Posts tagged fat free cooking

Tips on Avoiding Oil

I have to confess, I really don’t feel like doing aaaaanything, including blogging.  There’s not much inspiration stirring in my kitchen these past few days either. All I want to do is enjoy summer. Even though I don’t feel like doing much, I find that I have been busier these past two months than I have been all year! What’s up with that?! The way I am feeling right now, I hope I am not heading for burn-out. I need to have some fun here.

I have been thinking about fun (and how I could really use some) and I had an unexpected surprise the other day… Someone contacted me regarding hair styling for a Cirque du Soleil event. It’s still work mind you, but it’s a little play too, as tickets to the show are involved. YAY! Now I am visualizing that everything works out effortlessly and comes to pass so I can take my little guy to a circus with class and without the animal cruelty. The way it should be! I find it crazy that I just finished watching the documentary “Earthlings” which was a bit tough to handle, but a must see for everyone and I kept thinking about the traditional Circus vs. Cirque du Soleil. Then what do you know? I attracted Cirque du Soleil into my experience. Coincidence… or the power of the mind?

I’m always in the mood to be entertained and inspired. Have you seen Cirque du Soleil? Where was it? What’s your review?

Photo by Ed Schipul

Avoiding Oil

Come to think of it, avoiding oil can seem like a challenging circus act. To change the subject here, I just want to share with you the ways in which I am trying to avoid oil. Why? Oil is the reason we are fat, according to Dr. Doug Lisle. Oil is concentrated fat calories and they are everywhere in the standard American diet! I posted earlier about oil and it’s harmful effects and I have been a lot more conscious about oil in my day to day diet. When I read labels, specifically being mindful of oil, I find it everywhere! From veggie burgers to granola cereals to crackers and more. You can’t escape the oil. Unless you work at it. Read those labels!

Each time you omit unnecessary fat calories, it adds up, and you end up slimming down without much effort.

Here are some ideas that are quite simple, but just take habit forming effort:

Make homemade salad dressings –  Salads are a part of a healthy diet but not so much when they are smothered in fat. Out of pure laziness, I used to buy pre-made “healthy” salad dressings. After reading the Forks over Knives handbook and trying some of their simple recipes, I was amazed by the difference. There are dressings that you can make in advance to keep on hand and they taste FRESH, light and clean. Or, just squeeze lemon over a salad for something refreshing.  (I will post one of my favorite recipes from the FOK book at the end of this post).

Switch what you dip – I am ashamed to say that for a while, we had a blue corn chip addiction here. I was noticing that chips and hummus were becoming a pre-dinner snack once or twice a week, so we switched to baked chips. Better than that, now I am on to veggies… I know it sounds so simple and obvious but veggies seemed like more work than ripping open a bag of chips and I am busy  like everyone else. How funny. I just had to re-create the habit of having fresh cut veggies ready to go. Somewhere along the line, I fell off that wagon. Since it is summer, I find that I am all about cucumbers which are cold and refreshing. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower never really striked my fancy but once you know how important they are in fighting breast cancer and other hormone related cancers, you’ll be reaching for these, like I am now.

Make your own Hummus – My recipe is coming soon! Hummus has to be a vegan’s favorite staple food item! I whipped up my own roasted red pepper hummus the other day for an event I had here and someone asked my husband if I made it… he said no (because we have been on a bad track of buying store bought). I was so mad because YES, yes I did make it for the party. It was so easy in my Vitamix and oil free! It tasted just as good (much better actually) as anything we ever purchased and from now on, I will always try to make my own. But if ever in a hurry, I’ll be looking for a fat free/oil free hummus at the grocery store because oil is usually always involved in hummus dip.

Ditch the mayo, Veganaise, Nayonaise etc… – Hopefully by now, you have moved on from regular mayo with all that egg cruelty and onto vegan brands such as Veganaise. But Veganaise still has a lot of fat. It is a good idea to omit the extra fat on your sandwich (because it all adds up). Try something natural, lighter or homemade. I am using hummus, mashed avocado or homemade vegan mayo on my sandwiches lately. I made this homemade Tofu-Cashew mayonnaise from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and I really like it. I added a touch of black salt for that egg like flavor. I am now experimenting with different twists on this dressing as Author, Susan Voisin suggests.

Cook your vegetables in vegetable broth or water, not oil – Most of us are so guilty. It’s the way we were brought up. First you grab your pan, heat the oil and add your veggies. If we stop and think about it. It’s so unnecessary! Vegetables cook up just fine using water or vegetable broth. You may need to add more liquid as it cooks off, you just have to watch it a bit closer is all. You can also roast veggies in the oven that are soaked in broth instead of smothered in oil. Save yourself some inflammation!

Replace oil in baked goods- You can use applesauce, banana, tofu or flax just to name some ideas

Use parchment paper for baking food instead of greasing the cookie sheets – This is pretty self explanatory.

If you have to use oil… For example, pancakes – I use a good non-stick pan, but I will still use a bit of coconut oil. I put about a 1/2 teaspoon in the heated pan and then wipe it around the pan with a paper towel. It get’s evenly coated with a light, barely there bit of oil. This helps reduce the fat and oil but helps the cakes from sticking.

Search for a fat free pasta sauce – This was a little tough for me. I like to have a good pasta sauce on hand. As much as I like the idea of Muir Glen organic brand, I found the sauce to be lacking in taste. I also tried Walnut Acres brand… it’s not for me. It also lacks. I should confess… I have a tiny salt addiction, ever since I was pregnant (just for dinner food though.Weird). It’s salt I crave. I try to keep it to my Pink Himalayan sea salt which is healthier in nature but this salt thing is something I should kick. Whether it be salt or flavor… I searched the shelves at Trader Joe’s and discovered their fat free organic spaghetti sauce with mushrooms. It’s my new favorite. It has taste! My dad cans his own tomatoes and I would love to learn this craft. Right now, I am a girl on the go and I use jar sauce. I’m also not very Italian. Just a little tiny bit Italian. Not enough to offend my ancestors by using jarred sauce :)

Don’t butter your bread – We used to slather our toast in earth balance first and then top with jelly. We had to stop that. I am now just topping my son’s toast with natural preserves or nut butters. Possibly a drizzle of maple syrup or a sprinkle of Sucanat. We don’t miss the butter. We just had to break the habit. I still have Earth Balance on hand but it is lasting an eternity now that I rarely use it. This is a good thing! Same thing goes for waffles or my favorite organic sprouted Ezekiel bread. No more oils…

Here is one good resource for substitutes and techniques for fat free cooking.

As promised, one of my new favorite salad dressing recipes is Raspberry-Orange Vinaigrette. This is from the Forks Over Knives handbook and Anastasia St. John. It’s very refreshing for summer and so easy.

You’ll need

  • 1 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1/2 Cup fresh or frozen Raspberries, thawed
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • Freshly ground Pepper


Puree the orange juice, raspberries and balsamic vinegar in a blender until smooth. Add black pepper to taste

I’ll plan to share a good recipe next week…. for now, it’s Friday and I’m off to the pool! I want to wish a wonderful Father’s day to all the great dad’s out there! Enjoy your weekend. Ps. Follow me on my Facebook Page… I just shared a great beet burger recipe (for your weekend bbq) that I found today!

Do you have any ideas on avoiding oil and fat? Please share your comments

Enjoy the Journey,

~The Karmatarian

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