My kids and wife do too. It's a crucial staple in our diet…yet there's plenty of confusion around olive oil…
- Can you cook with olive oil?
- How should you store olive oil?
- What should you look for in a good olive oil?
- How do you differentiate between all the different certificates and grades of olive oil?
- And much more!
So in today's podcast, I interview T. J. Robinson, aka “The Olive Oil Hunter ®” who is one of the world's most respected authorities on all matters olive oil.
Known for his “platinum palate,” he is one of the few Americans invited to serve as a judge in prestigious Italian olive oil tasting competitions.
These days he is dedicated to importing rare fresh-pressed olive oil via The Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club, the most flavorful and healthiest extra virgin olive oil on the planet, until now virtually impossible to obtain year-round in the U.S. All his oils are independently lab tested and certified for 100% purity.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-What makes olive oil so beneficial to our health…5:13
- Science database of olive oil research, including studies Ben mentions
- Olive oil leads to a distinct drop in blood pressure w/ no change in cholesterol; increased triglyceride, decreased HDL count (atherogenic index)
- Bigger predictor of C/V disease is the HDL to triglyceride ratio (more so than total LDL cholesterol)
- Research on mental health and depression
- Stabilization of blood glucose w/ small amounts of olive oil throughout the day
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Mediterranean diet associated w/ improvements in longevity (not the modern bastardized version)
- Sprouting, fermenting, etc.
- The primary fatty acid in olive oil is oleic acid (C18:1)
- It's a double bond (less oxidation); safe for cooking at high temperatures
- Two fatty acids for the brain: Oleic acid, and fish oil (sardines, mackerel, salmon, herring)
- Other bioactive compounds:
- Bi0phenyls (found in the olive fruit that scavenges free radical species)
- BGF podcast w/ Dr. William Li (author of Eat to Beat Disease)
- Oleocanthal has the same anti-inflammatory pathways as ibuprofen (sans the gastric side effects)
- Squalines (extra virgin olive oil has high amounts) to protect the skin
- Alphatocopherols (Vitamin E)
- Hydroxy terpenic acids (lower inflammation, risk of cancer, decrease blood pressure)
-How T.J. Robinson became acquainted w/ the olive oil mafia…20:18
- Grew up in Asheville, NC
- Scored a gig w/ the Food Network; was sent on assignment to Sicily, Italy, where he became acquainted w/ olive oil
- Harvest of the olive fruit is celebrated widely in Italy and Greece
- New Yorker article: Slippery Business — The Trade in Adulterated Olive Oil
- Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller, author of the aforementioned New Yorker article
- Rampant fraud: It is easy to package cheaper, lesser quality oils as olive oil and sell at olive oil prices
- Olive oil sold in bulk is far more susceptible to adulteration than an artisan oil
- Polyphenols and antioxidants deplete by up to 50% during the first 6 months after distribution
-What you need to know about the dates on the package and how to store your olive oil…33:52
- Three killers of olive oil: light, time, temperature
- Look for the “harvest date” rather than the expiration date
- Look for dark plastic or glass bottles
- Don't store olive oil above the stove or in the fridge
- Store in a pantry at room temperature, away from light
- Polyphenols and antioxidants prevent the olive oil from oxidizing
- Restaurant olive oils are often adulterated w/ GMO's, soy, etc.
- Spirulina and glycine protect the gut from oxidized oils
- Ben discusses this in his book, Boundless
- Olive oil has similar fat makeup as human breast milk
- Olive oil is used as a delivery mechanism for food to babies
-How olive oil is actually produced…44:07
- Olives are picked from the tree, contain 10% oil when they're green
- Deleafed and washed at the mill
- Crusher (like a food processor) turns it into a paste
- Goes into the millaxer (paste begins to break into parts: solid, water, oil)
- Oil is spun via centrifuge, then goes into the tasting cup
- The solids are dried out and reused as organic fertilizer for the crops
-The process by which T.J. inspects and selects the olives he uses for his customers…51:08
- Flos Olei (website is written in Italian)
- A Guide to the World of Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Flos Olei (2019 edition)
- Samples are collected, big tasting party
- Identify the farms to visit (5-6)
- Trees that are stressed (less water) produce a higher quality oil, higher polyphenols
- Developing relationships: A farm that's not the right fit at a particular season may be in the future
- Two criteria for extra virgin olive oil:
- Meet a chemistry panel for quality parameters
- Panel of tasters looking for taste defects
- Most oil in the U.S. doesn't go through this tasting panel
- Oils labeled as extra virgin may not pass the criteria by the time it's purchased
-How you can assess (and enjoy) olive oil on your own…1:00:51
- “Single variety” refers to one olive fruit used
- Watch out for oils that are labeled as “blends”
- Color of the oil isn't necessarily an indicator of its quality
- Smell the oil
- Swirl the cup (to release the aromas)
- The taste test:
- Fruitiness (flavorfulness)
- Bitterness (high in polyphenols)
- People are using olive oil as a tool for weight loss
- It's great as a skin, hair, and face moisturizer
- Can be used as protectant from the sun and skin healer
- Used to clean tile
- Drizzle fresh-pressed olive oil over vanilla ice cream for dessert
-How to cook with extra virgin olive oil…1:23:27
- If you cook w/ a subpar product, you get a subpar result
- Article: Research Finds Extra Virgin Olive Oil Safest, Most Stable for Cooking
- Purchase small amounts
- Don't use olive oil that is older than one year from the harvest date
Resources from this episode:
– New Yorker article: Slippery Business — The Trade in Adulterated Olive Oil
– Book: Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller
– Flos Olei (website is written in Italian)
– A Guide to the World of Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Flos Olei (2019 edition)
– Book: Eat to Beat Disease by Dr. William Li
–Kion Recovery Bundle: Bounce back faster than ever with Kion’s recovery supplement trifecta by supporting muscle protein synthesis, recovery and the body’s healthy response to exercise-related inflammation. BGF listeners, receive a 20% discount from anything at Kion when you use discount code BGF20.
–Organifi Gold: A new take on an ancient secret: Pain-soothing herbs, incredible antioxidants, and phytonutrients all in one delicious, soothing “Golden Milk” nighttime tea! Receive a 20% discount on your entire order when you use discount code BENG20.
–Gluten Guardian: Are you ready for upgraded digestion? Take your body to the ultimate edge of human potential and become biologically optimized with Gluten Guardian. Save an additional 10% off your entire order when you use discount code GREENFIELD
–Clearlight Saunas: You can be sure that I researched all the saunas before I bought mine and Clearlight was the one that stood out from all the rest because of their EMF and ELF Shielding and their Lifetime Warranty. Use discount code BENGREENFIELD to get $500 off your sauna and a free bonus gift!