The Weekly Thread: choosing the right olive oil for you, this is your body on fasting, and evaluating where you place your energy.
What’s the difference, and which one should you choose?
A recent article posted on mindbodygreen.com titled Olive Oil vs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: What’s the Difference, and Which one Should you Choose?, broke down the key differences between the two oils to help you make a more informed decision on choosing the right oil, based on your needs and preferences.
How is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) made?
EVOO is made by crushing whole olives to create a mash. The mash is then spun, or kneaded, which separates the pure, “virgin” olive oil from the mash. No chemicals or heat is used in the process. This is why many EVOOs will say “cold-pressed” on the label, to indicate no heat was used to extract the oil, much like in “cold-pressed juices”.
How is regular olive oil made?
Olive oil (sans the “extra virgin” part), is made by combining EVOO and olive oil that goes through a refinement process using chemicals and/or heat.
Health benefits of EVOO vs. Olive Oil
On the surface, due to the refinement process that goes into creating standard olive oil, you may think all the wonderful, anti-aging health benefits of it may be effectively lost.
To be honest, this is what I thought for quite a while.
Good news is, that’s not the actual case.
It is true that EVOO is the nutritional, anti-aging king of all oils, so let’s first touch on that.
EVOO is extremely rich in polyphenols. These are phytochemicals that have been shown to have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective (good for your brain), and even prebiotic properties.
A diet rich in polyphenols draws strong correlations to overall health and longevity.
Furthermore, EVOO is rich in heart-healthy, anti-aging monounsaturated fats, most notably, Oleic Acid, a fatty acid often correlated with improving longevity.
Because of these incredible health benefits, I will often consume high amounts of EVOO straight, on the daily, to ensure I’m working it into my diet with regularity, along with using it as a dressing or finishing oil on foods.
I’m a member of the Fresh Pressed Olive Oil Club, to ensure I’m getting the highest quality, freshest EVOO delivered directly to my door once a quarter.
Olive oil, due to the exposure to heat and/or chemicals in the refinement process does lose some bioavailability of the naturally present phytochemicals polyphenols, but not entirely.
The anti-aging monounsaturated fat, Oleic Acid, which is rich in EVOO, is just as present in refined olive oil.
Choosing between extra virgin olive oil and olive oil
I also fell into the camp for quite some time that thought you couldn’t cook with EVOO. The thought was that it was too volatile in its “extra virgin” state, and that any exposure to heat would change it chemically.
(This is typically why oils are refined in general, as it makes them more suitable for cooking.)
This is not the case, as you can bake, roast, and even sauté with EVOO.
EVOO has a “smoke point” of 350 degrees, at which point, if it goes over, yes, the healthy fats in the oil will change chemically, and lose much, if not all, of their health benefits.
That said, to ensure you are not changing the oil chemically, I do recommend consuming most of your EVOO as a dressing or finishing oil as a drizzle on foods.
Refined olive oil, however, has a smoke point of 475 degrees, making it a more suitable oil, with more wiggle room, when used for cooking. And remember, it’s not as nutritionally dense as EVOO, but even refined olive oil is still far superior nutritionally, and in health benefits to most other refined cooking oils, especially canola and grape seed oil.
EVOO definitely has a stronger taste to it. I personally love it, and thus, drizzle it pretty liberally on foods, however, if you are looking for a milder tasting oil, especially if using it for cooking, refined olive oil is a great alternative to EVOO.
- EVOO is richer in bioavailable polyphenols, a phytochemical that has been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and prebiotic properties.
- Both EVOO and refined olive oil are rich in the monounsaturated fat oleic acid, which has strong anti-aging properties.
- Refined olive oil has a much higher smoke point, making it more suitable for cooking.
- Refined olive is more mild in taste, whereas EVOO has a more robust, unique taste profile.
- Whether you are buying EVOO or refined olive oil, buy smaller bottles to ensure you go through it more quickly and avoid it going rancid. Also, buy in dark glass bottles ideally, as clear plastic exposes the oil to more light, which can also have a damaging effect on the nutritional value of the oil.
Here’s my biofeedback after a 38 hour fast.
I recently did a 38 hour fast, starting at 8pm on a Sunday night, and ending at 10am on a Tuesday morning.
I wear a Whoop strap to measure certain biometrics like overall recovery, HRV, and sleep quality & quantity.
Doing an extended fast (over 24 hours) can jumpstart ketosis in your body, rejuvenate cells and reverse some of the effects of aging, rebuild your immune system, improve gut microbiome health, and even kill off senescent “zombie cells” that could be become cancerous or autoimmune through a process known as “apoptosis”.
Below is a breakdown of my biofeedback from sleeping after the second night (Monday night) of my fast.
My overall recovery score was a 98%. So, basically, my body was almost at 100%, fully recharged, ready to go. I’ve had a Whoop for probably 3 years, and I’ve probably had an overall Recovery score this high (98% or 99%) probably around 10 times, so it’s super noteworthy.
These images are the breakdown of my overall sleep, and individual sleep numbers from the 4 respective stages of sleep: Awake, Light, REM, and Deep.
Ideally, you’re after as much REM and Deep as possible.
When it comes to sleep, as with so many other things, Quality > Quantity.
A quality night of sleep for a grown adult would be around three total hours spent in REM and Deep cumulatively, or 1:30 each respectively.
For an adult who sleeps pretty well, it will usually take around 8 hours to achieve this.
However, for those who understand how to hack your sleep, you can achieve this three hour goal, sometimes more, in less than 8 hours.
As you can see from the images above, I did just that.
The above image on the left shows my overall sleep numbers. So, in 7h34m of total sleep on the second night of my fast (Monday night), I achieved 3h46m cumulative of REM and Deep sleep.
In short, highly productive, efficient sleep, which is what you’re after, and ideally, would be expected if your body is in a deep, healing, restorative state, as it should be in an extended fast.
If you look at the above image on the right, it shows the actual breakdown of my sleep cycles, indicating that I got 2h06m of Deep and 1h40m of REM, so both key metrics were above my goals for the night.
Resting Heart Rate (RHR) & Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
RHR is the rate at which your heart is beating with respect to total beats per minute.
Ideally, you’re after a number under 60.
In short, the slower the better, as your heart is working less hard while your body is recovering.
So, an average of 52 beats per minute is a solid number.
HRV or Heart Rate Variability isn’t as obvious and straightforward.
HRV measures how erratic your heartbeat is in terms of time between beats in milliseconds.
This metric is gaining lots of momentum as one of, if not the most key metric to follow, as it indicates and measures your body’s stress response.
The lower the stress response, the less inflammation your body is producing, the more likely your body is to heal and recover from the day, the more likely you are to physically mitigate the stress from the day, and detox more effectively while you sleep.
The higher the stress response, the opposite effect of the above takes place: more inflammation, less recovery, less stress mitigation, less detoxification.
As odd as it may sound, the higher the HRV, meaning a more erratic heartbeat, the better, or lower the stress response.
Think about it like this….
If you’re in a high-stress situation, your heart is beating very rapidly with little time, and little difference between the beats.
When your body is in a relaxed state, there is no need for your heart to beat as rapidly, with as much regularity, so there is more irregularity between beats.
HRV is the measure of this. The higher the HRV, the better.
Typically you want to be over a score of 50ms.
As you can see by the image above, my HRV was 72ms, indicating my body was in a very low-stress, high recovery state while sleeping, which was also indicated by my overall recovery and sleep scores.
Also, I woke up Tuesday morning feeling AMAZING after the second night’s “sleep” on the fast.
To check out the actual fasting protocol I use, and put together based on my research on fasting, CLICK HERE
To check out the fasting support kit I put together and use personally as part of my protocol CLICK HERE.
NOTE: I am not a medical professional, and do not claim to be. I’m just a guy obsessed with experimenting and getting the most out of this amazing, complex organism we’ve all been blessed with, known as “the human body”. Any fasting is done on your own cognizance and at your own risk.
BREAKING FAST & THE “RE-FEED”
Now, when coming out of an extended fast, you want to do so gently.
Your digestive system has shut down, as your body was focusing all of its energy on healing and repairs the body because it wasn’t bogged down with digesting food.
When “breaking fast”, you don’t want to consume a lot.
Now, later in the day, once your digestive system is back and woken up, along with all other processes, you want to do a “re-feed” meal.
After a fast, you’ve rid yourself of numerous senescent “zombie cells” that have been replaced with new stem cells that are full of life and vitality like a newborn baby.
But, like a newborn baby, they need to be fed.
Once you’ve jump-started your digestive system by breaking your fast gently, and your body is out of its deep healing and restorative mode from the fast, and resumed normal processes, you want to eat a higher protein, higher carb meal, that will spike your insulin. This will then feed those new stem cells helping them to become new, functional cells in the body full of life, and most importantly, purpose.
Here is my high protein, higher carb, and calorie “re-feed” meal from Tuesday evening coming off the fast, and gently breaking my fast earlier in the day.
Main Course: Pasture-raised ribeye and oven-roasted potatoes.
I salt the steak on both sides and allow it to sit for an hour or, bringing it to room temperature.
I always cook my steaks in a cast iron skillet.
As low (temperature) and slow as possible for a big steak like this, 10 mins each side, in lots of grass-fed butter, Redmond sea salt, and organic garlic powder.
I then warm a new skillet as hot as I can possibly get it, and then warm a thin layer of beef or Bison tallow in the skillet until it’s popping hot, and sear the steak for a minute on each side.
Grass-fed ribeye is not only a tremendous source of high-quality protein and healthy fats, but it’s also extremely rich in vitamins and minerals.
Oven-roasted potatoes prep:
Cut or dice up organic potatoes of your choice.
Dump into mid to large mixing bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil, add sea salt, black pepper, and rosemary to your preferred taste. (I’m not much for measuring)
**Just be careful about adding too much olive oil, or else the potatoes will take forever to “roast”.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 mins if using extra virgin olive oil.
Bake at 400 for 25-30 mins if using a refined olive oil.
On the side:
Two organic kiwis (I also had an organic pink lady apple, not pictured)
A glass of “Old World” regional French red wine to officially cap off a very successful fast, and to quite literally drink to my health. Check out my guide to choosing the best “old world” wine and learn why red wine is one of the best foods to fight cancer.
We only have so much energy we can give in a day.
Where are you placing your energy?
It’s not about not having enough energy.
It’s about placing our energy where it matters, on people and things that matter.
Go ahead and make a list of who those people are, and what those things are in your life and for you personally, and make an effort to focus more of that amazing energy that you have on those people and things.