If you’re wishing to change to a traditional foods diet, one of the first changes to make is the type of fat you are using.
- Shortening- if you’re new to baking your own goodies, the best substitute for shortening in baked goods is Spectrum’s palm oil shortening. Butter will also work where the fat is cut into flour in order to create a flaky structure in a baked good. Make sure the butter is cold before you cut it in. If you are dairy free and making something with enough substance to hold its own structure, such as biscuits, coconut oil will work. Again, cut it in cold. Coconut oil will also work for any baked good cooked in a baking dish, since you don’t need to worry about the spreading issue. Coconut oil will not work in cookies, as the low melting point makes them spread too thin and merge with each other. Lard can also work as the fat in some pastries, such as pie crusts, for savory dishes.
- Liquid oils- liquid oils such as vegetable oil, canola oil or soy oil can be exchanged with butter or coconut oil. You can also use lard or tallow, depending on the dish. If the flavor of the dish blends well with those fats, it works great. Tallow, in particular, has a strong flavor and smell and must be used carefully to disguise it or your kids will likely reject it on smell alone. The first time I used tallow, my husband walked into the house and exclaimed, “WHAT is that smell?!?”
- Peanut oil- for frying. If you’re doing french fries, lard and tallow work great. Coconut oil also does well to fry foods.
- Olive oil– olive oil is great in unheated applications. It’s great for drizzling on finished dishes or for salad dressings. However, because olive oil has a low smoke point, you should use oils appropriate for heat in cooked applications. The best two options are coconut oil and butter. You can also use the Spectrum palm oil shortening in heated applications.
- Margarine- switch to butter.
- Bacon fat- Keep using it. It’s great to put into vegetable dishes for flavor. You can not absorb the nutrients in vegetables without some fat with them. Do your best to source a quality bacon that doesn’t have nitrates and nitrites. I prefer Applegate Farms when I can’t get a locally produced bacon.
- Mayonnaise- switch to a quality one made with good oils, or make your own at home. Wilderness Family Naturals makes a mayo with good oils, and is the one I recommend. WAPF recommends Delouis Fils.
- Lard- commercially available lards are preserved with BHT and other chemicals. If at all possible, get lard from a local farmer who raises their hogs on pasture. You can also make your own lard at home.
KerryAnn Foster runs Cooking Traditional Foods, the longest running Traditional Foods Menu Mailer on the internet. KerryAnn has over nine years of traditional foods experience and is a former Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader. Founded in 2005, CTF helps you feed your family nourishing foods they will love. Each mailer contains one soup, five dinners, one breakfast, on dessert and extras. You can learn more about our Menu Mailers at the CTF website. For a free sample Menu Mailer, join our mailing list. You can also join our forum to chat with other traditional foodists and learn more.