Hopefully by now, if you have been diagnosed with a fatty liver, you have learned one of the most important rules of fighting back: cooking your own food. I’ve talked a lot about this in the article I’ve linked to, but the biggest Pro here is that you control what ingredients are used. Which means that you can greatly reduce (or completely eliminate) the use of oil when cooking, therefore reducing the amount of unhealthy fat your body receives. But can you go oil free for your fatty liver?
The problem today is that all foods are cooked using more or less oil. Everything that we eat in a restaurant, all recipes in the cookbooks or wherever, EVERYTHING requires you to use oil. The foods taste better, they make you feel full faster and so on. But is it really impossible to eat foods cooked without using oil? Do these foods really taste horrible?
My answer is no, and it’s based on my own experience. Ever since being diagnosed with a fatty liver, I have reduced my oil consumption by probably 90%. I never add any oil to anything that I cook, and I only add a few drops of oil on salads. Do foods still taste good? Actually, most of them taste the same. The only difference that is felt is when switching from frying to boiling – and that’s indeed a pretty big difference in taste, but not something that turns your favorite food into something you hate.
But first… why should you stop using oil (or reduce its use drastically) if you have a fatty liver?
Well, it’s pretty much common sense: you have an excess of fat in your body, and adding extra fat doesn’t help. Oil is pure fat and even though there are oils that are healthier than others (I am only using extra virgin Olive Oil, for example), it’s still fat that we’re talking to and nothing in excess is healthy when it comes to a fatty liver.
How much fat should you ideally consume per day?
The golden rule of thumb is that a healthy human being should ideally consume about 20 to 30 percent of the daily calories intake as fat. One gram of fat represents 9 calories, so if you want to find your required number, simply divide the 20% by 9. For the classic 2,000 calories diet, this means that one should ideally consume anything between 44 to 66 grams of fat per day. And since you’re already having fat-related problems, I would really suggest sticking to the low end.
Also, it’s extremely important that the fats that you still keep in your diet are healthy ones. Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat (or simply, unsaturated fats) are the healthy fats and should represent the highest intake of fats. Saturated fats are worse and they should always be kept to a minimum. Trans fats are the most dangerous and they should be completely taken out of your diet.
Now, 44 grams of fat per day shouldn’t sound scary – but as strange as that sounds, it’s extremely easy to consume a lot more. Having in mind that one tablespoon of olive oil weights about 14 grams (and it’s all fat), while a regular glass of 3% fat milk gives us 7.5 grams of fat – I guess it’s pretty easy to see that the limit can be easily reached.
And this is why you should reduce cooking foods using oil – because we are normally using too much and feeding our body with unnecessary fat. Extra fat that harms our body!
Going “oil free” when it comes to cooking doesn’t mean that you should completely stop consuming fat. Fat is still required for our body’s health, but it’s that excess fat, unhealthy fat that you need to completely remove. I always add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to my salads (and I eat one daily), plus the fat that I get from milk and yogurt and nuts and seeds – probably getting really close to that minimum required. I might still be a bit under, but my body has enough fat reserves not to worry about this for a few years.
Is oil free cooked food that horrible?
Honestly, it’s not. I have not added any fat to anything that I have cooked in the past three months and boiled or steamed all the ingredients when creating more complex dishes, and the taste is mostly the same. None of the soups and broths that I made ever required extra oil (and if I use meat, I make sure it’s skinned and lean) and they are just as delicious. And everything else tastes just as great – just give it a try for a few days and you will see what I’m talking about.
You will actually get to see for yourself – after the first one, maybe one and a half months of drastically reducing the amount of oil you consume – that we do use too much oil when cooking. Ever since starting to follow my fatty liver diet almost three months ago, after the first month I rewarded myself with a pizza. I usually ate one without a problem, but now I found everything way too oily and groos that I could eat half. The taste was good and I enjoyed it, but I simply felt that everything’s way too oily. Also, I was forced to eat out once after the pizza event and even though I tried to pick the healthiest sounding dish which was not a salad, I still found it way too oily. You will get there yourself and you will see that we’re not doing any good simply by adding extra oil just because. It’s actually part of what’s making us sick!
How to cook without oil or with as little oil as possible?
Basically, simply removing the oil from any recipe you prepare would be all that you need to do. If you don’t feel completely comfortable about this, go for this approach: reduce the quantity of oil used by half for one week, then reduce it again by half for one more week. Afterwards, try cooking oil free and you will see it’s actually easy.
Also, if you want some extra ideas of healthy foods to cook for your fatty liver, this cookbook has a lot of oil free recipes that you can try out. It’s a general, vegetarian cook book and not one created specifically for those suffering from a fatty liver, but most of them are really safe and delicious. Just make sure you pick the oil free ones and enjoy them!