More fat, less fat, more fat…it’s all about the balance, as you’ll see when you read this week’s Food for Thought on polyunsaturated oils. And you must, if you’re to understand the Monday Mission. (See all the Fat Full Fall posts here.)
Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to choose one practical way to cut down on your omega-6 intake.
Level of Commitment: Making Strides
Omega 6s and 3s need a proper ratio. I challenged you this summer to increase your omega-3 intake. That is something that doctors and health officials are crying from the rooftops, so I wasn’t exactly groundbreaking (or even very interesting or informative) with that one.
However, once you understand the delicate dance omega-3s and omega-6s perform in your body and the need to balance them, you quickly understand that a deficit of omega-3s has the same net result as a surfeit of omega-6s. If you live in America (or probably another industrialized nation) and you consume things with more than one ingredient that you purchased in a store, chances are your diet has an excess of omega-6 fatty acids. Here are various practical steps you can take to cut down ( choose one – baby steps, remember!):
- Make your own salad dressings. Salad dressing have a ton of soybean oil in them – you can cut down omega-6s and increase your monounsaturated fat intake by using extra virgin olive oil. Here are my recipes for Italian, Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Caesar Dressings. My latest is Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing, and I’ve been liking Kelly’s ranch (I use at least half EVOO where she uses sesame oil in the mayo and did refined coconut oil once, but it’s really firm that way).
- Make your own crackers. Hopefully there will be a few recipes to choose from in this week’s “Un-Processed Foods” carnival. King Arthur’s faux Wheat Thins are fabulous, and if you have a sourdough starter, Sarah has a great sourdough cracker recipe.
- Get rid of your vegetable/corn oil. When you need a liquid fat for baking, use melted butter. Try sauteeing at low heats with EVOO and higher heats with coconut oil. (Why not canola?)
- Read labels closely. If you can find an alternative with a safer fat (or no fat if it comes to that), choose it. Some salad dressings are made with olive oil (or at least partly EVOO – it’s better than 100% soybean!), refried beans don’t always have industrial oils added, better spaghetti sauces have better oils, etc.
- Avoid packaged breakfast cereals. You might choose to make your own granola, try this amazing soaked baked oatmeal or just have oatmeal, try your hand at homemade yogurt (or a plain tub of full-fat yogurt will suffice, of course), or have easy scrambled eggs. [UPDATE: I actually took the time to check some cereal boxes, rather than just assuming they used soybean and vegetable oils. Lazy me. Most don't use fats, just lots of sugars! This is probably not a place to avoid the oils, but if you're nervous about consuming too much CORN, period, breakfast is a great place to cut down.]
- Make from scratch. Really, corn and soybean oils are so pervasive in processed foods, if you’re going to avoid them, you’re going to have to make your own of some things. I’m pleased to invite bloggers and others to share their “Un-Processed Foods” recipes this Thursday at KS. Hopefully you’ll find some great ideas there. Until then, here are some of mine:
- Boxed Rice-a-Roni Homemade Chicken Rice-a-roni
- Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix 100% Whole Grain Cornbread (soaked too)
- Grands Biscuits in a can Homemade Whole Grain Biscuits
- Quaker Granola Bars Homemade Chewy Granola Bars
- Canned Refried Beans Homemade Refried Beans with a twist (also at least three other options at the Beans and Legumes Carnival, plus some other Beans and Rice choices)
- OreIda French Fries Homemade Baked French Fries
- Boxed Mexican Rice Cuban Black Beans and Rice OR Katie’s Mexican Beans and Rice
- Hamburger Helper Dad’s (Homemade) Cheeseburger Helper
Remember, good Kitchen Stewards…just choose one. When you have accomplished that one, come on back for a second. No need to overwhelm yourself or your menu plan with too much all at once!
If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.