Are you afraid of this three-letter word?
I’m referring to F-A-T.
What types of emotions come-up for you when you hear or see the word “fat?” Is it disgust? Self-loathing? Joy? Contentment?
In America, most of us grew up programmed to run as far as we can from fats because we’ve been taught to embrace the concept that fats cause diseases. Raise your hand if you remember the days of “low-fat everything” and “fat substitutes” in the 80s and 90s. How can we forget Fabio and “I can’t believe it’s not butter?”
As a result, we consume disproportionally large quantities of refined carbohydrates based on the assumption that because carbs are not fats, they’re healthier. But the caveat is, Americans are more overweight than ever.
This concept of “fat is bad” is so out-dated. In fact, it’s been proven that high dietary fats do not lead to heart disease (Source: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract)
Another study proved that a low-carb, high-fat diet actually helped the subjects in the study to lose weight as well as reducing the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. (Source: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0708681)
Embrace the Fat
When we founded The Blossoming Kitchen, we decided to create meals that are based on the Paleo diet principle because we believe in eating as whole as possible.
We believe in letting the ingredients in the dishes speak for themselves which is why in addition to spices, we rarely use any additional oil or fats in any of the dishes. When we do need to use fats, you may notice that we usually use olive oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, and ghee (clarified butter.)
So, you might be wondering still about the high fat content (most of time comes from the protein source) in some of the meals and whether it will derail you from accomplish your weight loss or health goals. Or you might be curious about meal planning for yourself at home and how much fat or which type of fats to use.
I’m going to start with the three reasons below why you shouldn’t be afraid of “good fats” and then talk about the best type of fats to use for optimal health.
The three reasons to embrace good fats are:
- Fats are essential for hormone balance, especially for women. Fats help to make the all- important hormone of estrogen, which every woman knows is responsible for reproductive health.
- Fats keep you feeling full and prevent overeating. Carbohydrates are the quickest source of energy for your body because they’re metabolized very quickly in the body. However, that’s also the reason why if you eat a high carb diet, you will find yourself always looking for more snacks for a “pick-me-upper.” And most of the time, the snacks of choice are processed foods that cause more inflammation.
- Fats actually promote the absorption of certain vitamins such as vitamins A D, E, and K. These vitamins are fat-soluble which means they’re only absorbed if surrounded by fat cells. You can take all the supplements you want in the world but won’t receive any benefits if they’re not absorbed properly.
Three Types of Good Fats
It’s important to point out that not all fats are created equal. There is such a thing as “good” and “bad” fats.
When you order meals from The Blossoming Kitchen, you don’t need to worry. We only use “good fats.” If you’re cooking at home, here are the three best types of fats to use:
- Coconut oil – Coconut oil is a multi-functional fat. You can use it on your skin, in your hair, in your foods. It’s a type of fat that’s easy for your body to digest instead of storing as body fat. They’re also good for brain function, improving memory, and also lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol.
- Real grass-fed butter or ghee – I’m talking about the “real deal” here, not imitation butter or margarine which is vegetable oil in a stick form. YUCK! Grass-fed butter or clarified butter known as ghee contains two essential fatty acids we’re familiar with, omega-3 and omega-6. These two fatty acids are essential because they body needs them but cannot produce on its own. Omega oils are known for reducing inflammation in the body, which in turn helps with any type of joint pain or body ache.
- Avocado – Let me count the number of ways we love avocado. Avocado is super rich is vitamin E which is an anti-oxidant that helps prevent radical damage, promotes skin health, and boost immune system. Also, for those who are trying to conceive, it contains a ton of folate that can help to prevent birth defects.
Before I wrap up, here is a word of caution. Sometimes even too much of a good thing is not good. You still need to be careful of how much fat you’re ingesting. There is no set amount because each person’s needs are different. A good rule-of-thumb is just to incorporate one tablespoon of fat of your choice per dish.
For those of you who need to be precise on the exact amount of fats needed to accomplish your health goals, here is a good resource to calculate your macro nutritional needs, https://www.katyhearnfit.com/macro-calculator.html
So, don’t run away from fat because it won’t make you fat.
As long as you’re mindful of the type of fats you’re using and you’ll see major improvements in your health.