This will be a jam-packed (mm, jam) post. I will write out a bullet-point list of all the topics covered, so that you can attend to the parts you are interested in, or grab some tea and take a look at the whole thing! *Nudge* I know you are mainly here for the contest, aren’t ya? If so, the info is near the end of this post. I do suggest taking a look at the earlier parts of this post, however, if you are interested in learning more info on the different kinds of oils we use in our salads and cooking we use. Some are refined, some are unrefined. What does this mean in terms of how healthy they are? If you want to know more about which cooking oil is healthiest and whether you should look for cold-pressed oil/unrefined, keep reading. Enjoy!
* Normally my posts are sticking to a main topic, but this time the first half is about different kinds of Oils and the second half involves Vitamins and Minerals (+ Contest). Hope you find some useful info! I definitely learned a lot whilst writing this!
POST TOPICS (in order)
- What are the Healthiest Oils to use in Salads and in Cooking – Includes video link to the 22 minute video “What’s Really in Our Food?“
- Best things to add to your salads
- Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes
- List of the Vitamins and Supplements I take + Brief bit on David Wolfe and optimal health
- $25 Well.ca Contest Rules and Regulations (Ends May 9th 2012)
What are the Healthiest Oils to be using in our salads and in our cooking? Not all are created equally.
There are so many different kinds of oils available to us. Canola Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Rapeseed Oil, Avocado Oil, Sunflower Oil, Sesame Oil, Peanut Oil, Coconut Oil, Corn Oil, Soy Bean Oil…and the list goes on. It can be a bit daunting if you are used to using the same kind for everything. Firstly, let’s talking about the two different categories of oil:
- Refined Oils
- Unrefined Oils
Do you know which oils fall into which category and what the differences between refined and unrefined oils? Which one is healthiest and which ones should we use for salads, stir fries, deep-frying and pancake-making? Keep reading and find out!
*UNREFINED OILS (not extensive list):
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Macadamia Oil
Unrefined oils are usually cold-pressed, which means the oils are mechanically extracted by a machine which applies pressure and not heat. This leaves the high flavour and nutrient content in the oils, making them a healthier choice. You may have seen “Cold Pressed Coconut Oil” at the store. This means it is an unrefined oil.
*REFINED OILS (not extensive list):
- Canola Oil
- Ricebran Oil
- Soya Oil
- Sunflower Oil
Refined oils are extracted using heat and a solvent, which are then bleached and deodorized. Doesn’t sound too healthy, does it?
The Smoking Points of Oils – Low and High Smoking Points and Why it’s important
Knowing the different smoking points of oils is important. You don’t have to memorize the temperatures, but it is important to know which are better for high temperatures and which are best for cold or low temperatures.
- When an oil starts to smoke when it is heated, it means that it is starting to break down. This also alters the flavour. Refined oils generally have a higher smoke point and are therefore more commonly used in things like deep-frying.
- Unrefined Oils, such as Coconut oil and Avocado oil are not good to use with high temperatures. There are a number of reasons for this. The more an oil is heated, the more it loses its flavour, and since unrefined oils have more flavour, you should use them in things like salads and cold dishes, or at least for when you are not needing to use very high temperatures. It is fine to use them in stir fries and for making pancakes and such (I love using coconut oil to make pancakes!), just don’t use them for things such as deep-frying, as the oil can even catch on fire if heated too high, which can be very dangerous.
What’s the difference between Virgin Olive Oil and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Pure and Light Olive Oil?
- Whether the Olive Oil is Extra-Virgin, Virgin, Pure or Light depends on the olive’s chemical attributes and the way the oil is pressed. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Virgin Olive Oil are cold pressed, making them unrefined and a healthier choice than Pure or Light.
- Extra Virgin Olive oil is less acidic than Virgin olive oil. This gives it a sweeter flavour.
- Unlike wine, Oil is best when it is fresh. Oil should be consumed within the first 1-2 years that an oil is pressed. Check the bottle of oil for the “Pressed on” date. You shouldn’t bye oils in clear containers as light will degrade the oil’s quality. Store your oils, regardless of type, in a cool, dark place.
All these facts and information on oil are found in this very informative and concise 20 minute video on oils. I suggest giving it a watch as it is more enjoyable than reading my text and it has really been informative and I learned a lot in just 20 minutes. Note: You do have to sign up, but if you don’t want to get a subscription, just cancel before 10 days are up.
Watch What’s Really in Our Food.
Conclusion: Unrefined Oils are Healthier than Refined Oils. They have stronger flavours, more nutrients and because they are not used for deep-frying, the dishes you make using unrefined oils are probably going to be healthier than if you are using refined oils. Some unrefined oils, such as Coconut Oil are often said to aid in weight loss, despite the fact that all oils are made up of 100% fat. (Remember, our body needs certain kinds of fats in our bodies, so don’t omit all healthy fats from your diet. Everything is good in moderation and you wouldn’t be doing your body any favours by eliminating them).
Best things to add to your salads:
- Leafy Greens: Kale, Baby Spinach, Mesclun, Romaine Lettuce, Cabbage, Dandelion greens, Arugula, Seaweeds
- Dressings: Lemon juice, Lime Juice, Apple Cider Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil
- Coleslaw (no mayonaise), Carrot Slaw, Broccoli Slaw
- Sprouts (Alfalfa, Canola, Radish, Broccoli…)
- Sliced pear / apple
- Mandarin slices
- Nutritional Yeast
- Hemp Seeds
- Flax Meal
- Red Onion
- Bell Peppers
- Green beans
- Fresh fruit
- Sliced Almonds / Sunflower Seeds / Pepitas
- Fresh non-GMO corn kernels
- Pomegranate Seeds
Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes:
- Poppy Seed Dressing via Lunchbox Brunch
- Raw Ceasar Dressing Recipe via Calm Mind Busy Body
- Raw Spinach Walnut Dressing Recipe via Calm Mind Busy Body
List of the Vitamins and Supplements I take
(I have added this section since the contest has to do with Vitamins and Supplements )
In case anyone is interested, I have listed the things I take daily and ones I take for certain situations. I’m always interested in what other people are taking (and not taking), so I thought I’d share too. I never used to take anything, but in the last two years, I’ve started to incorporate certain supplements into my diet and most have been really working well for me. However, I am often skeptical on what I add and because of this, I try to take a month off from things if I am not sure if they are actually having an effect on me. I also never purchase something without examining all of the ingredients first. This goes without saying, but always be sure to research and educate yourself on what you are putting in your body and if you are vegan or vegetarian, make sure the capsules aren’t made of animal gelatin and with CLA, make sure it is vegan CLA made from plant oil and not animal biproducts. If in doubt, check out the brand’s site, and/or email or call them. When I was first adding supplements to my diet, I made the mistake of ordering some CLA made using animal products. I was very happy to learn that it is absolutely not necessary to use them, as there are Safflower Oil-derived CLA capsules available which have been working out great.
- Vitamin D (most people are at least a little deficient in Vitamin D)
- Vitamin B12 (the last time I got my blood taken, I was quite low in B12. I am overdue on getting blood work done, so my levels might be better now)
- Iron (same at the B12)
- Holy Basil x 2 (I tried this out for a couple of months and then took a month off of it, as I suspected it was really helping my stress levels, but wasn’t sure. Seemed like what I stopped taking the Holy Basil, I was back to being increasingly stressed. I am not back on it and am very happy with it)
- Derma Vits x 5 (Started taking Derma Vits about 3 months ago, primarily for my skin as I struggle with acne and so far I have noticed my nails are growing faster and my hair seems healthier. Not sure about the skin effects yet)
- Vegan CLA x 4 (to support my workouts – promotes lean muscle and assists metabolism)
I will soon be introducing 5-HTP and seeing how that goes. Just waiting for it to arrive in the mail.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules (For when I’m feeling a bit “off” or sick. Much easier than drinking it…yowza!)
- Oil of Oregano (For when I am ill, usually)
- Digest-All Plant Enzymes (For digestion)
- Vitamin C, 1000mg (I usually take 1000mg of vitamin C if I feel like I may be getting sick)
- Ginger Root
Most of the things I take are in really natural states, such as the Apple Cider, Oil of Oregano, Holy Basil…etc. Once I get more up-to-date blood work done, I will see if I can stop taking the Iron and B12 and just eat more vegan foods that will increase my levels.
Don’t forget about Whole Raw Foods to fulfil your Vitamin and Mineral requirements!
While some supplements and vitamins (in capsule form) are all well and good, it is important to know that we don’t have to rely on them and we should preferably look to the very natural raw sources (aka raw living foods) in order to reach our daily vitamin and mineral requirements. Raw foodist author David Wolfe is one of the most experienced nutritionalist experts on the subject and has spoken to many people on the incredible healing properties of (raw) superfoods. David Wolfe was interviewed by Lisa Garr and shares some of his favourite drink recipes. The video is almost and hour and a half, but it is worth checking out at least a bit of it. David Wolfe interview on living longer, feeling better and having more energy. (you have access for up to 10 days before the free trial ends)
“Lisa Garr hosts David Wolfe, one of the world’s top authorities on natural health, beauty nutrition, herbalism, chocolate and organic superfoods, for in-depth conversation and demonstrations of the most cutting-edge ways to achieve peak-performance health and optimal energy. As powerful sources of clean protein, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, good fats and oils, essential fatty and amino acids, and other nutrients, superfoods represent a uniquely promising piece of the nutritional puzzle. Lisa and David discuss the greatest health challenges we face today (low energy), and a host of related topics. (Do you know what telomares are? David thinks they can be a key to doubling our life expectancy!)”
CONTEST RULES & ELIGIBILITY
What is up for grabs: Voucher Code for $25 to be used on any of Well.ca’s Vitamins & Supplements. (be sure to read the further details about this further down) Note: I purchased this unique Voucher code from Wagjag.com for the purpose of giving it away to one of you guys. It is a one-time use coupon. 2nd Note: You must first spend $25 worth of Vitamins and Supplements on Well.ca AND THEN the extra $25 of products you add into your cart will be deducted from your total cost. (Shipping is Free)
*Some vitamin/supplement brands on Well.ca: Jamieson, Webber Naturals, Swiss Natural Sources, NOW Foods, Quest, Nature’s Harmony, IronKids, Ddrops and much more
***ELIGIBILITY & PRIZE INFO: (Most of these are Well.ca’s rules so I am just relaying them to you)
- While most of my contests are open to everyone Worldwide, this particular one is open to people in Canada Only. (Don’t worry, we have some Worldwide contests coming up!)
- Valid for New Members Only (You can work around this by signing up with a different email and making a new account.)
- Voucher Coupon Expires September 30, 2012 (So make sure to use it before then!)
- Voucher must be used in one transaction
- Valid only towards regular-priced vitamins and supplements
- I mentioned this above, but just in case you missed it: You must first spent $25 of Vitamins and Supplements at Well.ca in order to get $25 worth of free vitamins and supplements. Make sense? So if you added $50 worth of products, you would only pay for $25 of it.
- Valid for shipping in all 10 provinces. Not valid to ship to addresses in the territories or remote places classified as Air Stage Locations (zone 42 from Guelph, ON) by Canada Post
- Does not include tax. No cash value. No cash back.
- Well.ca provides FREE shipping no matter how small the order! (Unless you located in one of the areas specified above)
- May be used on any of the products on this page: Vitamins & Supplements on Well.ca
***HOW TO ENTER!:
In order to enter this contest:
- Leave a comment on this page stating which Vitamins & Supplements on Well.ca you are interested in (you only have to mention one, or as many as you’d like). Please try to only leave one comment. It makes my life a lot easier when it is time to find the winner and your name will only be counted once anyway. :)
- One Entry Per Person. Please make sure to state your name and provide a valid email address so that I can contact you if you win!
- “Like” us on our Facebook, Youtube or Twitter to find out about future contests. (This is NOT required to enter the contest, so you don’t have to do this, it is only if you’d like to)
- I’ll be promoting the Giveaway through Contestgirl‘s website, Win-free.stuff.ca and Contestcanada.net.
- I will find the winner through www.random.org/integers
***CONTEST WILL RUN UNTIL:
Monday, May 9th 2012 @ 12pm Atlantic Time / 10am EST. At that time no further entries will be valid and I’ll find the winner within 24 hours of that time (probably within the hour after the contest is over) and notify them by email. I will only send the voucher code once you have responded to my email. The winner has up to 5 days to respond after the contest has ended. After that time, I will find another winner.