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Don't be scared of a little oil

Posted Jun 06 2010 6:48pm
I use oil everyday and I use as much as I like... on almost everything I eat. Most people would be shocked to see me dowse my food liberally and without guilt. There was a phase (and still is to a certain degree) of low fat being promoted as healthy and the key to losing body fat. Many products in the supermarkets have the low fat label and you can almost ensure it'd have a high sugar content. It's been many years since I've even looked at these products. There is no contest between packaged dead food and fresh food.

Even though I use a lot of oil, there is a catch on how I use it with my food. I never heat my oils and I rarely (if ever) eat it from an animal source. Not everyone is vegetarian but in general everyone should limit the amount of animal fats they consume. Over time heated oils cause inflammation in the body. The process of cooking oils destroys its molecular structure, causing oxidation and making it difficult to digest. Roasting nuts and seeds also destroys the delicate oils leaving them tasty but useless for the body. Occasionally I'll make soup, instead of cooking with oil, I'll add a tablespoon on top when it's cooled. this way it sits nicely on top and has fresher taste.

Oils are made from chains of fatty acids, they are called essential fatty acids (EFA's) because the body cannot synthesize them. Essential fatty acids are needed for many functions within the body and need to come from our food. There are 2 types of EFA's omega 3 and omega 6 (saturated fat is not considered essential).

Functions of EFA's

Healthy hormone balance
Nutrient uptake (fat soluble vitamins need a fat carrier in food for absorption)
Clear skin (acts like an moisturiser but from the inside, the body uses oils you eat to lubricate and clear the oil glands in the skin and also soothe ezcema or dry skin conditions)
Affects inflammation and cellular health
Cardiovascular health
Body fat percentage
Pregnancy and foetal development

Best sources of EFA's

Cold-pressed olive oil, olives
Walnuts (contains omega 3)
Brazil nuts
Pumpkin seeds
Sesame seeds and paste
Sunflower seeds
Chia seeds (contains omega 3)
Hemp seed (contains omega 3)
Flaxseed (contains omega 3)
Deep sea fish (contains omega 3)
Coconut oil (considered saturated but has many underestimated health benefits)

What are trans fatty acids?

Trans fatty acids (trans fats) are made by hydrogenation of liquid (omega 6) oils and turning them into a solid form. They extend the shelf life of many products (biscuits, pastries, crackers, fried foods and margarine's). Eating foods with trans fats increases blood LDL-cholesterol ("bad"), decreases HDL cholesterol ("good"), and raises the risk of coronary heart disease. These fats are unsuitable for the body in any amount.

Ways to include EFA's daily

1. My favourite way is drizzled over a big salad or vegetables, using cold-pressed organic olive oil
2. Making a nut/seed mix, bliss balls (perfect for 3pm peckish hour), or on top your morning muesli
3. Use a little coconut oil in your smoothies or add whole almonds and some seeds if your blender is high powdered enough
4. Make dips and pesto using avocado, nuts and seeds (used for sandwiches, crackers, veggie sticks and BBQ's)

Bliss balls
I love bliss balls! They're so yummy, versatile and easy to make. I was planning on making a date and cashew based raw cacao one but while shopping at the organic shop there were no dates, terrible! My date/ cashew/ cacao recipe is a staple and nothing ground breaking but it is one of my favourites. So, I had to create something different. I decided to use goji berries, sultanas and walnuts as my base and add a pinch of cayenne pepper and cinnamon to warm it up and give more kick to my humble bliss ball.

1 cup rinsed goji berries
1 cup sultanas
1 cup walnuts
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
Good pinch of cayenne pepper and cinnamon
pinch of Himalayan salt

Chocolate coating...
1 cup of grated cacao butter in metal bowl
1/2 cup raw cacao powder

1. Blend the goji berries and sultanas, water, salt, pepper, cacao powder and cinnamon until it forms a chunky doughy consistency (Goji berries are tough so rinsing is just enough to soften, soaking will make them too squishy).
2. Add coconut and blend a little more, add walnuts and blend until in bite sized pieces.
3. Roll spoonfuls into balls (as big or as small as you want) and put them in the fridge to cool.
4. Heat water in a small saucepan until steaming and place the cacao butter in metal bowl over the top of the steam. It's important to not let the water boil and to only heat enough just to melt the butter down.
5. Add the cacao powder to the butter and stir in, once melted take of the saucepan and let sit for a minute or two.
6. The balls should be cool so the melted chocolate will set nicely. The chocolate mixture needs to be slightly thickened from sitting aside for a while.

Even my 10 year old God-son loved them!
Carrot, coriander and sesame salad
The nutrition community is always on about greens but instead I'm including a carrot salad. Perfect for BBQ's and side dishes for those that prefer it that way.

2 cups grated carrot
1/4 cup of chopped fresh coriander
1 small clove of garlic, chopped finely
1tsp camu camu powder
Sesame seeds
Olive oil, fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tsp curry powder
Ground pepper and Himalayan salt

1. Grate the carrot and add coriander, garlic, salt, pepper and curry powder.
2. Mix it through and add sesame seeds, just enough so there is plenty in the mix but not over bearing.
3. Drizzle plenty of olive oil and lemon juice on the salad and mix through... serve!

So simple but so satisfying. Carrots have a sweet taste and compliment the curry and coriander flavour. High in beta-carotene this salad is excellent for the skin, eyes and hormones. The olive oil is the fat carrier for the vitamin A, only absorbed with fats. I like to have it along with a garden salad or steamed broccoli, the greens compliment the orange. Camu camu powder adds a slight tang to the dressing and a vitamin C boost, making this salad even better for the complexion.

Avocado Dip

Guacamole/ avocado dip it's seems the same to me. Avocado is a God send, the yummiest and most versatile "fruit" rich with omega 6 essential fatty acids. It's creamy, super healthy and super popular. Again, my recipe is nothing new and ingenius but a little spin on it, gives a tangy taste, perfect for dips, crackers, spreads or a dollop on your salad or vegetables. I was able to use such a small amount because I used my Tribest Personal Blender, pefect for small servings.

Ingredients... to serve 2
1 large ripe avocado
1/4 cup capers
1/4 of a white/ brown onion chopped very finely
1/2 lemon juiced
Himalayan or celtic salt
Ground pepper
1. Spoon the avocado, capers, lemon juice and salt into the processor/ blender.
2. Blend until creamy then stir in the finely chopped onion and place into serving dish.
3. Ground black pepper on top and enjoy.

I like a light, creamy consistency. Many recipes prefer leaving the avocado chunky, which is also nice but for me the tiny chopped up pieces of onion give a slight crunch to it.

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