It seems the minute we hear the word “fat”, we go running for the hills. It’s time we change our attitude towards fats because when eaten properly, they actually do our bodies a well of good. I have the personal struggle of Celiac Disease, meaning I have an intolerance to gluten. I realized through a lot of trial and error, the negative effects of grains and the wonders of fats. Not only are grains pretty hard on the digestive system, they can cause a pretty severe insulin reaction and elicit other hormonal responses that promote fat storage. Replacing grains with fats helped lubricate and nourish my digestive tract vs. tearing it up. Not to mention, I noticed my high-fat intake helped my skin, hair, and sleep all improve dramatically!
My diet now consists of fats galore, and the amazing part is I don’t worry a thing about calories, despite eating a lot, because my body knows what to do with the foods I eat – digest, assimilate, and eliminate. It’s that simple. I also rarely feel hungry or need to snack between meals, because I eat 3 high fat meals and it makes me full and satisfied. Studies have also shown that saturated fats do not increase risk of vascular or heart disease.
Take a peek at some of my favorite fats and how to easily incorporate them into your daily diet.
1. Coconut Oil
This isn’t just the oil – you can do the milk, the butter, the shreds, the meat. Whatever you like that contains fat and still has the oil intact (so we’re not talking about coconut water or coconut flour for this specific purpose). The molecular structure of coconut fat is MCTs, or medium chain triglycerides, which are shorter and more water soluble than other fats. This means they can be directly taken to the liver to be burned as fuel versus being stored as fat. The way your body digests this type of fat speeds up your metabolism by about 15%! You can use coconut oil as a cooking oil, on top of your oatmeal, cream-up your smoothie or even incorporate it into salad dressing. One of my favorite recipes incorporates both coconut oil and milk. Try my Tom Kha, Thai Coconut Soup.
I put avocados on everything! I’ve even been known to sneak some into my purse. They are loaded with monounsaturated fat, which helps lower bad cholesterol. Not to mention they add a great creamy texture to salads, smoothies and meals while also being filling. I love avocados with poached eggs in the morning.
3. Wild Salmon
Make sure your fish is always sourced from a trusted local fish monger. Farm fish often times does not keep the level of nutrients intact. A great way to change up the flavor profile of salmon is to eat both smoked salmon and grilled. Smoked salmon can be added to salads or eaten with eggs in the morning. Here is one of my favorite salmon recipes.
We’ve all heard that butter will clog our arteries because it’s pure fat (2/3 saturated). The trans-fat laden margarine movement really did this poor guy in. However, recent research has come to the rescue and shown that full fat dairy can actually lower body weight and risk for heart disease and stroke. Butter is rich in the fat soluble Vitamins A, E, and K which are absorbed very easily thanks to butter’s fat content. It also contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which is a naturally occurring trans fat that has been shown to improve body composition and aid weight loss. I love cooking with ghee – clarified butter, or butter with the milk solids removed – because it has a higher burning temp than olive oil and a delicious buttery taste.
5. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a healthy monounsaturated fat your body can easily digest because it recognizes it and knows exactly what to do with it and can assimilate and eliminate it efficiently. Say goodbye to soybean oil, canola oil spray, cottonseed oil, or hydrogenated oils. Instead of using chemical laden bottled salad dressings, use simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
6. Flax Oil
Packed with omega-3s, flax oil is easily used as a salad dressing or add a spoonful to your morning oatmeal.
7. Macadamia Nuts
Most Americans get way too many omega-6 fats (found in plant oils and nuts) and way too little omega-3 fats (found in wild salmon, flax seeds, chia seeds, full fat dairy, greens, and walnuts). The problem with this is omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory and chronic inflammation can lead to health issues and disease. Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory and greatly needed in the standard American diet. Most nuts have a very high ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 ratio, making them inflammatory. However, macadamia nuts are a great choice because they have a 6:3 ratio which is right on target with the recommended 2:1 ratio for omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids in the diet. Macadamia nuts also contain the greatest amount of monounsaturated healthy fat per serving. These fats help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. A Penn State study showed a 10% reduction in triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol in people who added them to their diets.
Almonds are an exception to the nut ratio rule because, although they do not have a favorable omega 6 to 3 ratio, they are highly alkaline and contain many nutritious vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin E, iron, magnesium, and calcium. For that reason, I consume them in moderation and recommend them for their healthy monounsaturated fats.
9. Eggs with Yolk
It’s time to banish the egg whites! The yolks provide 100% of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K plus calcium, iron, zinc, biotin, thiamin, folate, and B vitamins 6 + 12. Additionally, research has shown just the whites can have the same, if not worse, metabolic effect on insulin and blood sugar as a carbohydrate because they do not have the fat from the yolk to help slow down the absorption of protein.
10. Nut Butters (NOT commercial nut butters)
Most nut butters unless you make them yourself or buy whole roasted, organic options contain much more than you think. A jar of Jif Almond Butter not only contains inorganic roasted almonds, which have been heated well beyond the temperature of retaining nutrients, but it also contains hydrogenated rapeseed, cottonseed, soybean oils, sunflower oil and salt. Make sure to read labels before purchasing or just make your own! My favorite recipe when I’m craving something sweet is my Almond Butter Fudge.
Incorporate these healthy fats into your daily three meals and I am confident you will feel full, satisfied and reap all the nutritional benefits.
*For more from Annie, visit Blawnde.