If you want your cooking to be delicious there is no way around it, you have to use fresh high quality ingredients. As many of my soups, stews and even vegetables start off with using a little oil, I think it is one of the most important ingredient. I use extra virgin olive oil 95% of the time. When I am needing to pan-fry or sear meats/poultry/fish I switch over to a light sesame oil. Organic grapeseed oil and organic canola oil are acceptable alternatives if you have them already.
Is there such a thing as healthy fats?
Understanding healthy fats versus unhealthy fats can be less confusing if you remember that saturated fats are solid at room temperature and should be eaten in moderation. They are found in animal protein, all dairy food and tropical fats, such as palm kernel oil and coconut oil. Recently, however, coconut oil is being respected for its nutrition and health properties.
Unsaturated fats are always liquid at room temperature. Good quality organic expeller pressed oil can actually be an important addition to an overall healthy diet. Unsaturated fats are either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated and are found in vegetable quality food such as nuts, seeds, grains and beans and vegetable oils.
Keep in mind though, all fats have about the same calories so if you’re concerned about weight gain, use all fats in moderation. However, saturated fats have been linked to elevated levels of cholesterol and you should exercise more caution with these foods. The latest recommendation is to reduce saturated fats by reducing portion size of meats and dairy or choose low fat dairy.
Trans-fats and hydrogenated fats are fats that are the result of highly specialized processing that not only robs the oil of nutrition but leaves it virtually indigestible, carcinogenic, and potentially raising blood cholesterol. Virtually all commercial oils (except olive oil) are processed this way and I strongly recommend you replace these oils with expeller pressed oils found in health food stores.
Spectrum Naturals does a very high quality oil found in the health food stores. The brand or origin of extra virgin olive oil is your preference. Some like Spanish others Italian and I always chose organic.