this week’s ASK LINDA: this one is about coconut oil
this week’s question is great: What do you think - if coconut oil is stable at high heat, why does it matter about buying truly raw versus a brand like Nutiva Organic cold-pressed (which is the one i’ve been buying)? Just wanted to get your opinion. Thanks. —V.
Answer: This is such a thought-provoking question to me! The first thing that comes to my mind is this method of how the oil gets extracted and how it gets checked for temperature. It’s always really unclear to me how any product can be labeled as truly “raw” because there are so many variables (the sun, traveling in hot trucks, sitting in hot warehouses, to name a few.) But I do know that all food has glorious flavors and textures to it. When I have food that is cooked, I feel different then when it is raw. Whether I choose to cook or not, I want to be sure that my food comes to me in the most minimally processed way. Again, that’s hard to do when things are being shipped from all over the globe and I can do my part by growing my own, buying local and buying raw because that at least tells me I’m trying to receive minimally processed good foods. Then I can chose how I’m going to adulterate or process my food however I want! LOL
I am also not a “purist” in the matter of being totally 100% raw (I found that I got myself into a tizzy about everything needing to be PURE and RAW and for me, it was more healthy to stop being such a policeman (for lack of a better word) about it; I do believe that we make the best choices for ourselves that fit our taste and budgets. I’ve purchased the same Nutiva coconut products as you have, and I have enjoyed it very much. I sell a centrifugal, raw, cold pressed coconut oil that comes to me from Ultimate Superfoods and I also enjoy that coconut very much. I’ve tried many coconut oils and some I like more than others. I’ve had a lot of coconut oils turn rancid on me from big raw people out there and I buy the stuff from Ultimate purely because they supply me with a lot of things lately, so it’s a matter of convenience. I do like the taste and feel of their coconut oil, though.
I wanted to touch briefly on this tip I learned about coconut oil being a great oil particularly if you are going to cook with it. There’s links below where you can find more information, but to sum it up, coconut oil doesn’t turn carcinogenic when you are cooking with it so you would be wise to change your cooking oils to a really nice coconut oil. I had read that if you wanted to use olive oil, the best way to “cook” with it would be to steam cook whatever you wanted to normally cook with olive oil, remove it from the heat and then add the olive oil. That way the olive oil wouldn’t start to smoke and possibly turn your meal into something less than healthful for you.
http://helpguide.org/life/healthy_diet_cancer_prevention.htm - here’s link that talks a bit about the oil/cooking/carcinogens but you have to scroll down to near the bottom to read about it.
http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/organic-coconut-oil/health-benefits-of-coconut-oil.html - this is link on the health benefits of coconut oil.
http://products.mercola.com/coconut-oil/ - recommends only using coconut oil to cook with
http://rawcoconutoil.org/ - another good article on coconut oil and this one goes into a bit on the matter of whether or not coconut oil can really be called “VIRGIN” or not. Also goes into heating of coconut oil.
http://www.tiana-coconut.com/expeller_pressed_coconut_oil.htm - this goes into expeller pressing vs. centrifugal pressing, etc.
But still, the question is about what’s the point about buying a raw cold pressed oil if you are just going to cook with it and it remains stable in high heat anyway? I think it has to do with how the oils are extracted. I’ve been reading on it and it looks like there are many ways to extract the oil and organic and cold pressed or lower temperatures seem to win out, in my opinion, on how healthful the product is. For example, I didn’t even realize that hexane could/would be used to extract oil!
http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/guides/tips_cooking_oils.html - a very interesting link on all the ways that oils are extracted. (This is where I learned about hexane and other chemicals used to extract oils… EEK!)
So, in my opinion, I would feel very happy using the Nutiva organic coconut oil that you are using. You can be relatively sure that the oil was expressed in a “humane” way! LOL (That’s so funny! We should call “conventionally” grown/prepared foods as “inhumane!”) I’m also quite happy using my Ulimate Superfoods coconut oil and a few others that I’ve liked as well. I would recommend to always check out the label to see what is in one’s food and GET IN THE HABIT of asking the manufacturers what they use and how they make their products. Our bodies are our temples, after all!
I hope this answers your question and thank you for getting my lil thinking cap on!
Ask Linda! Please feel free to submit your questions to linda AT vt-fiddle.com. Questions don’t have to be completely raw food related but please bring questions on health, recipes, diet, weight issues, nutrition, parenting, nursing, pregnancy, spirituality or whatever it is you’d like to ask. I’ll do my best to answer and will most certainly learn from this as much as I can give.