The Daily Beet

29 Jan The Oil Problem

We conducted an online poll asking E2-ers what the feel is the hardest thing to get rid of  on the Engine 2 Challenge. Here are the results:

47.58% said oil

23.58% said dairy

18.34% said excess sugar

2.01% said liquid calories

and 1.61% said meat.

This was a little surprising to us, and maybe an indication of how things have changed over the past few years. It used to be that we would get an overwhelming response of people saying they had a hard time letting go of meat, but a few years later it is oil that tops the list of what people find difficult to let go of. (we will get to the rest of these in future posts)

So why does oil top the list?

Oil is the most calorically dense food on the planet.

At 4000 calories per pound, oil tops all other food  for calories per pound. It is 100% fat. All the good stuff (like the fiber, most of the vitamins, phytonutrients) are stripped from it, leaving just the pure fat. It is a highly processed food. And maybe of no surprise, oil seems to be the hardest for people to part with.

calorie density

*for more on calorie density, read this article by Jeff Novick, MS, RD

At 4000 calories per pound the pleasure centers of our brains get a pretty big hit of happy chemicals that tell us that it is not only GOOD but that we should eat more. Imagine all of your junk food without the oil, what would it be? It’s the high concentration of pure fat that has you craving and coming back for more.

To understand the pleasure trap more, please watch this short TedX video by Doug Lisle, PhD and then go pick up his book! 

So why is oil bad for you?

First of all, oil (ALL OIL) is highly processed. People pushing oil will want you to think otherwise, but lets look at what it really is. When you take a WHOLE olive and you remove all of the fiber, almost all of the vitamins, all of the phytochemicals, antioxidants, you are left with a very processed, stripped down version of an olive, just the pure fat. You get none of the other amazing benefits of the whole food when you strip the rest away.

And what do the experts say about oil? 

We know that there are a lot of myths around oil, and there has been a lot of misinformation about consuming oil. In short oil is a highly processed food that comes from a whole food, kind of like sugar comes from a sugar cane plant. (just a note, did you know you need about 3 feet of sugar cane to make a tbs of sugar?

It takes 1375 olives to make a litre of oil!

Let’s have some experts weigh in on the oil debate:

Dr. Esselstyn: “NO OIL! Not even olive oil, which goes against a lot of other advice out there about so-called good fats. The reality is that oils are extremely low in terms of nutritive value. They contain no fiber, no minerals and are 100% fat calories. And above all they contain saturated fat which immediately injures the endothelial lining of the arteries when eaten. It doesn’t matter whether it’s olive oil, corn oil, or any other kind of oil. This is so important I have detailed oil in Chapter 10 (of Prevent And Reverse Heart Disease).”

You can also watch Dr. Esselstyn’s hour long lecture, which will give you a good start in understanding heart disease and what foods should be avoided, if you also want to avoid heart disease.

Is oil a health food or a junk food? Watch this short video by Jeff Novick. And what about coconut oil? Read all about the brilliant marketing that lead many to believe that coconut oil was a health food.

What about Dr. McDougall? Here is what he has to say:

“In our bodies these plant-derived, essential fats are used for many purposes including the formation of all cellular membranes, and the synthesis of powerful hormones, known as eicosanoids (prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and thromboxanes).

Our requirement is very tiny, and even the most basic diets provide sufficient linoleic acid to meet our requirement, which is estimated to be 1–2% of dietary energy.1 Therefore, in practical terms, a condition of “essential fatty acid deficiency” is essentially unknown in free-living populations.

*Essential fatty acid deficiency is seen when sick patients are fed intravenously by fat-free parenteral nutrition.  In these cases, correction of the deficiency can be accomplished by applying small amounts of soybean or safflower oil to their skin—giving you some idea of the small amount of oil we require.2 Plan on your diet of basic plant-foods supplying an abundance of essential fats delivered in perfectly designed packages, functioning efficiently and safely.

*Some people talk about a “relative deficiency” of essential fats created by a large intake of saturated animal fats, synthetictrans fats (as found in margarine and shortenings), and/or omega-6 fats compared to their intake of omega-3 fats, and they believe many of our common chronic diseases are the result of this imbalance.1 This is quite different from true essential fatty acid deficiency which would result in: loss of hair, scaly dermatitis, capillary fragility, poor wound healing, increased susceptibility to infection, fatty liver, and growth retardation in infants and children.1″Read the rest of the article here.And what about Fish oil?
Here is what Dr. Esselstyn has to say: “Fish oil is not essential. Fish get their omega 3 from plants. It is difficult to be deficient in Omega 3 if eating 1-2 tablespoons of flax seed meal and green leafy vegetables at several meals. There is also research that suggests that those on plant based nutrition become highly efficient in their own manufacture of omega 3. Patients on fish oil are also at increased risk for bleeding.”Dr. Campbell (in regards to DHA): “Most importantly, however, we need to understand that these chemicals (nutrients) work in a highly integrated, virtually symphonic manner to produce their health effect. Thus it is a matter of thinking about the collection of such chemicals in large groups of foods. I hold that we need to discard the traditional view of nutrition, based on the effects of single nutrients, and take seriously the symphonic nature of food chemicals working together. In effect, the ‘whole’ nutritional effect is greater than the sum of its parts.”

read the rest of what he has to say.

Wondering if you need fat to absorb nutrients? Dr.McDougall clears up that myth as well.

What about fish oil?

Dr. McDougall:

“Much attention has recently been paid to the possible benefits of increasing the intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) by consuming fish oil. However, this can have adverse effects such as raising LDL “bad” cholesterol levels in patients with already high cholesterol and causing a deterioration in glucose tolerance, in other words, making diabetes worse. (Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 44:127, 1991). In one recent study of feeding w-6 alpha linolenic acid to obese subjects insulin sensitivity and HDL “good” cholesterol diminished, and the amount of oxidized LDL “bad” cholesterol increased (Aterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 17:1163, 1997). In most other studies, however, oils high in alpha linolenic acid have little effect on cholesterol and triglycerides (Am J Clin Nutr 65:1645, 1997).” Read the rest of that article here.

Dr. Esselstyn on fish oil:

“Fish oil is not essential. Fish get their omega 3 from plants. It is difficult to be deficient in Omega 3 if eating 1-2 tablespoons of flax seed meal and green leafy vegetables at several meals. There is also research that suggests that those on plant based nutrition become highly efficient in their own manufacture of omega 3. Patients on fish oil are also at increased risk for bleeding.”

Dr. Campbell (author of “The China Study”) on fish oil:

“Most importantly, however, we need to understand that these chemicals (nutrients) work in a highly integrated, virtually symphonic manner to produce their health effect. Thus it is a matter of thinking about the collection of such chemicals in large groups of foods. I hold that we need to discard the traditional view of nutrition, based on the effects of single nutrients, and take seriously the symphonic nature of food chemicals working together. In effect, the ‘whole’ nutritional effect is greater than the sum of its parts.” read the rest of what he has to say: Dr. Campbell’s article about fish oil.

The bottom line is that we want you to get your fat from whole sources. All plant-foods have fats in them. For those of you who are at a healthy weight without any issues with heart disease you can include small amounts of high fat plant-foods like nuts and avocado. If you want to lose weight or if you have heart disease you will want to greatly limit the high fat plant-foods.

So what can you do? Here are 10 steps to helping you become oil free. 

1. First know that it takes time to let your taste buds adjust (and your brain). For some this is a fast process, for others who are really battling the pleasure trap when it comes to oil this can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks of abstaining from oil completely. The key is abstaining from it and not giving your brain a little hit so that it starts craving it all over again. Remember, we are designed to crave high calorie dense foods (junk food) because a long time ago it is what helped our ancestors survive!

2. Get rid of it. That’s right, time to toss the oil and learn how to cope without it. Get rid of all of it. Don’t have it in your house. Learn how to cook without oil (tips coming up soon!)

3. Check your labels. Check and make sure oil isn’t listed as an ingredient. If label reading frustrates you keep things more simple when you are shopping. 

4. When eating out, ask that your food be prepared without oil. We sometimes make a polite suggestion “Could you use water or vegetable broth instead of oil when cooking the vegetables?” You’d be surprised how many places will accommodate you! We’ve also been known to bring our own dressing when we eat out. Other options for dressing are salsas and balsamic vinegar. Eating out can be difficult at first, and it definitely takes a little bit of plant-strong guts to ask for what you want, but this is your health and we have full confidence you will get the hang of it! Some places are easy to go to, like getting brown rice sushi or brown rice and steamed vegetables or baked potatoes we’ve also found that getting whole grain pasta without oil is pretty easy as well. Sometimes it takes a little creativity.

5. Cooking without oil

This one is way easier than you could have ever imagined!

The simple way to sauté is just to use water, get the pan hot, throw a little water in and then throw your veggies (or whatever you are putting in the pan). A few things like onions that have a lot of water in them already hardly need any liquid at all!

In baking if you are following our recipes, or ones from Happy Herbivore, Fat Free Vegan, Straight Up Food and others who are oil free you don’t have to worry so much. For other recipes that you are converting, most of the time applesauce works just fine.

Here are some of our favorite guides to oil free cooking:

Straight Up Food  

Fat Free Vegan 

(Video) Happy Herbivore 

There is a plethora of amazing whole foods to enjoy. During the National Challenge find new ones that you love, find new recipes to enjoy, discover what a clean palette feels like, we promise that real food will start to taste even better!

We could write a lot more about the subject, but hopefully we’ve covered enough to get you started on a more wholesome path.

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NatalaE2
Natala Constantine

Natala is the director of communications for Engine 2 Diet, she is also one of our coaches on our support site, Engine 2 Extra. A few years ago, Natala was at the end of her rope. She was on almost 15 medications daily, had out of control Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, issues with nerve damage, and was morbidly obese. She was just over 30 years old. She decided to take her life back by becoming plant-strong. She has lost over 200 pounds, got off of all of her medications and now has great health numbers. Natala plays the violin and studied music therapy. She became passionate about plant-strong nutrition, received her Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University, a certificate in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and is currently pursuing a degree in nutritional sciences. Natala is also a featured speaker at our Engine 2 Retreats she talks about the reality of our nations obesity epidemic as well as providing practical steps to becoming a healthier person.

  • Sasha

    The most helpful post I’ve ever read about oil. I had read another (vegan) book that recommended it using all old science that seemed wrong to me. But I guess maybe they are just as addicted as everyone else, huh? Thank you Rip for this, it is really great!!!!

  • Marsha

    I could read all of this, but I KNOW that oil is bad for me. Time to get serious. I always say I eat a whole foods plant based diet, but that’s kind of a lie if I’m drowning my poor spinach in coconut oil.

  • Danielle

    Holy buckets of oil! I just read through all of this. Honestly, I read Engine 2 and I somehow only got that I needed to be vegan. I definitely am going to quit the olive oil and stuff with oil in it. Thanks for the tips.

  • Steven

    thank you Rip!!!!! This is the best article I’ve read on oil. I get it. Time to get rid of it.

  • Marty

    I was a huge oil enthusiast, I ate a healthy diet and included raw pressed olive oil and coconut oil, all the way up to when I started having chest pains (not a heart attack thank God) I found out my cholesterol was very high. I read Dr. Esselstyn’s book, I dropped the oil, kicking and screaming because I was an addict, but 2 months later my cholesterol came down 48 points. Proof is in the pudding.

  • Cindy Little Nunez

    Cooking or baking without oil is easy, it’s buying anything in a box or a can or any packaged food that is the hardest thing! Almost everything processed in any way has some oil in it! Buying store bought bread is so darn hard! I’ve only found two without added oil, and they don’t sell them where I live! I haven’t found one healthy tortilla chip without oil, no healthy 100% whole grain crackers without oil, almost all so called “healthy” soups have oil. Dried fruit, blueberries and cranberries are coated in oil!! :( It’s ridiculous!

    • Matt Peck

      I’m a big chips & salsa eater. I cut corn tortillas in to chip shapes and bake them on a drying rack at 350 for up to 10 minutes. You can sprinkle seasoning of your choice on before baking (I typically use cumin or cayenne pepper, or both) and it bakes in. Takes some time but it’s cheaper than a bag of chips and a fraction of the fat.

      • Cindy Little Nunez

        Thanks Matt.

    • Jennifer Edwards

      I’m not sure where you live, but the local Whole Foods here has no-oil/no salt chips…and if you’re there of course there are all sorts of E2 branded options.

      • brec

        Really?! I’m in Whole Foods 2-3 times/week and haven’t encountered these. Can you supply more detail?

        • Jennifer Edwards

          The blog team is screening my comment, maybe because its got a link to another product in it? Anyway, you can email me at ladyjendifi@gmail.com and I’ll send you the link.

      • Cindy Little Nunez

        I live in the middle of nowhere, small town, NV. :) The closest Whole Foods is 220 miles away. :( No E2 brand anywhere close.

  • Jennifer Miller McWhorter

    Sharing a tip of No Oil Salad Dressing for those of us who need a little splash of something on our greens. I have been using 1 TBS of OJ and 1TBS of balsamic vinegar whisked together then drizzled over my big salad. It is truly very tasty and No Oil plus much fewer calories too as an added bonus! :)

    • chelseahardaway

      What about needing oil for healthy skin and hair? Can you write more on this specifically? Everybody always asks me won’t their hair get less healthy or their skin dry out?? Mine may be drier, honestly — I don’t know.

      • Jennifer Miller McWhorter

        I really do not know about this issue. Neither Ann nor Dr. Esselstyn have ever mentioned this to be a problem. I haven’t noticed much of a difference personally. Also, I hate to waste food or ingredients and I’ve actually thought about repurposing my cooking oil and using it on my dry winter skin. I’ll let you know if it works. ;)

      • Suzanne Goldberg

        Even fruits and vegetables have low levels of fat, some have higher levels (avocado, corn, olives, flax seeds) you’ll get enough fat in your vegan diet without adding processed oil. As far as dry skin and hair I doubt the removal of oil causes that and that’s what moisturizers and conditions are for, yes?

      • Martha

        I think I was a bit drier when I first swore off the oils, but soon I didn’t notice any difference.

      • Robyn

        When you cut out all the extra oil from your food, your hair and skin will go back to their natural oiliness than what you’ve been used to (over-production). For hair, you can “wash” it with a couple of tablespoons of plain old baking soda made into a paste with some water. It will clean your hair and scalp without stripping it of anything else. You don’t even need conditioner, but you can rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar.
        For skin, stop using whatever you have been using for cleansing. Skin doesn’t get dry from cutting oils out of your diet, but your soap will be too harsh for it now. Switch to one that is natural and contains sweet almond or olive oil for moisturizing in the bath.

    • brec

      Hmm, looks good!

      I use 3 parts sweet balsamic vinegar and 2 parts Dijon mustard. The original recipe I found on the web (sorry, reference lost in the fog) added 1 part maple syrup, but I find I don’t need the added sweetness.

      By “sweet balsamic” I don’t mean with added sugar; I’m referring to balsamic vinegars, possibly with added fruit flavor, which are 15-20 cal. per tablespoon. Some of these contain added grape must (roughly, grape juice).

      • Jennifer Miller McWhorter

        mmm…Dijon sounds wonderful I will be trying this! And, yes, sometimes I use Fig or Dark Cherry Balsamics.

  • Missy Sue

    It helps produces the Umami…it is what holds flavor on your tongue. Also, there are so many wonderful Vegan meals that I tend to go for when I am missing my old SAD diet. Potato, carrot & Zucchini Pancakes are #1 on that list. Vegan Tempura…yum! So, although I try to use as little as possible I still use oil in my cooking. In spite of the calories of 9 per gram…in spite of the knowledge that fat helps your body produce cholesterol and that is the point of me being on this Vegan diet. Moderation…Moderation…Moderation. I think what we have done to our food source has also been killing People…GMO’s, pesticides etc. There is more to watch out for then just oil. I wouldn’t go near processed oil…and definitely not corn oil. But if I can get pressed EVO and use it sparingly I think I am fine.

    • Engine2Team
    • imvegan

      Moderation is a myth. Read the link supplied from Jeff Novick. And BTW all olive oil is highly processed.

      • Lisa B

        While I agree that as a society, we are beyond moderation, I don’t think that all individuals are. Many of us make some concessions in our diet to make it work in our lives. First of all, there is no ultimate and final research that proves that any one diet is the best for everyone. Also, as changes are made, and become more routine, we are better equipped to accept new changes, should we feel they are necessary. Feeling like all my food choices have to be perfect is overwhelming.

  • Missy Sue

    Also, don’t you need fat to process fat soluble vitamins?

    • Engine2Team

      You get all the fat you need from whole foods, no need to add pure liquid fat to your diet to do that – stick to WHOLE foods and get the WHOLE benefits, including the fat – WITH the vitamins, not with them extracted out.

      • Engine2Team

        If you get a chance, be sure to read through the article and the links (especially the info from the experts).

    • Larissa

      Yes, you do. But you can get fat from avocados, almond, soy, rice milk, etc. Oil isn’t the only way to get fat in a plant based diet.

  • Violet

    I would like to see salt on the list of things hard to give up. That’s my big struggle now.

  • cmattern

    Since seeing ‘Forks Over Knives, reading ‘The China Study”, and following the Engine II team, I have gone 98% vegan. Oil will be the next thing I eliminate. In everything that you and your father talk about, there is never any mention of GMO’s. Eating vegan AND avoiding GMO’s is very challenging. I eat organic, and/or non-GMO verified, or I don’t eat. However, eating out is pretty much not an option when avoiding GMO’s. I have found two organic restaurants in Connecticut (a three hour drive, but I have friends down there). Other than that I don’t eat out. Do you have any suggestions on avoiding GMO’s? Seems kind of foolish to go all out following your suggestions only to be sucking in GMO’s which are potentially lethal over the long term. Thanks.

    • brec

      Having looked into the science as an interested layperson, I’ve found no reason to avoid GMOs.

      • cmattern

        Brec, I am not going to get into a big back and forth discussion. You are, obviously, entitled to your own opinion. However, given that more than 60 countries require labeling, more than 30 countries have outright bans, and several countries have rejected shipments of grain/food from the United States because of GMO contamination, and health concerns, I for one, do not feel it is worth risking my health on something that obviously causes a great deal of concern worldwide. The biochemical companies that hold the patents on these ‘foods’ generally do not allow anyone to conduct extensive human health studies. That way, they can honestly say ‘Hey, it’s never been proven harmful to humans’. Well, yeah…. that’s because it’s never been studied! I don’t know what science you’ve looked into, but I think you need to do a bit more studying. Just sayin’. Apparently you are okay with eating corn that is patented as an insecticide and regulated by the EPA. And also, you seem to be okay with eating produce that is sprayed more and more heavily with herbicides that are very similar to Agent Orange (made by the same company and which, in fact contain largely the same ingredients as Agent Orange) And if you think that the herbicide is only on the outside of the plant consider that it also lands on the ground when sprayed, and also washes off the plant into the ground when it rains, and is taken in by the roots of the plant, so that yes, you get trace amounts of it when you eat that produce. With all of that (and more) in mind you can make your own choices, as will I, and I choose not to risk my health/life with GMO’s.

        • brec

          I agree that it would be discourteous of us to hijack this comments section with an off-topic discussion. I’ll just say that I’ve encountered your points before; and I stand by my statement.

    • Engine2Team

      We are most concerned with people changing their diet from SAD to whole foods plant based. If GMO’s are of a concern to you – avoid them. For many people we need to take the first step. http://www.drmcdougall.com/2013/08/31/gmo-foods-a-potentially-disastrous-distraction/

  • brec

    I’m with the plurality saying oil is hardest to get rid of — not because I crave it, but because of the inconvenience of oil-free shopping, dining out, and traveling. After more than a year I’ve learned the tricks and tips, but oil avoidance is still the biggest “cost” for me of Esselstynian (how d’ya like THAT adjective?!) eating.

    I’ve got a question, though. I understand that olives are better than olive oil because the former include fiber and nutrients left behind in processing. But most relevant to me and my atherosclerosis, Doc. E. says “And above all [oils] contain saturated fat which immediately injures the endothelial lining of the arteries when eaten.” Yet when I asked him at his seminar in Jan. 2013 whether it was OK to eat olives, he said yes. That perplexes me; aren’t olives still delivering their oil and its SFA to my arterial endothelium?

    • Jennifer Edwards

      Please correct me if I’m wrong (I know you won’t let me down, Internet), but I think the point is that, if you’re eating olives as a whole food the saturated fat consumption can only be so high (i.e. olives on a sandwich is like three or four olives). If you eat the olive oil, its like eating several times that amount because it takes a lot of olives to make a little bit of oil.

      • brec

        I’m not the internet, but I’m available to play it on TV…

        My use for olives would typically be as a salad ingredient, and that would be more than three or four — maybe 1/3 to 1/2 cup cut/sliced olives. I don’t know the equivalent oil quantity, but it wouldn’t seem much less than I’d get with a couple of tablespoons of oil-and-vinegar dressing.

      • Suzanne Goldberg

        I think you’re right. But my husband can eat an entire can of olives. Olives is a poor comparison because you should limit them just due to their high sodium content and they are a fairly processed food too (ie, anythng in a box or can). Has anyone tried the new low sodium olives that are on the market now? I know unbrined olives can’t be eaten they are so bitter.

  • WillRun4Taters

    When I read the question, “What’s the hardest to get rid of” I think of 2 possible ways to answer. 1) What do I want to keep in my diet because I like it so much and 2) What is so pervasive in our food supply that I really struggle to avoid it. Oil falls into #2. Unless you eat only whole foods that you make yourself oil, in my opinion, is the hardest thing to eliminate. It’s in everything everywhere. Personally, however, I have no problem letting it go. I don’t miss it when I cook my own food.

  • John S.

    It is not hard to avoid oil if you want to, people complain so much about being inconvenienced, but it’s not hard. Ask when you eat out, don’t buy processed crap, it’s simple. I’ve been oil free since a heart attack 4 years ago, and I have not ONCE had a problem. People don’t ask for it to be removed because they crave it and want it, and they buy processed junk for the same reason. If you wanted to stop all oil, you could, just have to speak up when you eat out and you have to read labels, or just buy food that doesn’t have labels. I’m 71 and a widow I could have made plenty of excuses, but I didn’t, the good doctor told me no oil, that is what I did, 4 years later no more heart attacks healthier than ever.

    • Mandy

      Good for you John! I agree it is just not that hard. I don’t get what the big deal is. I go out and I tell the waiter I can’t have oil because of a heart condition. And I don’t buy stuff with oil in it, it is not hard at all, only if you are hooked.

      • ChicagoYogi

        Seriously! I don’t get it either, we went to a weekend event in Chicago last year, and haven’t had it since, it just hasn’t been that hard. The hardest time we’ve had is actually at a vegan restaurant that argued with us that oil was healthy!!! We left, that was how we solved that!!

    • George

      You are right on the money John. Congratulations on your health!

      I did mission work in Haiti after the earthquake, people were just happy to get a piece of bread, I came back to the US and I was so sickened by how over indulgent and selfish we are as a country. We complain about being put out for not having a few of our favorite foods or not being able to go out and eat and there are people who would beg us for the scraps we throw away. We don’t have have our priorities right.

      • Sandra

        Thank you for your work in Haiti and for the perspective. I was coming to complain that I don’t know what to put on popcorn! Humbled.

        • Beedogs

          Try sprinkling a little stevia and cinnamon on your popcorn.

        • dchdch

          Nutritional yeast is another good one to sprinkle on popcorn :)

  • Paula

    What is you are gluten sensitive?

    • Engine2Team

      Don’t use gluten.

  • Arun Mukherjee

    Thank you for this wonderful, informative piece. I finally gave up all oil about 2 weeks ago and am amazed at how much better the food tastes!

  • Amy

    The problem is not cooking without oil, the problem is finding food in restaurants and friends homes without all the oil. Most time they can leave out the meat and cheese, but they dont have a way to prepare the food without oil and tons of salt in it and Iots of oil in the cooking process.

    • Tricia

      Bring your own food and ASK. I’ve never had a problem, and we are in an active church with lots of potlucks lol! Sometimes my hosts make great oil free cooking. You just need to be brave and ask for what you want, or stop eating at places that can’t accommodate you.

  • Heather

    As my gram tells me “if it’s too hard just don’t do it, if you care enough you’ll do it” That’s my attitude about being plant-strong, I don’t have to do it, but I care enough about my health to make it work. No excuses, just make it happen!!

  • Michele

    We are currently living in Florence, Italy. We have been on a plant based, whole foods lifestyle for about 4 years. It did take us time to make a complete change but now these other foods seem so foreign to us. We have only found one macrobiotic restaurant where we can eat if we want to remain oil free. We have tried to share our knowledge with Italians and other foreigners living here but our experience has been that they basically laugh at us as olive oil is as close to God as the Pope. They don’t use just a little. They pour and pour and pour. Our most frequent gifts are large bottles of the first press of olive oil since almost everyone has their own olive grove. We use it on our skin and hair and it works well as a moisturizer although it is spicy. We do enjoy the olives and fortunately, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are easily accessible here, delicious and very reasonably priced. We do treat ourselves with excellent red wine, a little parmesan cheese and gelato made with almond milk. We frequently invite friends for meals and they enjoy our food but they have no interest in learning more regardless of any health conditions they might be suffering from. We feel very fortunate to have been influenced by all these wonderful people such as Drs. Esselstyn and Campbell, who have changed our lives forever.

  • Bicycle Pete

    By this logic, you would never drink fruit or vegetable juice either. I’m sorry, but pressing olives for the oil hardly qualifies as “highly processed” IMHO. It’s a method that has been used for thousands of years. Using a few teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil for sauteing or on salad can’t have any more fat that eating a handful of olives.

    • Engine 2

      We don’t encourage people to drink fruit or vegetable juice either. People should eat their food not drink it. What else would you call it when you extract almost everything from the whole food?
      I’d encourage you to read through the entire article and the links and pick up Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease for a better understanding of why pure fat in liquid form is problematic.

  • njeanne

    Is Whole Foods willing to take the challenge with you & drop all of the canola oil that is used in their prepared foods departments? It is used in EVERYTHING. I love your program & my husband & I lost a combined 65 pounds & lowered our cholesterol by 35 points each!

    • Kathryn

      Oh man it is so hard to buy anything at the WF prepared bar other than a salad which I can make for a fraction of the cost. I wish they would do better.

  • Lindy Mirtya

    What about salt? It’s not good, especially for people with heart disease!

  • charles grashow

    What about eating olives?

  • Vigilis1117

    The only foods that contain saturated fats are animal products. If Dr. Esselstyn and Rip are incorrect in basic basic biochemistry then why would I follow their dietary advice sum total?

    • Engine2

      Except for coconut oil, which also contains saturated fats.

    • Lisa B

      I wonder if you meant cholesterol. Besides coconut oil being comprised of almost only saturated fat, olive oil has some. Personally, I am not yet convinced that these oils are all bad, but I will continue my research.