(If you find today’s tip depressing, come to Laughter Yoga Sunday at 4pm…)
Olive oil is only healthy when…
You don’t overheat it. Once it starts smoking, it has become carcinogenic, so use a different oil (like canola) for high temperatures.
It is protected from light and air. So keep it in a cool dark place, like under your sink. Once it is rancid, it’s bad for you. If it smells rancid, throw it out.
You haven’t been duped! Several disturbing articles have reported scandals and claim up to 80% of imported oils contain cheap filler products. See the August 13th, 2007 New Yorker article “Slippery Business” if you want to be informed (and really bummed out) about what may actually be in your fancy imported bottle. The only way to protect yourself–so they say–is to learn the taste of real pure olive oil. But how do you know when you’ve got it?! There is no sure way, but I use the Caltech olive oil as my “teaching oil” for my taste buds. Caltech picks the olives on campus, presses and bottles them nearby, and has no profit motive to scam us. That’s my reasoning for trusting them. You can buy it at the Caltech book store on campus.
You watch the quantity. Remember that every tablespoon is 120 calories.
If you want to go even healthier, don’t forget you can always choose actual olives! Put them in salads, or anywhere you’d use the oil for flavoring. There are 5-12 calories per olive, depending on size, so you can eat a bunch for the calories in one tablespoon of oil. The oil in the olives stays fresh and protected from light because of the antioxidants in the olive. Just remember they are salty, so you don’t need to add extra salt to your dish.
Have a good week!