Healthy Fats

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By The Food Coach, Jennifer Bruer ¦ 

Many of us still falsely hold on to the misconception that fat has led us to the obesity epidemic. This is true when talking about the evil trans-fat and, of course, it’s close friend vegetable oil! But I want to tell you about some healthy fats.

NO I am not referring to margarine, people! Margarine touts it’s omega 3 content as being a “heart healthy” addition to your diet; omega 3 is great for heart health, yes, but margarine is often made from canola oil and in the extraction process canola oil needs to be heated at VERY high temperatures, sometimes in excess of 500 degrees! Yet omega 3 is a very unstable fat and oxidized easily under heat. That’s why, when you see fish oil in the stores, it is kept in a dark bottle and stored at room temp or cooler! Margarine should really be stating “a source of oxidized omega 3”. Can they really tout omega 3 if it’s been heated? Insane,I know!

I am cautious about “low-fat” food products, not only because my cells and brain NEED fat, but also because manufacturers often replace fat with sugar. These products can also contain more additives which are used to aid in the artificial removal of fats naturally found in foods. Low fat diets are usually high in simple carbs which means they are rapidly digested and lead to sugar highs and lows-bad news for the obesity epidemic. Sugar highs can lead to diabetes and heart disease over time. Low-fat, high carb diets can also lead to elevated cholesterol levels.

FAT is the new superstar! It aids in the absorption of vital minerals and fat soluble vitamins. Fat satiates and lowers the glycemic load of meals and snacks. Our brain, bones, organs, cells, and nervous system all depend on fat and cholesterol to work properly.

There are many doctors, medical professionals, writers, journalist, and other plain ole good people, like me, debunking the “low-fat myth”; you just need to look around and listen, folks.

Fat is good but still, don’t over-do it; fat is still high in calories and while the types of calories matter more than the sheer number of calories, we still need to be mindful of our caloric load (personally, I NEVER count calories, or anything for that matter, it’s just not realistic).

Okay, so hopefully by now you get that I don’t like sugar and I love fat 🙂 What fats do I eat? I am glad you asked! I use coconut oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, olive oil (but only raw-don’t cook with it), tallow (beef fat), lard (pork fat), palm oil is also a safe fat but I haven’t used it yet.

  • Coconut oil- (an oil extracted from coconuts, duh!) is heat stable and slow to oxidize, which means it’s safe for frying at high heat. Coconut oil has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties (that’s why I don’t consume coconut products within 2 hours of my probiotics, just in-case it kills the good guys) Coconut oil is very good for you and can be used on the skin too. Make sure you get organic, virgin oil though to avoid toxins. Yes, Costco sells this too 🙂 Yay Costco!
  • Olive oil- cold pressed, organic olive oil (sold in a dark bottle please) is very healthy for you as it is a powerful anti-oxidant. DON’T cook with olive oil, just consume it raw. When olive oil is heated it changes the molecular structure to something not-so-healthy. If you choose to cook with it keep your heat as low as possible. Don’t over-do it though because too much omega 6 is not good for inflammation.
  • Lard, duck fat, and beef tallow (fat from beef) are all healthy fats and can be “rendered” -or saved for later. These fats add amazing flavour to meals like soups, stews, and stir fries. Don’t balk at it until you’ve tried it!!! Remember the gross feelings you get about fat need to be un-learned over time. It will take some time to go from demonizing fat, and being grossed out by it, to, hopefully, demonizing sugar and grains 🙂
  • Butter- yep butter! Make it grass fed if you can, and if you can’t don’t stress about it. If you can handle  dairy, butter is an awesome choice. Butter is rich in vitamins like A, D, E and K2!  It also contains minerals, fatty acids, and CLA. It helps keep joints from stiffening and helps keep calcium in your bones instead of in your tissues! CLA also has anti-cancer effects.
  • Ghee- a good choice for those who cannot tolerate dairy. Ghee is just a fancy word for butter with the milk solids removed. I like frying on high heat with ghee because it has a high smoke point, unlike butter which burns easily.

There are many other oils to speak of but these are the most main-stream healthful ones that I include in my diet. To be clear, I stay away from margarine, vegetable oils, and trans-fats!!! When I want to know if something contains trans-fats I look for the word “modified” that’s a good clue.

…now go add some butter to your steamed veggies would ya?!