Growing up, I hated school and I was a terrible student.
I never studied in high school, so I would cheat in order to pass my tests. It’s a wonder I even graduated.
I bullshitted my way through the first two years of college, scraping by with a D in most classes. Making out with my girlfriend trumped ANY class, even on test days.
It’s not that I didn’t like to learn, I was just bored out of my mind. I was bored until I left my state collage and enrolled in art school where I studied photography. Even then I nearly dropped out because I was scared shitless about my mandatory public speaking class. But I made it through and I even got straight A’s, which even I was shocked about.
I’ve always admired successful college drop outs.
Ellen Degeneres, Steve Jobs, Russel Simmons, Oprah, Bill Gates, and even the founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey are all doing peachy without a college diploma.
I think that learning is essential and should never stop, but I also think that college is overrated. A college diploma isn’t the golden ticket for success. Hard work and balls determine quite a lot.
Even though school and I didn’t mix well, I’ve always been someone to seek out and understand the why before I do or don’t do something.
My initial motivation for switching to a vegan diet was less about a personal calling and more about not wanting to be a hypocrite.
I was hired by a vegan company in 2008 and I felt bad that I was only vegetarian because how could I really get behind my job if I didn’t practice what I was putting out to the world? So I cut the dairy and eggs from my diet and never looked back.
As soon as I switched to a vegan diet I had an insane amount of energy, I lost weight, and I had moments of pure mental clarity like I had never had before. I had to research why the fuck I was feeling so good. And so I learned about all the benefits of eating a healthy vegan diet. As I learned more, I decided to drop the processed vegan food and focus more on whole plant foods.
If eating a vegan diet was the best french kiss in the world, than eating a Whole Food Plant Based diet was an exploding orgasm that just kept on coming.
So as flawed a student I was, my motivation, my spark, my fire, and life’s work is to help turn you on to eating more plant food and less processed food. And to do that, you must understand the WHY .
In a twist of fate, the crappy student has become the teacher.
On to today’s lesson.
Part of eating a Whole Food Plant Based diet (WFPB) is cutting out (or at least drastically cutting down) on your oil consumption.
After reading those two posts, I’m confident that you’re ready for the oil conversation.
Let the conversation begin.
All non-hydrogenated vegetable oils fall into the category of either polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat.
As we learned before, polyunsaturated fats are important because we need essential fatty acids that our body cannot produce on its own (Omega-3 and Omega-6). We find these in polyunsaturated fats.
We also learned that monounsaturated fats are good to add to the diet in moderation.
Since all non-hydrogenated oils are either a poly or a monounsaturated fat, I completely understand why people think that adding vegetable oil to their diet is a good idea, especially olive oil, given the popularity of the Mediterranean diet.
But let’s take a closer look at why you might want to reconsider.
Most people don’t realize that even unsaturated oils contain a certain amount of saturated fat.
Olive oil is one of the highest with 14% saturated fat.
In fact, 2 tablespoons of olive oil has three times more saturated fat than a 4 oz. piece of white meat chicken.
If you’re already at home base or you’re just flirting with a WFPB diet, then any amount of saturated fat is considered bad for the ticker (yup, I said ticker).
All oil (even olive oil) is 100% fat and contains 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon. (Ironically, these are the same numbers for the same amount, 2 tablespoons of animal fat).
So all oil is really high in calories, low in nutrients and has zero fiber.
Since there’s no fiber in oil, all the calories are absorbed quickly and stored away as body fat in literally minutes.
When we eat nuts and seeds to get our healthy fat, our body has a completely different reaction.
The fat in unrefined whole plant foods actually binds to plant fibers.
The binding of these fats limit absorption by the body and even attract other fat that’s just hanging out in the blood stream.
This chillin’ fat is then drawn into the digestive system where it goes on its merry way, making sure it NEVER even come close to your ass.
This is why eating a small handful of nuts and seeds a day actually helps us lose weight, whereas eating oil makes us gain weight.
Here’s another issue with oil.
Like I went over last week, people are getting way too many Omega-6 fats in their diet. This leads to a myriad of problems, including canceling out any benefits of Omega-3’s.
The most common vegetable oils are loaded with Omega-6 fats, and eliminating these oils is the fastest way to cut down the Omega-6 in our bod.
At the end of the day, all vegetable oils are highly processed foods.
When you chemically extract oil from the whole food (be it olives, canola, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, etc.), you leave behind most of the micronutrients and create a food that has a lot of empty calories.
It is true that olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat is better for you then saturated fat or trans fat, but just because something is better for you than something really unhealthy doesn’t make it a healthy food.
Just like how the study that came out earlier this year about saturated fat gave people a free pass to eat as much meat as they want, the Mediterranean diet has given people a free pass to eat as much olive oil as they want.
The reality is, the Mediterranean diet is healthy because of the antioxidant rich and nutrient dense unrefined plant foods that make up most of the diet of that region, not because they pour olive oil on everything.
Let me recap.
It’s been established that our body absolutely, positively needs a certain amount fat.
We also know that saturated fat and oils are not the healthiest places to get them. With this information we are lead directly back to nature where we find avocados, nuts, and seeds waiting for us.
Not only do these foods give us the right kind of fat that our bodies need, when we eat them in their whole form, they also give us fiber and other important nutrients and minerals that we can’t get from oil (even oil made from these foods).
I know that none of this is simple, but the takeaway is: It all goes back to eating high nutrient dense foods.
High nutrient dense fats, high nutrient dense proteins and high nutrient dense carbohydrates.
Nutrient density is simply the amount of nutrients a food has per calorie.
- Kale would be considered a high nutrient dense food because one cup of kale has only 33 calories, lots of fiber and a shit load of phytochemicals.
- Oil would be considered a low nutrient dense food because one cup of oil has 1,927 calories, zero fiber and only a very small trace of phytochemicals, if any at all.
So the goal here is to get your fat from unprocessed plant food.
Put like that, it sounds pretty damn simple, am I right?
Kicking oil to the curb might sound daunting as fuck and I totally get that.
If not eating oil sounds like something you want to experiment with, a good first step might be to rid your pantry and fridge of all pre-packaged foods that contains oil.
Once you’re off of those foods, maybe play around with some oil free recipes.
When you’re ready to really clean out, join my weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans and get your mind BLOWN with how tasty oil free food can be.
I will leave you with a yummy oil free recipe that you won’t believe doesn’t have any.
Bomb Diggity Oil Free Vegan Reuben
Bomb Diggity Oil Free Vegan Reuben
There are 5 main components in this vegan oil free reuben.
- Tempeh (recipe below)
- Thousand Island Dressing (recipe below)
- Sprouted grain bread
Thousand Island Dressing
- 1/2 cup cashews soaked in water for at least 10 minutes. 75g
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste 20g
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 15ml
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup chopped dill pickles 90g
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion 20g
- Few turns fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 package tempeh, steamed (directions below / 8 oz / 227g)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce vegan
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon caraway seed
- 1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 10 turns
Thousand Island Dressing
A good dressing will make or break your reuben. Make this one and you won’t be disappointed.
Drain the water from the cashews and place the cashews, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and water in the blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
Pour the dressing in a mixing bowl and add the relish, onion and black pepper.
Stir until combined and refrigerate.
Eat within 4 or 5 days.
Now that you have a super yum dressing, it’s time to sort out the tempeh.
Make the Tempeh
To make sure the tempeh is packed with flavor you want to marinate it overnight and then bake it the next day. This will lock in the maximum flavor.
The first step is to steam your tempeh. Steaming is crucial because it helps the tempeh absorb the marinade and it will make for a better overall texture. You can use your Instant Pot or you can steam it on the stove. Whichever way you choose, cut your tempeh in half first, so you have two thick pieces.
To use your Instant Pot (IP), add 1 cup of water and the bay leaf to the pot and place the IP trivet on the bottom. Place the tempeh directly on the trivet and lock the lid into place. Make sure the nozzle is pointed in the sealing direction. Use the manual mode and set the timer for 5 minutes. Use the natural release method when the timer is up.
If using the stove, add two cups of water and the bay leaf to a pot, along with a steamer basket. Place the tempeh in the steamer basket and place a lid on the pot. Steam for 10 minutes. If you do not have a steamer basket you can gently simmer the tempeh and bay leaf directly in the water for 10 minutes.
When the tempeh is steamed, carefully slice both halves in half (lengthwise, through the middle) so that you have 4 thinner slabs in total. Set aside for now.
Make the marinade by placing all of the marinade ingredients into a bowl, and whisk until combined. Transfer the bay leaf from the IP or the pot and add it to the marinade.
Place the tempeh pieces into a container and pour the marinade over them. The marinade won’t completely cover the tempeh. This is okay - just flip the pieces over the next day so all sides get some marinade goodness. Allow the tempeh to fully cool before you cover the container with a lid and place in the fridge until you bake it.
After the tempeh has done its thing overnight, bake at 350° for 20 minutes, flipping after 10 minutes.
Okay - you have the dressing and the tempeh, the rest is simple.
Toast one or two pieces of sprouted grain bread, and pour the dressing over the bread.
Add the tempeh and then add a generous helping of sauerkraut.
Top with avocado and you have an insane sandwich in front of you.
Make sure you buy the type of sauerkraut that’s in the refrigerated section and doesn’t have any vinegar. Vinegar kills off the live cultures in the kraut. The live cultures are super healthy for your gut health. Also, make sure not to heat the kraut, this will also kill off the cultures. My favorite brand is Bubbies.
Have an awesome week and remember, whatever problem or difficulty you’re going through at the moment will look different with time, so don’t give it too much of your beautiful attention.