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Cooking Oils, Mushrooms, and The Paleo Diet

There has been extensive debate within the Paleo community recently surrounding the validity of certain cooking oils while following The Paleo Diet.

Hunter-gatherers would have not had access to most cooking oils available to modern society. That being said, animal fats were likely consumed and used as a substitute for cooking oils that are commonly consumed today. Grilling eliminates the need for cooking with oil in pans, but grilling food for every meal is not very realistic for the average individual following a contemporary Paleo Diet.

However, there are a number of common cooking oils that should never be consumed while following The Paleo Diet. These include:

  • Soybean Oil: Often partially hydrogenated and is highly inflammatory due to the disproportionately high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Canola Oil: Derived from the unpalatable rapeseed plant, the oil is stripped of erucic acid to make it edible. Canola oil is often praised for its omega-3 content, but health practitioners often fail to account for the quick degradation of omega-3 fatty acids within the oil due to the 500 degree temperature that is required to manufacture the oil.
  • Cottonseed Oil: Derived from an inedible plant that is used in the textile industry, the oil is used in numerous processed foods including margarine, ice cream, bread, and packaged oysters. As with Canola, Cottonseed also has an unhealthy fatty acid profile and should be avoided at all costs.

Other cooking oils to avoid for rancidity, inflammatory properties, and an unbalanced fatty acid profile:

  • Safflower Oil
  • Sunflower Seed Oil
  • Sesame Seed Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Vegetable OilGrape Seed Oil

Despite the overwhelming majority of unhealthy oils that are available for purchase at your average grocery store, there is still hope! Swap out the bad for the oils permitted when following The Paleo Diet.

  • Olive Oil: Fantastic for sauteing and as a salad dressing. It is fairly resistant to high heat, which makes it less prone to rancidity. It primarily consists of monounsaturated fats, which are considered safe and healthy.
  • Coconut Oil: While the tropical, shelf-stable oil is relatively high in saturated fats, the saturated fat content should not be a concern and allows for the oil to remain stable at high temperatures. Coconut oil is also very rich in a medium chain fatty acid known as Lauric Acid, which is recognized for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
  • Animal Fat: Realistically, this is the closest to a hunter-gatherer cooking fat or oil. Grass-fed beef tallow is preferred. Duck fat is also allowed. However, be careful when consuming fat from pork or chicken, as both contain significantly higher quantities of polyunsaturated fats.

Although there are numerous toxic and potentially lethal species of mushroom species, you should not be worried about consuming the mushrooms you find at your choice grocer. In all likelihood, our hunter-gatherer ancestors likely indulged in various types of mushrooms on a semi-regular basis, knowing the distinct properties to exclude poisonous species. Mushrooms are also relatively low on the glycemic index and are rich in selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin – all optimal for your health. Let the mushroom hunting adventures ensue!

Kyle Cordain
The Paleo Diet Team

Mushroom Sauté

Cooking Oils | The Paleo Diet

3 – 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
  • ½ sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 leaves fresh basil finely chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced, stem removed
  • Grass-Fed Beef or Buffalo Steaks

Directions


1. In large fry pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onions are tender.

2. Stir in mushrooms and remaining ingredients.

3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Serve over fresh grass-fed beef or buffalo steaks.

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6 Comments on "Cooking Oils, Mushrooms, and The Paleo Diet"

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  1. I cook basically everything in coconut oil. Eggs included. Gives it a nice sweet flavor!

  2. Steve says:

    What are your thoughts on avocado oil or macadamia nut oil? What about Kerry gold butter or clarified butter made from it?

    • Loren Cordain says:

      Avocado oil and macadamia nut oil is fine in moderation. Although, I would not recommend cooking with it. It is delicious on a salad!

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