The Why and How of Cooking Without Oil
Many of us are aware of the high saturated fat content in cooking oils like olive, coconut, avocado etc. But most of us aren’t aware of the impact a meal with oil has on the endothelial function of our arteries. In other words, what it does to the integrity of our arterial walls. It’s no new discovery that high fat foods cause our arteries to stiffen, eventually leading to vascular disease characterized by high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, heart disease, etc. Researchers have found that every cooking oil tested, including olive, coconut and vegetable, have the same EXACT effect on our arteries. In fact, my fave MD, Dr. Michael Greger, explains that near paralysis of our arteries was found 3 hours after consuming olive oil. Why is this detrimental to the integrity of our blood vessels and health? Our arteries dilate (open up) and contract in response to biochemical stressors. During a response that would require a vital organ or muscle to NEED a large amount of oxygen rich blood fast, our endothelial cells release nitric oxide which makes our arteries dilate (open wide up) to get as much oxygenated blood to our vital organs and muscles as fast as possible. High fat meals, and cooking oils prevent this dilation from occurring by hardening the arteries so much that they can’t expand in response to stress, therefore dramatically decreasing circulation of oxygen rich blood to vital organs. After a prolonged period of time, this causes permanent damage to the artery, and eventually leads to tissue death from poor circulation.
If that not enough, oil is literally liquid fat. 1 tbsp of cold pressed olive oil is 119 calories! It has almost no nutrient value, and yes, that goes for cold-pressed as well. Even Extra Virgin Olive Oil which was found to retain a small fraction of the anti-inflammatory phytonutrient power in olives, is essentially negating itself and therefore adding nothing to your body but extra liquid fat that is less bad for arteries than other cooking oils. LESS BAD. Like some cigarettes are LESS BAD than other ones. There’s no amount of disease causing damage to your blood vessels that makes any sense. Especially because cooking without oil is actually really easy. Here are some common cooking methods we use oil for, and what you can do instead!
1.Caramelizing Veggies or making a stir fry.
You can use any pan, but non-stick works best. Preferably Calphlon because it is made without a chemical PFAO, which can absorb into your food when heated. Turn heat to medium high Add your veggies. Then add 3-4 tbsp of vegetable broth. Stir veggies around allowing broth to moisten all veggies. Once broth has completely absorbed and veggies are just starting to give off some smoke, maybe brown a little, add another tbsp. or 2 of broth. Continue to stir around until all broth is absorbed into veggies and pan is dry. Add another 2-3 tbsp broth. Continue this process until caramelization is reached. About 10 mins.
There are several alternatives here. You can make a creamy Italian with white beans and water. Nuts and seeds also make great emulsifiers for dressings if you have a good high powered blender. Check out salad dressing recipes for some ideas. Looking to make an oil-free mayo? You can even replace the oil in your mayo recipe with an equal ratio of chickpea liquid, or aquafaba.
3.Oil in baking.
The key here is utilizing specific oil-replacements based on the the consistency and texture you’re attempting to achieve. For example, if you are making a brownie or cake, something that requires a lot of moisture, you can replace vegetable oil in baking with aquafaba, or the canned chickpea liquid in a 1:1 ratio and get the moist, dense effect you would achieve with oil. For some cakes that are more “bready”, you can replace oil with mashed banana, mashed sweet potato, applesauce or pumpkin in a 1:1 ratio as well. Ie. 1 cup vegetable oil = 1 cup mashed banana
THIS is why we are an oil-free kitchen! I hope this makes it easier to start replacing oil in your diet. If you have any questions, please leave a comment, and I can follow up with more tips!