My education never ends. Just when I think I know all about the Caveman Diet, I realize just one piece of wrong information and I can wind up eating the wrong thing for a year!
I don’t remember where I got my original research, but for some reason I thought sunflower oil was paleo. Well, it is, but it isn’t. The thing is, the sunflower seed is, but the amount of oil one would use in a single meal is like eating a thousand seeds, and the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is way out of balance. Too bad, because I used sunflower oil a lot because of it’s high smoke point, and neutral flavor. I did all my high heat frying in it, and used it for my paleo mayo!
BUT, it’s not all bad news for me. Turns out, cooking with olive oil isn’t as bad as I once thought. I’ve been scared off by olive oil’s low smoking point, and warned to death that if you cook it on high heat, it turns to trans fat (that’s the bad fat, folks), and defeats the whole purpose of eating a healthy oil. Well, it does turn to trans fat… eventually. Like if it’s cooked for a long time, on high heat. But the average cook, cooking the average meal, even on high heat, would be hard pressed to cook olive oil long enough to turn it into trans fat. Good news, because I love the flavor of olive oil. And I will return to browning my meatballs in olive oil, the way my imaginary Italian Grandmother used to!
Unfortunately, paleo mayo made with olive oil doesn’t taste as good as the sunflower version (although my little modern cavegirl tells me she uses plain olive oil, which has a milder flavor than EVOO), but maybe I’ll try avocado oil, which is a wonder oil, and has a very high smoke point, so even if you’re still skeptical about olive oil, you can safely fry with it. The downside, it’s as expensive as shit (where’d that expression come from? Shit’s not expensive at all, dogs are practically giving it away). But I think I’ll invest in a bottle next time I make mayo.
Actually, the best fat of all to cook with is animal fat from a healthy animal, like pasture raised cows, chickens, and especially pigs! That’s right, organic lard is one of the healthiest things around! Go figure. And what’s even better than that is if you can get your hands on some wild duck fat! Healthy animals produce healthy fat, perfect for caveman consumption. If you’re more primal than paleo, organic ghee (clarified butter) is recommended, but I’d still like to stay away from dairy, even if all the lactose is removed.
I have to unlearn everything I learned in my life B.C. (Before Caveman). I have to get over the thought that too much animal fat is bad for me. Yes, if I’m buying factory farmed meat from the average supermarket, it is bad for me, but if the animal is raised like nature intended, it’s GREAT for me!
Thanks to Leah from Your Nutritionista for opening my eyes. She’s got a great website and blog, so please check her out. Not completely paleo, but still, she preaches healthy, local, non-processed, REAL food. And I’m all for that! Ugga-Bugga!