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Do you cook with oil?

Woman holding a bottle of oil standing at a gas hob

Have you ever asked yourself the question: ‘Why do I cook with oil?’

While you might think of reasons for cooking with oil, much of the time it can be simply out of habit. With cooking oil going up in price, and shortages happening, I for one am interested in breaking the habit and have been trying out oil-free cooking.

Many recipes condition us into: heat pan, add oil and chuck in ingredients. Yet most of the time this is not necessary. I have been making soup without oil for a few weeks now. I like them without the oil, still delicious and with no greasy film. I’m new to oil-free cooking and have been reading up. I’m not anti-fat; fat is an essential part of a healthy diet but not all fat is created equal.

Oil is a processed product and very low in nutrients. Getting fat from food is the healthiest option, by eating things like nuts, seeds, olives and avocados. All oil is energy dense and high calorie, so if you trying to reduce calories oil-free cooking is ideal. Oil can be extracted from nuts, seeds and fruits. Cold pressed oils are the least processed and retain flavour and some of the nutrients from the origin plant. In contrast refined vegetable oils are heavily processed.^ The industrial process they go through creates uniform, almost flavourless oils.

Heating oil makes it unstable and causes it to oxidise (break down). This can create toxins which can be carcinogenic. Knowing that oils are chemically altered by high heat has made me think twice about eating things like chips and crisps. I save them for an occasional treat, rather than eating them every week. Oil at room temperature avoids the issue of oxidation. If I’m having a salad I find it more appetising with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil than without, I also like to add a sprinkle of toasted nuts or seeds on a salad.  

Are you ready to try oil-free cooking?

  • Instead of using oil to sauté or fry things on the hob try replacing the oil with liquid. It could be water, stock, vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, wine or other liquid.
  • A non-stick pan is handy and cooking on a high heat can add flavour by browning veggies. Keep stirring and add more liquid as needed.
  • Bake rather than roast, putting food on baking parchment to stop it sticking
  • Washing up is much easier when pans and trays are not greasy

I haven’t removed oil from my diet, but I do now consider how much I want to cook with oil and how often I eat fried food. Leave me a comment to share what do you think about cooking with or without oil?

Buying Nuts, Seeds and Oil

I can highly recommend Like Nana Did in Otley for stocking up on wholefoods packed with healthy fats.

Like Nana Did is a refill shop so you buy as much or as little as you like. There are nuts and seeds galore at great prices. The shop also stocks oil including Olive Oil, Smoked Rapeseed, Rosemary & Garlic Rapeseed. If you are cutting back on oil, it's perfect because you can buy in small quantities with zero-waste.


^ Reference


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