Try cooking with no oil, sometimes

Posted by Adaora Anozie

On February 23, 2015

In some cultures in Nigeria, especially the Yoruba culture, a soup is considered to be rich when it has oil dripping over it. In fact, any woman who cooks without much oil over it is perceived to be serving a less nutritious meal.

Many of us have developed an oil habit because most of us have never heard that oil is harmful to health. And because we have consumed it nearly every day of our lives, it can be hard to fathom living without it.

It is possible to change for good and it is quite easy. However, before you can leave your old ways to embrace a new one, you should know the reasons for the shift. Experts say if only we knew half the dangers we expose ourselves to by consuming refined oils, we would chuck them out of our diets forever.

According consultant cardiologist, Dr. Taiwo Akinsanya, there are many reasons to avoid oil, but the most important being that oil is 100 per cent fats.

He notes that anyone trying to reduce their risk for cardiovascular and heart diseases, as well as obesity which has now become an increasing cause of Type 2 diabetes and some cancers, should remove oils from their diets.

Akinsanya says, “Forget whatever they write on the labels, there is no oil that does not have good cholesterol or fat. That is what they are – fats. The claims are all marketing gimmicks.

“What is true and cannot be disputed is that oil is 100 per cent fats. It is the class of food that has the most calories when consumed in the same amount with other foods. One tablespoon of oil contains 120 calories – the same calories you get from eating many slices of bread.

“If you are trying to lose weight and also want to be kind to your arteries, removing oil from your diet is an excellent first step. This is because it is the most difficult to burn or utilise. It stays in the digestive system longer than other foods.”

The heart specialist reiterates that dietary fats are especially bad around the heart and its vessels such as the arteries, as they tend to clog up the vessels, disrupting blood circulation and blood cholesterol – conditions that could lead to coronary heart diseases and heart attack.

Consultant Nutritionist, Dr. Jane Ekeocha, says we have much to gain and nothing to lose by taking oil from our diet.

According to her, man-made fats such as vegetable oils that are being added to foods to increase their taste and shelf life block up the arteries (blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart) and up one’s risks for heart diseases. So, everything must be done to get them out of our food chain.

She notes that the fats in some plant and animal-based foods such as milk, meat, fish, chicken, corn, eggs and soya beans contain enough dietary oil that the body needs without adding refined oils to it.

Ekeocha said, “We are not saying that all these natural fats from foods are okay, but at least some of them have some level of good cholesterol that is good for the body when you eat them in moderation.

“For instance, fish and eggs have oils and fat that are good and sufficient for the body when we eat them in the right proportion; so why add processed oil, whether the label says it is low or high in cholesterol?”

She states that since dietary oil does not contain fibre and water – nutrients that make you feel full quickly – people tend to overeat them, thus, making weight loss difficult and weight gain inevitable.

Experts have said it over and over again that excess weight promotes inflammation, inhibits immune function, and increases our risk for heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cancer, to mention a few.

Cooking with oil is a habit we have embraced over time; it’s not easy to give up. It may be hard to imagine going without oil when cooking our soups and stews but it is possible.

It is not even as tough as we think once you decide you are going to ditch the oil from your everyday diet and stop putting it into your body.

You only need to conquer the fear of giving it up little by little by decreasing the amount of oil you cook with today and embracing the new way of doing things.

Don’t worry; your taste buds will adapt after a while, usually within a few weeks, and you will get used to not having oil at all.

Remember, as you cleanse and clear your body of these refined oils, your body will function better. You will not only feel light but better.

Culled from Punch