Should I use Oil on a Plant-Based Diet?

An issue that often comes up when deciding to eat a healthy whole food plant-based diet is the issue of oil. I can’t tell you how many emails I get with readers asking if they should have oil on a plant-based diet.

Is olive oil healthy? Should I eat olive oil on a plant-based diet?

There are MANY schools of thought on oil. Some doctors swear you need oils to be healthy. Other doctors insist that oils are not only unnecessary but absolutely harmful.

I tend to agree with my favorite plant-based doctors and follow the no oil plan. Doctors like Dr. McDougall, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Esselstyn, and Dr. Fuhrman; they advise people to avoid oil at all cost.

There are other doctors who insist that people need oil to be healthy. The thing is, you have to decide what to believe.

Sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree. If you are relatively healthy, you may not notice oil causing you harm. If, however, you are overweight or are trying to reverse disease it’s time to jump on the oil-free, whole food train. To be clear, I don’t think anyone needs oil in their diet but you may not notice the toll it takes if you are fairly healthy.

What about Healthy Fats?

There are a lot of people out there that talk about healthy oils and healthy fats. The truth is, the only type of fat that is healthy are those found naturally in whole foods, not those that are extracted from the food through processing.

If you need healthy fats, try those found in nuts, avocados, and olives.

Processed Oil is Not a Whole Food

Oil is an extremely processed substance that has no nutrients, whatsoever. Let that sink in!

Manufacturers take whole foods and take all the fiber and nutrients away and leave the fat to make oil. I’ll admit that was a simplification of the process but my point is that oil is a processed food.

What’s more, oil is extremely dense in calories, with a whopping 4000 calories per pound. To be realistic let’s break that down into servings, which can be about 120 calories per 1 tablespoon (or more if we’re being honest) when used in salad dressings and you can see what a huge effect oil can have on your daily caloric intake. If you are like me, you love to douse your salad in a lot more than one tablespoon of dressing! If you are frying food in oil, forget about it!

Is coconut oil healthy? Should I eat coconut oil on a plant-based diet?

Processed Oil is Not a Super Food

You’ve probably heard a lot about the amazing benefits of coconut oil. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but coconut oil is just fat. Coconut oil is great for your skin though, if you don’t have acne and suffer from dry skin. If you have coconut oil in your pantry, move it to your bathroom and use it as a makeup remover.  

A recent video by Dr. Fuhrman gives a concise answer about the benefit of coconut oil. When asked about the healthy properties of coconut oil, he calls it utter nonsense.

Processed Oil Has Very Few if Any Micronutrients

Some oils do have omega 3 fatty acids, but usually, it’s so minuscule that you’re not getting much bang for your caloric buck when ingesting them. You can actually end up gaining weight, clogging your arteries, or worse if you are using processed oil as a way to get in essential fatty acids. There are better ways.

Healthy Fats from Plants

Finally, let’s go over plants you can eat to get healthy fats into your diet. The healthy fats in these plants actually benefit your health on an oil-free plant-based diet.

  • Avocados – Rich and creamy, the avocado has about 322 calories and is made up of almost half fat. But, it has no trans fatty acids, no cholesterol, and only 5 grams of saturated fat. For this, you also get vitamin A, C, Iron, and Calcium with a nice dose of dietary fiber to help with digestion.
  • Nuts – Full of unsaturated fat, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E and a substance called sterols, which help lower your cholesterol along with L-arginine which keeps your blood flowing helping to avoid blood clots. Nuts are good for you in moderation (unless you have an allergy or other applicable medical condition).
  • Seeds – Hemp, chia, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds are amazing additions to a healthy plant-based diet. They are full of omega-3 fatty acids, low in bad fats, full of fiber, protein, and even calcium. Add them to your salads or oatmeal. You can also blend them into some fruit for delicious and heart healthy dressings.
  • Bananas – Who doesn’t love a delicious banana? It’s packaged just right to take it on the go and is almost a perfect food for plant-based eaters. You can make nice cream, smoothies; use it to replace fat in baking and more. It’s full of wonderful nutrients, the carbs you need with the right amount of healthy fat a good kick of potassium, fiber and more which make it the perfect post-workout food.

In addition to these amazing oil-free plant-based foods, you can add coconut, olives, edamame, etc.  These additions to your diet will fill you up, make you feel satisfied, and keep you healthy without adding oils to your diet.

Don’t worry, oil free food has a lot of flavor! Check out my list of oil-free salad dressings and sauces!

FREE 7 Day Plant-Based Course

I haven’t published any new recipes lately, but I’ve been working on something special for you! I created a FREE 7 Day Plant-Based Course to help people who are brand new to plant-based living.

Get the Free 7 Day Plant-Based Course

This new course is composed of 7 emails, one each day for 7 days, that teach you the basics of plant-based eating. The first day is What to Eat! Even if you only read that email you will know where to get started.

If you have been eating a plant-based diet for a while then you may not need this course, but there may still be things you would learn. Since the course is free, it’s a no-lose situation.

Who should take this Plant-Based Course

This course is basically plant-based living 101! It covers the basics! This course is for:

  • People considering adopting a plant-based diet.
  • People new to a plant-based diet.
  • People who don’t feel like they really have the hang of plant-based living.
  • Family members who want to be supportive of plant-based living but don’t understand what it’s all about.

What is in the Plant-Based Course

This course is designed to take less than 5 minutes every day. Most day’s you’ll spend about 2 minutes reading your daily email.

This course will cover:

  • What to Eat
  • What to Avoid
  • Cooking
  • Shopping
  • Planning and more

I wanted to present the lessons in such a way that you would be able to wake up each morning, read your daily email and say, “got it!”

There is no homework or tests but you can always reply to the emails to ask questions.

After the 7 Day Course, you’ll get a weekly email from me with plant-based tips. Don’t worry, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Free 7 Day Plant-Based course

Why This Course

I’ve already written a book, The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide: How to Cook, Shop, and Eat Well; and the Plant-Based Basics eCourse. The book is a quick and easy read and I recommend it for anyone wanting to learn a lot quickly. This free course is completely different from the Plant-Based Basics eCourse. That course is a deep dive into plant-based living and designed to give you a comprehensive understanding of plant-based living.

Both of those resources are excellent, but I wanted to provide a free resource that anyone could take, regardless of their budget and time commitments. This course is a great first step for anyone wanting to learn more about plant-based eating.

Do you need this course? Do you know someone who needs this course?

Just sign up here and get started today!

Plant-Based eCourse starts January 1st (get the bonus today)

If you or someone you love is trying to transition to a plant-based diet I have a special message for you!

I have an ecourse that will teach you everything you need to know to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. The course is self-paced so you can take it on your own schedule but we start together on January 1st.

This course is great for people who are making those first plant-based steps but also for people who have been trying to make the transition to plant-based living but have struggled.

Plant-Based Basics eCourse

Plant-Based Basics

This eCourse is in it’s third year. It’s broken down into 5 modules (over 20 lessons) and will teach you everything you need to know about:

  • What to eat and what to avoid
  • Plant-Based shopping strategies
  • Meal Planning for your schedule and budget
  • Time savers
  • If supplements are necessary
  • Money savers
  • The best way to get protein
  • and so much more

You’ll also be able to connect with other people in our private Facebook group that are exactly where you are and others who have been where you are but are now thriving on a plant-based diet.

eCourse Success

You aren’t alone on your plant-based journey. The Plant-Based Basics eCourse isn’t just lessons. It’s a community of people who are on this journey with you. Read what Susan had to say.

I was able to stay more focused because I had constant reminders on Facebook and in the lessons to keep aiming me in the right direction. There was always someone to bounce off an idea and ask for support and suggestions. I lost 5 pounds over the course and really could have done more with a little more exercise.

I think the entire program was phenomenal! The simplicity yet thoroughness of the eCourse allowed even a novice Plant-Based person to educate themselves about why this lifestyle is better than the Standard American Diet and to implement steps to take to eat and be healthier.

The meal plans were great and included a variety of recipes to suit many different sorts of tastes. I found many recipes that I can incorporate into my meal rotations and I would do this eCourse again, just to solidify my knowledge and share with others. The fact that there was a group of us all doing the same thing meant for a great camaraderie. ~ Susan

Special Bonus (time sensitive) The_Plant_Based_Diet_Starter_Guide

The Plant-Based Basics eCourse makes a great gift. Pre-buy the eCourse by December 19th and I’ll send you a free copy of my book The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide (US only). Additionally, if you are purchasing the eCourse as a gift, I’ll send you a digital certificate you can print and put under the tree.

You don’t have to be overwhelmed by trying to change your diet. Learn how to transition to a plant-based diet with a supportive group that wants you to succeed.

Are You Ready?

If you are ready to sign up for the Plant-Based Basics eCourse you can do it right here. You won’t be charged until January 1st. Then fill out this form so I know who to send the book and digital certificate to.

If you want more information about the eCourse, no problem. Learn more about the course and see what other people have said, but don’t forget to come back and fill out this form by December 19th to get the bonuses.

If you miss the deadline for the book, a digital certificate can still be sent for gift giving but the book will no longer be available as a bonus.


Don’t wait! You don’t want to miss your chance to get a free copy of The Plant-Based Diet Starter Guide!

Vegetables That Are High In Protein

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately. Everywhere I’ve gone people have taken notice of my plant-based diet. Their first thought is always about protein.

“Where do you get your protein?”

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that question over the last two weeks I could buy a week’s worth of groceries.

I don’t mind the question. It gives me a chance to share about plant-based eating. Sometimes I forget that the plant-based diet is really a foreign concept to people.

I’ve already answered the question, “Can I get enough protein on a plant-based diet?” Today I want to talk about vegetables that are high in protein.

Do you worry about protein on a plant-based/vegan diet? Don't! There are a ton of vegetables that are high in protein. [Read more…]

The Best Plant-Based Diet Books

I get a lot of questions about switching to a plant-based diet. It’s understandable, for most of us, plant-based living is a completely foreign concept.

I do my best to help by answering emails and comments. Depending on the situation I’ll sometimes suggest a book. Blogs are a great place to look but you can get lost in the internet and spend hours reading.

This page contains affiliate links.

Best Plant-Based Diet Book [Read more…]

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