I had a conversation last week with someone and we talked about different foods and if it’s good or bad. Which in general, nothing is really black or white enough to cast a blanket over…but anywho, we got on the topics of fat. Which made me want to talk with you all about it.
Just like foods, it’s not the fat itself that is bad, but really the process used in making it. So, how it’s grown and then the extraction process. Let’s take the seed. The 1st question is why take something that is so small and extract a small amount of fat from each seed until we have an abundance of it? There’s a reason why nature chose to produce it in small amounts. The most popular oil here and maybe most western countries are canola and corn oil. There’s popcorn, corn, grits, polenta…does any of those things taste rich on their own? Canola oil is the other, those seeds are about the size of a mustard seed. It takes a great amount of heat and pressure to extract oil from it. So to make sure they get every ounce it goes through an additions chemical extraction to make sure they pulled it all. Chemical process aside, when we add heat and pressure to the seed what happens? It begins to go rancid (just like anything which is exposed to heat). Seeds generally are very sensitive to heat and cannot take a lot of heat. So after they receive all their treasures from the seed this oil is rotten and no one is going to consciously use a stinky oil. So they use bleaching agent to “deodorize” it. Now you have a beautiful yellow oil with no smell. This is why you can pick up any oil. Peanut, soy, corn, vegetable, almond, sunflower and coconut and it has no smell. They ALL look and smell the same. What does this do to the body? Well, that depends on the body and what its use to. But in general, inflammation of the cells and organs is one of them.
I remember watching a movie that was in Brasil and it showed the poor and homeless eating rotten food out of the trash can with no problem of getting food poisoning. People were saying how could people watch others do this, and let it happen. Well, we do the same thing here, not on the same level, because we would get sick eating rotten foods, but our bodies have no problem eating rotten oil because that is what it is use to eating. I remember when I stopped eating oil and accidentally ate some after years of not having it. My stomach was turning as so was the room. I was out for the rest of the day and part of the next with food poisoning. Everyone else that ate it was perfectly fine though because they were use to it.
(Standard refined and unrefined oil production)
I attached some videos on this just so that you can see for yourself what extraction process looks like. This 1st one is on the standard oil production processes.
When you are buying oils they will use words such as refined, unrefined, cold pressed and virgin:
- Refined -has all of the above mentioned
- Unrefined -means it didn’t go through the chemical extraction and bleaching process. When you smell the oil it may actually have a smell of the nut/seed that it was extracted from. Heat and pressure is still used.
- Cold pressed – there is no heat involved other than what is caused by friction
- Virgin – has a tendency to use traditional methods of extraction from oil
There are some seeds that are very easy to have oil extracted from them and doesn’t take a lot of extra work. These are seeds that when you eat them they taste rich such as coconut, palm, avocado, olive, sunflower. I’m sure I’m missing some, but these come to mind. There is a reason why nature gives you more fat with these versus less with other seeds. It’s because your body needs more of them.
If you’ve ever had a masticating juicer, that is all you need to extract the fat from these.
(Virgin Coconut oil)
Butters are represented as unhealthy. I’ve also attached a video of the process in making butter. Again just like the seed, it really depends on how this animal was fed and raised. So let’s assume the seed was raised without pesticides and GMOs and so was the cow which was 100% grass fed. They take the milk and put it in something that looks like a dryer until the fat forms curds, they drain the buttermilk out and add salt (for salted butter) and tumble it until butter forms. There are also butters such as mango, cacao and shea butter. We typically talk about these when we’re talking about our skin, but there are a lot of cultures that use these to consume. For example, cocoa butter is fat extracted from chocolate seeds. It can also be deodorized and processed which is how we are used to using it. When it is cold pressed it smells just like chocolate! It is also what’s in a good quality chocolate that you eat. You typically only need a small amount to satisfy a craving, unless you are deficient. Then all bets are off.
The processes mentioned so far are substantially different. The easiest extraction is fats. The type of equipment needed other than a pan to heat it up isn’t really necessary. These would be your lard, tallow, poultry and wild game rendering.
I know what you’re thinking, you just told me heat is the enemy, why is it ok for fats and not oils? Oils, butters and fats have different levels of stability before they get to the point of becoming rotten. The most stable with heat is fats, followed by butters and then oils. The oils that straddle the line between oils and butters would be plants that solidify when they are cold, such as coconut and palm oil.
Some people are very skeptical of coconut and palm oil because of this and the saturated fat. but coconut and palm oil are medium chain saturated fats. Medium chain fats are not stored in the body like your long and short chain fats, they are immediately used. So, you don’t gain weight from using them and they aren’t a good idea as a fat reserve because there aren’t any rsvp. There is also the saying that because it can clog your sink, it will clog your vessels. Whelp, your body is 98.6 degrees. If it can clog your vessels the same way it does a sink….you’re dead and have bigger problems that saturated fat (ha ha). Joking aside, coconut oil’s melting point is 76 degrees. This is why it melts when you put it in your mouth. Plus it’s not going into your blood vessels directly, it’s going into your digestive tract which is able to handle fats in solid and liquid form.
There are 3 types of fat that you are always hearing about saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. We have been told that saturated fat is horrible for you and you should stick to polyunsaturated fat……but, the human body is about 97% saturated and monounsaturated fat, with only 3 % Polyunsaturated fats (wellnessama, 2017). Think about what I mentioned earlier, a lot of your nut oils as well as olive and avocado oils are monounsaturated fats. They taste rich when you eat them. 50% of your body’s cell’s membrane is made up of saturated fat. Your heart and other organs are encased in it for emergency energy. For calcium to be incorporated into your bones you need 50% sat fat. Think about this also when it comes to other fat soluble vitamins such as (A, D, E, and K). Also, the human brain is the fattest organ in the body and may consists of at least 60% fat (Mercola, 2017). Just an FYI for the cholesterol bit. Without your help, your liver produced 75% of the cholesterol in your body. What you eat only controls 25% of that. So if we are all eating less saturated fat, why is cardiovascular disease number one? I will just point you to Episode 19 and leave it there.
Let me just throw this out there for you to also think about. What is the job of the membrane of a cell? The job of the membrane is to protect the cell from outside forces that can cause harm to it. This means that the membrane is antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, etc…we typically say antimicrobial to encompass it all. When you look up saturated fats and monounsaturated fats, they are antimicrobial. saturated fats are even stronger in this area. How do we expect our cells to perform and protect us when we don’t help them to help us?
Now how much fat you need really depends on the particular person’s body requirements and there is no one size fits all. Just like with the diet. Do some research for yourself, give it a whirl and see how much better you feel cleaning out the fats that your body is coping or most likely struggling with and try a clean, healthy and vibrant fat that can give you more energy, help the endocrine system and every other system that requires your cells to perform at their optimal level.
Ok, my last thing is your grandparents. In the 1900 heart disease was rare.There was no such thing as vegetable oils when your great grandparents were around. By the 1950s heart disease was killing more men than any other disease (Shanahan, 2009). Science didn’t admit to a problem with Crisco and margarine until the 1990s, and yet, it is still being sold on store shelves. Now it is vegetable oils and it keeps going on and on. There is a great write-up about this in a book call “Deep Nutrition” by Dr. Catherine Shanahan. She dedicated a whole chapter on Good and bad fats and how the cholesterol theory created a sickness epidemic. She also talks about how the inflammation it causes, causes damage to your heart, arteries and lipid profile. All of these are supposed to be healthier than what our ancestors used for generations without affecting their health and immune system. Nature doesn’t make mistakes, people do.
Wellness mama (2017) Is vegetable oil healthy from https://wellnessmama.com/2193/never-eat-vegetable-oil/
Parker, S. (2013) The Human Body New york, NY: Darling Kindersley
Mercola, (2017_ Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About the Human Brain from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/01/22/fascinating-facts-you-never-knew-about-the-human-brain.aspx
Drew, R. and Tyler, G. (2012) How Vegetable Oils Replaced Animal Fats in the American Diet from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/04/how-vegetable-oils-replaced-animal-fats-in-the-american-diet/256155/
Shanahan C&K (2009) Deep Nutrition Lawai, Hi: Big Box Books