Ode to olive oil

I think we’ve all heard that olive oil is good for us – mainly linked to the high proportions of monosaturated fats found in this oil. It is claimed to have anti-inflamatory benefits , cardiovascular benefits (thanks to the antioxidant protection for our blood vessels), digestive heath benefits , bone health benefits, cognitive benefits and anti-cancer benefits(thanks to it’s polyphenols).

The funny thing is that even after hearing about all the exalted health benefits of olive oil – I was still wary of using over a teaspoon for the longest of time. I think the attitude was so deeply ingrained in me that oil= greasy, fatty, yucky that I was afraid of trying it. I would add it to stir fries, roast with it and add it to salads – but always in such miniscule amounts that the flavour was totally lost.

But I can honestly say since going on this vacation I’ve had a change of heart. One of my friends is Italian and also an amazing cook. She does 99% of all the cooking in this house which is a good thing, because everything she makes is finger licking good. But if you know anything about Italians it is that olive oil is definitely on their top 10 favorite ingredients to work with, and they don’t belive on skimping on it either.

First day Β I was here she decided to make hummus. Since she doesn’t like tahini , she subbstituted it for olive oil. As I watched her tip the olive oil bottle I felt a familiar wave of apprehention – how much was she going to put in there? Β Let me tell you, it was more then just a glug – she kept pouring. Then she processed a little and added some more. And with each tip of the bottle I felt a little more uneasy.

Then dinner was served – we all sat down and I aprehensivly took a small serving of hummus. After the first mouthfull I was in heaven. I went back for seconds and have been eating it since then like it’s my job. Calories shmalories – this stuff was good!

Since then I’ve tried lots of olive oil goodies – my favorites of which have been:

Sage and olive oil roasted squash

 

Sun dried tomatoes in olive oil:

 

Squash rissoto cooked in olive oil and wine:

Pesto pasta:

And the classicΒ : Fresh garden tomatoes drizzeled in olive oil with balsamic vinegar, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese:

I’m slowly regaining the mentality that taste >calories and that it’s not worth to skimp on certain ingredients in the name of “lower fat” options. Yes, this is a habit that’s been ingrained in my mind for many years, but trying amazing food like this has made me quiestion this mentality and really encouraged me to start working on it.

You know – sometimes it pays to have someone push you out of your comfort zone, because they might force you to try somethink you never have before. And who knows – you might not just like it, but love it all the way.

What’s your favorite way to use olive oil?

What ingredient or food were you aprhensive about using before, but that is a regular staple in your diet now?

 

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8 comments

  1. I used to be very apprehensive when it comes to baked goods, butter and olive oil. Now I can’t picture life without the three πŸ™‚ It’s fascinating how our mind can play tricks with us.. I’m glad to read you’re learning yourself to add nutritious full fat items instead of fearfully choosing a low fat option. That’s huge! πŸ˜€ Have a lovely day! Leanne

  2. It’s kind of odd but I’ll ingest calories and/or fat from nuts, seeds, avocado or olives and have no problem but the same quantity of fat/calories from oils makes me a bit uneasy. I guess as long as I’m eating something, there isn’t a problem huh? I suppose it’s the whole nature of olive oil just being the leftover product after pressing the hell out of the whole olive. Oh well, it’s all still good.

    I used to be on edge about using coconut in my diet but now when I have some on hand it doesn’t really bother me. Plus it’s too good to pass up because of it’s nutritional profile. πŸ˜›

  3. I still don’t know how I feel about olive oil, and oils in general. In my opinion it doesn’t add much flavor but I have not had an Italian cook for me. I am more comfortable with avocado, coconut, and nuts but if I eat too many nuts, my stomach won’t like it. I used to be really apprehensive about eating any food made with refined flours and sugar (any sugar). I remember the first time I had white bread in over a year. It was so delicious. I’m comfortable eating moderate amounts of less refined sugars now, like agave and maple syrup and raw cane sugar but my body is sensitive to sugar so I still have to be careful. I have a really hard time distinguishing between foods that are actually bad for me and I have a physical reaction to eating versus foods that my eating disorder tells me are off-limits. Sometimes they are the same.

  4. Oh! I am so proud of you for this. I agree completely with the fear of olive oil. My Spanish relatives are the exact same way as your Italian friends. They pour (I swear cups) full of olive oil on EVERYTHING and eating their food always makes me apprehensive. But it is so yummy and I agree 100% with taste being much nicer than calories any day. Sometimes, I wish we could just enjoy the taste without overanalyzing the foods. One day ❀ We are getting closer, though!

  5. Again,I am so proud of you! It’s true,fats make everything taste better,even though olive oil has a pretty distinct flavor in my eyes I don’t like that much. I’m all about nuts and coconut-thingies though,I add them to EVERYTHING,really! πŸ™‚

  6. I’m Italian therefore I LOVE olive oil too (we put it pretty much on anything!!)
    My favourite way? Simply on freshly baked bread with some garlic, tomatoes and basil leaves…The famous “bruschetta”!

    I am sooo glad I have found your blog. I have been struggling with eating disorders and depression in the past, so I can relate. I write on a blog too.
    I will mention your blog in one of my posts soon, as it’s such a good inspiration!
    Hope you don’t mind xxx

    • Hi, thanks for popping by and comenting on my blog. Happy you like it!
      I’ve never actually tried bruschetta, but I love mixing equal parts balsamic vinegar with olive oil and eating that with fresh bagette – yummy!!


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