Fats on Fleek

Are your fats on fleek? Are you sure you know how to choose and properly store your nuts, seeds and oils? Do you know which fats are right for the high temperature job? I think you might be surprised how easy it is to consume dangerous, toxic, or rancid fats and oils. Keep your "Fats on Fleek" with this easy guide! 

 

Making the choice

Buying your nuts and seeds is not as simple as cramming heaping scoop fulls into that wimpy plastic baggy at the bulk food store. Great attention should be payed to the quality of those nuts and seeds. Because they contain such delicate unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, nuts and seeds that have been shelled are quite vulnerable to light, oxygen and temperature changes. Such exposure can cause oxidative damage to those quality fats. Rancid fats and oils are not fit for consumption. (They can be damaging to your liver, kidneys, digestive and cardiovascular systems, you name it! They're basically poison.) Yet most of us do not know the signs to look for. 

Fact: We required quality unsaturated as well as saturated fats for healthy, strong cellular membranes, circulatory health, hormonal health and radiant skin.

  • When buying bulk nuts and seeds look for gravity bins that dispense from the bottom versus open air containers with scoops. This will ensures freshness.
  • If there aren't gravity bins... Lift the top of the regular bin and lean in... Take a nice deep sniff. You might Look weird but it's ok... I do this on the regular! If the nuts/seeds smell a little fishy or have a paint/paint thinner like aroma... they're bad. Abandon them and search for nuts in vacuum sealed pouches. 
  • Buy your nuts and seeds whole whenever possible and grind them at home as you need them. Especially flax and chia. 
  • Another thing to look for is colour. Walnuts especially should be a lighter brown, if they look dark in patches or are darker brown, they could be rancid... Back away. 
  • When buying oils, do your best to buy oils in glass bottles or jars. Due to the nature of fats, they easily absorb chemical residues from plastic, BPA and other plastic residues have hormone disrupting effects, long story short, avoid plastic when storing nuts, seeds and especially oils. 

Strengthening your storage game

The battle against oxydation doesn't end once you've gotten home from the store. Proper at home storage is key to conquering the war on rancid fats. 

  • Transfer nuts and seeds to glass jars with tight lids and store them in the fridge or freezer. A simple rule of thumb to follow is -store up to three months in the fridge, up to 6 months in the freezer. 
  • Oils should be kept in dark coloured bottles, in a cool place away from heat. The higher the ratio of unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, the more delicate the oil. For the most part, oils that are liquid at room temperature such as sesame, flax, or sunflower should be kept in the fridge. Oils that are stable at room temperature are generally solid, like coconut. The only exception is olive oil. It has a stable composition and can be stored in a dark bottle at room temperature safely, away from heat. 
  • Open your oils and check them before use, give them the sniff test mentioned above, if they smell fishy or paint like, it's time to toss them. 
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winning high temp cooking

It is important to choose oils with a high smoke point for higher temperature cooking. "Smoke Point" refers to the temperature at which an oil starts to burn. For example, cold‐pressed flaxseed oil is a wonderful oil to use in salad dressings, but you wouldn’t cook  with it; in contrast, avocado oil has a very high smoke point even when it’s not highly refined, making it an excellent choice for high heat cooking. Overheating oils produces toxic fumes and harmful free radicals.  This is why it’s important not to “re‐use” oil that’s  already been used to cook something (i.e. the deep fryer at a fast food restaurant).

  • Beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals found in many unrefined oils are destroyed when the oil  is overheated.  
  • Overheating also creates harmful free radicals.
  • Low smoke point = between 225°F and 350°F, Ex. coconut or unrefined sesame oil (up to 350°F).
  • Medium smoke point = 375°F, Ex. virgin olive oil (up to 420°F) or sunflower oil (up to 450°F). 
  • 450°F High smoke point = between 470°F and 485°F and above, Ex avocado oil (up to 520°F).

*Pro tip: Keep a spray bottle filled with water in the kitchen and spritz water over your fry pan or baking sheet a few times while cooking, this will prevent oil burning.