For more information on oils visit the page. There are a lot of benefits to cooking recipes from scratch, not least because you know exactly what is going into your meals and foods.
Deep frying is NOT recommended when following the Overcoming MS (OMS) diet
Deep-frying heats food primarily by contact with hot oil (usually refined sunflower or cheap vegetable oils). Deep-frying not only increases the fat level of the cooked food but also exposes the oil to both air and high temperatures for extended periods of time. This creates harmful by-products such as trans fats. These damaged fats are not just pro-inflammatory but also directly damaging to our body’s cells, so it is best to avoid ALL deep-fried foods.
Shallow frying with oil should be avoided where possible
When we fry foods on the hob, cooker top, or stove, it is very difficult to know exactly what the temperature is. All too quickly the heat can rise to a point that is damaging or ‘oxidizing’ to the oil. This oxidation process actually changes the structure of the oil, generating toxins that can be harmful to our body’s cells. For this reason, the Overcoming MS program recommends NEVER using oil when preparing foods on the hob. Instead, sauté your foods in a little water or stock, soy sauce or white wine, or other oil-free liquids, so you can still continue to make your favourite dishes.
Alternatives to frying with oil
Pan-frying, stir-frying or sautéing food involves heating a pan‘s surface coated with oil, to temperatures well above the boiling point of water. This allows the foods’ surface to brown, it loses moisture and takes on a crisp quality. The purpose of the oil is to simply transfer heat to the food being cooked, and stop it sticking to the pan. Both these goals can be achieved by other means.
- Invest in some good, non-stick pans.
- Non-stick pans can transfer heat to the food via other fat-free liquids. For example, when cooking stir fries, use water mixed with soy sauce, oyster sauce, teriyaki sauce etc to heat the ingredients.
- If you are starting a recipe that calls for sautéing garlic and onions, then use a little water, some stock, or even some white wine to soften the vegetables before adding the rest of the ingredients.
- You can add oils such as extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil or a little sesame oil to the food once it is cooked and off the heat in order to enhance the texture, flavour and add the sweetness that a little oil can bring to a dish.
Oven baking with oil
Baking is the cooking technique used for casseroles, pies, cakes, muffins, pasta bakes, etc. It refers to the process of cooking a combination of foods in the oven. Oven baking uses hot air and heat radiation to cook food. The cooking process causes food surfaces to brown, but if temperatures are too high this can affect the integrity of the oil.
- When oils such as extra virgin olive oil are combined with other ingredients to create a dish, this prevents the oil spoiling and becoming toxic in the same way it can during frying.
- Internal temperatures are controlled from rising above boiling point by the presence of other ingredients in the dish e.g. liquids like purées in cakes, water in doughs, or stock in casseroles.
- Extra virgin olive oil is the recommended oil for baking on the Overcoming MS program.
- It is generally considered 'smoke point' (when oil becomes 'oxidised' and damanged). For extra virgin olive oil this is approximately 180C - which is most likely why the rule for keeping the oven around this temperature. In fact, the center of the oven will usually be less than that when 180C is on the dial.
- It is perfectly fine to add modest amounts of extra virgin olive oil when baking.
- Flaxseed oil which is much less stable and should NEVER be heated or used for baking.
Alternative to roasting with oil/deep frying
- Many people enjoy using an air-fryer made by companies such as Tefal, etc. This is a kitchen appliance that cooks by circulating hot air around the food. You can use an air-fryer to make crispy french fries without oil.
- You can roast vegetables in the oven by using a little stock instead of oil, and covering with baking parchment. Or try coating them with a splash of balsamic vinegar, a drizzle of honey or other toppings like soy sauce and miso. You can drizzle or spray a little extra virgin olive oil over them once they are out the oven.
- A great way to get crispy roast potatoes is by using aquafaba (the water from a tin of chickpeas) together with corn flour or semolina (see recipe).
- Be sure to use non-stick or silicone ovenware, or baking parchment where necessary to compensate for not having oil to prevent foods sticking to bakeware.
We have lots of recipes without heating oils on the website to inspire you: