Why is it hard to give up oil?

Mic. the Vegan recently made an unofficial part 2 to his video “Oil: The Vegan Killer”. Let me preface this post by saying I totally agree with what he says in his video. I am just going to add here some points of my own. To understand the context of my addition, please watch his video.

Also, before I get into the response itself, I’d like to mention I’m glad he used some information in my previous post and mentioned it in his video reply to Blaire White no longer being vegan and would like to thank him for that.

One of the things he talked about near the end of his video, is why people find it hard to give up oil and seem to find reasons why it is healthy to eat oil despite the data. I will not get into the data itself, for that you are again, invited to watch Mic’s videos on the subject – part 1 and unofficial part 2.

Big stew with a big salad and no oil

I think one of the primary reasons people don’t like having their oil “taken away” is that it is so ubiquitous in restaurants and food in stores, including bread, that it ends up that if you want to avoid oil completely, you have to always cook your own food and pretty much never eat anything anyone gives or prepares for you even if it’s vegan and for lots of people that is too “extreme” and “not healthy” because of the social implications. Even if you’re used to cooking your own food, if you’re really into cooking, that destroys pretty much 99% if not 100% of the recipes you’re used to cooking and you have to restrict yourself a lot or learn an entire new world of cooking from the likes of Chef AJ.

Personally, I don’t mind restricting my diversity. I was never especially diverse in the amount of different foods I ate, whether before I was vegan for ethical reasons or before I went for mostly whole plant foods for health and figure reasons.

Also, if I am exposed to fried foods, especially if they are vegan, it can be a real psychological battle to overcome the part of me which tries to rationalize eating these foods… hence my occasional junk food binges. So most of the time, I stay a lot at home where these foods just aren’t there (because I decided to follow the science and throw them away) so I don’t have to fight cognitive dissonance all the time. I personally am happy to live a relatively solitary life, but most people aren’t living alone and finding vegan people to live with is hard enough… finding people who will avoid oil and processed food on top of that is even harder.

Funnily enough, I feel like it’s much easier to find fruitarian people than it is to find people who eat whole plant foods including cooked whole plant foods, at least in my area in Israel. Even though the fruitarian style is more restrictive, it seems to be more popular because it draws the line at a simpler place – no cooked food at all! – whereas a whole plant food diet is a more nuanced approach, requiring people to pay attention not to use oil while still cooking and when people miss those nuances they don’t get the same benefits, so going fruitarian seems to work better for them, but that’s probably just because that’s the only time they ever actually went completely whole foods based.

I mostly see vegans who eat a vegan version of the standard American diet or fruitarians, who use all sorts of pseudo science claims to back up why eating all cooked food is bad. Vegans who actually go by the science and eat plant foods, cooked or raw, as long as they are unprocessed or minimally processed, are in my subjective experience the rarest breed of vegan and considered the most “extreme”. Perhaps the best anecdotal piece of evidence I have for this, is that whenever I reject X processed food saying “no thanks, I’m a whole plant food vegan and try to avoid processed food” the response I almost always get is “ah, so you only eat raw food?”

As I said, it is more complex to explain to people that you avoid salt, oil, sugar and other processed foods but you still cook than it is to say “I just eat fruits and vegetables” and that is often what my diet is boiled down to by other people when they say “I could never eat just fruits and vegetables” no matter how many times I will repeat “and whole grains and whole legumes and nuts, seeds and mushrooms”… in their minds, it seems it’s the same thing, perhaps because most of them never cooked their own grains and never heard the word legume.

Fruits are also an essential part of a healthy diet

On a personal note, I’ve always felt after eating fried food, which used to be every day… that I have to have a big sugar rush to compensate for the fat bomb in my stomach, so I would often drink Coca Cola and/or have ice cream or chocolate cake for dessert. Ever since I’ve been cooking without oil, fruit salad for dessert is more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

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