I love this stuff. After finding out about my dairy intolerance, I have been on the search for a safe fat to cook with. I love coconut oil but I sometimes want something that has the similar warm, rich taste of butter for cooking. I have known about the benefits of different animal fats for awhile now, just finally got around to trying duck and chicken fat in 2013. YES. You read that right. I said benefits of animal fats. The truth is our bodies need healthy fats to function properly and animal fats happen to be a stable source to use for cooking. Not to mention they are delicious, satisfying and add a certain depth to your meals like no other.
The big problem is that we have been mislead. There are many oils people are using to cook with that are simply not safe when heated and some not good to ingest at all. The no-no’s include canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and vegetable oil and heaven help us all…..any type of margarine. These oils are extremely processed usually with harsh chemicals and heat. They are most often made from genetically modified ingredients and are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated which creates harmful trans fatty acids. Basically putting these into your body equals a small machete hacking away at your arteries….OUCH.
Here are some good articles that explain more about different kinds of fats and oils, benefits of fats to our health and also the crazy processing that occurs with commercial vegetable oils. Don’t just walk away from your computer now, for the sake of your health- READ THESE!!
Oh, and for sure don’t skip this one. This Doc is a real hottie……
Equally as unhealthy as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, are oils that have gone rancid. Good oils for cooking are the more saturated types because they are more chemically stable and less prone to rancidity when heated. Some options are coconut oil, palm oil, and animal fats like duck fat, butter or ghee. Oils like extra virgin olive oil, unrefined sunflower oil, and flax seed oil are best for drizzling over foods and should not be heated. They are unstable oils and can become rancid with heat and light. This means more free radicals for your poor body to deal with. Stop it now!
Here is a guideline of what to look for when choosing your fats and oils:
- first pressed or cold pressed
- dark colored glass jars
- organic and/or non-genetically modified
- some oils, like flax seed or fish oils should always be refrigerated
And when searching for animal fats, the key words to look for are fats rendered from grass-fed or pastured animals, organic and hormone-free. I am lucky to live in Portland, Oregon and I can find these at local grocery stores and farmer’s markets. Search around your markets, start with the meat department or try asking local farmers in your area. Good luck and happy eating!