Shari, You're probably gonna think I'm the Grinch who took the enjoyment out of eating. At that risk I'll tell you that since 2007 I've been eating an exclusively low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet. It was prompted by reading a remarkable book by Emeritus Cornell Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, T. Colin Campbell who authored a book with a regrettably misleading title called The China Study which The New York Times deemed to be the most comprehensive study of human nutrition ever undertaken. Campbell is of a mind with a comparatively small cadre of like-minded physicians, dieticians and hangers-on like me who champion this way of eating. At least two of those physicians have conducted research which yielded angiographic evidence that this way of eating, strictly pursued, can actually not only arrest, but reverse heart disease: Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. and Dean Ornish.
In my "down-home" way of thinking I figure if this way of eating can reverse heart disease it's probably good for me too, even though I don't have heart disease. Now here's the part you're probably not gonna like. The "low-fat" element is no where near the "anything below 30% of calories from fat the the USDA considers "low." The diet that Esselstyn and Ornish consider low-fat is at or below 10% of calories from fat. It's difficult, perhaps impossible, to achieve that level without jettisoning cooking oils from one's diet. Here's a section from a plant-based nutrition blog I used to write which explains the rationale.
My Early Light posting last time included the following verbiage, “…Cornucopia of seven or eight colorful vegetables steaming in a Wok with a splash of water…” There’s a stealth health message in them there words, drawing so little attention to itself that you may have missed it. It involves a significant departure from the Standard American Diet (SAD) and it’s the fact that I used no oil in cooking the vegetables. Truth to tell,I use no oil in any of my food prep. Not even olive oil one might ask? Correct. Not even olive oil. And here’s why.
To begin with olive oil isn’t a food but a highly refined, processed food extract. It has no protein or essential amino acids, it has no carbohydrates, it has no fiber, it has no minerals and almost no vitamins except a little vitamin E and some phytosterols. So if it’s not a food, what is it? Well, it’s pure fat, and nothing in your food pantry or on the planet is more calorie-dense. Most oils are low in Omega 3 fats (which we need more of) and very high in Omega 6 fats (which most American need less of) It’s true that both of these fatty acids are “essential,” but most American diets are heavily unbalanced in favor of Omega 6’s which is undesirable.
A convenient definition of a junk food is a food that’s calorie-dense (high fat, high sugar and usually high salt) and has little or no nutrient value. Assessed in this way cooking oils, including olive oil, are checkmated.
But if you really feel you need olive oil, why not go for the gusto. Eat a few olives and have the benefit of the WHOLE FOOD with its marvelous symphony of interacting nutrients, not just the processed extract of pure fat. Stay tuned.
This post, other than being about an increasingly popular and healthful way of eating, has nothing to do with Bronchiecstasis and MAC which arouses concern in me that I'm at risk of becoming persona non Grata on this discussion board. Don (Thumperguy)