Right behind white carbohydrates in the battle to destroy our health is processed oils. These “white” fats are a major contributing factor to heart disease, chronic inflammation, dementia and other diseases involving nervous system problems and diabetes.
Like white flour and sugar, processed vegetable oils have been stripped of most of their nutritional value. Natural oils contain vitamins, minerals and other nutritional factors that help the body process the fat. The process of extracting the oils destroys this nutritive value.
Processed oils are usually extracted using heat, then degummed (a process which removes phospholipids like lecithin and minerals like iron, copper, calcium and magnesium). They are usually partially hydrogenated, a process which involves adding hydrogen to the oil in the presence of nickel.
Like the process of making refined sugar and white flour, the final stage of making “white” oil is to bleach it. Sodium hydroxide (found in Drano®) is added to remove free fatty acids and the bleaching process also removes beta-carotene and the essential oils that give natural vegetable oils an aroma.
Processed oils are often heated to high temperatures, a process which causes the formation of trans-fats. Heating oils to just 300 degrees starts the process of causing fatty acids to become mutagenic (cancer causing). Trans-fatty acids start forming at 320 degrees and at 392 degrees significant quantities of trans-fats are formed. The more you reuse an oil for frying, the more trans-fats you’ll create.
Like the plan for defeating white carbohydrates, the primary way to defeat the white fats is by substituting them for good fats. Again, we need fats, just like we need carbohydrates, so the best way to avoid bad fats is by crowding them out of our diet with good ones.
Deep ocean fish (mackerel, sardines, anchovies, albacore tuna, etc.) and fish oils (cod liver oil and Omega-3 supplements) are a great way to get good fats. Avocados, nuts (especially walnuts and Brazil nuts) and seeds (like flax, chia, hemp, pumpkin, sesame) are also good sources of natural, healthy fat.
For frying, use coconut oil. This medium-chain saturated fat is very heat stable and is also good for you. You can even eat some straight from the jar. Another good oil for frying is safflower oil or a mixture of safflower and olive oil.
Finally, organic butter from grass fed cows is better than margarine, which is basically shortening with artificial flavor and color. I make a soft spread butter by mixing one pound (2 cups) of butter which has softened to room temperature with one cup of flax seed oil using a hand blender. You can also make this with hemp seed oil (which makes a slightly green butter) or cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
The resulting spread will stay soft in the fridge. It is more nutritious than plain butter and has a nice “nutty” flavor that I actually prefer to plain butter.
It may also be helpful to take supplements to help you break down and process fats properly. Lipase enzymes are a good choice, especially if you have trouble digesting fats or have had your gall bladder removed. I also find fringetree bark to be a good single herb for stimulating bile flow from the gallbladder to help digest fats.
SF and Chickweed help the liver metabolize fats properly. They are especially helpful if you have fatty congestion in your liver.
About Steven Horne, RH (AHG)
Steven Horne is a Registered Herbalist with and a past president of the American Herbalist Guild (AHG). He is the author of numerous books and courses on herbs and natural healing and has lectured on this subject all over the world. He is the father of five children, who were all raised on natural remedies. Because he's learned how to provide primary health care to his children in the home, he's only had to make three visits to a medical doctor for illnesses with his five children.
Copyright Steven H. Horne