once ingested and is antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial.