Whatever you are celebrating this holiday season, chances are you are celebrating it with food. Food plays a major part in most holidays. Extended family dinners, special foods, favorite recipes. And, in most cases, baked or cooked at home. It’s all too good and for many of us, all too much.
Food. Glorious food.
Our favorite traditions don’t change but nutrition trends do. Guilt has crept into our holiday eating. Can I eat this? Should I eat this? I know it’s not good for me but is it bad for me? Eating healthy for 50 weeks a year and unhealthy for 2 weeks feels like 1 step forward and 2 steps back. And then it’s January 1st and we welcome the new year in with fresh guilt.
These days the focus is on fat. And for good reason: most holiday baked goods are made with shortening or lard. Shortening may be the worst idea in culinary history. When used in baking, shortening is almost always “vegetable oil shortening,” meaning that common oils like corn oil are hydrogenated using a highly synthetic process. Lard is typically animal fat, which has its own set of issues.
But there are healthier fats than shortening and lard. Two that have great advantages are coconut oil and ghee.
Coconut oil comes from the “meat” of mature ripe coconuts. It is a nutritious oil that it is a clear and aromatic oil with a delicate mild flavor. Another great benefit of coconut oil is its relatively high smoking point (around 177C/350F), meaning it can stand high temperatures without creating free radicals or trans fats.
Besides great taste, coconut oil has many health benefits.
· It Is lower in calories than most other fats, promoting weight loss by increasing the metabolic rate.
· It improves absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino-acids for stronger, healthier bones, teeth, and organ systems.
· It is heart-healthy, supporting healthy cholesterol levels.
Learn more about Coconut oil from our blog on 3 Things you need to know about coconut oil
Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is made by removing all water and milk solids from unsalted butter. Modern science confirms that ghee contains beneficial medium and short-chain fatty acids, which, unlike long-chain fatty acids, the body can readily metabolize and convert into energy. Ghee also has a higher smoke point than butter, typically 400-500 degrees F.
Ghee also has many health benefits:
· It contains the ideal 1:1 ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids.
· It is rich in natural phenolic antioxidants that boost the immune system and prevent free radical damage.
· It enhances digestive health by reducing stomach acid and protecting and restoring stomach lining.
· It promotes the body's absorption of nutrients.
Learn more about Ghee from our blog on How to use ghee for cooking, baking and snacks.
Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.