Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oil: Black Gold

Whenever I think about cooking oil I am instantly taken back to a Simpson's episode in which Homer decided to become an oil trafficker. He goes into fast food restaurants, retrieves their used oil, and then sells it. At one point, he goes into a fast food restaurant and sees the pimply teen behind the counter and remarks 'There must be $20 worth of oil on his forehead alone!'

But I digress. Oil is something I've been thinking of a lot lately. From the big oil spill, to cooking oil, I can't seem to escape it. Today, I will discuss cooking oil, because I have nothing intelligent or original to comment on about the big spill.

Calcium intake is often people's largest concern about eating paleo. The fact is, your bones don't absorb the calcium in your yogurts and milk anyways without a sufficient omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, decreased sodium, and Vitamin D intake. To increase your omega-3 to 6 ratio, you can try a couple of things: buy omega-3 enriched eggs, use oils high in omega-3, and increase your consumption of fish.

So oil. I have a comment on my blog from several weeks ago urging me to switch to coconut oil from canola. The problem is coconut oil contains NO OMEGA-3s. In fact, Loren Cordain (who has a Ph.D. in nutrition and developed the Paleo Diet) recommends not eating coconut oil at all. He recommends using Flaxseed Oil as his first choice and Canola as his second. The problem is, Flaxseed oil is incredibly expensive. For a 10 oz. bottle it is around $20 at my local grocer. So for me, on my teacher's salary, it's Canola.

I mean coconut oil no ill will, but I've yet to see any research that suggests it is better than canola or that canola is bad. What are your thoughts on the issue? What's your preferred cooking oil?


  1. I prefer coconut oil myself because of it's ability to be used at high heat. However, I have considered using flax oil, but alas, it is a little out of my price range as well. I will continue using coconut oil for now, but will eventually venture out and start using flax. Thank you for posting this!

  2. Loren Cordain did not develop the paleo diet. He popularized a variation on it with his Paleo Diet book. It was around long before his book.

    His diet isn't even truly paleo. For example flax oil is a product of high technology and wouldn't be paleo. But he decided to include it based on chemistry.

    You can see other variations listed here: http://paleodiet.com/definition.htm.

  3. Don,
    I am a huge fan of Dr. Loren Cordain. But liking him and his role in the paleo eating movement is beside the point.

    I don't use flaxseed oil because of the cost (so the chemical component of it doesn't effect me). What are your thoughts on the canola vs. coconut oil issue?

    Thanks for commenting on my blog! :)