Ask Lisa about nutrition or anything else

[deleted account] ( 62 moms have responded )

Argh, I've been using olive oil to cook. My mother visited us last year and said I shouldn't use it to cook, but I had no idea what she was talking about. Then she bought me this HUGE container of vegetable oil (maybe sunflower? I can't remember) to cook with, but I didn't want it.

What do you cook with?

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Rosie - posted on 12/11/2011

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nikki, you want to have a ratio of omega 3's : omega 6's be about 4:1. most peoples diets in america at least are like 1:11. so basically what you would need to do is increase your omega 3's. foods that are high in omega 3's are wild salmon (they eat algae, which is high in omega 3, so an algae supplemental pill also contains omega 3), flaxseed, walnuts, grassfed beef, winter squash, and eggs from chicks fed stuff high in omega 3. when i make bread i put in some flaxseed for that purpose.and of course you can take a fish oil supplement pill. fish and grassfed beef contain DHA and EPA, the plant sources like flax, and walnut contain ALA, which your body uses and converts to DHA and EPA. but it is a process that your body goes through to produce a small amount of DHA and EPA, so i prefer fish or fish oil that way you know how much you are getting.

foods high in omega 6's (which you still need, just not in the amounts that most people eat) are regular eggs, all sorts of the normal cooking oils, soybean, sunflower, safflower, grain fed meats, farm raised fish (they're fed corn). mayo is made with eggs, and soybean oil so it's high in omega 6.

coconut oil has been shown to decrease cholesterol as well, plus it's doesn't turn toxic like pretty much all other oils do when you heat them to high heat.

Minnie - posted on 12/06/2011

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So anyway on topic, I cook with animal fats or coconut oil. It has to be saturated. I like rendered tallow or -real- lard (not the hydrogenated stuff you buy in a tub- you have to make it at home), ghee, butter, or bacon drippings.



Like we talked about before, saturated fats are the most stable because they have all carbon atoms bonded with a hydrogen. This molecule is nice and straight.



Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat. It's missing some hydrogen atoms, which causes the molecule to curve a bit and be liquid at room temperature. It's not as stable as saturated fat and if heated at too high a temperature, it will oxidize and go rancid. Rancid fats and oils are very dangerous to your health. Olive oil shouldn't be heated over 375, so I just choose to use it in dips, mayonaise and dressings and not heat it at all.



Then you have polyunsaturated fats. These are missing a whole bunch of hydrogen atoms and are very curvy and very unstable. There are good ones and bad ones. The good ones are found in nature, like omega 3. The bad ones are the more recently processed oils- soybean, safflower, sunflower, canola, etc. These should never ever ever ever ever (ever) be consumed, they WILL be rancid if they're in something you buy processed. These fats when oxidized will cause damage to your arteries.



Go for something that is naturally solid at room temperature to cook with. It'll either be from an animal's body or from a coconut.

Minnie - posted on 12/10/2011

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HDL and LDL are lipoproteins that transport cholesterol throughout the body and to areas that are damaged. Cholesterol is a repair substance. There are different types of HDL and LDL. LDL levels will rise when a diet is high in simple carbs and sugars. Those substances cause inflammation and LDL transports cholesterol to repair those areas of inflammation. But the areas that are repaired can get oxidized and grow larger- that causes the plaques in arteries.



Polyunsaturated fats like canola, margarine, crisco, soybean oil (vegetable oil) oxidize quickly and result in free radicals- those free radicals oxidize LDL. It's the oxidized LDL particles that damage arteries.



If you eat a diet low in cholesterol your body will still produce cholesterol for its needs. If you eat a diet low in cholesterol and eat a diet that includes a lot of grain produts and polyunsaturated fats you run the risk of a lot of inflammation and your body still needing to produce a lot of cholesterol and then that LDL may become oxidized. Cholesterol numbers may remain high.



Saturated fats do not cause heart disease or clog arteries and dietary cholesterol does not raise blood serum cholesterol- and remember, it is NOT cholesterol that causes heart disease. Cholesterol is a repair substance. If LDL is present in very high numbers it's a sign that something is wrong with your body. A basic snap shot showing a high cholesterol number doesn't mean anything until HDL, LDL, tryglicerides and their ratios are looked at.

Minnie - posted on 12/14/2011

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Nikki, saturated fat doesn't oxidize by it's very nature. All of the carbon atoms are paired with hydrogen- no room for oxygen to bond there.

April - posted on 12/14/2011

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loving this thread! thanks Liz!! Here's what I learned: Eat more foods with 0mega 3, saturated fats can be good, cook with coconut oil, eat wild salmon, aim for grassfed beef, and note that most oils for cooking oxidize.............

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Minnie - posted on 12/15/2011

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Amazon.com is a good source if you don't have any supermarkets that have a natural foods section or a natural foods store.

I love coconut anything, but honestly, I don't turn to coconut oil much for cooking with the ghee and tallow I've got jarred.

[deleted account]

So I had beef twice last week, and the other night I had salmon. Both were awesome!



Can't find coconut oil here to save my life.

Minnie - posted on 12/14/2011

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Yeah I wouldn't bake with extra virgin olive oil, Jen, it's quite bitter! For baking I find coconut oil, butter or bacon fat to work really well.



Cooking with soybean oil is just too dangerous in my book- that stuff is typically rancid even before you buy it. Some coconut oil does have a flavor but you can find some that have been deodorized.



I agree that coconut oil can be expensive. That's why I cook with beef tallow when frying. If you render it up yourself you get a neutral flavored fat that costs about $3 for two quarts- and it's not going to go rancid and hurt you. Ghee would be about $3/quart- great for sauteeing.

[deleted account]

Well Minnie, I guess you'd have to determine that there is no single good oil for all purposes. Extra virgin olive oil in cakes for example? Yuck! In salad dressings, foods where the good olive flavor is a welcme addition, sure but otherwise no. I know what you're saying about soybean oil but there are other things to consider as well. Taste. Soybean oil does not work well for deep frying becuase of the off flavors you'll get. However I'm hard pressed to think of a good alternative if you need a neutral flavored oil that wont' break the bank as well.

Minnie - posted on 12/13/2011

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I wouldn't use soybean oil because it oxidizes very easily. Oxidized fats are what cause the rancid type B LDL that plaques up your arteries. Peanut oil as well.

Best choice for deep frying is coconut oil or lard- both saturated fats, both very stable and won't become rancid under high temperatures.

In baked goods any saturated fat too. Basically, don't use polyunsaturated or monounsaturated for cooking. One step further, don't use polyunsaturated at all, and use monounsaturated for dressings, not cooked.

[deleted account]

I strongly disagree with using extra virgin olive oil in baked goods or other items where the flavor may come through. Often a neutral oil is required. Soybean oil is good for most items unless your'e going to fry something. In that case, peanut oil is best.

Sherri - posted on 12/11/2011

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Wish I liked red meat but I don't so no red meat what so ever in my diet. Chicken, pork or Haddock or shell fish (this is extremely rare) that is it.

Minnie - posted on 12/11/2011

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Omega 3 and Omega 6 are the -good- polyunsaturated fatty acids. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring are good sources, as is fish oil- like cod liver oil. :)

Although that stuff is so heinous I think they should use it to make a weapon of mass destruction...

Anyways, some foods are high in omega 6, which is necessary, but if you have too much it can cause inflammation. Things like nuts, pork, chicken, industrial eggs, those all have a higher omega 6 content. So eat these things in moderation, and you can eat things higher in omega 3 to balance it out.

Merry - posted on 12/11/2011

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Wow dyan you're smart. Lol that was way over my head lol all I could take away was eat more omega 3s and less omega 6s. Lol

Rosie - posted on 12/11/2011

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most ham is gonna have nitrates laura, along with bacon. look for those without nitrites or nitrates.

Minnie - posted on 12/11/2011

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No, not a lot. I eat bacon occasionally, probably once every two weeks. Pork, rarely, because I'm not a huge fan. It's kind of on the same level as chicken for taste preference for me. And the omega 6 content is much higher than beef. Beef and fish are my main go-to meat choices.



Hmmm...what to know about ham- the main thing is additives. Some pieces have really extensive lists.

Merry - posted on 12/11/2011

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Ham is way above and beyond all other meats in my preference. I'd eat ham all day :) especially with brown sugar on it. It's heavenly.
Anything I should know about eating ham?

Minnie - posted on 12/11/2011

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And what's funny is that red meat has always been this 'no-no' and yet it has a much better ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 than chicken does.

[deleted account]

Yes, my husband and I have made an early New Year's resolution. More meat (even "bad" red meat), fish, nuts/seeds, vegetables, fruit, butter, eggs, etc.



You know, food.



Since birth, my son has eaten a very healthy diet (well, Lisa wouldn't agree about oatmeal) with eggs, vegetables, fruit, yogurt, fish and meat when he'll eat it, no "baby" foods in a jar or box.



One day I started wondering why I eat junk when I won't let my son touch it.

Minnie - posted on 12/11/2011

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That's probably what I'd do, Nikki. I'm not going to give you medical advice, because I'm not qualified. If you feel your doctor isn't giving you the information you're searching for look around- there are doctors out there that don't follow conventional wisdom of high-grain, low fat diets and those who really understand about the causes of heart disease.

The big things that lead to high -bad- cholesterol (you can have a high total cholesterol number that ends up worrying doctors if they don't look at the big picture- but it is high good HDL) are grains (cause inflammation) and manufactured polyunsaturated fats (crisco, margarine, canola, soybean/vegetable oil). So you'd have to cut out anything that comes in a box, pretty much and cut out the grains or really reduce them in your diet. Sounds like you have the idea, with vegetables, meat and fruit, and healthy natural fats like butter.

And being active. That's always important. :)

Kellie - posted on 12/11/2011

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I'm posting to see the reply, I am wanting to change my diet too, we eat a high carb diet and i'm really feeling it and i'm sick of it! I've totally turned into a carb natzi!

Nikki - posted on 12/10/2011

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Ok, so for someone with high cholesterol what type of foods would you recommend. I have been thinking a lot about food and ways to change my diet to be healthier and I am thinking along the lines of eating as little processed foods and starchy carbs as I can but more fruit, veggies and meat and switching back to natural foods like butter etc. I suppose taking it back to the basics.

[deleted account]

Research shows that dietary cholesterol has no effect on blood serum cholesterol. The levels of LDL (and there are different types of LDL), HDL and triglycerides are dependent on other factors.

Lisa, would you please explain further?

Rosie - posted on 12/09/2011

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i love coconut oil. there is the spectrum, organic, refined kind (which has no coconut flavor) in the cooking oil section at walmart. i wish i could get rid of canola oil, but i use my deep fryer fairly often and it's too expensive to buy that much coconut oil to fill the fryer and change the oil every so often. i have butter and lard in my fridge as well, lol.
i really hate how our health community tries to tell us to stay away from all saturated fats. i have perfect cholesterol levels (good and bad) and only cook with coconut oil, and butter. i do use olive oil for my spaghetti sauce, but it is heated on medium low heat while sauteing my onions. cooking tomatoes in olive oil helps your body absorb lycopene better.

lisa have you found an olive oil that tastes good uncooked? i cannot for the life of me find a decent priced one that makes dipping bread in olive oil heavenly like at some restaurants.

Minnie - posted on 12/09/2011

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I haven't looked much into differences in temperature when cooking. The only things I know about nutrient content and cooking is that some vegetables, namely the broccoli family, should be cooked, lightly at least, before eating, because they're goitrogenic when raw.

Stir fries do use high heat, but the food is cooked quickly.

[deleted account]

What about low temperature cooking? What do you guys think of that? (The idea that high temperatures destroy nutrients, so stir frying and steaming are better ways of cooking, etc.)

Kate CP - posted on 12/09/2011

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She's a fan of bacon grease, too. Makes her hericot vert with it. Nummy. :)

Kate CP - posted on 12/09/2011

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I'm kinda iffy on grape seed and I don't know why...my mom loves the stuff. That and coconut oil. She's gaga for that. ;)

Minnie - posted on 12/09/2011

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Well, rape seed is canola. It tends to oxidize very quickly, so I wouldn't use it.

I don't know much about grapeseed. If it's mostly monounsaturated fat it's probably very good for dips and dressings, just like olive oil.

Kate CP - posted on 12/09/2011

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Coconut oil is awesome stuff. You can get the kind that doesn't have any flavor or odor to it so it won't affect your cooking or baking.

When baking you need to use oils and fats to help bind together ingredients and give things moisture and substance. You can substitute some oils or fats for applesauce but not all...you'll change the chemical reaction in the recipe and get a different result.

For example when you bake cookies with butter you'll get a crispier cookie. If you bake with shortening or lard you get a chewier cookie. It's all in the way the fats render down with your flour or starches.

Lisa: Thoughts on grape seed or rape seed oil?

Minnie - posted on 12/09/2011

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Yeah, the fluoride in water annoys me, but I don't want to buy bottled water or a reverse-osmosis system, lol. Right now its not my main concern. We don't use fluoridated toothpaste.

Minnie - posted on 12/09/2011

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There are a couple of different tests they can use to check cholesterol, Nikki- and the way the numbers are broken down is what's important. If they look at total cholesterol- that doesn't mean much. They need to look at LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. There are different types of LDL cholesterol- some are damaged through oxidation and that can cause artery damage.



If you want a run-down on the science and history regarding the recommendations to eat a low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet the book Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes is very helpful.



This is a helpful rundown: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thr...



I personally wouldn't use oil from rice. It probably is unstable and likely to oxidize at higher temperatures.

Jodi - posted on 12/09/2011

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My husband can't eat saturated fats. Saturated fats affects his blood sugar more than carbohydrates.

Nikki - posted on 12/09/2011

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Ok, so this post is really eye opening, I almost fell of my chair when I read that you eat saturated fats Lisa, this goes against everything I have ever been taught! Sorry to be a pain but do you mind elaborating a little more? I currently have high cholesterol and my doctor is very insistent that I eat no saturated fats. Which I must say I have had second thoughts about, I don't know a great deal about food in general but when it comes to my daughter I research a lot, so I find it interesting that saturated fats are recommended for infants for brain development etc yet they are apparently poison to adult humans?

Merry - posted on 12/08/2011

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Ooh this is an awesome idea!

Now I can pick Lisa's brain on multiple places ;)

What's the best things to drink?
Water idhope is an obvious choice but how do you feel about the flouride?
Milk, which type do you do? Raw I know, coconut I've heard you use, what do you use for just drinking it?
And, for babies under a year what are your top choices for foods? Liver I remember, egg yolks, fruit, veggies, anything else?
She eats a lot of bananas cuz everyone has bananas in their house.

Sherri - posted on 12/07/2011

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Instead of adding oil when I am baking I add applesauce I find that it leads to much moister baked goods and so much healthier for you.

Sherri - posted on 12/07/2011

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I use Canola and olive oil. Olive oil for certain things and Canola for others.

Minnie - posted on 12/07/2011

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It's helpful to know the history on the current nutrition recommendations. Most of it is derived from just a couple faulty studies. A lot of special interest was involved. The medical community doesn't set this, it's been a process since the 60s to establish this recommended way of eating, and there were SO many people in the medical field who warned loud and clear against a diet low in (saturated) fat, high in grains.



I actually don't know what got us out of our church...it's very foggy, really. When I say we were brainwashed, I'm not joking or exaggerating. One day we just went 'huh?'



Three best foods....probably salmon, leafy greens, grass-fed beef. At least it is for me, thinking of what I would get out of those foods. :) High protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants. I used to eat a very low fat, high grain/carb diet and suffered through it. I imagine that there is quite the range of what foods people tolerate best.



One thing I have to add that I can't live without is bone broth. That stuff, simmered over three or four days, contains an incredible amount of nutrients- it's a great way to improve a diet.

[deleted account]

Not amusing... intriguing. :) (I think we should have more Ask CoM Member anything threads!)



I recently read an in-depth article in Men's Health about saturated fats and the whole butter vs. margarine controversy. It seemed well-researched to my untrained eyes.



Now I don't know what to think. It's hard to believe the medical community sets health policy on such flimsy evidence.



Anyway, the MH article made me think of the stuff you post, and I wanted to pick your brain.



It's unlikely I will stop eating grains, but some conventional wisdom doesn't make any intuitive sense to me.



Like the food pyramid. I know it was recently changed under the Obama administration, but when I was growing up, it was 6-11 servings of grains (while only 5 servings of vegetables and fruits!), with a serving defined as a slice of bread. I'm supposed to eat 6-11 slices of bread or its equilavent in other grains A DAY?



I feel cheated. Like my generation was raised to be carb-addicts.



Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. :)



I'm actually interested in another aspect of your life. You've mentioned that you were raised in a very religious, conservative family. What made you break away from that?



Also, what are the three best foods to eat in your opinion? :)

Minnie - posted on 12/07/2011

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Lol. Remember, I'm not a dietician, though I wish I could go to school for nutritional science! It would be so interesting. And also, a lot of what I've learned goes very contrary to conventional nutritional wisdom. I'm not qualified; I just like to talk, lol.



Cholesterol isn't the enemy- it doesn't cause heart disease; it's a repair substance and something that is part of every cell in your body. When it's present in high numbers, it's evidence of something wrong in your body- but it doesn't cause the problem.



There's nothing really wrong with sausage, it just depends on how it's made. In moderation, it's ok. It does have a high omega 3 to 6 ratio, and you typically want it 1:1, but once in a while, fine. Best is made directly from the farmer, and not filled with HFCS and stuff.



My personal opinion on the three worst things to eat: Polyunsaturated processed fats (soy, canola, margarine, crisco, etc.) Then probably wheat (not all grains are horrible, some are not so bad if treated appropriately, like lime-treated corn or polished white rice, but they just take up space in your belly, don't offer much nutrition), then probably sugar. Sugar once in a while, fine. Sugar every day in the form of loads of breads, pastas, treats, is what leads to insulin resistance.



Am I amusing you? ;)

[deleted account]

Thanks, Lisa! :) This thread is so awesome!



Anyway, my husband's family has a history of high cholesterol and heart disease. We recently switched to butter from margarine, though it sounds crazy. (We don't use much of either, though.)



His parents have never eaten anything but margarine, but they still have health problems so I don't see that it did them any good. They also eat a lot of sweets and soda, etc.



I recently started giving my 15mo son some butter with his vegetables. He won't eat meat, though. He used to, but now he's being picky.



What do you think about stuff like sausage which is supposed to be gross?



What do you think are the three worst things to eat ever? (Are you going to say grains?)

Minnie - posted on 12/06/2011

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Really? Nope, I don't watch it- I love Alton Brown, but we only get basic cable. That guy knows his stuff!



I love one episode I saw online- a homemade dehydrator, it was so awesome, lol. Air filters strapped to a fan stuck in the window. Hahaha so ghetto.



You can get coconut oil on Amazon, or it's usually in the natural foods section of the store.

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