Consider the olive. Please. This tiny, tasty, oil-rich fruit of the olive tree is of primary importance in the world because of its obvious connection to the highly-desirable oil it produces. Ironically, though the oil is used widely, and universally admired, oftentimes the fruit is avoided because of its high fat content!
Isn’t that ironic? I think it is. Ironic. Not to mention silly.
Guess what that fat in the olive is? It’s olive oil. Now aren’t you glad you happened upon this site today, my Gentle Reader?
You’ll be happy that I’m going to attempt to take olives out of the “bad food” category in your poor confused head (we all have those columns, admit it, we do!) and nudge it over into the “good food” category, thus giving you permission (again) to eat them. Probably you remember when you were a kid and you’d stick an olive on the end of each finger, and then pop them down, one by one? Yum. We adults don’t do that sort of thing any longer because a) Somebody might think we’re Silly, and b) Ten olives? Are you kidding me? All that fat—-(oops!)
Here we go. Fasten your nutritional seat belt, baby, because once I’ve laid out a bit of olives-are-good-for-you-facts, then I’m going to share an awesome (I’m not using that word carelessly here, either) recipe for Olive Bread.
And no, bread is not poison, either. That’s another dietary fad that will be gone in a few years, I believe. But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see on that one, eh? Meanwhile I think I’ll toast myself a piece of this excellent olive bread . . .
Boy! Is it a wonder that we’re all really confused when it comes down to it? What do all the diet books say? Monday: Eat TONS OF CARBS! Tuesday: Oops, my mistake, carbs are BAD, very very BAD! Sooo EVIL! Wednesday: EAT lots of fat and meat and eggs and whatnot! Just pile that bacon onto that hamburger patty, no problem!! Thursday:Uh-oh, we were wrong, watch that fat intake and for pete’s sake no more than one egg per week! Friday: Guess what? Green smoothies are the answer!! Well, actually I do agree that green smoothies are the answer, no argument with that! Saturday: Eat agave! Sunday: Agave is poison! Monday: Try the baby food diet! Tuesday: The baby food diet can kill you! and so on and so on . . .
If you are on the fence about olive consumption, or if you’ve been persuaded that eating them is akin to committing dietary suicide because of their high fat content, here are a few things to chew on that will coax you into, I hope, taking up the pleasurable practice of eating olives again. To wit:
1. Olives are good for your heart health, and–with their high monounsaturated fat content–can actually help lower your blood pressure. This is a good thing, and particularly important in the Western world, where heart disease is such a big killer. When diets that are low in monounsaturated fat are changed to increase the monounsaturated fat content (without becoming too high in total fat, mind you), research study participants typically experience a decrease in their blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and LDL:HDL ratio. All of these changes lower our risk of heart disease, not to mention a bunch of other bad stuff.
2. Because of their high fat content, olives can actually help you lose weight. I know that sentence sounds a bit conflicting. But hang in there with me. Studies have shown that people who eat olives every day eat fewer calories overall, suggesting that the fat in the olives make them feel full longer. I’ve discovered the same thing my bulletproof coffee habit. My morning cup of bulletproof coffee, laced as it is with butter and coconut oil, keeps me satisfied and full all morning long. Not to mention very, very happy, but that just may be the caffeine . . . Olives have the same effect of creating satiety.
3. Olives–especially black ones–are a great source of iron. The ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, of course, is due to the presence of iron in the blood. If you don’t have enough iron in your blood, your tissues won’t get enough oxygen, and you may feel cold, weak, or unaccountably tired. Also, your doctor will scold you, as he/she should. Iron also plays a vital role in the production of energy. Do you complain often about running out of energy? Then you may need to eat more olives, my friend. 🙂
4. Here’s a lovely-skin hint for you, Gentle Readers: You can gain a healthy, glowing complexion by washing your face in warm water, applying a few drops of olive oil to problem areas, and letting it work its magic for 15 minutes before rinsing it off. Or just leave it on overnight . . . though you may want to not use your favorite pillow case that night.
Your skin, your hair, and your eyes can all benefit from the nutrients in olives. Black olives in particular are rich in fatty acids and antioxidants that nourish, hydrate and protect. Chief among those is vitamin E.
Are you ready yet to go to the grocery store and pick up some olives? You can learn lots more about the healthy effects of making olives part of your daily diet by reading this article, published on the Health Impact News Daily Website.
And after you do that, you can mix up some olive bread with a light, happy heart. And then you can eat it. Without a modicum of guilt.
This is one of my family’s favorite breads that I make. I like to make it the “bucket dough” method. I generally mix up 4 or 5 buckets of this dough early in the week, socking them away in the ‘fridge for the week’s baking. You can make cinnamon rolls for breakfast, pizza crust for dinner, and olive bread just to make your family deliriously happy. Here goes–
- 2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 Tb granulated yeast
- 1 1/2 Tb Kosher salt
- 1 Tb sugar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups unbleached flour or bread flour
- 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat
- 1 cup chopped olives (your favorite type)
- Mix yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil with water in a bucket with a lid.
- Mix in the flour without kneading, using a mixer or a big spoon.
- Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
- Put into ‘fridge at this point, or make your bread right away.
- To make olive bread: divide dough into four pieces, and roll out one piece 1/2″ thick.
- Spread 1/4 cup chopped olives onto the dough, roll up and form into a round loaf.
- Repeat with other three balls of dough, and put on parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Let rise 60 min. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, putting pan of water in bottom of oven, and a baking stone on the middle rack.
- Slide parchment paper with loaves on top, off cookie sheet and onto hot baking stone. Let bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top and firm on bottom.
- Let cool on racks (if you can control the gathering hoards who will insist on cutting into it, hot–back!! Back!) and then slice and eat!
I’ll be sharing this post with the nice folks at The Prairie Homestead Blog Hop and also over at Frugally Sustainable. When you’re finished with all the curtseying and bowing to your friends and family over this fabulous bread, come on over!
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