Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil

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There’s a lot of confusion out there about cooking oils. In recent years, we were encouraged to use vegetable oils, with canola oil at the top of the list, since they are high in unsaturated fats and low in the saturated ones.

However, saturated fat content doesn’t tell the whole nutrition story. And, in fact, canola oil is NOT the best oil to use for several reasons. Want to get the scoop on why this oil may be causing you health issues?

Read on for the concerns about this popular oil and discover healthy substitutes for canola oil.

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil title meme

What is Canola Oil?

This neutral tasting oil comes from crushing the seeds of the canola plant.

The canola plant, however, originated as the rapeseed plant. That plant contains toxic compounds, making it unsafe for consumption. Canadian scientists learned to remove those toxic compounds through the targeted cross breeding of plants and came up with the canola plant, so named for Canada – can, and oil – ola. Most canola crops are also genetically modified (GMO). GMO products can create inflammation in the body.

Extracting oil from the canola plant is a long process that includes using chemical solvents such as hexane or a combination of chloroform and methanol. That extraction step removes most polyphenols, a healthy compound that promotes longevity.

The high heat used during the process can also affect the stability of the oil’s molecules, turning it rancid and destroying the omega-3s. The addition of synthetic antioxidants increases shelf life.

Canola oil may also contain small amounts of trans fats, which can lead to harmful effects on health.

How Canola Oil Can Impact Health

Canola oil can impact health in negative ways.

Those synthetic antioxidants, which include BHA, BHT and TBHQ, when consumed over time are toxic and carcinogenic.

Canola oil contains a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory, while consuming too much omega-6 contributes to inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Canola oil’s ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 2:1, adding to the overconsumption of omega-6s that’s common in the typical American diet. Most in the US consume these two fatty acids in a 20:1 ratio.

The spike in inflammation that canola oil can cause contributes to many chronic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and colitis.

Recent studies show that canola oil can cause impairment in cognitive function and memory. Plus it can worsen hypertensions and damage blood vessel function, especially when the oil is combined with salt when frying foods.

Beware of studies and reports claiming canola oil is a healthy oil to use. Most of those are funded by the Canada and US Canola Associations. There are better oils to use.

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil

Try one of these oils, if using oil is a part of your diet.

Sesame Oil

Use sesame oil to sauté veggies or add to marinades and dressings. It comes from sesame seeds and is one of the earliest known crop based oils.

Health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, boosts heart health and protects skin from sun damage.

Avocado Oil

Made from the pulp of the avocado, this oil is rich in oleic acid, a healthy omega-9 fatty acid. Use avocado oil as a high heat cooking and frying option and in baking.

Benefits include reduces cholesterol and improves heart health, supports eye health, enhances the absorption of nutrients and reduces symptoms of arthritis.

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil avocado
Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil – avocado oil

Peanut Oil

Made from peanuts, this oil is ideal for cooking at high temperatures. It’s high in unsaturated fats, antioxidants and phytosterols, a plant compound that blocks the absorption of cholesterol from foods.

Highly refined peanut oil is free from the allergen that causes a reaction. However, if you have a peanut allergy, do not use cold-pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil. Always ask your health care provider for guidance.

Health benefits include lowers bad cholesterol, reduces risks for heart disease and strokes and maintains immune system and metabolism.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil comes from the coconut palm fruit. It’s a white solid fat that melts easily at room temperature, turning into a clear liquid. Use for frying, baking and DIY skincare and haircare recipes.

Coconut oil contains rich fatty acids and antioxidants.

Health benefits include fights against Alzheimer’s, reduces risks for heart disease, boosts liver health and energy and aids digestion.

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil coconut
Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil – coconut oil

Flaxseed Oil

This oil is made from ground flax seeds. Use for cooking, dressings, sauces and frying and also as an ingredient in DIY skincare recipes. Flaxseed oil is high in omega-3s.

Benefits include reduces inflammation, improves heart and skin health, lowers blood pressure and may help reduce cancer cell growth.

Pumpkin Seed Oil

Also called pepita oil, this rust colored oil is extracted from pumpkin seeds. It’s versatile as a cooking oil and also as a supplement. And it’s rich in nutrients, fatty acids and phytoserols.

Health benefits include lowers cholesterol, eases symptoms of an enlarged prostate, lowers high blood pressure, eases menopausal symptoms and improves urinary tract health.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This well known oil comes from olives. Use it for cooking, frying, baking and salad dressings.

Look for cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil as it is the least processed and often considered the healthiest oil to use. It contains heart healthy fats and antioxidants and possesses a rich flavor.

Health benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, supports heart health, promotes longevity, helps manage blood clotting, lowers blood pressure, lowers the risk of cancer and reduces the risk of dementia and cognitive decline.

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil olive
Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil – olive oil

Which Oil Do You Use?

If you prefer not to use oils, you can substitute applesauce or mashed bananas in baking recipes. Use a small amount of water or vegetable broth when sautéing.

I’ve lightly used olive oil, since going plant based. However, since embracing the Blue Zones lifestyle, I use more than I used to, and love it. Look for the best quality cold pressed olive oil, for the most health benefits.

Do you use oils? Which is your favorite to use?

Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil peanut
Healthy Substitutes for Canola Oil – peanuts for peanut oil


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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.


For Longevity Eat Foods High in Polythenols

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As I fully embrace the Blue Zones lifestyle, I’m learning more about the foods and activities that contribute to a longer, healthier, higher quality life. There are reasons people living in the Blue Zones eat the way they do. Today, learn more about a group of foods that are rich in natural compounds and antioxidants, that help counter the effects of aging.

For longevity eat foods high in polythenols.

Eat Foods High in Polythenols title meme

What are Polythenols?

Health boosting polythenols are found in certain fruits, vegetables and plant based foods such as grains. These powerful compounds are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that improve cognitive function and bolster the immune system.

Additionally, polythenols fight free radicals, UV radiation and pathogens while providing antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is essential to eat foods high in polythenols to protect the brain and heart and the immune and digestive systems.

More than 8,000 polythenols exist. And they are divided into four categories: flavonoids, stilbenes, lignans and phenolic acids. It’s the polythenols in plants that provide their colors. As we eat for longevity, consuming a variety of colorful foods ensures we are getting the polythenols we need. Those foods also offer essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Foods that are High in Polythenols

Add as many of these foods as possible to your diet, to boost longevity. Incorporate them into daily meals when planning for the week.


Apples symbolize health, don’t they? Remember the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? There is a reason for their association with health. Apples, and especially red skinned apples, supply all four categories of polythenols plus vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.

Apples play a crucial role in fighting inflammation of all kinds. They calm the systems of the body by reducing viral and bacterial loads that inflame the body. Plus apples feed the neurons of the brain and increase electrical activity while strengthening and cleansing the digestive system.

Be sure you eat the skins of the apples, as that’s where the strongest flavonoids are. Eat sliced apples for a snack or add chopped apples to salads and oatmeal.

Tea and Coffee

Drinking a cup of coffee or tea each day is great for health. Both are excellent sources of the polythenol phenolic acid. And green tea contains flavonoids as well. To avoid caffeine, try a cup of green or herbal tea in the afternoons. That soothing anti-inflammatory drink strengthens the cardiovascular system while supporting brain health.

Check out these 10 herbal teas that boost health.

Eat Foods High in Polythenols tea
Eat foods high in polythenols – green tea

Spices and Herbs

Spices and herbs are some of the best sources of polythenols. Aromatic herbs such as rosemary, sage, cilantro, thyme and peppermint top the list along with turmeric, black pepper and ginger.

The antioxidants in spices and herbs reduce free radical damage in the body, a primary cause of aging. Anti-inflammatory properties fight chronic disease.

Rather than seasoning foods with salt, try including more herbs and spices for flavor and their longevity inducing benefits. Or use herbs to make teas or tinctures.


Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and elderberries all provide anthocyanins, a form of flavonoids. These compounds protect the body from oxidative stress, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Berries also help keep a woman’s reproductive system in balance.

Enjoy berries in smoothies, oatmeal, chia pudding or alone as a healthy snack.

Eat Foods High in Polythenols berries
Eat foods high in polythenols – berries

Olives and Olive Oil

Olives and olive oils are foundational to the Mediterranean diet and those who live in Blue Zones. Black olives provide more polythenols than green olives, however both rank high on the list.

Look for extra virgin, cold pressed, organic olive oils for the best health benefits. And enjoy black or green olives alone or in salads and pasta dishes.


Nuts such as walnuts, almonds and cashews rank high as nutrient dense foods. They also provide healthy fats, vitamin E and polyphenols.

Walnuts contain more ALA, an anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid, than any of the other nuts. They also provide antioxidants, 4 grams of protein per serving, fiber and 11% of the daily magnesium requirement.

Enjoy a couple of handfuls of nuts daily. Eat as a snack or add to oatmeal, homemade granola that includes dark chocolate, salads and grain and veggie bowls.

Eat Foods High in Polythenols nuts
Eat foods high in polythenols – nuts

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder rank high as polyphenol rich foods. They contain flavonoids that provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.

Look for dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao for the most benefits. Add a spoonful of cocoa powder to smoothies or make a cup of hot chocolate using plant based milk. Here’s a great recipe for vegan hot chocolate.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are an excellent source of lignans, a form of polythenols. Grains such as oats, quinoa and brown rice also provide protein, fiber, B vitamins and essentials minerals like magnesium. Plus quinoa provides all nine essential amino acids that the body needs

Pair grains with veggies for a hearty bowl. Add berries and walnuts to cooked oats. Make a brown rice and black olive salad.

Eat Foods HIgh in Polythenols grains
Eat foods high in polythenols – whole grains

Flax Seeds

These tiny seeds are an excellent source omega-3s and also polyphenols. This lignan, found in legumes and whole grains, protect against heart disease, breast cancer and osteoporosis.

Add flax seeds to smoothies, oatmeal bowls, salads and homemade granola. They make a great egg substitute in baking, as well.

Red Wine

Although it’s important to consume alcohol in moderation, red wine is known for its health benefits. Red wine’s resveratol, in the stilbenes category of polyphenols, provides antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Red wine can even protect against tumors and cancer, landing it on the longevity list.

Cannonau, a red wine from the Blue Zone area of Sardinia, offers up to three times the polythenols of other reds.

Red Onions

The red onion is particularly high in polythenols, in the form of flavonoids. Red onions offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as quercetin. This flavonoid fights cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders and helps rid the body of bacteria.

Use red onions in guacamole, salads, cooked meals such as veggie bowls and grain bowls and in homemade vegetable broth.

Eat Foods High in Polythenols red onion
Eat foods high in polythenols – red onions

Include Polythenol Rich Foods in Meals

Make a game of including more polythenol rich foods in your diet this week.

  • Start the day with a bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries and strawberries, flax seeds and walnuts.
  • Create a lunch salad made from quinoa, red onion, green olives, fresh herbs and chopped veggies and legumes.
  • Enjoy afternoon tea with a cup of hot green tea and a snack of walnuts and chopped apples.
  • Season your recipes with more herbs and spices.
  • Cook with olive oil, creating an evening meal bowl with brown rice, sautéed veggies, chickpeas and red onion.
  • End the day with a glass of red wine and a couple of squares of dark chocolate.

How many of these health boosting, life extending foods can you add to your meals this week? Let me know how you do!

And check out the Blue Zones website, for more information about that lifestyle. Ready to start the four week Blue Zones Challenge? Week One is HERE.

Eat Foods High in Polythenols wine


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52 Ways to Walk

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Greg recently brought home a book from our local library, because he thought it might interest me. And does it ever interest me!

The book, 52 Ways to Walk by Annabel Streets, carries the subtitle “The surprising science of walking for wellness and joy, one week at a time.” I appreciate the “wellness and joy” aspects of the book. And, I absolutely love the format. My imagination immediately fired up as I read through the book.

I’m excited to put this book into practice. And I’m equally excited to share the book with you.

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Meet the Author, Annabel Streets

Annabel grew up in a carless family. Her father never learned to drive and her mother failed her driving test seven times. The family lived in remote places without access to public transportation, so if they needed something, they walked to obtain it.

As a young adult, Annabel bought her first car and enjoyed driving it around her little town. She also accepted a desk job. Soon she noticed changes in her body and wellness level.

Her body grew rounder, softer, achier, stiffer and more stooped. And Annabel felt more anxious, unsettled and discontent. She chose to reconnect with the simple joys of walking, to reclaim her health and wellbeing.

As she returned to walking frequently, she made two rules for herself: walk instead of using the car, unless absolutely necessary and convert as many sedentary activities as possible into walking activities.

52 Ways to Walk was born out of Annabel’s reconnection with walking and the desire to encourage others to rethink walking and reclaim it from their molecular memories.

52 Ways to Walk cold
52 Ways to Walk – Week 1 Walk in the Cold

How to Use the Book

Each chapter in the book is an opportunity to discover a new way of walking. The chapters roughly coincide with annual weather conditions, colder at the beginning and end of the year, and some universally recognized events.

However, the chapters and modes of walking can also be accessed randomly, choosing a chapter here and the next week, flipping to another section of the book.

To best use the book, whether chronologically or randomly, first skim through the chapters and prepare for the variety of walks. During cold or rainy weather, have coats, scarves, umbrellas and proper footwear available. Download map apps and online sites for walking in new areas.

Walking shoes and boots should fit properly. Purchase new ones if they don’t. Quick drying, breathable socks are a must as well. A stout walking stick is helpful for walking in nature. And keep a backpack ready to go with bandaids, snacks, water, sunscreen, wipes, antiseptic, insect repellent and pain relievers.

Pick a week to start, choose your first walk and head out the door!

52 Ways to Walk lost
52 Ways to Walk – Week 41 Walk to Get Lost

Examples from 52 Ways to Walk

Each short chapter includes the type of walk to go on, the benefits from the activity and the science to back the reasoning. At the end of each chapter is a TIPS section with ways to get the most from the walk.

Here is a sampling of walks found in the book.

Walk, Smile, Greet, Repeat

Walking allows us to experience chance encounters with others. Greeting the people we meet with a smile while walking in a neighborhood makes us feel better and return home happier.

Walk in the Rain

Rather than using a rainy day as an excuse to stay home, this week’s activity encourages us to walk in the rain and reconnect with the elements. The falling rain, increased moisture and persistent pounding of raindrops causes specific compounds to be released and combined with the air we breathe. Inhaling those compounds produces a profound sense of well being in the body.

52 Ways to Walk rain
52 Ways to Walk – Week 12 Walk in the Rain

Take a Silent Stroll

A decade ago, scientists discovered that loud noises stopped new neurons from forming in the brain, in the regions linked to memory and learning. Two hours of silence every day produced new neurons. Walking in a quiet place allows the body to reset and the brain to create new neurons.

Amble Amid Trees

in the 1960s biologists realized that the bluish haze often seen over landscapes is a vast cloud of molecules and gases produced by trees and plants. Those emissions benefit earth’s atmosphere. Now we are discovering that they deliver positive benefits to us as well, when we walk in the woods. Health benefits include reduced risks for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, early death, high blood pressure and stress.

52 Ways to Walk woods
52 Ways to Walk – Week 19 Amble Amid Trees

Walk with Your Nose

Our sense of smell is the most primitive of the senses. To fully activate that sense and awaken the other senses, walk in an area rich in aromatic plant life. Walk slowly, occasionally closing the eyes and placing hands over the ears and be guided by the nose.

Follow a River

Landscapes with running water have a restorative effect on the mood of the walker. The mind unwinds and the brain relaxes, helping us to feel tranquil and energized at the same time. Tote along lightweight binoculars for watching wildlife along the river and wear sunglasses to protect eyes from glare off of the water.

52 Ways to Walk river
52 Ways to Walk – Week 17 Follow a River

How I Intend to Use the Book

Since the copy I am currently reading came from the library, I’m ordering my own copy from Amazon.

I love the easy to use format and the mix of tips, stories, science and fun in each chapter. Walking as an exercise is important to me. The health benefits are many plus it is a recommended activity for the Blue Zones lifestyle.

What I appreciate also about the book is the ability to keep the walks interesting by playing a random game. One of the primary reasons people don’t continue a walking practice is boredom. And I get it. Walking the same route the same way becomes more of a mindless activity. I love that 52 Ways to Walk offers a fresh walking activity every week.

My intention is to write out each week’s walk on a slip of paper, fold those 52 slips up and drop them into a container. Each week I’ll draw out a different walk to experience. If the walk doesn’t match the weather or requires something I’m not able to do that week, then I’ll return that slip to the container and draw out another one. This is a form of creative play that I enjoy immensely.

52 Ways to Walk dogs
52 Ways to Walk – Week 18 Walk with a Dog

Pick Up Your Copy of 52 Ways to Walk

Is walking an important form of exercise and relaxation for you? Then you would enjoy this book as well. The activities are so varied and the information in each chapter is well presented and motivational.

I appreciate that the book contains a full year of weekly walks. And it inspires me to create other interesting walks as well.

Pick up your copy of 52 Ways to Walk by clicking this LINK or by clicking on the photo of the book below. And watch for future posts. I’ll share occasional highlights of some of the walks.

52 Ways to Walk gait
52 Ways to Walk – Week 2 Improve Your Gait


Click photo below to order book:


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