Getting Off Oil

24 02 2012

The lifestyle change to plant based foods has taught me to trade things I thought I loved for the things that my body needs. Giving up animal sources of food was a little difficult and although I do crave a juicy steak from time to time, I’m managing. Giving up sugar was hard for the first few days but now I don’t even think about it. I see things like soda and candy and they look like poison to me. (Donuts for some reason, still look wonderful!) Dairy was probably the biggest challenge because of my love of cheese. I still do miss it but I can’t argue with how I feel, and how I feel is better than I have in 15 years which is really saying something. In a way, a plant based diet is like finding the fountain of youth.

The problem I’m having now though is that after 46 pounds, the body is starting to level off with the weight loss. I’ve switched my diet up here and there, added some additional exercise but still I’m not seeing much weight loss. I think I’m struggling with plant based fats. I love seeds and nuts. A 3.5 ounce bag of pumpkin seeds contains nearly all of my recommended fat intake for the day. I can polish a bag that size of in a few minutes. I probably eat a bag of those every day or two. Pistachios have also become a big snack food around here. I’m realizing that a lot of my plant based fat is coming from these two things every day. But the majority of my plant based fat is coming from olive oil.

I’ve started reading up on olive oil and in so many ways its not the health food that it has been marketed as. It is total fat. There are 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per serving. Pound for pound, it contains more fat than butter. It’s also heavily processed and often cotains chemical additives. The reality is, its nearly impossible to find a pure grade of virgin olive oil in your supermarket, especially if you are buying it in clear glass or plastic (as sunlight breaks pure virgin olive oil down). It only has trace amounts of vitamin E and many or the purported benefits of olive oil can be gained from the foods I am already eating. To top it off, it is only heart healthy when compared to other kinds of fats. And no, other oils do not seem any better for you as the nutritional values appear to be about the same. I’m not a doctor, but what I’ve been reading lately would seem to indicate that my heart would be healthier without it altogether or at least in vastly smaller quantities. I have used about 36 ounces of it in my salads and cooking in just the last several weeks. I’ve never consumed so much olive oil as I have been recently. It’s a lot like taking several scoops of ice cream, dumping them onto your salad and asking why you’re not losing weight.

So this will be the next step in this process, severely cutting back on plant based fats and eliminating olive oil all together. For sautéing, I will try veggie broth and see how that goes. For salads, I tried using 3 parts balsamic vinegar and two parts dijon mustard (mixed together then drizzled) last night and it rivals any dressing I’ve ever gotten at a decent restaurant. It is so much better tasting than an oil and vinegar dressing.

It’s true, I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’ve never eaten this way before and admittedly, I’m not well educated on these things but I’m trying to get there. I feel ike all of the plant-based fat intake has been slowing my progress down and so I’m going to tweak my regiment a bit and see what happens.

“Every mouthful of oils and animal products, including dairy foods, initiates an assault on these [cell] membranes and, therefore, on the cells they protect. These foods produce a cascade of free radicals in our bodies especially harmful chemical substances that induce metabolic injuries from which there is only a partial recovery. Year after year, the effects accumulate. And eventually, the cumulative cell injury is great enough to become obvious, to express itself as what physicians define as disease. Plants and grains do not induce the deadly cascade of free radicals. Even better, in fact, they carry an antidote. Unlike oils and animal products, they contain antioxidants, which help to neutralize the free radicals and also, recent research suggests, may provide considerable protection against cancers.” – Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.

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