An underlined hyperlink denotes an affiliate or Amazon Services LLC link. For more information, see the disclosure at the end of this page or click here to learn more.
Real Food Liz/Liz Wolfe is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. For more information, click here.
(The right kind of fat, that is. And the right kind tends to surprise people!)
At one time in my life, I could’ve told you which had less fat: chicken breast or turkey breast. Anyone else been there?
Yes, knowing which flavorless low-fat meat was the MOST low-fat meat was important to me. Those fractions of a gram’s difference, I knew, would make or break my “diet.” And probably my heart health. (Meh.)
Mind you, I had no concept of how those birds were been raised, what they were fed, or how much fat (and how LITTLE breast meat) a chicken or turkey is actually biologically designed to have. I also had no idea that the right KIND of animal fat was actually healthy.
Pair my red-meat/cholesterol/fat-phobia with my obsessive desire to have absolutely NO fat on my body, and you’ve got a recipe for a low, low, VERY low-fat diet on your hands. (And, quite frankly, for many women, this is a natural fertility disaster.)
Then, I realized that what I was doing wasn’t working. It wasn’t making me thinner (and did I really NEED to be thinner anyway?) and all that obsessing DEFINITELY wasn’t helping my body image. I wasn’t happy, my skin wasn’t clear, and my energy would tank a few hours after my K@shi Go-Lean-(against-the-wall-so-you-don’t-pass-out) breakfast (with soymilk). And again a few hours after my all-white-meat, low-fat, low-calorie, low-fun lunch.
What I’ve discovered in the years since then is that no matter what I’m eating – animal, vegetable, or my words (ha!) – the key that turns the lock to feeling wonderful and looking my best is FAT.
And not just any fat. Not just plant fat. Not just “politically correct” fat, like canola oil or margarine (don’t eat those. Read my book for all the details). But also good SATURATED fat. And good ANIMAL fat, from animals raised in their natural environments on their natural diets. This includes lard, tallow, poultry fat, butter and ghee. Sure, you can throw some avocado in there, and I absolutely LOVE olive oil too. Unlike the most popular “plant fats” I mentioned previously, those are actually unprocessed fat sources.
Good fat has become a good friend. Here’s why:
1. Good fat – including animal fat – is GOOD for your health.
The nutrient-rich fats from animals raised in their natural environments, on their natural diets, are amazing sources of vitamins A, D, and K. These vitamins communicate to your body WHERE to lay down calcium, as this book explains - which keeps bones strong and arteries clear.
Not only that, but as I explore in my extensively-referenced book, the dietary dogma surrounding saturated fat, cholesterol, and heart disease has very little evidence to back it up. It now looks like vegetable oils, like canola oil, margarine, soybean oil, and corn oil are the REAL dangers.
2. Good fat doesn’t make you fat.
The media LOVES to tell us that “fatty foods” are making us fat. But what is ALWAYS wrapped around those so-called “fatty foods?” Buns. Bread. Breading. High-carb highly-processed garbage that causes inflammation, nutritionally bankrupt blood sugar spikes, and total hunger insanity.
And even whole grain pasta, bread, and crackers can have that same crash-and-burn affect! Why do you think we’ve been told to “eat every few hours” to keep our metabolism going? Because politically-correct, fat-free food can cause hunger, energy, and blood sugar dips and spikes that have to be constantly “re-upped.” You come down from the high, and you need to get back up to function.
That’s not REAL hunger. That’s CARBAGE hunger (Carb + Garbage = Carbage.)
And often, the media is focusing on bad fats anyway. Fats that have been processed into oblivion. Fats from animals raised on unnatural diets (remember, you are what your food ate). And don’t even get me (or Dr. Fred Kummerow) started on artificial trans fats.
To that point, it’s HUNGER that drives us to over-eat. But what if we ate food that didn’t leave us hungry until we actually needed to eat? That brings me to my next point:
3. Good fat is THE anti-hunger, anti-crash food.
Fat does NOT demand an insulin response, so there’s no energy crash-and-burn when I eat it. Fat stimulates the hormones that signal fullness, and not just the type of fullness that comes from stuffing your stomach. The type of fullness that comes from having REALLY nourished yourself with stabilizing, nutrient-rich fats that healthy people have eaten for centuries.
Not only that, but fat keeps the MENTAL crash at bay. Cholesterol helps stabilize the brain – in fact, the brain is made up, partially, of cholesterol. Rather than passed-out puppy, think astute, highly focused puppy. New York Times Crossword puppy.
4. It enhances fertility.
The fat-soluble vitamins and hunger control that good fats have to offer aren’t its only bonus point, although they’re critical to building a healthy mother that can, in turn, grow a healthy baby. Vitamin A from animal products, like egg yolks, is a critical nutrient for fetal development. Good fat also provides the raw materials for hormones and hormone balance, which is critical for a woman’s ability to conceive.
5. It’s full of VITAMINS.
Did I mention vitamins A, D, and K? These fat-soluble vitamins are little miracle workers, and a huge proportion of the population is deficient in them. Why? Because we’ve been told NOT to eat the foods that contain them. Instead, we take multivitamins with synthetic forms, which actually ARE dangerous. Never try to replicate what mother nature can already do perfectly herself. That’s an ugly can o’ worms. (I should know.)
6. It’s full of CALORIES. (Yes, that’s a good thing!)
We obsess over being able to eat MORE and stuff ourselves MORE, but what’s wrong with having a few bites of calorie-rich, nutrition-rich, health-promoting food? You’d be surprised at how well-regulated the hunger signals, and your relationship with food, becomes when you give your body the raw materials to be not just full of calories, but full of NUTRIENTS.
Fewer bites also means a lower grocery bill – even though you’re getting more nutrition from your food. Win.
7. It tastes amazing!
Have you ever had a scoop of canola or soybean oil all by itself? I hope not – the stuff sure doesn’t taste good. Yet high-quality olive oil, avocado, coconut, coconut oil, butter, or ghee is delicious by nature, right out of the fruit or the animal. No 70-minute wash with a solvent required. (See video below if you haven’t already.)
There’s a reason the best chefs won’t cook with Canola. They know that fats like butter and olive oil – traditional fats that have been part of healthy humans’ diets for centuries – are also those that are most pleasing to the palate. There’s a reason for that, too: our bodies recognize nutrition when they need it.
That’s what I’ve got, folks! How has eating healthy, good fats changed your life? Why is fat YOUR friend? Let’s sing the fatback praises loud and proud – in the comments!
Thanks for reading!