Growing up, the word lard was synonymous with everything glutinous! Pure fat. You only ate it if you were disgusting. How times have changed! Now I only use either coconut oil or lard to cook with. Doesn’t that sound glutinous and counter-intuitive to being healthy? Shouldn’t I be using something healthy like olive, canola or seed oil?
Here’s why you probably shouldn’t be using anything but stable fats like coconut oil or lard (or even BUTTER) for cooking: oxidation.
I cringe when I think about the cheap-o vegetable oil in the plastic container I used to buy from Wal-Mart to cook with. AHhhhhhh! You should never buy oils that are in plastic containers. Not to mention trans fats are poisoning our country one french fry at a time. You should never consume them under any circumstances. Thank God the FDA is going to ban them!
See, oils that are not stable (solid at room temp) are sensitive to things like light and heat. These things cause them to oxidize. When you consume them, they cause things like free radicals and inflammation in your body. Inflammation can lead to TONS of chronic diseases in the body. I’m not expert on this, so if you want to know more, look here. Basically since cheap oils are packaged in plastic, so sitting in your cupboard makes them oxidize even more. If you’re going to buy olive oil, make sure it is high quality and in a dark, glass container to protect it from the elements and minimize oxidation.
When you cook with these oils, heat damages them even more! Since in America, we fry everything in vegetable oil or peanut oil, we are day by day contributing to inflammation in our bodies and putting our Omega 3/Omega 6 ratio out of whack….further contributing to the health epidemic.
Which brings me to why you SHOULD be cooking with lard, coconut oil and even BUTTER (if you tolerate dairy…make sure it is high quality). Lard from pastured pork has actually been known to have a beneficial effect on cholesterol since it contains stearic acid. It also contains the good stuff that everyone keeps pushing olive oil for….oleic acid.
These fats are stable to high temperatures and do not get damaged when baking, roasting or heating up food. Thus, our body recognizes them as real good and doesn’t try to fight back when we eat them. Butter is making a come back!
As far as olive oil, it is a healthy choice, but use it for things like light sautéing or finishing oil. Mark Sisson did a piece defending using olive oil in cooking, and I’ll agree. He says that as long as you have a good quality olive oil (dark glass container and reputable brand), cooking, baking or roasting with it isn’t that bad. I’ll take it. But don’t buy the $5.00 plastic container olive oil from Wal-Mart to cook your french fries in. Anyone who has ever tasted the pure heaven that are sweet potato french fries cooked in lard would NEVER!!!
***Most of my sources are cited, but I also referenced this article:
Krasner, Deborah. “All You Need to Know about Good Meat.” Mother Earth News. June/July 2012, I.252.
What oils do you cook with?
What’s your favorite brand of coconut oil?