The Top 10 Best Cooking Oils …

We were talking about cooking oils and which ones are best before. I was just eyeing up some almond oil I bought and thought – hey … Can I cook with this? Some googling later and I found this. I think it’s a great list because instead of just saying “____ has a low smoking point”, it actually tells you the temperature that happens so you can work with it.

If you like to be a chef every once and a while, you may be confused about what cooking oils to use. (Especially, if you are on a diet). With so many skeptics and critics analyzing this oil and that, one of our leading dietitians, Christy, and one of our chefs, Chef Krishna, are telling you which oils to use while you cook and which ones to avoid completely.

10. Grapeseed Oil

Christy: “This oil contains polyunsaturated fats, and is low in saturated fat, making it very heart healthy.”

Chef K: “Grapeseed oil is very versatile, and can be used to add a very mild, nutty flavor to almost any dish. It’s great for salads, and can make for a nice drizzle over toasted bread.”

9. Sunflower Oil

Christy: “Sunflower oil is also heart healthy, and contains polyunsaturated fats and is low in saturated fats. It’s definitely a good ‘all purpose’ oil.”

Chef K: “Sunflower oil has a high smoke point of about 460 degrees F. This oil is great for high-heat cooking like sautéing. It’s actually great for sautéing vegetables.”

8. Safflower Oil

Christy: “Also low in saturated fat, using safflower oil to cook with can help lower your cholesterol. A lower cholesterol also means a reduced risk of cardiovascular and heart diseases.”

Chef K: “Safflower oil also has a high smoke point of about 450 degrees F. This makes it good for high-heat cooking, like sautéing or frying. It has such a distinct flavor and it’s great for cooking foods like chicken and pasta.”

7. Avocado Oil

Christy: “Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fats, and vitamin E. It’s a great oil to use if you are on a diet, or if you are diabetic. In certain studies, monounsaturated fats have been shown to help control insulin levels and blood sugar.”

Chef K: “Avocado oil also has a high smoke point of about 510 degrees F. This makes it a good oil for high heat cooking, like sautéing and frying. It’s great in salads, and can be used to add a little extra flavor to chicken, beef, pork or fish.”

6. Peanut Oil

Christy: “Peanut oil also contains monounsaturated fats, and is low in saturated fat, making it a heart healthy option.”

Chef K: “Peanut oil has a medium smoke point of about 350 degrees F. This is a good oil for light sautéing and frying. It’s great to use in Thai and Asian recipes, and is a great addition to sauces and salad dressings.”

5. Almond Oil

Christy: “Almond oil also contains monounsaturated fats, which makes it good for your cholesterol. It’s also an ideal cooking choice if you are diabetic.”

Chef K: “Almond oil has a high smoke point of about 495 degrees F, and is good for high heat cooking, like sautéing. It’s great flavor also works well as a healthier substitute in dessert recipes, like whipped cream.”

4. Olive Oil

Christy: “Olive oil is healthy because it contains monounsaturated fats, which makes it very heart healthy—it’s a great oil to use if you are diabetic, or if you have high cholesterol.”

Chef K: “Olive oil has a medium smoke point of about 350 degrees F. It’s a great, flavorful oil for foods like pesto sauce and salad dressings. It’s also great for sautéing vegetables, and is a great choice for cooking chicken.”

3. Flaxseed Oil

Christy: “Flaxseed oil contains polyunsaturated fats, and has a good source of omega-3’s. Omega 3 fatty acids help improve brain function and promote heart health.”

Chef K: “Flaxseed oil has a low smoke point of about 225 degrees F, so it should not be used for cooking over heat. Instead, it’s great for mixing into meals after heating, or it can be added to salad dressings or used in certain smoothies.”

2. Walnut Oil

Christy: “Walnut oil contains polyunsaturated fats, and is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. This is a very heart-healthy oil, and is a great cooking oil to use if you are diabetic.”

Chef K: “Walnut oil has a very high smoke point of about 400 degrees F, which makes it a great oil to use for baking. It’s also great for sautéing at low-medium heat. It can also make your salad pop, simply by drizzling it over the top.”

1. Canola Oil

Christy: “As far as healthy nutrition goes, canola oil is probably the best. It has monounsaturated fats, which makes it heart healthy, and is appropriate for someone with diabetes,or who is on a diet.”

Chef K: “Canola oil has a medium-high smoke point of about 425 degrees F. It is great for sautéing, baking, and stir-fry. Of all the oils, it can be used to create the most variety of recipes.”

via The Top 10 Best Cooking Oils | BistroMD.

Eat Fat To Burn Fat | LIVESTRONG.COM

Put down the snackwells… here’s a great article why.

Eat Fat To Burn Fat | LIVESTRONG.COM

Eat Fat To Burn Fat | LIVESTRONG.COM.

For a long time, we thought avocadoes were good for nothing but ready-made guac and a decent California burger every now and then. But these little nutritional hand grenades were having an explosive impact on our diets for all that time. How so? They’re infused with a key nutrient for maintaining healthy weight: fat. 

Wait…fat can help us maintain our weight? Fat doesn’t make us fat? In a word: exactly.

Most of the fat that you eat—especially if you want to lose weight—should come from unsaturated sources, both monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA), Glassman says. Why? These good-for-you foods (like fish, seeds, nuts, leafy vegetables, olive oil, and, of course, avocadoes) pack tons of nutrients. Besides removing LDL cholesterol from arteries and promoting a healthier heart, unsaturated fat can help you burn fat big time without cutting calories. A 2009 study in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that participants who consumed the most unsaturated fatty acids have lower body mass indexes and less abdominal fat than those who consumed the least. Why? The unsaturated folks ate higher-quality foods. 

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/557726-eat-fat-to-burn-fat/#ixzz21N0LBp1A

 

Why soluble fiber lowers cholesterol… (ya always hear it does but here is why)

I thought this was a cool fact. You always hear that fiber lowers cholesterol, but the why seems like a mystery. Here’s the scoop –

Bile helps you digest food. Basically in your stomach fat forms a layer on top and doesn’t mix in with the water soluble areas. Bile is an emulsifier and helps mix that up. After leaving the stomach, bile is reabsorbed by the small intestine and recycled. BUT if it sticks to some soluble fiber it continues on down and into your toilet. Your body needs bile so it makes more – and has to take from cholesterol in your body to make it, which lowers your overall levels of cholesterol. Voila!

Also to note – not all cholesterol is bad. It makes sex hormones, adrenal hormones, and vitamin D (as well as, obviously, bile). It’s also essential for the structure of our cell membranes.

Some easy sources of soluble fiber:

  • oatmeal/oat bran
  • lentils and beans
  • fruits and veggies
  • nuts
  • flaxseed

Nutrition: the facts about fats

Saw this link on Twitter and thought it had some good facts!

Nutrition: the facts about fats |

Entire books have been written about dietary fats, but the truth is that while few of us need to know the intricacies, we should know the basics. So here are some brief facts about the fats in food:

Some nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E, K and carotenoids (antioxidants found in some fresh fruits and vegetables), require a little fat for absorption and so a drizzle of olive oil on a salad or vegetables, or a few seeds sprinkled on a fresh fruit is advisable. ((note from Meg: this is why when people eat only fat free salads.. well you get the idea. A little olive oil or some nuts sprinkled on top helps you absorb))

Omega 3 fats are perhaps the best known of the beneficial fats, found mostly in oily fish, walnuts, linseeds, soybeans/tofu and purslane. They help reduce blood pressure, alleviate inflammation, balance blood glucose, combat dry skin and may influence mood. ((note from Meg  – also in flax and chia seeds, which I regularly add to yogurt, ce

Saturated fat, of which there are several types, is typified by the white fat you see on the underside of poultry skin, or marbled through red meat. We can use very small amounts of saturated fats, but excess can encourage raised cholesterol. Perversely, one saturated fat, stearic acid, can lower cholesterol and you may be pleased to learn that it is found in chocolate. But a high-sugar content can negate the benefits, so go for very dark chocolate. In general however, saturated fats should be avoided.

Trans-fats are generally created in a laboratory and are solid at room temperature, thus useful to the food industry. They are mostly used in cakes, biscuits, confectionery, puddings and pizza, and are also popular with fast food restaurants as they are cheap and long-lasting. Also called hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) vegetable oil or vegetable shortening, trans fats can raise LDL (the bad cholesterol) while lowering HDL (the good type) as well as block absorption of good fats. Avoid in all forms.

An apple a day…. some nutrition basics

So let’s start with some super basics! ((don’t worry – I promise I won’t always be so boring))

Macronutrients – nutrients you need in large amounts: carbs, fats, protein

  • Calories: Carbs: 4 kilocalories/gram (though we just call kilocalories calories normally)
  • Protein: 4 kilocalories/gram
  • Fat: 9 kilocalories/gram
  • Now I found this interesting:
  • Alcohol: 7 kilocalories/gram   (so note that’s a lot of empty calories that are easy to chug on down with no added nutrients. Now I’m far from dry – but it’s something to be cognizant of. Also your body processes alcohol first – it’s a poison and your body wants it out! So when drinking and eating your body will process the 3 margaritas first, then work on your burger – which makes it easier for that to be tagged on somewhere you don’t like. If this thought worries you… well, it’s all about balance. If it still worries you, just ignore that whole paragraph.)

Micronutrients – vitamins, minerals.

  • Vitamins are organic so they can easily be broken down during food prep or storage. Each vitamins ways of being broken down are unique though, so it’s hard to follow one set principal. I care about this but at the end of the day I think eating the vegetable, however it’s prepared, is probably better than not eating it (though not with cheese sauce.)
  • Minerals are inorganic, so boiling or nuking them won’t break them down
  • but both are easily thrown away when you boil a vegetable, for example, and dump the water down the drain.

Some terms to know while shopping:

  • fortified – the nutrients were added after
  • enriched – nutrients were added back that were lost when the food was processed. Some of this is regulated – for example, folate is added back to white bread because a lack of it causes birth defects
  • imitation foods – that cheese in velveeta probably ain’t real…

What proportions of macronutrients you should be eating: 

  • 45%-65% from carbs
  • 20-35% from fat
  • 10-25% from protein

That’s all well and good but when you look at a sandwich it’s not quite so simple. A tool I love is sparkpeople.com. I recommend everyone at one point do a food log for a week – not a day or two where you can cheat. It’s just astounding some of the assumptions I had before I did the same. Then I’d watch my husband fill not one but two large bowls to the top with cereal for breakfast and one day finally got him to pour a bowl and then put it in a measuring cup. That was 4 servings of cereal!

If you’re hardcore into it, all of this measuring involves some measuring cups and a food scale. If not there are tricks for determining portion sizes. All of this seems like a pain in the arse, I know, but eventually it becomes second nature.

  • meat – one 3 oz serving of cooked meat is about the size of a bar of soap
  • pasta – 1/2 a cup is the size of your fist. That doesn’t help so much with angel hair. I used a food scale. The amount while dry looks sad and skimpy. When cooked it plumps up. Also remember you can have numerous servings per day of these various macronutrients so it’s okay to go a bit over but don’t have 5 servings worth in one meal!)
  • oil – one teaspoon of oil is about the size of the tip of your thumb – that’s around 40 calories. And it pours out fast.
  • cheese – one ounce is about the size of a domino
  • fruit – a tennis ball sized apple is a serving. The ones from costco the size of volleyballs? Probably more calories in those babies than a normal home-grown apple.
  • peanut butter – 2 oz serving is a ping pong ball.

Think that’s enough basics for now. I’m off to the gym!