Posts tagged Oil

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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Oil – Harmful or Helpful?

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It dawned on me that I’ve been bouncing between the ideas of three different diets and nutritional lifestyles. When it comes to the idea of oil, each diet is different. Oil has been a conditioned staple and part of my cooking process FOREVER, so the idea of giving up oil for optimal health has been a bit of a struggle for me. I wasn’t ready to hear or accept why I should. But I finally grasp why it is important to avoid oil and I gathered a bit of information below that helps me to better understand the “WHY” and if it helps me, I hope it will help you, too.

One of the diets I like, the raw food diet, happens to be very high in fat and oil, It seems the raw foodists are turning up their noses at the advice of nutritional scientists and doctors regarding how much fat we actually require. The other diet, the general vegan diet just avoids animal products (for that alone, I am a huge fan) but for many it remains an unhealthy diet filled with sugar, processed food, fat and oil as part of an everyday menu. But the whole foods plant based diet is totally scientific, optimal health focused and does not condone sugar, processed foods or oil at all!  No oil. ZIP. This is the ultimate healthy diet in my opinion and in the opinion of many modern nutritional scientists. This is what I strive for. I love raw foods but I accept that I will never be 100% raw. I love to cook. I find myself eating mostly raw all day long and cooking a vegan/plant based dinner in the evening. This is my happy place right now. Cooking food is just fine and you can reach all of your health goals with cooked foods too, no matter what the raw food community tries to tell you.

The WFPBD is the diet I have studied more prominently and became certified in through the T. Colin Campbell foundation. But, I find that I still try to make my way through the opposing studies, one side saying oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, flax oil and hemp oil etc… have health benefits and the other side saying they have nothing to offer but premature aging, blood vessel damage and added fat onto our thighs to name a few things. I’m trying to figure out if I can still partake with a tiny bit of oil because I have no known health risks or if I should just steer clear.  So here we go….

How oil consumption is harmful

First, I must point out the obvious, oil is 100% FAT. Period. Extremely high in calories and every one of them = pure fat!

Oil has zero fiber which would otherwise help ease this fat into our system. Instead it gets dumped in and it messes with our pancreas. So in other words, extra fat in our diet especially in the form of oil, lends a very big hand to diabetes and offers us a very good chance of some form of a sugar metabolic disorder.

“It’s rather simple but as everyone knows, oil is a lubricant, oil coats things and if there’s more fat in our bloodstream than we’re designed to handle, it not only coats the blood sugar molecule, it also coats the insulin. Well, when the insulin is coated and the sugar is coated, it’s very hard for the insulin to link up with the sugar. They don’t recognize each other. Not only that, but the portal where sugar exits the bloodstream becomes clogged with fat, so it’s hard for sugar to get out again. Well, the blood sugar level continues to rise and eventually, more insulin is produced and the insulin’s job is to find sugar. So, eventually it’s going to, but now there’s twice as much or three times as much insulin in the bloodstream as there is supposed to be and eventually your blood sugar crashes.

~Dr. Doug Graham, Author of The 80-10-10 Raw Foods Diet (Interview with Natural

The average American, eating roughly 40 percent of his calories from fat when the world authorities are recommending 10 percent as a maximum. And if we keep doing that we will all become diabetics. The raw fooders, I thought, we’re doing far better until I started keeping track, and after interviewing about 5000 raw fooders, I feel pretty comfortable in giving averages, and the average raw fooder consumes 65 to 70 percent of their calories from fat.”

~Dr. Doug Graham, Author of The 80-10-10 Raw Foods Diet (Interview with Natural

When oil enters into our stomachs, due to it’s condensed nature and lack of fiber, the receptors and regulators, namely the Hypothalamus, are not properly informed. Our stomach’s stretch receptors are not triggered properly and neither are our body’s nutrition receptors (think toxic hunger). Both can cause us to over eat.

Free Radicals

When oil is heated, it becomes denatured, oxidized, and rancid. Oils increase our need for Vitamin E and Antioxidants because of the free radicals they produce and free radical damage such as premature aging, cancer and disease result along with deficient levels of Vitamin E. Free radicals attack our cells and tissues setting the stage for cancer, and initiate the buildup of plaque in our blood vessels by triggering mutations of our cells DNA/RNA strands. Free radicals also set us up for auto-immune diseases like arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s and Cataracts.

“Excess consumption of vegetable oils is especially damaging to the reproductive organs and the lungs—both of which are sites for huge increases in cancer in the US.”- Dr. G, All about Wellness, Blog

“Every mouthful of oils and animal products, including dairy foods, initiates an assault on these [cell] membranes and, therefore, on the cells they protect. These foods produce a cascade of free radicals in our bodies, especially harmful chemical substances that induce metabolic injuries from which there is only a partial recovery. Year after year, the effects accumulate. And eventually, the cumulative cell injury is great enough to become obvious, to express itself as what physicians define as disease. Plants and grains do not induce the deadly cascade of free radicals. Even better, in fact, they carry an antidote. Unlike oils and animal products, they contain antioxidants, which help to neutralize the free radicals and also, recent research suggests, may provide considerable protection against cancers.”

~ Dr. Esselstyn, page 38 of “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”


Polyunsaturated fat although deemed the healthier fat, still has the potential to turn into saturated fat in our bodies.

Fat, no matter the type, in excess, can be stored on our butts, thighs and hips etc. Be careful with supplementation of things like Omega 3.

We require as little as 10% of our total calories to come from fat. Yet the standard American Diet consumes an average of 40% fat and the raw food dieters can consume up to 70%!

Fat stimulates the production of hormones. If we want to avoid hormone related cancers, diabetes and disease etc… it is important to stick to a low fat plant based diet.

The more fat a person consumes, the more competition there is for the enzymes that convert ALA to DHA (Omega 3) therefore causing an Omega 3 deficiency.

A high fat diet consisting of oils (including and especially fish oil supplements) seriously increases Vitamin E deficiency. This is due to the free radical damage promoted by the oil and our body’s requirement of antioxidants and Vitamin E to fix the problem.

I would have to agree with Dr. Doug Lisle who believes that the leading cause of weight gain is oil. Consider apples which are 300 calories a pound.  Oil is 4000 calories a pound. Oil is everywhere in the standard American diet!

As a woman, I particularly agree with this next quote:

“Here is the reality for breast cancer patients. Most breast cancers are estrogen positive, and most women receive treatment for their cancer that an increasing number of doctors are starting to acknowledge is overkill.

Estrogen levels are easily lowered for most women by consuming a low-fat, high-fiber plant based diet, exercising, and by achieving and maintaining optimal weight and body composition. Women should be given this information both as a means of preventing breast cancer, and certainly as a primary means for preventing recurrence. Dietary excellence and optimal habits are considerably more effective than tamoxifen without the negative side effects.” 

~ Pam Popper, ND

Can oil consumption be helpful?

After reading the above information, it’s hard to see what could be helpful about oil at all. It just seems much more beneficial to eat the whole food with fiber and antioxidants intact.

Having attended Dr. Gabriel Cousens’ spiritual nutrition workshop and reading about the health benefits of coconut oil and other oils around the internet, it’s easy to be left confused.

If there are any healthful properties or phyto-nutrients in oil, they are certainly destroyed with cooking. Oil should be consumed raw, cold pressed and never refined if it ever is to be consumed. What took me a while to realize when comparing raw food diets to the other diets and what makes the oil different for each diet is cooking the oil versus not cooking it. However, oil is still pure fat and very high in calories. The only way I see it being beneficial is if you are an extremely high oxidizer and require more energy as fuel. As long as you know you are going to burn it, you may need the extra fat in your diet.

Olive oil supposedly lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and coconut oil has a million healthful properties. Oils such as hemp, and walnut have high vitamin E which are better because the other types of oils rob our bodies of vitamin E. Flax oil is very great for Omega 3 but low in vitamin E which makes for a short shelf life (oil and ground seeds). It still makes more sense to add a scoop of ground flax, the whole food, to your morning breakfast rather than coat a salad in just the fat. I personally prefer Chia seeds for Omega 3 along with their hydrating properties and amino acid content.

So, where am I now in all of this?

I get it! I have cut back drastically on oil and fat. Oil has pro inflammatory properties. I can feel the difference and see a difference in my skin. Yet I still don’t see giving up oil 100% at this time. But as far as cutting drastically back on oil, it’s a conscious transition and an effort. I have no health issues that I know of and I am not trying to lose any weight. I do however want to avoid diabetes which runs in the family and I never want to experience breast cancer. Also, who wants to pre-maturely age? So I am cutting out the excess fat and as much oil as I possibly can. I am reading the labels as I always have and avoiding added oils. If I cook with oil, it’s mostly coconut oil sometimes grape seed but I’m ditching the olive oil, especially for cooking. As you may realize this blog was started a long time ago, before I became certified in WFPBN. There are recipes on this blog of varying kinds including those with oils and processed vegan foods with healthier and healthier recipes to come as I have grown on my journey.

If we try our best to avoid oil, we won’t feel as guilty when we happen to find ourselves enjoying it, in say a raw dessert for example. This is my view anyway. Rip Esselstyn said in his Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue DVD, something along the lines of…  after you avoid oil for a while and experience it again, it just tastes like man made goo. This has not happened to me yet. If you are one to adhere to a strict whole foods plant based diet with zero oil, awesome! It should be the goal for us all. You might have even learned of this diet while being lucky enough to skip over the other diets which taught me and plenty of others bad habits. Your life may depend on avoiding oil, especially if you are overcoming illness, so keep up the amazing health crusade!

People generally don’t know how to moderate very well, that is why I feel oil is not recommended at all whatsoever for a whole foods plant based diet. What is a little oil to one person is a lot to another and vice versa. And it would most likely be cooked which is a bad idea. And don’t forget, we are talking about a lot of seriously ill people that a WFPBD is trying to fix. I like to believe that I have a handle on the oil. Lol… sure, right, don’t we all?  Would I recommend oil to you for your daily diet. Nope. I wouldn’t. But if you partake every now and then like me, I guess we are all just eating at our own risk. So do what you will with this information. I hope it at least convinces you to cut WAY BACK on the oil.

I will be sharing some good ideas to help you cut back on oil in my next blog post. So keep a look out for it. *Update- the post is up, check it out Tips on Avoiding Oil

Thanks for reading and enjoy the journey!

~The Karmatarian

Some great articles and references for this post:

Dr. Doug Graham – The 80-10-10 Raw Foods Diet and How Much Fat to Eat (Part 2)

Patient information – Health Benefits Of Oils

Coconut Oil Benefits: When Fat Is Good For You

Dangers of Vegetable Oils

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