When talking about a healthy diet, I do not think we should consider ketogenic diet as the dietary approach that is by no means suited for each and every one of us who wants to become or remain healthy. Everyone should be able to find out what suits them best and how they feel when they eat a particular food. Unfortunately, there’s a whole bunch of processed foods out there which do not make a lot of people feel any worse short term but should be avoided to prevent disease.
Historically, some people were lucky to have been born and raised in the Mediterranean. Whether you do or don’t know where I’m going with this, I highly recommend watching The Big Fat Fix Movie. It shows, quite nicely, how people of the particular geographical region used to thrive on high-fat lifestyle. Mediterranean diet, to be more precise. Back in the days, most of their fat intake came from olive oil and, although it’s Italy we’re talking about, they prepared and ate pizzas only on special occasions. Not to even mention sweets. They were there, and they were yummy but consumed extremely rarely comparing to our lifestyles. The Mediterranean diet has been linked to longevity, improved quality of life, and a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive decline.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The main difference between seed oils and olive oil is that the latter is a real juice that contains hundreds of non-fat components which have great biological potential: Vitamin E, carotenes, chlorophyll, and a number of phenolic compounds, to name just a few. Moreover, unlike olive oil, oils derived from seeds normally need to be refined to become appropriate for human consumption. This means that they lose a majority of their potential in the process, making them not much more than mere sources of fat.
Virgin olive oil and Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) have similar chemical composition. Olive oil, on the other hand, contains only a small percentage of virgin olive oil (5-10%) that is added to previously refined olive oil. As such, the content of micronutrients is way lower than that of virgin olive oils. Yet, still higher than those derived from seeds.
Picking olives for the EVOO
I’ve been one lucky bastard living in an area where extra virgin olive oil and extra nice red wine are produced. And I do take an advantage of this privilege. A couple of weekends ago, I got invited to olive picking. A small family-run olive plantation on the coast demanded two days of approximately 30 people working 9 – 5, with a nice lunch break in between out in the open. We picked every single olive from every single tree, being extra careful not to break any branches. As the plantation is organic, some of the trees had been attacked by this bug called olive fruit fly, and there were only a few olives among survivors on those trees.
For the oil to be organic and “extra-virgin“, the olives underwent cold pressing within 24 hours of picking. The picking itself was a great experience, although somewhat tiring. But it was definitely a nice type of tiredness.
I can hardly wait to get a hold of a bottle of self-picked, organic, extra virgin, and extra healthy olive oil! When I do, I’ll post pictures, as I’m, of course, keeping the juice.