Good Oil, Bad Oil

"For many years I have been confused about what are good oils and what are bad oils.  As usual, I investigated what our ancestors did, what is the ancient wisdom, and what is seen in nature amongst primates like Chimpanzees (similar DNA to humans) to get my answers.” -SH

Good Oil, Bad Oil

For so many years I have been confused about what are good oils and what are bad oils. In the popular media there is a lot of confusion and contradictory information, and that is putting it mildly. Frankly, I am not interested in delving deeply into the science and biochemistry etc. of fats and oils; it is too confusing and my mind does not work that way. I need more simple guidelines. 

It is as if there has been a campaign to keep us in the dark about the simple truth concerning oils and fats.  As usual, I investigated what our ancestors did, what is the ancient wisdom, and what is seen in nature amongst primates like Chimpanzees (similar DNA to humans) to get my answers.

I always felt that there had to be simple, clear guidelines that even a 4-year-old little girl or boy would easily be able to understand, to keep us on the right track with healthy fats and oils. Here are the guidelines I came to use as my personal standards for consuming fats and oils:

  • Ancient cultures cooked with only three oils: ghee, sesame oil, coconut oil. These are the only oils to be used for cooking, as they can withstand high heat better than other oils. Olive oil is OK too but is not able to stand such high heat.

  •  In Nature, healthy oils are always protected from sunlight and oxygen. Nuts and seeds have shells. Brains have a skull. When the shell is opened, the oils immediately start to go rancid. Better to eat nuts from the shell. Pre-shelled nuts are risky, and must be refrigerated or go in the freezer to preserve the healthy oils there. Raw (even organic) nuts in the bulk bin containers of a health store are a risky proposition. Far better to buy non-organic nuts in the shell and use your nutcracker.

  •  Roasted peanuts, cashews, pecans etc. are probably safer than rancid peanuts, cashews, almonds and pecans. Granted, the heated oils are not healthy, but they taste so good and the heating does somehow prevent progression of rancidity, so in this way they are healthier nuts to consume than raw, organic nuts stored at room temperature for any length of time. This is my personal opinion and experience and I have never seen or heard of anybody else who also believes like this. Probably I am mistaken, but I am reluctant to give up my roasted and salted cashews and peanuts and pecans. Like anyone else, I will construct logic to perpetuate my addictive habits.

  •  Tigers will eat the brain first and leave the muscle meat for the hyenas. That is a hint that we need to organize our diets, first and foremost around getting healthy fats and oils, everything else comes second. Tigers are sleek and strong and quick.

  •  Chimps will eat greens and fruits and chew all day long to break up the fiber. There is some amount of healthy oils in greens and if we eat enough raw greens (as in green smoothies) we will be automatically upgrading our fat and oil situation.

  •  Processed oils are heavily marketed and there is a continual barrage of “scientific articles” in popular magazines about good oils and bad oils. These will keep us confused. If you have a bottle of oil, and the oil that has dripped down the outside of the bottle is very sticky you can KNOW that such an oil is harmful to the body and will be sticky just like that inside the body. That is all you need to know about all those many bottles of oils you see on supermarket (and even health store) shelves. The only kind of oil-in-a-bottle should be purchased from the cooler section of the health store. The four exceptions are coconut oil or butter, sesame oil, olive oil, and ghee (clarified butter). There well may be other ones as well, but for now, these guidelines are serving me well.

  •  We need to eat more seeds and greens and less nuts (if we are into raw food diets) since the balance of omega 6 and 3 is better. Nuts are too heavy, and those in the raw food community who have been doing raw foods exclusively for many decades are now all saying that nuts must be minimized in a healthy raw food diet. Trees grow from nuts. They are too rich for using as a staple food. Be moderate in use of nuts.

  • Healthy oils are perishable. That has been my main mantra about oils. I refrigerate nuts and seeds. I watch out for rancid nuts (it takes a quick and first-impression “sniff test” to detect rancidity), I use nuts in the shell if possible; I buy and refrigerate flax/borage seed oil, etc. I do not use commercial oils-in-a-bottle, no matter what anyone says or what is written.

  • Yes, we can get good oils from egg yolks but only if the chickens are not just free-range, hormone and antibiotic free, and not just eating flax seeds, but ALSO are NOT fed commercial feeds (which makes the eggs have a longer shelf life by preventing the formation of the healthy but perishable oils that are supposed to be in the egg yolks) and ALSO if the chickens are eating plenty of insects, which is a primary natural food source for them (same thing for cows, but few people know this). Such eggs have a shell so strong, it is difficult to crack them open! Such eggs are not easy to find. You’ll pay more for them. You may need to find a special outlet, or a friend with chickens, to get such good eggs. Such eggs are not to be found in any health store I have found – some are close – but do not compare to real eggs. In India, such back-yard chicken eggs are very common; such eggs have not yet been corrupted by commercial farming practices. Another point about eggs -  be careful­- many commercial eggs come from chickens who are undergoing the most extreme kinds of suffering (imprisonment, torture, hormone injection, etc.) and we partake of that suffering when we eat their eggs.

  • Yes we can get healthy fats and oils from dairy, but the dairy must come from pasture fed cows, no antibiotics or hormone, free range, grass and hay-fed WITHOUT commercial feed, and the milk or cream or kefir or cheese must be raw. There is tremendous political pressure to outlaw such products (feedlot/stinklot commercial diary farms don’t like such competition). Such milk and cheese is freely available in Los Angeles, and for years I have used such products with good effect. 
© Copyright 2015 Steve Hamlin