The day I had to give up my precious stick of grass-fed butter was a sad day. I hope to bring it back to my plate soon,  but for now, while my gut is healing, I am dairy free. Unfortunately, this also means giving up my main cooking oil – butter. So, I’ve taken to using coconut oil and clarified lard instead. Although I love both of these fats, let’s face it, they both have a pretty overwhelming flavor for most cooking applications. I don’t mind cooking meat in clarified lard or tallow, but with veggies, it tends to get gross. I’ve tried coconut oil for this, but it’s was just too sweet and, for lack of a better word, coconutty. I felt like I was eating coconut with every meal.

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About three months of experimenting with different butter substitutes, I finally discovered avocado oil. At first I was apprehensive about it, but after doing some research, I discovered that cold-pressed avocado oil that has been naturally refined isn’t as bad as it sounds. Some companies use an expeller pressed low heat process, which protects the nutrients and the delicate fatty acids. Expeller pressing retains about 80% of the avocados beta-stisterol (also found in virgin avocado oil) as well as 60% of its vitamin E, but does remove some of the more volatile substances like chlorophyll, waxes, sediments, and free fatty acids, which are easily oxidized. This makes avocado oil much more stable at high heat (up to ~450*). You can buy extra virgin avocado oil, but it’s incredibly expensive and is unsuitable for heating to cooking temperatures. Read this article to learn why.

Anyways, after reading up on avocado oil and trying out my first bottle ever… I fell in love. Can’t have butter? No problem, try some cold pressed avocado oil instead. I bet you won’t even look back. Here are the top five ways we use avocado oil in our household.

1. Pour it over pop corn

Air pop the corn, then drizzle avocado oil over top. For some extra flavor and a good source of B12 and Chromium, sprinkle a little nutritional yeast in there too. Remember to share! I have to make a conscious effort not to chow it down all by myself – it tastes so good! You can find nutritional yeast here.

2. Saute veggies

Never before have my veggies tasted so delicious. The avocado oil really accentuates the flavors without overpowering the meal. I’m serious – this stuff is like secret sauce.

3. Make homemade mayo

This one is really exciting. I’ve tried to make mayo with olive oil and boy, is it bitter and oily. Then I tried to make it with coconut oil, which is great, if you like your mayonnaise to taste exactly like coconut oil… I even tried a lard-based mayo, but it’s pretty meaty-tasting, and, well, eventually I resigned myself to the idea that mayonnaise is just a forbidden fruit with no real substitute. Enter: avocado oil – God’s gift to paleo mayonnaise lovers. Creamy, stout, mild, and a perfect compliment to the tangier elements of a good mayo recipe.

4. Facial cleanser

I have been using a few drops of avocado oil as my facial cleanser every night. The coconut oil was too greasy for me, and usually caused me to break out. So far, the avocado oil has been leaving my skin smooth and glowing. I just have a small jar of avocado oil (like this one) in the bathroom next to my Dr Bronner’s. According to Web MD, avocado oil applied directly to the skin soothes and heals the dermis, and also treats thickening (sclerosis) of the skin, gum infections (pyorrhea), and arthritis. Source

5. Hair Mask

Yep, I rub avocado oil on my scalp as a mask and leave it there for a few hours. Later, I take a shower or  a bath and rinse it out. Why? In the winter time my scalp gets really dry andI’m not a fan of conventional shampoo and conditioners, I use natural alternatives. You can read why here.  Avocado oil contains a high amount of vitamin e and sterolin, which are both almost universally used in moisturizers and shampoos. Performing this hair mask ritual once or twice a week ensures that my scalp is supple and hydrated.