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Number 5: Cook Only With Animal Fat or Coconut Oil


Number 5: Cook Only With Animal Fat or Coconut Oil

3 rounds for time:
15 overhead squat (95/65)
20 wallball
400m run

Number 5 – Cook only with animal fats or coconut oil.

By now it should be very clear that we love fat and hope you do too; however, it’s important to have a basic knowledge of the fat that’s out there and which fats are best for cooking.

Saturated Fats (SFAs – Saturated Fatty Acids
Very stable, high heat resistance, semi-solid or solid at room temperature
Examples include animal fat, coconut oil, butter, lard

Monosaturated Fat (MUFAs – Monosaturated Fatty Acids)
somewhat stable, some heat resistance, liquid at room temperature but are semi-solid at colder temperatures
Examples include: nuts, olives, avocados

Polyunsaturdated Fat (PUFAs – Polyunsaturdated Fatty Acids)
unstable, little to no heat resistance, liquid 
Examples include: peanutbutter, margarine, sun flower seed oil, sesame, soy, corn and sunflower-seed oils

When cooked at high temperatures (in frying pans, in the oven, on the grill) nut and seed oils are damaged by the heat and become rancid and denatured.

The most healthy and stable fats to cook with are animal fats.


Fats: Safer Choices for Your Frying Pan and Your Health

Metabolic Poisons: What’s Wrong With Partially Hydrogenated Oils

25 Responses

  1. Chris Hansen

    When I was perusing the oil choices in the health section of my local King Soopers, I noticed that almond oil had a higher heat rating than coconut oil. I thought coconut oil was a good choice for cooking because it never got hot enough to turn in to “bad” fat… – Does that mean almond oil is okay to use as well? – Also, I’m assuming that ghee is good to use as well since it’s made from butter. Is that true?

  2. Kathy

    Can you clarify what’s included in starches? all root veggies–carrots, turnips, beets, sweet potatoes, etc.? What about winter squashes? Also, what do you think of stevia? Stevia leaf is in a couple of the teas i drink. Thanks!

  3. Nicole

    Chris –

    I am not sure what to tell you on the heat rating for almond oil. Look for coconut butter (it should be in a solid state). I will look into the heat rating for almond oil. One thing to keep in mind is the delicate Omega-6 and 3s in almond oil. The oil may withstand heat but the Omega 6/3s may be damaged by the heat.

  4. Nicole

    Kathy –

    Number 6 – Eliminate Legumes and Starches, including squash. We know, squash is considered a Paleo food. We will address in the “Number 6” post (tomorrow) why squash is not included in this challenge.

    Starchy tubers
    Cassava root
    Potatoes and all potato products (French fries, potato chips, etc.)
    Sweet potatoes
    Tapioca pudding
    (note, carrots ARE allowed in the challenge)

    All beans (adzuki beans, black beans, broad beans, fava beans, field beans, garbanzo beans, horse beans, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, pinto beans, red beans, string beans, white beans)
    Black-eyed peas
    Peanut butter
    Sugar snap peas
    Soybeans and all soybean products, including tofu

  5. Olivia

    I feel like the squash question might be a broken record by now but I gotta ask..what is the verdict on zucchini? It is a “squash” but has low calories/low carbs..and therefore low starch.

    Also, if you do no nuts, that doesn’t include seeds right?

    just wanted to make sure! Thanks!

    PS @ whole foods they have this “kale avocado salad” and all it has is: kale, avocado, red onion, red pepper, a squeeze of lemon, and a dash of black pepper..(no salt..and no oil/vinegar!) its one of those few prepared food items that is legit and tastes good too!

  6. Kathy

    Nicole–thanks for the info, but i’m finding my intuition isn’t working on this one. so no winter squash, but carrots are ok? you got to spell it out for me then. what about beets, turnips, parsnips?

  7. Nicole

    Kathy and Olivia –

    I think it would help to approach this from the perspective of the WTF Challenge Rules and not the “Is it Paleo?” approach. While the rules move people toward Paleo, this is not a Paleo challenge. It’s more of a, “get your blood sugar in check so you don’t get diabetes later in life” challenge.

    With that said, for our challenge, we have decided not to allow squash (more on why in tomorrow’s post). That includes winter, summer, EVERY KIND of squash.

    We are allowing root vegetables which includes carrots and parsnips.

    Here is the list of the vegetables that are allowed:
    Beet greens
    Bell peppers
    Brussels sprouts
    Green onions
    Mustard greens
    Peppers (all kinds)
    Swiss chard
    Tomato (actually a fruit, but most people think of it as a vegetable)
    Turnip greens

  8. Nicole

    Olivia –

    Just to be clear, you can still eat seed and grain oils (olive oil) all the way through to Level 10, you just can’t cook with grain or seed oils (in Level 5 or higher).


  9. shane

    When your making your decisions on what to eat throughout the day try not to focus so much on what you CAN’T eat. There are a TON of other food choices leftover even if you’ve committed all the way to “10”.

    Remember, this is only 5 weeks and we’re not suggesting that you eat this way for the remainder of your lives, just try it for now so you can see the difference.

  10. Nicole

    Dizon –

    I think you’re asking if almond butter or macadamia nut butter would be considered the same as eating nuts? Yes. They are fine to eat (as long as you’re not on Level 10) just make sure there isn’t any added sugar!

  11. Chris D

    Nope….. I meant a Nutter Butter

    [img src=”″]


  12. Nicole

    I would like to address the bacon issue. So far EVERY bacon we have come across in the supermarket violates either Level 1 or Level 6. For example, most all bacon has sugar in it. There is rumor of a bacon at King Soopers that does not; however, it’s from a shit source of meat and breaks the Level 6 rule of grass fed/grass finished, natural meats.

    For example: “Organic Pork, Water, Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Sea Salt, Celery Powder, Organic Evaporated Cane Syrup, Organic Onion Powder”

    It’s JUST 2% NICOLE!! Ah, yes, but 2% is still some and some means more than zero and zero is the only digit allowed for extracted-refined-diabetes-causing-sugar in this challenge. You walk a hard line in the gym, so walk one with your bacon. I wouldn’t let you ignore 2% of a scaling recommendation!

    I will now give you 3 minutes to cry, throw a tantrum, and consider throwing in the towel for this challenge.

    1 minute…

    2 minutes…

    3 minutes…

    Ok now on to solutions. It looks like you’re going to have to order your bacon. WHAT!?, you say? Yes, that’s right. There are sugar free bacon sources in the world and only the most dedicated connoisseurs of this deliciously fatty meat will seek out and order it in it’s purest state.

    Here’s what I’ve found so far:
    Made Well Meats – Montana (I have a call in to them)
    About their sugar free bacon: “We have developed a unique bacon product for our pork products line. This is our new NO SUGAR ADDED bacon. This product has the great flavor of our sugar cured no nitrite bacon without the sugar added. This product is nitrite free as well. All of our pork products are guaranteed not to be reared with any chemicals, antibiotics or animal by-products and are raised in a humane and environmentally conscious manner. This product does have honey powder (dehydrated honey) added as an alternative to using sugar.”

    Hog Wild Bacon – I have a call in to them too about ingredients

    Herb’s Meats – left message

  13. Odie

    Thanks for the clarification Nicole. Looks like I am gonna be trying a lot of new veggies. Also, if you find that elusive sugar free bacon, let me know.

  14. Lori T.

    Hi, I ride the short bus and need help sharing my renamed google spreadsheet. If anyone could help me I would appreciate it. Thanks, Lori

  15. Dizon – apparently I need to read more carefully. At first sight, I saw Nut Butter and thought, “he has lost his mind, Of course you can have nut butters, it’s just ground up almonds!” Funny joke. And no, no Nutter Butters, or Twix for that matter.

    And Lori is all squared away (per last comment:).

  16. Caps

    Aww shit, I didn’t even consider the source of meat – I was just so happy to have found sugar free bacon after searching 40 packages. I ate that with breakfast yesterday and today. Does that mean I’m out 5×2=10 points? =(

    Btw, people should know to get wild caught fish instead of farm raised, unless you find a farm that doesn’t feed them corn and other crap.

  17. Caps

    My argument for absolution is that we are allowed questionable meat when we’re out, so *some* questionable meat consumption is expected, and that my heart was in the right place. Absolve, pls!

  18. Christy

    Wow. I’m exhausted just from reading all of these comments.
    I was going to say that I was feeling very inspired by your links about saturated fats. Now, I’m just feeling relieved that I’m not actually doing the WTF challenge. 🙂

  19. Jasmine

    Hahaha….I was just going to say the same thing, Christy. This may be the longest string of comments on the Roots website yet!

  20. Dave

    FYI, I’m fairly certain that the Applegate Farms Uncured Turkey Bacon (if you’re into that sort of thing) has no evaporated cane sugar in it. It’s available at the Whole Foods on Baseline and probably the Pearl Street one as well. I know the Sunday Bacon, which is what I used to eat, does contain sugar, though.