Oil Me Up
This is a lesson in do as I say, not as I do. I will openly admit when I first started loosing weight I ate a lot of 100 calorie packs, low-fat or no fat everything, no sweets in my house (and rarely in my mouth), and lots of exercise while maybe not eating enough. I was obsessed with getting the weight off and fast.
And one big thing I cut out was FAT…no oil, no avocado…especially the oils, no nothing like that. Non-stick spray was my friend to cook anything. It replaced the olive oil I had grown to love in Spain (everything was fried and cooked in olive oil!…even McDonald’s Apple Pies…drool 😀 ). Why would I want to use oil that would cost me calories when I could actually eat them in FOOD?! I even stopped baking most of the time because it required oil to make that cake or muffin. I had the mindset that oil was nothing but fat and I didn’t need it to make me fat too.
But then my body objected…It was not happy at all. My hair started to become extremely dry and fall out. I was in fly away heaven. No amount of gel or hair spray could tame my mane.
And my nails were brittle…and we aren’t talking peanut brittle. I have really long and pretty nails naturally. I actually look like I’ve had a manicure without even trying. Just check it out.
But without the oil in my diet I couldn’t even open a can of (diet) soda without them breaking off and having to grab the butter knife to still open my soda. Remember I told you don’t follow what I did. Diet soda wasn’t a good choice either.
And I thought by eliminating the oil it would clear up was my acne I had been suffering with since my pre-teen years. I had enough oil on my face to fry an egg. But ironically when I cut out all the edible oil my skin got worse. It was dry and still full of acne. So much fun! NOT! I was miserable. I had to spend a fortune in make-up to hide all the spots and try not to look the teens I was teaching everyday.
And the worst of the worst was my ummmmm… bowels. Apparently oil tends to move things along the race track. Without it I was at a dead halt. Get my drift? And with my digestive problems this was a big no-no.
But even with all the consequences of cutting out the healthy oils I still didn’t give in and repent of my ways. All I could think of what the 120 calories in only 2 TBSP of olive oil. When I was actively counting calories I would rather eat another banana for the same amount of calories than fry my egg in olive oil. If a recipe called for oil I automatically cut it out or substituted with the infamous applesauce. I was stingy with each and every calorie and couldn’t see the benefits outweighing the negatives in my mind.
But when I started Weight Watchers I was told in my first meeting that 2 tsp of oil was part of the Good Health Guidelines. Were they kidding me? I don’t eat oil and why would I “waste” 2 points on oil a day when I only had 28 to start with (never mind that I only have 22 now and eat the oils). Oh no…not me! And I was firm in that until my leader…the lovely Kim who I miss sometimes… noticed my skin and hair and nails and asked if I was getting in my oil. What do you say when someone asks you straight out…”Uh no. I don’t want to waste my points.” Yep I was honest. Then she sat me down and explained all the benefits to using just a bit. And then she did the best thing ever…she challenged me.
I’m not one to back down from a challenge. So for a week I added the oil into my recipes, ate it on pasta and fried a good over medium egg to go with my toast…for dinner. I had to force myself to use it the first day but by the end of the week I planned a meal to use it. I actually didn’t feel the points were wasted because I was earning enough Activity points to compensate that I never used. And my, oh my, food tasted better with some good Sevilla, Spain olive oil I bought on my way home from that meeting just for my challenge. Fun memories of great food really helped challenge me with new ways to use it.
It didn’t happen instantly but as I continued to add the oil my skin, nails, hair and most importantly digestion started to improve. Trust me that was big. I wanted to see payback for my efforts. And when I did I was hooked. I now don’t go a day without using oil in something…generally olive oil in my mister.
There are several different types of healthy oils you can use. I love my olive oil and put it in everything. My friend Raul says I’m a Spaniard at heart so of course I’ll stick the the good stuff. I really love the fruity quality it brings to my dishes. But canola is very healthy and mild tasting. Safflower and sunflower oils are a bit more expensive but have no smell, taste or color so they incorporate easily into any dish you are making. And flaxseed oil has a slightly nutty flavor but I prefer the ground seeds over the oils. There are other oils but be sure to get ones that are full of monounsaturated fats. And let’s just be frank…most of the other amazing oils like grape seed oil are amazing and amazingly expensive. Worth it if you want the flavor but I like flavor from other (cheaper) arenas.
On of the biggest things for me was to find things to do with besides frying an egg. So here are a list of some of my favorite things to do.
- Sliced cucumbers and garlic salt.
- Sautee peppers and onions for ANYTHING! Any vegetables really.
- Oven fries and other roasted veggies.
- Air popped popcorn with either sweet or savory topping (garlic or cinnamon or chocolate powders)
- Make your own dressing: A bit of olive oil, great vinegar and some Dijon
- In oatmeal. You don’t even notice it is there.
- Ditto for smoothies.
- On pasta with veggies and a bit of something fun like Parmesan or red pepper flakes.
- Slathered all over Hunni…just kidding 🙂
- And many, many more.
Just give it a try. No I challenge you to do it. Can you back down from a challenge? 😀
Do you use oils? What is your favorite way?