Yep! I said it, “Healthy fats”.
I once believed, “No such thing as a healthy fat.”
Or, worse, I thought polyunsaturated vegetable oils were the “healthy” fats, as long as they were in small amounts.
Mark Sisson, of Mark’s Daily Apple.com, refers to this type of thinking as Conventional Wisdom, and it’s being proven wrong.
Back in the late 1970’s, we were advised to cut the fat, especially saturated fat. And we did.
We replaced fat with sugar and processed food, which is also filled with high fructose corn syrup. We reduced saturated fat, but we replaced it with industrial vegetable oil.
Now we are faced with an epidemic of obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardio-vascular heart disease. Many researchers and nutritionists now state our maladies are caused by sugar, high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and trans-fats, as well as industrial vegetable oils, which contain high levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. See here.
As it turns out, many fats that were previously vilified are safe to eat.
Adding safe fats to our diets provides satiety, satisfaction, enjoyment, and helps to reduce cravings.
Safe, delicious fats I enjoy:
Coconut Oil: A medium-chain tri-glyceride saturated fat, very stable at high temperatures. Coconut oil is great for cooking, delicious in almost everything, and a darling of the Paleo community. I like Dr. Bonner’s Fair Trade & Organic Coconut Oil. For more on coconut oil, see here.
Grass-Fed Organic Butter: Why grass fed? Animals, like us, become what they eat. A diet of fresh grass provides healthy omega-3 fatty acids to cows when they graze, and they in turn pass those lovely anti-inflammatory omega-3’s on to us in the butter they produce. Grass-fed butter also contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), and may contain Vitamin K2, depending on the quality of the soil and pasture where the cows graze. Why organic? Because toxins, pesticides and herbicides concentrate in fat, and you want to avoid butter and dairy products from cows treated with bovine growth hormone (rBGH).
Grain is not good for cows–it’s not a natural food for them, and tends to make them sick. Cows belong out on grass. Grain is full of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, that are passed through to us in the butter of cows fed grain. See here for more info on why grass-fed butter is a healthy fat.
Grass-fed butter is delicious. Beautiful, deep yellow, with a rich, nutty flavor. Once you’ve tasted it, there’s no going back. I use Organic Valley Pasture Butter. It’s available locally in my area, and you can check their website to see about your location. You can also order it here.
Grass-Fed Organic Ghee: Clarified butter, with the milk solids removed. Absolutely delicious, and great for cooking. I use Pure Indian Foods Ghee.
Olive Oil: A mono-saturated fat (MUFA), Olive oil can help to lower cholesterol and reduce insulin. Contains polyphenols, which are anti-oxidants. Olive oil may be protective against heart disease. Olive oil will oxidize if exposed to heat or light, so best used on salads, but not great for cooking, due to instability when heated.
Sadly, there is a lot of fraud in the olive oil industry. (Look for a future post about this. I will try to identify brands that are pure olive oil). Many brands are adulterated with vegetable oils, and you unfortunately do not get the health benefits of a good olive oil–instead, you have the problems of unsafe industrial oils, without knowing.
For now, there is one company I can recommend, Benessere Oil–they stock genuine olive oil, and it’s delicious. (Purveyors of fantastic Balsamic vinegar, as well). The gentleman who helped me the other day said they are able to ship. Their on line shipping is here. Cold-pressed and extra-virgin is best.
Avocado Oil: I enjoy a whole avocado almost everyday. Nom Nom! To think I once avoided avocados as fattening, while hoovering down my bread and pasta–crazy!
I enjoy avocados the simple way–sliced open, and sprinkled with salt, ground pepper, and paprika. A squeeze of fresh lime can be good, too!
Avocados are a nutritional gold mine–yes, high fat, but it’s healthy mono-saturated fat (MUFA). They provide satiety and fiber. Avocados are full of potassium, folate, vitamins C and E; they boost absorption of alpha and beta carotene, and help to reduce cholesterol.
Fish Oil: Fish oil is a polyunsaturated fat chock full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which are anti-inflammatory and help to prevent heart disease. Omega-3’s are also found in the fat of grass-fed animal products. Take fish oil as a supplement, but don’t cook with it, as it’s a polyunsaturated fat–it will oxidize and form harmful free radicals when heated.
Also safe, but I haven’t tried–lard and tallow.
Unsafe fats to avoid:
Trans-fats: There is NO safe amount–really bad for us.
Polyunsaturated vegetable oil (PUFA’s): Become rancid and oxidize, contain free radicals, industrial production, most are heavy on the pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.
I will do separate post about why these fats are bad for us. Coming soon.
Thanks for reading and stopping by.