Adjustments: Giving Up Oil, Part 1


As I was reading Dr. McDougall and Dr. Campbell’s books, I realized that my first big adjustments on this adventure was going to be cooking and eating without added oil, salt and sugar. The idea of cooking without oil was a tough one.  Not adding salt was easy since I was never that into it in the first place. Sugar was a giant monster to be tamed! Probably the hardest of all.  What is that they say about big changes….it is about the process not perfection! Definitely no perfection here!!

Let us first look at oil….can I really live without adding oil to food? Can I really cook without oil? Is it possible to eat out without all that added oil?

Okay, I witnessed in my WFPB cooking class that it is possible to cook/saute without oil but I wasn’t sure how to do it. So I googled “sauteing without oil” and came across a video by a WFPB chef demonstrating how to saute without oil. I watched this video over and over. I would add a link but I don’t remember his name (google and lots will pop up). Anyways, the video chef suggested to keep a cup of water or veggie broth next to the skillet when sauteing and spoon the liquid in teaspoons at a time. Too much liquid boils the food, just a little bit will help with the sauteing! So I practiced…and I actually got better at it. I discovered that as the onion or garlic are sauteing, the little of splashes of liquid actually pick up the yummy stuff that is sticking to the skillet which not only adds flavor but also adds color to the veggies!

Another part to sauteing without oil is the skillet itself. It was suggested in the video to get stainless steel of some quality so that the pan holds the heat and distributes it evenly. Since all I was using was old cookware from 10 years ago, I bought an All Clad stainless steel 12 inch skillet from (link below). I liked using it but I found that I had to scrub to keep it clean.

After a while, I realized that I liked non-stick surfaces better. Then I went on the hunt for a new non-stick skillet. I was learning in my research that what a skillet is made of matters. It was suggested that it can affect the taste of the food among other things. So I found another skillet on whose non-stick coating is free of certain chemicals and had high ratings (link below). It has a ceramic non-stick coating and I love it!! It makes sauteing without oil very doable and the food tastes great. Also, washing it is very easy. It is the first skillet that I have owned that claims to be non-stick and really is!!

I do need to expand a bit on the “tasting great” part. When first transitioning I was looking for the same texture and flavor…as say….sauteing veggies in oil or even animal fat (ex: bacon grease). Well, it didn’t have that same crunch texture or taste but I have learned taste buds  do change. What seemed unacceptable becomes acceptable. The chef in the video that I watched came close to that level of taste and texture (or so it seemed) but I was/am a novice at cooking so I am learning “taste great” is relative!! I have decided if I am going to eat in a way that promotes good health then I must change my attitude along with my taste buds.

As far as frying foods, as in “floating in oil” fried, I had stopped doing that years ago except for once in a great while. About a year ago I did fry up some tofu but I found it too greasy and again, my tastes had changed. It just didn’t taste as great as I remembered. I am still looking for a way to bake tofu to get that same type crunch texture and flavor. I will post when I find it!

Here are the links for the two skillets:

This is the stainless steel All Clad skillet that I bought in May 2015:

The non-stick pan I bought in November 2015:

Part 2 will be about baking without oil and part 3 will discuss eating out.