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Nichlas Brandon

I'm VegByte's co-creator and website techie, passionate about holistic wellness, creative movement, and whole-foods nutrition. Best of all, my altruistic side loves sharing with you.

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  1. I am a 74 year old female and planning to embark on a totally plant-based vegan diet. First of all, am I too old to make this drastic change? Secondly, the recipe for Eggplant Tomato Stew sounds delicious, but it mentions that it includes oil. I didn’t think oil was allowed on a plant-based diet. Thanks in advance for answering my questions.

    • Hello Marilyn!

      Thank you for reaching out. Let’s go over your questions.

      Age-wise, there’s no upper ceiling beyond which you can’t or shouldn’t transition toward plant-based nutrition intake.

      What’s most important, is that you do it at a pace you’re comfortable with and that gives you breathing-room to learn about the nutritional aspects so you’re best prepared for a “full switch”.

      Regarding oil, this is a fairly divided topic.

      If, for example, you’re in T. Colin Campbell’s “Whole Food, Plant-Based” diet camp, oil is to be avoided as far as is possible. (See their diet guide here: https://nutritionstudies.org/whole-food-plant-based-diet-guide/)

      This approach is echoed by most of the popular plant-based nutrition doctors (Caldwell Esselstyn, Joel Fuhrman, Michael Greger, Michael Klaper, et al).

      However, these professionals are also fairly occupied attempting to help people suffering from severe health complications, or weight challenges, where a no-oil, low-fat approach may be a critical step.

      A universal omission of oils from the diet for all people, including relatively much healthier individuals, may not be necessary or possibly even a smart recommendation to make.

      But when you do use oils, the key is to make smart choices. Here are three things to bear in mind:

      1- Avoid Heating Oil

      Whichever oil you choose, try to avoid using it for cooking purposes. If you must use an oil for cooking, choose an oil with a high smoke point (such as avocado oil, 520°F; coconut oil, 350°F; macadamia nut oil, 390-410°F; red palm oil, 300-450°F).

      2- Choose Better Oils

      Generally, you should avoid low-quality and refined vegetable, seed and bean oils (e.g. canola oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, rapeseed oil, safflower oil, and soybean oil).

      Also, except for coconut oil, avoid oils contained in clear bottles. Choose oils in dark/amber bottles.

      Better oil options include avocado, coconut, hempseed, macadamia, and carefully sourced cold pressed olive oils with sediment at the bottom of bottle.

      3- Avoid Adding Oils to Carbohydrates that Spike Insulin

      Due to a known metabolic process called the “Randle cycle,” we’re able to understand that it’s not a good idea to combine a lot of fats with carbs that’ll spike insulin (see this article: https://siimland.com/randle-cycle-explained-why-you-shouldnt-combine-fats-and-carbs-together/).

      It’s for this reason that many popular diets either recommend a low-fat, high-carb approach OR a high-fat, low-carb approach.

      Preferably, you should avoid consistently adding oil or other fats to foods like potatoes and refined grain products such as white rice, bread and pasta.

      Hope that helps!

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