Guide to the Healthiest Cooking Oils

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Chuck Gaidica and Grace Derocha for A Healthier Michigan Podcast



About the Show
On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by Grace Derocha, a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Together, they discuss healthy cooking oils, how they’re used and where to find them.
“When you’re cooking… we’re baking, we’re frying we’re sautéing, we’re doing lots of different [things]… We’re adding oil to recipes, making salad dressings, whatever it might be. There’s a lot of different ways that we can use these oils to be the most beneficial and flavorful in the kitchen.” – Grace Derocha
In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:
  • The difference between good and bad fats
  • How saturated fat affects the body
  • Sources of heart-healthy oils
  • The dangers of the smoke point
  • Best oils for sautéing and baking

Listen on

Chuck Gaidica: This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast episode 34. Coming up, we look at the healthiest oils you can cook with in the kitchen.
Chuck Gaidica: Welcome to A Healthier Michigan Podcast. This is a podcast dedicated to navigating how we can all improve our health and well-being through small healthy habits we can start implementing right now. I’m your host Chuck Gaidica. Every other week, we sit down with a certified health expert from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and we’ll dive into topics covering nutrition and fitness a whole lot more.
Chuck Gaidica: In this episode, we’re talking about choosing and using cooking oils. With me today is registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and certified health coach, Grace Derocha. It’s always not only great to see you, but I feel healthier being on this side of the table. I just have to really get into the moment.
Grace Derocha: I love our moments together and it’s going to definitely be an interesting topic today.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, it has to be for you. I was just in the kitchen with my wife, we’ll come back to that. But you’ve got two kids.
Grace Derocha: Yes.
Chuck Gaidica: You love food.
Grace Derocha: I do.
Chuck Gaidica: This is not some way of casting aspersions on food and cooking oils. But you are an expert that knows the difference between what’s good, and what’s bad and when to use it.
Grace Derocha: Exactly.
Chuck Gaidica: So, let’s talk about this. If we start talking about good and bad fat, what does that mean?
Grace Derocha: When we’re talking about good and bad fat, we’re talking about how it affects your heart health and your overall health. That’s the quick and easy way to think about it. The way that I look at things as a registered dietitian, is to make sure that I’m giving you information that is evidence based, and that we really know impacts our bodies at this time.
Grace Derocha: We know, there’s always ongoing research happening. This is what we know today, and this is what we know to stay true for now until more research is done. I like to remind people of that because there’s a lot of things you can read out there, so many things.
Chuck Gaidica: It’s not just in the old days when we just used to reach for vegetable oil, you can still get vegetable oil.
Grace Derocha: You can.
Chuck Gaidica: What’s funny to me is that while I’m not an expert, I know that there are all kinds of different names of all different kinds of oils.
Grace Derocha: Right?
Chuck Gaidica: How can we spot a bad oil or a bad fat?
Grace Derocha: The typical way of doing this is if a fat or oil is hard at room temperature. Can you name any?
Chuck Gaidica: Well, there would be that tub of coconut oil that one of the kids was making bullet coffee with. It’s the size of Hawaii this thing that we had in our cupboard for a while. Is that a bad one typically?
Grace Derocha: Typically.
Chuck Gaidica: Typically.
Grace Derocha: Coconut oil, lard.
Chuck Gaidica: Butter?
Grace Derocha: Butter-ish.
Chuck Gaidica: Butter-ish, okay.
Grace Derocha: Palm kernel oil, which usually don’t usually don’t see that you would cook with at home, but in a lot of processed baked goods, or places where they’re making something, they might be using that. That’s when you can get into trans-fat, which is really bad.
Chuck Gaidica: What I find funny is I remember growing up, there was Crisco around the house for everything. From frosting the cake to making fried chicken, to even baking-
Grace Derocha: Making pancakes and waffles.
Chuck Gaidica: Right, or biscuits or something. It was in there. Maybe we just didn’t hear about it enough or maybe people got heart disease and it was just something you thought that happened and nobody knew the reason.
Grace Derocha: Right. I think when you know better, you start to do better. When we start learning about things, we try to make some changes accordingly.
Chuck Gaidica: Before I race past bad fats, is there any reason to really think that we need to avoid them completely? Or is it still back to something you’ve tried to counsel us on before, if moderation is okay or not really?
Grace Derocha: I would usually say moderation is okay. But because heart disease run so rampant here, we have to be careful. We have to make sure that we’re making better choices. One thing with some of the saturated fats that we have to look at is that they have a tendency to raise LDL, which is the bad cholesterol, lousy cholesterol in the body. Then also suppress the HDL, which is the good cholesterol in the body. You want to think about that a little bit as you’re making some of these choices, so that we’re keeping that ticker, ticking strong.
Chuck Gaidica: I know there’s a connection to inflammation. But what is that? Is that related to cholesterol, or is that a whole separate deal?
Grace Derocha: It’s related to what we consume. Some of the saturated fats can increase inflammation overall in the body, which is bad for gut health, bad for joints, bad for overall chronic conditions and diseases. Again, being smart about the choices we make when it comes to oils, how we cook them, what we’re deciding to use for different things, makes an impact on all of that.
Chuck Gaidica: If I’m having this attack, and I really want to get me some Kentucky Fried Chicken, I don’t even know what kind of oil is in there, but is this notion of extending and not using whatever kind of fat, do I have to worry about it? If I’m not doing that consistently, is it okay a here or there? Come on, Grace.
Grace Derocha: He’s trying to make me say-
Chuck Gaidica: I’m just saying.
Grace Derocha: You know my motto, I think there’s a way that we can live in moderation. But we want to do our best whenever we can.
Chuck Gaidica: Okay. All right. Let’s talk about doing the best. We understand if it congeals, if it’s harder at room temperature, maybe that’s the one that’s called a bad fat. Good fats are then what?
Grace Derocha: Think of this more as your plant based oils, if you will. Coming from nuts or seeds, avocado, olives, fish. Those are basically the places that we are looking for some of our heart healthier good oils.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, there are people who and I have in the past taken fish oil capsules on purpose, right?
Grace Derocha: Yes.
Chuck Gaidica: There’s an obvious benefit, at least I was told that.
Grace Derocha: Yeah. Chuck’s going to make me-
Chuck Gaidica: I’m sorry, we need another podcast. I’m sorry.
Grace Derocha: No. But when we’re talking about fish oil, ideally, you know I want you to get that from food, two to three times a week for better heart health, just because the way our body processes that, absorbs it, it doesn’t more efficiently than from a supplement. That’s why it’s called a supplement.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, plus, I know that you know this, you forgotten more about this than I know. But the Blue Zones, when you look at the people who are living whether it’s in Italy or Sicily, or whether it’s in Asia, wherever it is, and you see what their diet is, where their oils are coming from. It’s pretty obvious that that thread runs through goodness.
Grace Derocha: Right. People talk about the Mediterranean diet all the time. That is olive oil, a little bit of avocado oil and lots of fish.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, and eating olives by themselves, that kind of thing.
Grace Derocha: Mm-hmm (affirmative) right. Definitely.
Chuck Gaidica: Are you advocating for this healthy balance of not only eating olives and real fish, so you’re getting a natural source of the oil, but then when you do cook, even if you’re going to make eggs, whatever you’re going to do or you need to bake, there are oils you can use.
Grace Derocha: Absolutely. There are so many great oils out there. I’m going to go through some of them. But then we can talk about how people can use those as well. When you’re cooking, we’re talking about cooking in the kitchen a little bit, we’re baking, we’re frying we’re sautéing, we’re doing lots of different … We’re adding oil to recipes, making salad dressings, whatever it might be. There’s a lot of different ways that we can use these oils to be the most beneficial and flavorful in the kitchen as well.
Chuck Gaidica: My wife made a recipe just a week ago with sesame oil, just amazing. Sesame and fresh ginger and oh my gosh, it was just incredible.
Grace Derocha: I think most people know at this point that I’m Filipino, so I’m Asian, but sesame oil is definitely the oil that is often used in any kind of Asian cooking. It gives you that flavor, especially pairing with ginger, what a great combo.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. All right, let’s talk about we’re going to bake or we’re going to cook with oil. I’ve heard this before. To be fair, I don’t pay a lot of attention to it, because I don’t think I fry enough with olive oil or other things to worry about a smoke point? What is that, and why should we be so concerned about what it does to the oil?
Grace Derocha: Glad that you asked. The smoke point is the point that that oil is burning and smoking. One, if we’re talking about flavor, it could add a certain not good flavor, like almost like a burnt flavor to your food, and alter the taste of whatever you’re making. But also, we know that if we get to that smoke point and go past it, we actually can have some carcinogens that are then building up within that oil.
Chuck Gaidica: Wow. Do all of these oils that you’re talking about, if you get past the smoke point, they all have that potential or just certain ones?
Grace Derocha: Yes. If you think about it this way, there’s the oil and heat, and that’s the catalyst for this to occur. You just want to make sure, again, that we’re picking the right oils for the right reasons so we’re not going past that smoke point.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. When I think of oils, one of the things that I guess in my mind, it’s probably my own thing is when I think of all these oils, I’m always considering, well, what flavor is that going to add to my food? When you say avocado oil? I’m thinking I like avocados. I’m just not sure I would want to put it in my recipe.
Grace Derocha: Yes. Oftentimes, I always joke around about this, even with olive oil, for example, because olive oil actually has a pretty low smoke point. Its smoke point is only at 320 degrees Fahrenheit, which I know it sounds like it’s really hot. But if you’re baking something, and you’ll see, unless you’re really making an olive oil cake, which there is a thing.
Chuck Gaidica: There is a thing?
Grace Derocha: Yeah.
Chuck Gaidica: Okay.
Grace Derocha: But you usually don’t bake with olive oil, one, because the smell point is lower, and you’re usually heating up your oven to 350.
Chuck Gaidica: It’s not the place for a vanilla cake recipe. It just doesn’t sound right.
Grace Derocha: Olive oil, vanilla cake.
Chuck Gaidica: I know.
Grace Derocha: That’s definitely not something that you probably want to pair that would have good flavor. Because even though … I have people tell me, “Oh, olive oil doesn’t really taste like olives.” But it doesn’t taste like cake either.
Chuck Gaidica: So, aren’t there some manufacturers that are running this oil through a process?
Grace Derocha: Yes.
Chuck Gaidica: Are they altering it chemically, are they just doing something to it where the smoke point has been raised so this is not quite an issue?
Grace Derocha: You will see sometimes refined or unrefined oils. Refined oils is basically a process where there’s heat sensitive properties that are removed. There’s a higher smoke point, and a more neutral flavor. Rachel Ray, she always says, EVOO. So, extra virgin olive oil is what it stands for. Or something that is cold pressed or not pressured. That means that it is unrefined or raw, or extra virgin olive oil. Those usually have lower smoke points. Hence why olive oil is usually extra virgin olive oil or I usually recommend that for people just because you’re going to get the full benefit of that heart healthy fat in the oil.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, and you’re also getting that first press, which so many people talk about in terms of why. But having been to the Holy land and to Rome and to Italy, you see these, even the antique versions of these presses for olives. You come to realize why it’s so critical to get that first press, that extra virgin olive oil because all the rest of the mush that’s left, well, good luck. We really are squeezing blood from a turnip by the time you get down to the bottom.
Grace Derocha: Yeah, there’s not that … Yeah. EVOO is so popular for that reason. One, it’s raw. You’re getting it unrefined, and you’re getting the true olive oil.
Chuck Gaidica: I know it’s an Italian thing, but even when you bring up bread for the table, are you more apt to use oils, or do you still bring out butter? What would be your own family habit and what suggestions would you have? Because a lot of people just use dipping oil.
Grace Derocha: If I was recommending to patient, or what do I use?
Chuck Gaidica: Both.
Grace Derocha: My kids really like butter and I do try to get organic.
Chuck Gaidica: Don’t forget ghee or something-
Grace Derocha: And ghee, sometimes, yeah. Ghee for the people is extra clarified butter. Basically, what they’ve done is taken the cream that makes butter and they turn it and skim off the fat, and they keep doing that. So, ghee is liquid at room temperature, where butter is hard.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh, interesting. Okay.
Grace Derocha: Well, at room temperature, it’s a little bit softer, but usually it comes. My kids like butter, I like olive oil. I actually like avocado oil too.
Chuck Gaidica: Does it have the taste of avocados or not really?
Grace Derocha: A little bit, not as much. I like avocado for this reason. We want to make sure we’re getting those Omega-3 fatty acids in, and avocado oil definitely has that. The ratio in most people’s body is off. We have more Omega-6, not enough Omega-3, and avocados are a very simple way to get Omega-3 fatty acids in.
Chuck Gaidica: What about the folks, the Blue Zones aside who are looking to go on a diet? I’ve tinkered with it, higher fat diet, low carbs-
Grace Derocha: He’s going there.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, but it’s interesting because I think some people see results, but forgive me if I’m overstating this on your behalf, so you correct me. You can still do that, but can’t you use good oils and still involve fish? If you’re really looking to do this, can’t you do it with some goodness?
Grace Derocha: Okay, this is like a triple part question. If you are following … I’m just going to call them out. If you’re following a diet that is like keto, Atkins, or diets like that, that are usually higher fat, higher protein, lower to no carbs. In a perfect world, I would like people to be having heart healthier fats always. No matter what to. Don’t go on those diets.
Chuck Gaidica: Don’t do it at all. You’re saying don’t-
Grace Derocha: There’s no longevity in it. That’s the problem.
Chuck Gaidica: Because it’s hard to stay on it?
Grace Derocha: Yes. Think about it, when you’re cutting up food groups, you’re putting yourself in a state of deprivation. When you start doing that, you’re not building a healthier relationship with food in your body, and, what’s the end goal? We know that 95% of the time people that go on a diet end up gaining the weight back if it’s for weight loss goals, and falling off track.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Okay. Good advice. I’ll get off that track. But you just hear about it so much. I think that the people that I’ve met, maybe this was back in the day, not so much today that we’re doing it. It was grabbing burgers here and there, eating Slim Jims, I liked their popsicles and you’re losing weight-
Grace Derocha: You’re like, I’m going to eat three pounds of bacon.
Chuck Gaidica: Right. Okay, forget that idea.
Grace Derocha: No.
Chuck Gaidica: Okay, Grace said forget it. Just run through and name different kinds of oils that would blow my mind?
Grace Derocha: You name the oil that you know about and I’ll give you some fun facts.
Chuck Gaidica: So, sesame oil?
Grace Derocha: Okay, sesame oil is great. Comes from Sesame seeds. They usually press it. It is a great source of polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Fun fact, it is great in Asian food. Smoke point’s a little bit higher, closer to 400.
Chuck Gaidica: So, that’s good if you’re cooking on a stove-
Grace Derocha: Yeah. If you’re making a stir fry, or doing something where you’re cooking. But then also very flavorful. There’s toasted sesame seed oil or just sesame seed. Basically, what they’ve done is just they toast the sesame seeds, press the oil out of the toaster once. It’s a little bit richer of a flavor.
Chuck Gaidica: It’s like coffee. It’s like how you’ve roasted the beans. Okay, let me think of … This is like a game show. I’m excited. I’m going to win a car. Sunflower seed oil.
Grace Derocha: Okay. Sunflower seed oil is actually 10% saturated fat. It has a little bit of that heftier, not as good for you-
Chuck Gaidica: Interesting out of a plant with a bunch of seeds.
Grace Derocha: But it has much more, 20% monounsaturated fat, which is heart healthy and also 66% polyunsaturated fat, also heart healthy. It’s good for high heat frying or baking. Has a very mild fatty taste and smoke point is even higher at 440 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chuck Gaidica: Have you used it? Do you like it?
Grace Derocha: I have. Yeah, I love sunflower seeds, and that’s where they come from. Some people will even press … It depends, you’ll see. But usually it’s seeds and some people even press the flower and the leaves and the stems as part of their oil.
Chuck Gaidica: Okay. I’ve been adding to some shakes I make, some flax seed oil, flax seeds themselves; raw, organic. So, I know I’m getting the oil but what about flax seed oil?
Grace Derocha: Flax seeds are great, lower than 9% saturated fat. There’s a little. That’s the thing with a lot of these oils is you’re going to get a mix. 18% monounsaturated, 68% polyunsaturated. This is fun, when you cook it actually, if you use it to cook with, it has a nuttier flavor. If you’re looking for that flavor, and maybe you’re allergic to peanuts, this might be a good way to get some of that flavor in.
Grace Derocha: However, it’s better for just a roast or a sauté because the smoke point is lower at 225. Salad dressings too and sauces. I’ve used it for actually a peanut sauce, which took away from what I just said.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. You mentioned peanuts. So, peanut oil, obviously is a choice.
Grace Derocha: Yes. Peanut oil is popular … I think there’s a couple of popular restaurants that use peanut oil, five guys maybe.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh, I think you’re right, for their fries.
Grace Derocha: Mm-hmm (affirmative) Yeah. 17% saturated, 46%, monounsaturated, 32%. polyunsaturated. This oil, and this is a reason why it’s used often, it’s lighter, and it has again, that obviously a nutty flavor and has a very high smoke point up to 475.
Chuck Gaidica: That makes it good for frying the real potatoes.
Grace Derocha: Right.
Chuck Gaidica: But there also is a flavor difference. I’ve tried their fries, I’m just saying I have, they are special.
Grace Derocha: Yes, they do. They don’t taste bad.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, there are a lot of things. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts don’t taste bad either.
Grace Derocha: Right.
Chuck Gaidica: What are some of the wild exotic types? You mentioned avocado oil.
Grace Derocha: Yeah, I love avocado oil. It’s become more … Avocados are like a thing for sure right now. Avocado toast, avocado on this. I do like avocado oil. 12% saturated fat, 71% monounsaturated, 14% polyunsaturated. It has a very mild taste. You could use it in baking potentially. I have before. I don’t even want to tell you what I made because you’re going to make fun of me.
Chuck Gaidica: Why, I won’t make fun. Who’s listening. Go ahead.
Grace Derocha: I made brownies with spinach and black beans.
Chuck Gaidica: What? Now, I’ve done black bean brownies. Maybe it was with apple sauce. Something really weird. Because the applesauce supposedly replaces the fat. They’re not quite there.
Grace Derocha: No, not quite. Not as moist for sure. But my kids ate them up. Haha, joke’s on you.
Chuck Gaidica: None of those oils that you’ve talked about so far, correct me if I’m wrong, they don’t have to be refrigerated, right?
Grace Derocha: No, they do not.
Chuck Gaidica: Even flaxseed oil? Because I know the flax seeds do need to be.
Grace Derocha: No, you do not.
Chuck Gaidica: Isn’t that a bonus for having oils in the cupboard because you don’t have to worry about them-
Grace Derocha: No. This is the big shebang with avocado oil, 520 degrees is the smoke point.
Chuck Gaidica: Wow.
Grace Derocha: Yeah. If you need oil that you’re grilling with, or things that you might be cooking for a while, especially a braised short rib that you may be cooking for an amount of time, smoking something.
Chuck Gaidica: What would be some of the exotic ones? How much oil can I squeeze out of a lavender plant? What are some of the other ones that are out there that would be flavors or things that are interesting?
Grace Derocha: Obviously, people play with essential oils when they’re cooking too. But not as much for the purpose of cooking.
Chuck Gaidica: Because there’s not enough you use, right?
Grace Derocha: Right. Some of that, I think you won’t find people using as often are things like corn oil. Back in the people did. Well, the smoke point’s pretty high. But it’s kind of flavorless.
Chuck Gaidica: Is it high in bad fat?
Grace Derocha: It’s a little bit higher, it has 13% saturated fat. Just the ratio of the good fat isn’t ideal, either. It’s not terrible. But again, there’s definitely better choices.
Chuck Gaidica: Let me ask, when I’ve looked at the side of packages, not like I’ve ever had a ding dong or a ho ho in my life. But when I look at the side of packages, and I see hydrogenated. Whatever kind of oil then follows that word, what is that and what are they doing with my oil? Stop it, what are they doing?
Grace Derocha: Going back earlier when I was talking about when they’re using palm kernel oil usually in processed baked goods, that’s a hydrogenated oil. Most of the time, that has some trans-fat in it. Trans fat is even worse than bad fat that we talked about earlier.
Chuck Gaidica: It’s worse than saturated fat.
Grace Derocha: Yeah. Trans fat is cancer causing. We know that, that’s research proven. We definitely always always want to stay away from trans fats.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Then when it comes to what we’re eating for the healthy reasons of our diet, do we need to be concerned about the, I guess from where the oil comes? You talked about cold press. Do we really need to be concerned that it says natural? I would just automatically assume avocado oil it’s natural, or do we really need to be concerned about the source?
Grace Derocha: He is going to get me. Okay, first of all natural is not a word that really means anything. Just for the record. It’s funny, there’s a video out there where guys are talking about this is natural, and this is natural. It’s a sarcastic video. Everything says natural. So, it has to be good for me. Natural doesn’t mean anything. But if it says it’s organic.
Grace Derocha: The reason why that can come into play is because how they’re growing it, there could be pesticides and things on it that grow in it or into it that are not the best for us. I want to say this about trans-fat. The reason why oftentimes some of those fats are used, like palm kernel oil for processed goods and things that they’re making in bulk like a Ho Ho or a Twinkie, is because it’s a little bit more shelf stable. So, they’re doing it for that reason.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh, I see.
Grace Derocha: What has happened then is we’ve learned no bueno, not good.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Did I miss any oils on your list? Shoot me some oils, and I’ll tell you everything I know.
Grace Derocha: I have grape seed oil.
Chuck Gaidica: I have no idea.
Grace Derocha: Grape seed oil, another name is canola oil.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh, yeah.
Grace Derocha: Here’s the thing, it’s not terrible. 11% saturated fat, 14% monounsaturated fat, 75% polyunsaturated fat. I kind of alluded to this earlier, but it is, some of these that have some of these polyunsaturated fats, which is polyunsaturated fat is Omega-3 and Omega-6. They’re both polyunsaturated. But the ratio in our body is not the best. We should have more Omega-3 avocados, and a little bit less of grape seed oil, because that ratio has more of that Omega-6, which can be a little bit like inflammation causing in the body. It’s not enough to just know that good and bad, but now we have to know the ratios.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, and you know you’re … I’ll come back to my question. Were there other interesting oils that you wanted to chat on?
Grace Derocha: I think that one. Oh, soybean oil. I feel like sometimes soybeans get a bad rap. Soybean oil, also 14% saturated fat, 23%, monounsaturated fat, 58%, polyunsaturated fat. A little bit again, higher with Omega-6s.
Chuck Gaidica: You’ll find that in a lot of salad dressings. I see a lot of soybean oil there.
Grace Derocha: Soybean oil you find often, especially in the store, because it’s a little bit again, more shelf stable.
Chuck Gaidica: And cheaper. It’s cheaper.
Grace Derocha: There it is.
Chuck Gaidica: That’s what it is, yeah.
Grace Derocha: Compared to your EVOO or your avocado oil, which can run a little bit more expensive.
Chuck Gaidica: The question that I had as a guy, you start talking about oil, I’m thinking of the engine in my car.
Grace Derocha: Yes.
Chuck Gaidica: I’m thinking, okay, next time I go to I want the true synthetic, the partial synthetic? Has anyone come up with the tinkering of the right amount to just create the most idyllic oil, a little bit of grape seed and a little bit of that and a little bit of this and all of a sudden, all those numbers that you’ve got memorized, come together, and I should get that oil?
Grace Derocha: That was a great question. No, but that’s a great idea.
Chuck Gaidica: Do you want to invent that?
Grace Derocha: I have a new business plan for us, Chuck.
Chuck Gaidica: Okay.
Grace Derocha: This is the one thing though, I would say about oil is whatever you’re going to use, use that one. It’s not really like flavor wise and then you’re messing with smoke point, you would have to go to the lowest smoke point. It’s better to just use whatever you’re using fully. So, that’s a great question.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, there are people who in the kitchen know their way around so well. Susan just came home and she bought some pink salt. She knows I like to grind salt.
Grace Derocha: Himalayan pink salt.
Chuck Gaidica: Himalayan pink salt. Well, there are people who know that there’s that and then there’s the Hawaiian this salt, and then there’s-
Grace Derocha: The sea salt, and the couture salts.
Chuck Gaidica: The sea salts. Right. But I’m not really there. It’s just an interesting thing to grind up when you have people over, but I would bet with oil, there are a lot of cooks who really understand that they want to have a little different oil because of smoke point, flavor, for different things in the kitchen.
Grace Derocha: Absolutely. When we think about all the different things that we’re doing or cooking in the kitchen, I gave you like sesame oil, I feel like is definitely delicious one for-
Chuck Gaidica: It’s a good go to.
Grace Derocha: Sauces or anything you’re cooking that has Asian flavors.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. For sautés, we happen to use it on a … Susan made a dressing that was, I guess you would call it like a salad dressing but it was fresh out of the bottle that she made. We had it over some Asian cabbage and some other stuff. I added some grilled chicken to it. It was awesome.
Grace Derocha: That sounds awesome.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, it was really nice.
Grace Derocha: Sesame oil, I’m telling you, if you’re listening and you plan on making something with some Asian flavors, use sesame oil, it will change the flavor. When it comes to frying, I do like peanut oil if I’m ever going to … I don’t often do that. But, if I was going to. Baking, I do like avocado oil. I do like flax seed. Things that I bake longer. I usually use avocado, things I don’t bake as long. If I am sautéing something, depending on, olive oil usually is what I would use.
Chuck Gaidica: Isn’t that really the go to for so many people in their kitchens because we’ve been indoctrinated that olive oil was the best thing to use?
Grace Derocha: Yes. I would say olive oil is the best thing to use when you’re sautéing. That would be because that smoke point is lower. Anytime you’re baking, or you’re grilling and the temperatures going up, you just don’t want it to go past that. You don’t want to have to worry that it’s going to go into a space where one is going to change flavor. But to it could end up being bad for you.
Chuck Gaidica: In a practical sense, this is just hitting me, if you turned around to deal with the kids or something’s going on, and that that pan is smoking before you’ve gotten to putting in your chicken or whatever a stir fry is, really just turn off the heat and get rid of it.
Grace Derocha: Yes. Take it off.
Chuck Gaidica: Get it out and start over, because you may have crossed that line.
Grace Derocha: You may have.
Chuck Gaidica: Because it’s not that much. It’s just some oil.
Grace Derocha: Right. But if you know if wasn’t for too long. You know, if you’re burning the food, then you obviously went there. But it’s fun to play with the different kinds. I implore people to make sure that they are thinking about where their health is and where they want to be, and what they’re trying to aim for, for their family. We were joking about this earlier. We’re talking about oils here and the best ways to use them. But I don’t want people to think that they have to guzzle oil.
Chuck Gaidica: That’s a quote of the day for me. You don’t have to think you need to guzzle oil.
Grace Derocha: You don’t have to guzzle oil to get the heart healthy benefits of it. But when you’re using it, you want to make the best choices that you can, and still think about moderation, because it is fat.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Okay. We’ve talked about making dressings and dips, toasted and unrefined oils. I’m going to take a look at our sesame oil, if it’s toasted or not. That sounds really interesting to me from a flavor standpoint.
Grace Derocha: Yes. I can tell the difference. I grew up eating it, but I can tell the difference. I know when my mom uses toasted and when she doesn’t.
Chuck Gaidica: There’s all sesame oil come in more of a can like bottle. Is that typically?
Grace Derocha: It’s usually a glass jar.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh, mine was more of a can.
Grace Derocha: Was it?
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. More of a metal.
Grace Derocha: Maybe. I should remind people this. When we’re talking about oil, you don’t want it sitting out where sun hits. You want it in a dark place.
Chuck Gaidica: So, in a cabinet, in the cupboard, in the pantry.
Grace Derocha: In the pantry. Side note, you want it … Sometimes people put it in the fridge because they think that’s the best place like we talked about. But nine out of 10 times, your oil does not have to go-
Chuck Gaidica: Again, can I put on my guy hat because I can’t help it.
Grace Derocha: Yes, I love guy hats.
Chuck Gaidica: You didn’t talk about walnut oil, but you know that there’s a side benefit to when you get a chip on your walnut table, you can take a walnut or a little walnut oil and sometimes all you have to do is rub that on there. Sometimes, depends on how the furniture was finished. If it’s real, and it doesn’t have a fake processed top, you can get rid of some scratches around the-
Grace Derocha: Stop it.
Chuck Gaidica: I’m not kidding.
Grace Derocha: Tom, I hope you’re listening.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, it depends what’s scratched. If you don’t want an oily floor, so people wipe off, it all depends on what got stretched. That could be fun.
Grace Derocha: That is a fun fact. I like that.
Chuck Gaidica: Then we talked about sautéing. That’s more of the low smoke point oil.
Grace Derocha: Yeah, where you might want to get some of that flavor from a certain thing, but olive oil, I’m telling you that-
Chuck Gaidica: Kind of a go to.
Grace Derocha: Yeah, that’s my go to.
Chuck Gaidica: Then baking, I guess people are putting in a half cup or a quarter cup of oil at times to mix things up.
Grace Derocha: It’s more for moisture and to help whatever you might be baking, kind of congeal. I do like avocado oil for that. Some people will use vegetable oil.
Chuck Gaidica: The old tried and true. That’s just a blend of all-
Grace Derocha: Yeah, going back to what I said earlier, I like when people stick with the one instead of mixing.
Chuck Gaidica: Right. Okay, well there goes our business idea. Then for frying, we want a stable oil, because we are raising the temperature a little bit, maybe.
Grace Derocha: Yeah, that higher smoke point. We talked about peanut, avocado. Fry less.
Chuck Gaidica: What did you say?
Grace Derocha: Fry less.
Chuck Gaidica: Fry less.
Grace Derocha: At least deep fry less.
Chuck Gaidica: I don’t even know what we deep fry in our house anymore.
Grace Derocha: I don’t think many people do. With air fryers out now.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, to me, that’s just another gadget that’s-
Grace Derocha: Taking up counter space.
Chuck Gaidica: I told you, I think one of our last types, the instant pot has just been, make pea soup in under an hour, whatever it is, 20 minutes.
Grace Derocha: There’s depth of flavor.
Chuck Gaidica: Just awesome. Not all oils are created equal.
Grace Derocha: They are not.
Chuck Gaidica: Don’t guzzle any of them. I’m making notes of my takeaway. Then what else?
Grace Derocha: Then I would say play with the flavors based on what you’re trying to make. I think playing with different flavors allows you to meal plan better too. If you know you want to make something with Asian flavors or Italian flavors and you’re sautéing your peppers and olive oil, play with that a little bit, enjoy that process.
Chuck Gaidica: I’m encouraged by that because even though I was a bystander, and I just was able to taste the sesame oil in this recipe, it was way different than what I know, because I use olive oil, what it would taste like.
Grace Derocha: He was very excited about it. I was like, yes. It made me excited. I love that.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, it’s good to have you back.
Grace Derocha: Thank you so much for having me.
Chuck Gaidica: I learned so much. I’m making notes. Do not ever guzzle your oil.
Grace Derocha: Yes. In moderation, try to pick the better heart healthier oils and play with it. Enjoy the process of cooking in your kitchen.
Chuck Gaidica: All right, Grace Derocha here helping us navigate this space. Again, A Healthier Michigan Podcast. We’re glad you’re back listening this week. Make sure you tell people about it. It’s brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like the show, you want to learn more, we’ve got some great episodes, you can get to. Check out You can leave us a review or rating on iTunes or Stitcher. You can also get new episodes on your smartphone or tablet and be sure to subscribe to us. You can go to the usual places; Apple Podcast, Spotify, or just your favorite podcast app. I’m Chuck Gaidica with Grace Derocha. Thanks so much for being with us. Don’t guzzle that oil.

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