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What is a Fat-Free Vegan?

Posted Mar 27 2013 12:00am
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Brown Flax Seeds

You are probably wondering, what in the world is Evelyn talking about. And you are probably thinking, everyone needs fat.

Some people might think that vegans are already not meeting their nutritional requirements, so why remove the fat (oil) from the diet?

A few months ago, someone ask me if I used coconut oil? My reply was, yes. But the person told me that they thought that vegans did not use any oil. I didn’t give it much thought because I know that some people who eat a vegan or plant-based diet, use oils.

Before doing my 7-day water fast, I was using very little oil. I wasn’t avoiding oils on purpose, I just did not feel I needed a lot of oil in my diet. The oil that I used the most was coconut oil and I also took an omega-3 fatty acid blend.

I am currently re-reading Dr. Joel Furhman’s book, Eat to Live and he does not recommend any refined oils, especially if you are trying to lose weight. But he does have a section in his book that allows for olive oil (small amounts), for those who are on a moderate weight loss plan.

Dr. Furhman explains in great detail why we do not need the extra fat (oil) in our diet. The first time I read, Eat to Live, I did not get it. I could not understand why anyone would want to exclude oils, but today, I understand everything better.

A fat (oil)-free vegan is one who does not consume any refined oils or fats. A few examples of refined oils include: olive, coconut, and sesame, etc.

If the fat (oil)-free vegan is not using olive or coconut oil, then how are they getting the fat they need? Dr. Furhman says , “Get your fats as nature packaged them. It is best to consume the little fats we need in their original unprocessed, unheated, and natural packages: whole food (Eat to Live, p. 130).”

You probably think the fat-free vegan is completely fat-free, well that is just not the case.

Dr. Furhman says, “It would be nearly impossible to make this diet fat-deficient, because even green vegetables and beans contain beneficial fats. The focus should be on reducing (or removing) the harmful and processed fats, and instead consuming the healthy fats that are naturally contained in whole natural foods. Non-processed fats contained in avocados, sunflower seeds, and almonds to name just a couple of sources, can be healthy additions to a wholesome diet of natural foods (Eat to Live, p. 131).”

Dr. Furhman’s conclusion about fats:

1. Any extracted oil (fat) can promote cancer because consuming even the healthiest fats, such as olive oil, in excess adds too many empty calories.

2. Excess omega-6 fatty acids promote cancer risk, while omega-3 fats, which are harder to come by, tend to lower risk.

3. The most dangerous fats for both heart disease and cancer are saturated fats and trans fatty acids.

4. Whole natural plant foods (whole grains, greens, nuts and seeds) supply adequate fat (Eat to Live, p. 135).

Consume 1-2 grams of omega-3 fat daily (Eat to Live, p. 123). Here are some examples of omega-3 fat sources:

  • Flaxseed (ground)
  • Walnuts
  • Soybeans (green, frozen, or raw)
  • Tofu
  • Chia Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds

Yes, it is possible. I know it is possible, because I am doing it. Since I was doing very little refined oils anyway, I figured that I would give Dr. Furhman’s recommendations a try. So far so good!


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