The Healthy Vegan: Cooking Without Oil

No oil

“No oil? But our bodies need fat to be healthy!” I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that, insisting that olive oil or coconut oil or (shudder!) animal fat are an essential part of a healthy diet.

I’ve been vegan since 2007. Vegan isn’t necessarily healthy; over those years, I’ve periodically found myself straying from a whole foods diet. It’s easy to find vegan junk food, loaded with fat and low in fiber and nutrients. In fact, many of my recipes reflect the times when I strayed into the land of oil.

Every time I stray from a whole-foods, low-fat approach, my weight increases. Go figure. After a recent trip, which included restaurant meals almost every day, I found myself 10 lbs over what I consider my maximum weight. Time to make some changes!

My whole foods diet follows the advice of experts such as Drs. John McDougall, Joel Fuhrman, Caldwell Esselstyn, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.  These doctors don’t completely agree with one another, but they all focus on a plant-based diet, avoiding oil and processed foods. I eat 70-80 percent of calories as carbohydrates: lots of fruit and veggies, beans, whole grains, and starches such as potatoes. I eat small quantities of nuts and seeds, and some avocado. But the oil (yes, even coconut oil) no longer has a place in my kitchen.

When I stay with this style of eating, my weight goes back to normal pretty quickly and my energy level increases. In seven weeks, I lost 15 lbs without hunger. I didn’t change my exercise level–I’m already pretty active. All I did was cut out the oil and processed food, and increased my already high amount of veggies.

It works!

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