Anyone who knows me knows that I love oil. I’ll apply it to my face, scalp, and body. I’ll drop it into my eyes, ears and nostrils. I’ll even gargle with it – because according to Ayurveda, this done with sesame oil both strengthens the gums and cleanses the tongue.
But most importantly, I love preparing meals with a healthy dose of organic oil. I don’t think there are many things better than steamed brown rice with mung beans and veggies, drizzled with nutty olive oil, or Asian greens roasted with sliced almonds and toasted sesame oil.
So, you’d probably guess how excited I am to break away from my olive, canola, sesame habits and discover a couple new oils to add to my kitchen! I’m excited about them, not only because they are packed with nutrition for healthier skin but also because they have some interesting, practical characteristics.
Rice Bran Oil: I found Rice Bran oil first at a conference Pure + Simple was presenting at for the Holistic Nutritionists of Ontario. One of my favorite parts of working trade shows and conferences is the fact I get to check out other booths and get inspired of what new healthy products I can try out and test. Well, the sales people promoting Heloi Rice Bran Oil were on their A game – because they almost evangelically explained how this oil reduces LDL (bad cholesterol), possessed Vitamin E (due to its Tocotrienol Content) and Gamma Orzyanol (the component which works on our cholesterol without disrupting out levels of HDL (good cholesterol)). Both Tocotrienol and Gamma Oryanol are anti-oxidants, and rice bran oil also contains others such as squalene, polyphenol, and Tocopherol, making it excellent for the vitality of our skin.
But what I really appreciated was that it had a high smoking temperature meaning it could be used easily in cooking. Apparently it is an ideal oil for frying. So many oils are not supposed to be heated; and it is said that cooking with them can damage the oils. And there is so much conflicting information on which oils are and are not okay to cook with. I try to only use oil to garnish, but sometimes I do want to roast or pan fry things. I mean who doesn’t love caramelized onions? So, this find was a major score.
And when I began to use it, I really liked the fact that it does not have a strong taste…actually it had almost no taste. Unlike olive oil, it won’t over-power dishes and simply acts a vehicle to cooking. I haven’t baked with it yet, but I think it’ll be perfect because its so neutral (I’ve baked with olive oil, and all I can say is olive oil-tasting cookies are not really a treat).
Lastly, Rice Bran Oil is cheap. The bargain hunter in me cheers hooray, because when some oils which have caught my eye are run up to $50 (I’ve only been mildly flirting with the pine nut oil at Whole Foods), it was only about $8 for a big 500ml bottle.
Chia Seed Oil: Chia seed oil is very comparable to flax seed oil, and has been marketed as a replacement for it. I absolutely love flax seed oil. I like the taste (unlike many people), and I think a tablespoon of this vibrant yellow oil brings alive any salad. Some of you may even have read my post in which I describe how effective flax seed oil is on eczema and skin dehydration. Well, Chia Seed oil is also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost the moisture of our skin. It also provides an abundance of minerals – zinc, calcium and manganese to name a few.
But where chia seed oil wins over flax seed oil, is its life span. While I usually throw out flax seed oil after month or two, I was told that chia seed oil can keep for up to eight months in the fridge! This is fantastic, because so often I have to throw out flax seed oil half full due to rancidity. And as I am trying to cut down on my food waste (good for the planet and the pocket book), buying ingredients which are both natural and have an ample shelf life helps a lot. Healthy, beautifying and good for conservation? Chia seed oil is a triple threat.