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Why We Stopped Cooking with Olive Oil (and what we use instead)

Cleaning up our diet is a continuous journey.  We strive to educate ourselves regularly about where our food comes from and the impact it has on our bodies and environment.
 
Let us clarify: We do use olive oil, we just don’t cook with it anymore. 
 
Here is why – 
 
The smoke point of different oils vary significantly depending on how they are processed.  You might be wondering… what is a smoke point? Why should I care? The smoke point is the point at which an oil starts to burn or smoke. An oil’s chemical composition changes as it not only starts to smoke, releasing toxic vapors, but also starts to decompose creating chemicals that are toxic when consumed.  Once the oil smokes, its state has changed permanently. Read more here
At first glance on the internet, most research will tell you that olive oil is a great cooking oil.  It is important to use caution and know the smoke point of the olive oil you are using before cooking with it. The smoke point of olive oil varies depending on whether you are using refined, virgin, or extra virgin olive oil.  It can range from 375 – 470°F. Remember, refined olive oil is highly processed. It might allow you to cook at a higher heat; however, you are loosing the health benefits that are associated with unprocessed olive oil. Heat and chemicals are used to refine olive oil so that it can be used at a higher temperature. Read more here
We agree, 375°F is pretty hot.  Lets take a moment to think about this… how many times have you cranked the heat up on the stove to turn it way down at a later time? Guilty here! So, we cut out using olive oil in our cooking and started using it for salad dressings, pesto, and homemade mayonnaise. 
 
Oh, and did you know that there is a major issue with counterfeit olive oil? Yes, I used “counterfeit” and “olive oil” in the same sentence. As in fake!
 
“Seizures of counterfeit EVOO [extra virgin olive oil] in Italy have skyrocketed, hitting an all-time high of 95 in 2014, on average more than one every four days. Last May, the National Consumers League used what they called “a highly accredited Australian lab” and tested 11 national brands of EVOO sold in the US, with 55% failing to meet the legal standard. A French study, also in 2015, found 46% of bottles labeled EVOO there non-compliant. Italian newspaper La Stampa tested 20 of the most popular brands in Italy – where so much great olive oil is made – and found 45% fake. In December, Italian authorities uncovered (too late) a fraud ring that sold 7,000 tons of EVOO that was illegally labeled 100% Italian but came from several non-EU countries and was sold in Italy, Japan and the U.S. — “tens of millions” worth.” – Forbes.com Article
 
What now?  What do we use instead?
 
There are two main oils we use for cooking.  Ghee and bacon fat.  Yup, bacon fat! This will be the hardest to digest because fat is associated with high cholesterol. Yes, there is bad fat out there. However, did you know that your body NEEDS fat and that the processed carbs and sugar you eat forces your body to store up unused fat?  (That is a blog post for another day)
 
We use left over bacon fat because we buy good quality, no antibiotic, no hormone, no nitrate, etc. We do not recommend using leftover bacon fat if you are not buying good quality meat. Ghee is one of our favorites.  We originally made the switch to ghee because we cut out all dairy.  Ghee is clarified butter, which means that the lactose is separated from the fat. The smoke point of butter is 350°F and ghee is 485°F. It has a buttery taste and is great for higher heat cooking. Read more about ghee here
As we sit and write this, we are reminded (yet again) of why we are striving to grow our own food, know our farmers, and further educate ourselves. The food in our country is a real problem. Increased awareness and focus on food is not just a “fad.” It is a topic that deserves the hype. There is a real issue that we hope we can positively impact and shed light on. 
 
If you don’t change what type of olive oil you are using – no problem. But, we would like to humbly challenge you to further educate yourself about the food you put in your body.  It doesn’t have to be one big change, just make one small step towards caring for your body. Don’t buy in to complacency. You are better than that.  
 
Your body is a blessing and a gift that should not be taken for granted.  You have one body and it is the only one you will ever get.  Please take care of it.
 
“Let food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates 
 
Namaste Y’all
By [email protected], August 31, 2018
Glacier National Park
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