Primal on Vacation: avoiding seed oils

seed oils Jan 27, 2022

If you’ve been around here for a bit you know that one of our greatest recommendations is to remove all seed oils from your diet.

The fatty acids in seed oils, the way they are processed, and the monocrops that they are made of all combine to create a highly unstable, often rancid, and inflammatory oil.

Avoiding seed oils is critical to achieving optimal health - from cardiac health to managing weight.

But it can be really hard to avoid these oils when you’re eating out. They are made from cheap crops, so things like canola oil and sunflower oil are much cheaper than olive oil or butter, meaning most restaurants opt for seed oils for cooking. Choosing to cook with butter at home is one thing, finding a restaurant that cooks with butter is another (nearly impossible) thing.

That’s why, going on vacation - and feeling your best - can be a big challenge. Here are some of the most important tips to help you make this diet change: 

  1. Start at home

    Your journey to optimal health, and choosing the right foods to achieve that, starts before you even step foot outside of your house. If you have been eating the Standard American Diet, heavily reliant on refined carbs and sugar, your gut might be in bad shape. I know mine was. It made eating out a pain because I would always leave with a stomach ache and digestive issues. Once I healed my gut by removing grains and refined carbs and sugars, eating out was much less disastrous. Set your body up for success before you even leave the house. This will look different for every person, and could even take years. Your best bet is to work on a personalized plan with a health coach and prioritize nutrient-dense foods.

  2. Stay somewhere with a kitchen

    When I go on a trip or vacation, my first choice is always Airbnb. It’s usually less expensive than a hotel, and you have access to a kitchen. Whenever possible, opt for lodging that has a kitchen. This will give you more freedom to control the ingredients in some of your meals. I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat out - if you go on vacation and you don’t eat some tasty food, why did you even go on vacation?? But when you have a kitchen, you can prep a hearty, nourishing breakfast of proteins and healthy fats that will set you up for a successful day of vacationing and help you avoid what would almost definitely be a seed oil-riddled meal.

  3. Ask your server/chef to cook in butter

    I do this all the time, but it can be especially useful on vacation when you are eating out frequently. Here’s what I have found is the most effective way:

    • “Can I have the seared scallops, please? And can you please have that cooked in butter? Thanks!”

    I recently stayed in a hotel where breakfast was included. Every morning I asked the chef to cook my eggs in butter. Every day he said yes without blinking an eye. Pro tip: if you are going somewhere where the native language differs from your own, google translate “can you cook that in butter” before you go.

  4. Avoid fried foods

    Learning what to order can also play an important role when you’re trying to avoid seed oils. I avoid fried foods since I can be 99.9% sure that they are fried in seed oils (unless you find a restaurant that makes fries with animal fat, in which case, always order the fries). Fried foods should be especially avoided since they will most likely be cooked in oil that has been heated over and over, further oxidizing the unstable oil. Stick to the protein dishes like fish, steak, chicken, shrimp, etc. And remember, ALWAYS ask if the salad dressing is made with olive oil.


And most importantly, enjoy yourself! If you incorporate these steps as much as possible, you can rest assured you are doing everything in your power to eat the most nutrient-dense food, and added stress is not helpful. Enjoy your meal to the fullest :) 


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