Let me start by saying that there is good value to using some fat in our cooking. While I will be the first to consider if a recipe can do with less fat or even swap some of it out with an alternative like applesauce in baking, a bit of healthy fat is really good for us. We want to be fat aware, but not fat afraid. Healthy fats provide support for our nervous system, promote hormone health and even help with brain function. In addition to adding an extra layer of flavour and richness to dishes, fat also helps us better absorb certain nutrients. Take salad for instance. There are fat soluble vitamins in salad greens and vegetables such as vitamins A, D, E and K. If we remove all fat from our salad dressing, we actually make it much more difficult for our body to effectively absorb these important fat soluble vitamins. This is not by any means a free pass to drench your salad with a store bought dressing, but it should give you reason to pause and think about ways to better absorb those fat soluble nutrients. You could try making your own simple salad dressing with olive oil – see recipe below, or add a source healthy of fat such as avocado, salmon or raw nuts & seeds.
I also use olive oil when sautéing over low to medium heat. If I need to do something over higher heat, I choose avocado or grapeseed oil. The difference in choice has to do with the smoke point of these oils. Some oils handle higher temperatures and prolonged cooking better. While olive oil has long been touted to be a very healthy option, when used to fry at high temperatures, the properties of the oils can change, causing olive oil to become less healthy for us. As such, we are better off using avocado or grapeseed oils which have a higher smoke point. With any of these oils, it is especially important to look for extra virgin, or first pressed as well as cold pressed oils.
I use butter, coconut oil or organic canola oil. These fats tend to work well in baked goods. In my house baked goods are a sometimes kind of an event, so I really want to thoroughly enjoy the experience. Even though I really appreciate the applesauce swap for oil, I have on occasion found it to take away from the taste and texture of the end product.
Please keep in mind that this is how I see fit to use various fats in my kitchen. You may find yourself in a different situation with different health issues to consider when it comes to fat intake. Do your own research and find the fats that work best for your situation.
Here is one of my favourite quick & easy salad dressings to enjoy.
- 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
Combine ingredients in a small glass jar. Place lid on jar and shake well. Will keep in fridge for one week. Enjoy!