10. Oil Free Challenge

This week we challenge you to go oil free.  Up to this point we have been throwing soft balls and challenging you to add healthy options to your diet.  This week we thought we would throw you a curve ball and raise your awareness of where oils sneaks into your daily consumption. Small amounts throughout the day can add up and sabotage your weight loss goals with negative health consequences.

Read on to learn more about the effects of oil and for ideas at the end:

According to the T-Collin Campbell foundation and a paper by the Vilano Group and Research Institute, Cardiovascular Foundation of Colombia, soybean, olive oil, and palm oil all have a damaging effect on endothelial function in healthy individuals. It did not matter if the oil was taken at room temperature, heated or heated to frying temperature; they all damaged the endothelial cells. You might be thinking: Ok, well what the heck is an endothelial cell and what does it matter if it is damaged?

Endothelial cells are the largest endocrine organs in the body. These cells produce nitric oxide, which allow the vessels to dilate. For example when you exercise, your arteries dilate to allow proper blood flow to your extremities. If you are eating properly your endothelial cells are producing enough nitric oxide to keep up and prevent free radical damage. However, eating a high fat diet (just one meal high in fat) from oil, dairy, meats etc. causes endothelial cells to become “sticky” not allowing them to produce enough nitric oxide to dilate blood vessels/arteries. Now if you eat this way 3-5 times a day, just as your cells are starting to recover and work properly again, you hit it with another high fat meal….Your system never gets a break!

Because of our processed food culture some form of refined oil is in almost all processed foods consumed. In the typical Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) oil is used in baking, cooking, dressings, grilling… just about everything. Not only does this damage your endothelial cells and prevent them from doing their job properly, oils, olive oil in particular has a ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 that is undesirable. Simply put: Foods high in Omega 6 promote inflammation in the body while foods high in Omega 3 reduce inflammation in the body. While you need both Omega 3 and Omega 6 the ideal ratio is 1:1 – 1:3 of Omega 6 to Omega 3.

Also, consider this from a weight loss perspective. You could have one bag of frozen vegetable at about 120 calories and by adding just a “little drizzle” of oil over top you will be adding about about 80-120 + empty calories. When instead you could add in whole olives, sliced avocado and beans for that same amount while providing a huge nutrient boost along with fiber, not just pure fat.

Check out this short video on the shelf life of oils:

True Shelf-Life of Cooking Oils

* This challenge will be difficult if you eat a lot of processed foods or out at restaurants and easier to control if you cook at home.  With that in mind, take the time to read labels on your food purchases and speak up at restaurants to ask for no oil.


* Cook without oil when at home by dry sautéing your food!  To do this, substitute oil with water.  Add a couple tablespoons to 1/4 cup of water at a time as needed to keep food from sticking to the pan.  Voila!

* Find oil free recipes on our website and at Forks over knives

* Oh she glows – oil free options

* Check labels on packaged food.  Avoid added oils.

* When eating out, Ask foods to be prepared without oil.

* Ask for stemmed or blanched foods without added oils or butter.


Image by m_bartosch

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