The great, Michael Pollan, wrote the words above in a little book called, “Food Rules”, following his masterpiece, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” - an investigation of how human Omnivores ate, from the first humans to the present. “Food Rules” is short and to the point; page after page contains simple, practical advice that speaks to us from the gut - the place where truth lives and food and thoughts are digested simultaneously.
Although there is lots of information online about the dangers of Sugar, even worse are highly refined vegetable oils that we have been made to believe are safe. Perhaps because they have the word “vegetable” in them, we think they are good for us; nothing could be farther from the truth. When you take a highly sensitive substance, heat it, press it, bleach it and extract it with chemical solvents, refining it so that it can no longer be recognized as the healthy seed it once was, it transforms into a cheap, dangerous version of itself. It is now some sort of “Frankenfood” that oxidizes when heated, creating cascades of free radicals inside the arteries, damaging our mitochondria, enzymes, hormone receptors and DNA. This is the stuff (not cholesterol) that strokes and heart attacks are made of.
“Nature does not make bad fats, factories do…”
-Cate Shanahan, MD
Dr. Cate Shanahan, wrote “Deep Nutrition”, one of my favorite books on nutrition, explaining the four food groups that all cultures, from anywhere on the globe, have eaten for centuries to stay healthy. Whether your ancestors were European, Middle Eastern, Asian, Native American, African or Russian, they all prepared and ate some versions of the following: Fresh food, meat on the bone, fermented and sprouted foods and organ meats.
Dr. Shanahan is also the doctor now feeding the Los Angeles Lakers; rather than filling them up with short lived sugary carbohydrates that break down quickly into glucose, they are eating bone broth, rich in collagen and healthy saturated fats to give them sustained energy and increased muscle mass. These foods are nature’s steroids; their collagen, vitamins and minerals will not only make you strong, they will also make you beautiful!
Dr. Shanahan, along with many other smart and knowledgeable doctors warn against the vegetable oils found in almost every packaged product on the grocery shelf. See for yourself - walk down the middle aisles of any food store and read the labels.
You will find cereals coated with a vegetable oil varnish, crackers, pastries and breads made with cheap oils to preserve their shelf life and salad dressings, mayonnaise and sauces with these oils as their base. Even canned sardines that say they are packed in Olive Oil are most likely packed in a blend of tiny amounts of Olive Oil and cheaper vegetable oils…All to save money.
What Can’t Take the Heat?
When wondering about what to use when cooking and what to keep away from heat, think about these simple definitions (without having to know the chemistry): All liquid oils are unsaturated, mostly come from plants and are liquid at room temperature; fats are generally saturated, mostly come from animals and are solid at room temperatures. Solid fats are safest for use in high heat cooking, while oils are best not used in high heat cooking. Knowing this, you are good to go!
The chart below gives a very complete list of most oils and fats.