Every country has its oil, their own good fats for cooking.
What olive oil is to the Mediterranean is what coconut oil is to South East Asians.
What coconut oil is to South East Asians is what butter is to the French and to the Irish.
What butter is to the French and to the Irish is what Ghee is to the Indians and Pakistanis.
What ghee is to the Indians and to the Pakistanis is what cod liver oil is to the Scandinavians.
The very countries that have been skeptical of the vegetable oils derived from soy, corn, cottonseed and canola, have been the countries that have stayed the healthiest.
I recently gave a presentation about traditional cooking fats and mentioned the benefits of coconut oil. Here’s an e-mail I received from a very passionate attendee named Abraham:
We used to find some use for the coconut tree and its products for one thing or the other. Where I come from, Kerala, Southern India, we use grated coconut, small evenly sized coconut slices or coconut milk in everything we cook, be it fish, meat or vegetables. We are rice eaters, we eat par boiled rice, we put grated coconuts even in a rice meal. The Ayurvedic doctors, not the MBBS(Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) ones, encourage expectant mothers to have a glass of coconut milk every day. This is a centuries old practice.
The MBBS ones have a lot of clout these days and I think the practice of drinking coconut milk is dying. They began saying coconut was not good for you, it would give you cholesterol related problems, instead use corn oil, we were told. The coconut in our food, we never changed our ways and it has turned out that we were doing the right thing all along.
If we actually ate the way our ancestors ate, we wouldn’t suffer from the diseases that are so frequent today. Since we’ve become such a globalized world exposed to so many different varieties of food, when I use the term ‘ancestors’ I’m including many different ancestors of many different cultures. We’re very adaptable beings and taking and learning the best eating practices of all cultures and traditions is a pretty good strategy to not only have variety, but to also be healthy.