Olive Oil 101 // An Overlooked Superfood

I love olive oil. I always have. I was raised with a major Italian influence from my Grandma, who every Sunday night cooked an Italian feast for a family of 22. As she would never let me actually make the olive oil myself (which at the time I didn’t understand), I was always watching what she was doing. You know how kids play as if they are chefs in the kitchen, that was me every time I saw my grandma in the kitchen. As a kid, you’re easily influenced, but in this aspect in my life, I’m glad that I actually took an interest in this.

Grandma uses Olive Oil for everything. Olive oil soap, olive oil lotion, olive oil salad dressings, (I’m starting to sound like Forest Gump), and of course, olive oil for cooking.

Grandma has always sworn by the health benefits of olive oil as her father lived to be 99, and she at the age of 76 hiked the El Camino two years ago, still works in her garden every morning, has no pain or disease, and not only email and texts me, but includes emojis while doing so!

The woman is a vision of health.

But as I dug more into my wellness journey, I learned that cooking with olive oil has become a “no-no” over the past few years. So I stopped cooking with it and only used it in it’s raw form.

Last year on a trip to Italy I observed the elderly who had perfected the art of slow-living while finding ways to include olive oil in everything (like my Grandma). I saw their smooth, calm skin tone, their lack of wrinkles, and their glowy, bright eyes in almost everyone over the age of 60. It was fascinating.

I began to question this theory and started to realize that the olive-oil heavy culture was on to something.

Soul // Idyll Foods

My friend, Tess, co-founder of Idyll Foods, a pure-foods based company that supports small-scale organic producers in Greece, gave me olive oil, sea salt, and honey vinegar from her line. She shared stories with me of the famers and their families, their lifestyle, and the traditions that they have passed down from generations.

I was so touched by her stories, these farmers and the process. I can’t help but thinking of these families when I’m consuming the products.

Not only are the products delicious, but knowing what goes into the production, and the people they’re supporting makes me feel delightful. Which is something we should all feel while cooking and eating!

I believe that conscious farmers with a mission to provide healthy, natural foods are gifts to us. They’re like little agricultural angels. We are so lucky to have farmers who don’t cut corners, and do what they can to protect the environment and the health of those they are selling to.

As I evolve, I find that I am drawn more and more to these types of foods and products. Small, conscious, and safe. There’s a soft energy while consuming these foods. I fully believe it’s my awareness of Idyll’s integrity, their process, and the farmers’ loving energy that makes Idyll’s products special.


Wellness // Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The 101
Extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality oil you can buy. The oil is cold-extracted from the fruit keeping temperatures below 27ºC/80ºF to avoid diminishing the oil quality.
In order to be labeled “extra virgin” the product must meet specific lab tests that test for levels of peroxide, and acidity levels below .8% (the lower the better).
So when you see “extra virgin”, you’ll know it’s been produced mechanically without the use of chemicals or other processes. (Most of the time, we’ll get to that later)
Health Benefits

The benefits of olive oil are off the charts. Oleocanthal, the phytonutrient found in olive oil has the same anti-inflammatory effects of ibuprofen, without the gastrointestinal bleeding, raised liver enzymes, diarrhea, constipation, and high- blood pressure. In fact, it does just the opposite!

Olive oil can…

Reduce the risk of // heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain cancers.

Protect against // osteoporosis, Type II diabetes and high cholesterol.

And one of my favorites, olive oil’s polyunsaturated fats can supports lower risks of depression, and mood elevation!


Method // Adding Olive Oil into Your Life


Cooking with olive oil has gotten a bad rap. This is because there are a lot of bad “olive oils” on the shelves in the US due to the lack of regulations in labeling. They don’t act and perform like a real olive oil should. Heating these oils at high levels creates molecular damage aka free radicals, causing inflammation in the body, and making these oils carcinogenic.

My girl Tess taught me that the smoke point of a good extra virgin olive oil should be around 410F, which is higher than the temperature for frying food (about 375F) and higher than other oils often recommended for cooking, like unrefined coconut oil (350-400F).

She also told me that in Greece, where Idyll products are sourced, everybody has olive trees and so much of the oil is super fresh and local, they use olive oil for just about anything you can imagine – frying, baking, sauteing, and basically pouring on all of their food, hot or cold. Just like my experience in Italy!

Dr. Andrew Weil once spoke at my nutrition school and he said that “coconut oil doesn’t hold a flame to olive oil!”


Here in the United States, we have very little regulation on labeling. In fact, there are many class action law suits happening from the mislabeling of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

In 2010, the University of California tested supermarket samples and found that 69% of imported olive oils, and 10% of California oils, all labeled “extra virgin” did not meet the legal standard. In fact, the top five selling brands of olive oils in the US didn’t meet the standards 73% of the times. I DIE.

What to Look For

Spend a little extra on good quality olive oil. Look for organic with acidity levels <.08, support small, ask questions, and do your research. Your body deserves the extra time and care. I've made your life easy and did the work for you on Idyll. They’re Soul Wellness Method approved and deliver to your door.


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More sources on olive oil

Olive Oil Source

Olive Oil Times



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