why go oil-free?

Re-aligning with Dr. Esselstyn’s diet…

We have been revisiting documentaries and the research just to refresh our memories and to make sure we understand why we are doing what we do…really focusing on the importance of staying oil-free.  When home, I focus on preparing meals without oil, even though many vegan recipes contain oil.

Why is it, then, that John needs to avoid oil?

I found this video, Making heart attacks history: Caldwell Esselstyn at TEDxCambridge 2011:

So….. plant-based diet…and no oil…

I love to bake, and we enjoy stir fry, but no oil? Certainly a little oil would be OK, wouldn’t it?

Well, this IS the same source, so, maybe it’s just him……Here is Michael Klaper, MD on olive oil:

The more I look into this, the more I see split findings: some findings show oils create heart disease, other research says the health benefits outweigh any negatives. I wonder who funds the studies saying oils are good for us………..

We were at WalMart looking at shampoo and decided to do our own investigation  by looking at labels.  

To the right is the label from 100% Organic, Extra Virgin, Unrefined, First Cold-Pressed Olive Oil:  Notice…1 tablespoon = 120 calories  with every single calorie coming from fat.

Wow! Talk about empty calories. 

No more than seven percent of our total daily calories should come from saturated fats, according to the American Heart Association. If we consume approximately 2,000 calories per day, that means our saturated fat limit is 16 grams or 140 calories from saturated fat.

Or, in this case…1 tablespoon of olive oil per day. ..if we follow  AHA instead of a heart-disease reversal diet. I would bet that most Americans consume far more than 1 Tablespoon of oil a day.

What about coconut oil?   We hear a lot about the benefits of coconut oil.   I’m sure that has to be better for us, right? Check out this one from Trader Joe’s….. 

1 tablespoon = 120 calories  with every single calory coming from fat.

Hmmm… Safflower or Sunflower oil?  It’s all the same! All calories in oil are derived from fat. Pouring oil on a salad or a veggie is like adding liquid fat. Neither of us need that! John has lost 20 pounds since going plant-based, and I have lost 15.  Neither of us need to pour fat on our foods…. We are happy to have shed some poundage!

Oil-free it is!

Now, I do have olive oil and safflower oil and will continue to buy them.   But we don’t ingest them. I use them on my dry skin.  I also use them to remove makeup.   I even use them as a hot oil treatment for my scalp. but, I will not use them in cooking ever again!

I am even feeling a little guilty that I was using them in cooking before when I would brush oil on a chicken breast before roasting, toss veggies with oil before cooking…even using it in baking… I used to take a teaspoon of coconut oil every morning….. 

Never again.

Now, how does that impact my cooking?

I love to bake……and baking to me used to mean eggs, milk, and butter.  Vegan baking meant flaxseed-and-water “eggs,” almond milk, and some kind of oil.  Don’t get me wrong, This is still vegan…it’s just not as heart healthy as I want us to be.

We have some very good friends, Joe and Ellie, with whom we like to go out to dinner, then enjoy dessert back at their place after dinner. I used to bring cookies or cake or pie, but since John’s heart attack, I have felt limited in my dessert offerings.   I have made pumpkin spice bread, but I wanted to try something different and found Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies from Isa Does it by Isa Moskowitz.  These cookies are good alone or even dipped in coffee….  I tweaked this recipe to use applesauce instead of oil. Instead of rolling the dough into a ball and flattening it as the recipe suggests, I found I had to make these a drop cookie and bake them on parchment paper…but they are delish!  We shop at Aldi when possible, and I prefer their unsweetened applesauce as the container is easier for me to pour.  I use a 1:1 ratio of Aldi’s unsweetened applesauce to oil.   No sticking, just wonderfully moist heart-healthy cookies.

Here is her recipe as originally written…I substitute applesauce for oil, and the photo is my cookies.

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

 1/2 cup canola oil                                                1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar                                    1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup light molasses                                         1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup non-dairy milk                                          1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract                                      1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 tsp chocolate extract                                         1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour                                   3/4 cup white chocolate pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium owl, use a fork to vigorously mix together oil, sugar, molasses, and milk. Mix for 1 minute until it resembles dark caramel. Then mix in vanilla and chocolate extracts.
Sift in 1 cup of the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, and cloves. Stir until well-combined. Add the white chocolate chips and the remaining 2/3 cup flour and stir  briefly.  Finish mixing with your hands.
 Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and flatten into roughly 2 inc disks. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms appear a few shades darker.
Let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cool rack.
I have no idea as to how long these cookies last as they vanished within 3 days.




Author: mduggan10

I have lived in a Victorian-era house, spent several years living on a boat, and now live at the top of a mountain. Throughout his all, I have been a coffee snob, a whole foods snob, and an instructional designer.

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