Time for an “Oil” Change

0056_tuwscl_bgThe grocery’s cooking oil aisle looks like the pharmacy’s cough and cold remedy aisle.  It’s ridiculous and sheer marketing.  It’s an abominable ploy which vexes me to no end.  At least the pharmacy cough and cold remedy manufacturers can plead off with the fact that you were already sick when you perused their offerings.  The oil industry, on the other hand, is probably literally making you chronically ill.  I already feel that nutrition’s power over health is scorned, and when I go into the oil section at the store, I almost want to retch.

Fats and oils make up a basic building block of EVERY single cell in your body.  They are FUNDAMENTAL to function.  Things like nerve transmission and cells talking to each other DEPENDS on good quality oils and fats.  However, most grocery store oils and fats are rancid and gutted of their natural nutrients, like vitamin E; they are NOT good quality fats.  Did you even know that fats SHOULD come with nutrients?  We’ve been so negatively indoctrinated about fats, yet I feel they neglected to mention about all the wonderful things fat should offer and help!

Anyhow, these bad oils on the shelves–well, it’d be like walking into Lowe’s or Menards and seeing bent nails for sale or warped wood or a lawn mower with no engine!  Nobody would put up with this!  Because we all know those tools won’t do the job!  And I need you to know, if you really care about your health (or even if you don’t but you are in ill-health), you will need to examine closely the rubbish that is offered for sale as edible oil and fat. The tools for sale in the grocery oil and fat department are faulty.  Most won’t do the job.  Even the olive oil offered there.

I wrote an article for Molly Green Magazine on the topic of choosing a cooking oil.  I have cut and pasted some of it as I can, but please click over (it’s free and directs there easily) to read the rest.  And the graphics make it look SO pretty and so much easier to read!  I think you’ll like it better, especially if you’re on a phone or iPad.  I write because I like to, feel compelled to, and the editor is a friend, but all I get from them is a membership to Molly Green (and good terms with my friend).

Read Dr. Fites’s article on fats and oils.
Time For An “Oil” Change

OlivesExcerpt from “Time for an Oil Change”

“From the Journal of the American Medical Association to Doctor Oz, I have explored the medical world’s current understanding and recommendations on fats so I could confidently share them with you. When it comes to the research on fats and oils, I am not exaggerating or lying when I say that one research study indicates we should fly east and another study shows we should fly west. Call me a Looney Toons cartoon character sporting a white angel on the right shoulder and a black angel on the left: “Saturated fats are bad.” “No, saturated fats are good.” “Soybean oil is good.” “No, soybean oil is bad.”

My confidence has waned. Yes, I’m a medical doctor by training but—wow! Have you looked at doctors lately? You and I both know that doctors manage their nutrition about as well as Hollywood manages marriage. Doctors tend to butcher nutrition like they work at a meat market. I feel like following the medical guidelines on fats hasn’t gotten me anything but Country Crock and a long wait outside the coronary unit while grandpa has triple bypass. Although the research is truly contradictory on fats, it seems guidelines were arbitrarily formed by cherry-picking studies and test subjects. I trust medical dietary guidelines now about as much as Wile E. Coyote.

Focus on Whole Fats

Just like we should be focusing on whole foods, we need to focus on whole fats. Let’s make it as simple as it can get. An olive is a whole food. Olive oil is not. Peanuts are whole foods. Peanut oil is not. Soybeans are a whole food. Soybean oil is not. Safflower is—yeah, I don’t know what safflowers are, but you get the idea, right? Oils and fats separated from their original products are processed foods. Even butter, lard, and tallow require some minor processing to make.

The safest way to eat your fats is as part of a complete food package. Nature always makes real food from a mix of saturated fat, unsaturated fat, omega-3s, and omega-6s. No whole foods are packaged with only saturated fat or omega-3s. None! And real food is bubble wrapped with natural “fat protectors” (vitamin E and anti-oxidants) to keep them from going bad in air, light, and heat. Once removed from their packaging, fats and oils lose their protection and start deteriorating to wreak havoc in our cells when eaten. Focus on real food and endeavor to use fats strategically, thinking of them as you do processed foods.

Picking an Oil or Fat

You need an oil or fat for the kitchen, though! I hear you. I know you can’t fry your eggs in olives. Whole foods are great, but like a car, the kitchen can’t run without some kind of lube. How do you pick? Well, the game has opened up a lot since we now have the green light from major medical journals on saturated fats. Saturated fats (like butter, lard, coconut oil, palm oil, and tallow) give pops of flavor and send signals to the brain that it has had enough to eat. They tolerate heat, air, and light a whole lot better than oils. Most oils are not very stable in light, heat, and air; they don’t tolerate being separated from their packages as well as saturated fats—and the research reports on them seem to change weekly. So let’s get started on picking a good oil:

The less time from harvest to your table, the better! As soon as the nut, seed, grain, or olive is harvested and pressed, it should be headed for sale. Sitting around in a vat, being shipped to another country, or hanging out by your kitchen stove is not healthy for an oil, and it is not healthy for your cells. Oils are not wines. They do not get better with aging. They become flat-out dangerous. The best oils will have the pressed date. The bottling date does not tell you when the product was pressed…”

For more oil expertise tips, click here!
Time For An “Oil” Change


What you eat helps determine energy levels, mood, skin quality, heart health, and so much more.  My family has been impacted by nutrition, and I enjoy sharing what I learn with you.  Each person has a unique diet which suits their body best, and it may even change through the years of life.  However, true health must rest on fats from high quality whole food sources, rounded out with oils and fats extracted in the most fresh, pure, and simple way from nature’s gifts.


23 thoughts on “Time for an “Oil” Change

  1. Bob Niland

    EVOO, coconut oil and butter are about it. Provenance matters with EVOO and coconut. Seek beta casein A2 butter (if you can find it).

    EVOO is a problem because there’s more of it on the market than is actually produced, which means that much of it is something else.

    Needing to know the smoke point of any cooking fat means that the foods are being overheated – AGEs, etc.

    Processed food-like substances, when not contaminated with grains or sugars, may be counted on to be contaminated with novel industrial Omega 6 PUFAs, many of which simply did not exist a half century ago.

    Some have argued that the modern rise in chronic non-infectious ailments is largely a result of the use of the Omega 6 PUFA grain, seed, and legume oils. I’m not sure I agree, but it’s high on my list of suspects. Our n3/n6 intake is upside down. Taking active steps to minimize n6 intake offers a modest chance of returning to ancestral intake levels and balance.

    I wouldn’t use mutant rapeseed oil (sold to you as canola) for anything.

    I noticed the Crisco canola, sometime in the recent past, has added a trace symbolic amount of DHA (but no EPA at all). It touts Omega 3, but that’s almost all ALA (which we need but typically get too much of), and the product is still predominantly Omega 6 industrial seed oil.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I’m not sure it’s an imbalance omega 6 to 3 strictly as many whole products have lots of 6 and that wouldn’t keep me from eating them. However, I know that in general most people get sky high 6 busted out of anything whole at all in the form of liquid oil. Can’t be good. I think it’s a combo of sky high 6, rancid oils, no vitamin E or other plant based chemicals to buffer the intake of non-fresh oil.

      My Dad and I had a long discussion about Canola. He can get non GMO Canola which is fresh pressed at a local farm. Organic. All the right words. All the right processing. Just bad because it’s Canola. However, he and mom will use Crisco or old, cheap olive oil instead. But since this is a local farmer he knows, he wanted to use it. After weighing his benefits and risks, I decided it was better for mom and dad to use the local, non-GMO, fresh, fresh, organic, yada, yada Canola oil with no rancidity, high vitamin E, polyphenols, and some omega-3. It was a hard decision for me to come to, but compared to what they were stubbornly going to use instead, it was a much better option. So I gave it a pass. However, I’ll pay more and get olive oil from California that was pressed this year and feel better about it from a cellular level. However, you know I feel we have to meet people where we are. This was better for them. Not for me. But for them. But Canola in the store is not even a close-animal to what they can buy from that local guy in Indiana.

      Well, must go. That’s my fast take.

    2. Bob Niland

      re: EVOO, coconut oil and butter are about it.

      As a promotional email reminded me 3 days ago, avocado oil is another option. The mail was for Mark Sisson’s Primal Kitchen brand. Haven’t tried it, but expect to.

      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Same rules apply to avocado oil as those listed in the article. Pressed date, opaque container, etc. I’m sure your oil will be yummy. You make sure Mark Sisson does it right and meets all the rules.

  2. Kathy

    Another great read. Last night, I realized that I get the same results from 2 or 3 capsules of Oxy-powder as I do with 2 or 3 tbsp. of Natural Calm – without the annoying taste. It has some type of magnesium (sorry, on vacation and brought the pills in a smaller bottle – they have ALWAYS worked for me on holiday), so I can’t read the label right now – have never been able to figure out what kind of magnesium it has and not a big fan of the website touting it. Still, might be worth a try?

  3. mommytrainingwheels

    I had no idea about this. It’s a lot to wrap my head around. I was raised with pearls of wisdom stating that I should stay away from butter and go with the oils. Coconut oil I use and butter sometimes too (when my boyfriend doesn’t know because butter=bad in his head), but we mostly use olive, vegetable and canola oil…oh, and peanut when we deep fry. I’ll definitely keep in mind that I should be looking for a “pressed” date when next I buy oil. Baby steps.

  4. Lindsay

    You already know what my favorite all-purpose fat is…

    Bacon grease! Nom. Makes anything taste stellar.

    Bring on the saturated fats.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Yep. I save and use that too. I’ve also introduced red palm oil into my repertoire to help offer a good vitamin E source. When a couple of family members let me log their intakes, I saw they were both consistently low in vitamin E. So I decided to add that in to my kitchen. I don’t mind it and neither do my kids, but one of my family members didn’t like it at all!

      But bacon drippings make a wicked salad dressing.

      Have a good night, Lindsay!

  5. andthreetogo

    I love your articles! I am completely and utterly for using all the proper oils. I am going to go read your full article in a moment. 🙂
    The oil most used here in Thailand is Palm oil, which I actually would prefer to stay away from just because the way it is cultivated (is that the right way to say it?). After the fires in Indonesia to make way for more palm plantations this year, the whole SE Asia area near it was covered in thick black smoke.
    Ok, I went on a tangent… sorry 🙂 Off to read the rest of your article! Peace and love to you and your lovely family. ❤ Jenny

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      That is very sad; hearing it first-hand from you who “lives” it makes it very real to me across the world. (Jenny from And Three to Go lives in Thailand at the moment.) I try to buy only sustainable palm oil products (I do use red palm oil and palm shortening), and I think they are grown appropriately, but perhaps I’m living in ignorance. I use Nutiva brand for red palm oil, “grown sustainably in Ecuador, fair-trade…” and Spectrum brand palm shortening “grown in Colombia on sustainable farms.” Until I see anything to the contrary, I use these products with few qualms and maybe even a hope someone honest and good is getting a fair wage (and fair wage, I know, varies in definition). If anyone reading knows otherwise regarding these brands, please!, share.

      It is NOT of the same magnitude at all, but still a small taste of what you describe. At home in Indiana, farmers have started plowing up fence rows and little stands of trees (where maybe it was too wet to farm before) to make these huge, expansive fields to gain maybe another acre or two of tillage. What is a land without trees? Without native plants? Without what it is which makes that land, that land?

      Take good care, Jenny.

      Jenny’s blog link for those who love to travel: http://andthreetogo.com/

      1. andthreetogo

        Those may be better, I would just steer clear of any Asian ones really.
        Thanks for the shout out Terri 🙂
        And I completely agree about the trees, I have said in the past and I love repeating myself (I do have a toddler after all haha) that wide open spaces that are flat and treeless make me feel so claustrophobic 🙂 gotta have me some trees and hills.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I know! Me too! (On repeating myself and on trees and hills and flat, open spaces making me claustrophobic, as do mountains–got to be a happy medium…) But here in South Dakota, the people say when they go over to Wisconsin, they get claustrophobic from the trees! Funny!

  6. kemkem

    Nice read! Palm oil is commonly used in Nigeria, and is a staple in a lot of our foods. Good to know it’s good for you too! I also love palm wine 🙂 .

      1. kemkem

        Ah.. I didn’t know it was a requirement :-). It is pretty potent stuff. There is nothing funnier than watching men drunk off that stuff, and they dance funny too. I used to love Christmas time because you saw plenty of people in the village drunk on it, including my late uncle. I still crack up my family by reenacting his dance while drunk 🙂 . It does taste good though.

  7. Jo tB

    Fat should come as a whole food. How true. I can remember 40 years ago our meat came with fat rinds, but due to the fat fear, housewives don’t want to buy it anymore so it is cut away by the butcher. Our meat has become fatless. So we became dependent on oils for cooking. Margarine should be put in the same box as oils. Which fats did our grandmothers use? Indeed, butter, lard, dripping, suet, tallow. Is it still being sold these days? I have trouble trying to find any of it, except butter.

    Maybe we should start demanding our fat rinds back on any meat we buy.
    Great article.


    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you, Jo. Now that they have “lifted” the fear on saturated fats (which still hasn’t trickled down yet to the general population’s ears), it seems that farmers are now allowed to go back to having more fat on their animals. I’m particularly thinking of pork, as we talked to some farmers about this back home when we visited. They (the sale barns) used to want the pigs to have “X” amount of fat, and then in the low-fat era, they wanted less. They’re now back up to the higher amount, which will make the pork taste better (although conventional animals I’m not real pleased about how they get that fat). Anyhow, that’s a vague story. But you know what I mean.

      I can find lard here, but it has some chemicals added, can’t remember which kind (BHT?). I usually render my own lard. Doesn’t that sound fancy? It’s not. My oven does all the work. 🙂

      Margarine. Ugh. If only the generation who accepted that switch as desirable only knew.

      Ok. Back to math story problems with the kids. Have a good week. Be well. –Terri


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