Fall Head Over Heels for Healthy Fats

If the Go-Go’s were one of your favorite girl bands, you likely grew up with the idea that fats are bad for you. We lived through the whole low-fat craze but research is finding that there are many healthy fats that support health and provide essential nutrients that help us satiate hunger and keep us healthy.

It’s time to shift our thinking and embrace healthy fats. We’ve all heard that Vitamins A, D, E & K are important to our health and they are also fat-soluble, meaning they are much more readily absorbed by our bodies in the presence of fat. Fats are beneficial to us. Our bodies absolutely need them, especially our brains. We can’t ignore this fact especially based on the increase of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. We must protect our most valuable resource…our noggins!

So which fats should we be eating? I’m going to give you some ideas with important information about selecting them when you shop and knowing how best to use each option. This is a brief description…there’s much more specific information that I can give you in future Deep Dives about each individual healthy fat. Stay tuned!

Let’s get started!

Butter

Yes, I said butter! Unless you are dairy sensitive and know that butter doesn’t agree with you, butter is the bomb! It’s best to select organic and/or grass fed when it’s an option. It tastes better and will have higher nutritional value. Butter is extremely versatile and can be used in cooking or straight from your refrigerator as a spread or condiment. If you are dairy sensitive, it is better to use one of the other options as a substitute instead of using the non-dairy options that are on the market. The risk of possibly using an unstable and/or unhealthy vegetable oil is too great.

Ghee

What’s that? Ghee is butter that is heated which allows the milk solids including lactose and other milk proteins to be removed. Many dairy-intolerant people find that ghee is tolerable for them. It also has a very high smoking point (482°F) which makes it an excellent choice for sautéing and frying foods. It has a rich nutty flavor and can be used as a condiment on veggies and other foods. Check out my favorite bulletproof coffee addition vanilla-infused ghee in my favorite picks from Amazon. Yes, I might make a few pennies if you buy from this link…that helps support the information I provide here @ Joyful Healing.

Olive oil

Organic olive oil is preferable and is an excellent source of Vitamins E & K and many antioxidants which makes it a wonderful anti-inflammatory. Olive oil is best used raw and uncooked. Although virgin olive oil can be used when you are quickly cooking vegetables at a lower temperature. Extra virgin olive oil is best used as a wonderful finish drizzled over dishes after cooked and to prepare yummy salad dressings.

Avocados

I love them! Don’t miss out on these treasures. They are full of heart healthy monosaturated fats and micronutrients such as Vitamins K, A, & C, Folate, Magnesium, Manganese, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids and several phytonutrients just to name a few.  If I’m ever stranded on an island, I want avocados. My favorite way to eat an avocado is halved with a bit of salsa in the hole where the pit was removed. A spoon is perfect to scoop out bites. And there are yummy avocado oils that are ideal for salad dressings or finishing off a steamed vegetable such as green beans or broccoli. Organic is great but the tough outer shell is thought to provide protection from chemicals so if you can save a few dimes, buy conventional.

Coconut Oil

This is my go-to oil when I bake and check out below what other purpose it’s served for me. Coconut oil is full of medium chain triglycerides which can speed up metabolism, reduce appetite and are also known to be loved by the beneficial critters living in our guts (our microbiome) which is where 70-80% of our immune system originates. Coconut oil also has a higher smoking point and can work for sautéing too. Keep an eye out for a yummy veggie recipe headed your way soon.

Macadamia oil – Macadamia nuts are the bomb! Very low carb nut and so filling. And macadamia oil is a treat for the senses and perfect for dressings or toppers to add some healthy fats to a basic vegetable or salad.

Lard/Leaf Fat

Isn’t that what our grandmothers used to fry chicken? Yep! It is! You’ll want to look for lard rendered from pasture raised pigs and non-hydrogenated. Quality matters! You can use lard as a 1:1 substitute for vegetable oil, shortening or margarine in recipes for cakes, brownies, cookies, biscuits and anything else you can think to make. My friends the Hatley family at The Naked Pig Co. in Oakboro, NC have award winning leaf fat as they call it! My family has been enjoying their pork products for over four years. Order some now and they’ll send it right to you!

More Good Stuff

At this point, you’re might be questioning the fact that several fats that I’ve recommended are saturated fats. I know what you’re thinking but let me give you an update. Saturated fats are not the evil villains that they’ve been made out to be! They have been found to increase our “good” HDL cholesterol and have little impact on our “bad” LDL cholesterol which is also been found to not be quite such a bad guy after all. They are also a key component to our cell walls that make up our entire body. The key is they need to come from healthy sources of minimally processed whole foods in reasonable quantities.

Just a couple more important facts about healthy food choices that can supply healthy fats to round out your meal and snack planning:

Nuts and seeds are full of healthy fats. Raw nuts are our best options as they have been minimally processed. If you look closely at nutritional labels you will find some nuts that are dry roasted with sea salt and have a little more flavor to them. Try to avoid nuts that have been roasted in peanut or cottonseed oil which are oils that are typically chemically processed, unstable and known to cause damage to our tissues. Almonds, macadamias, cashews, walnuts and pistachios, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are all great choices.

Don’t forget fish! Salmon, mackerel and sardines are excellent sources of essential fatty acids. Have you ever wondered what essential fatty acids are? Let me explain a bit. When you see the word “essential” in something related to health that means that our bodies don’t have the ability to produce that particular substance on their own. They must be part of our diet, whether it’s through healthy whole foods or supplementation. So get to it…go eat some fish! Try to make it wild caught whenever possible. Look at the labels and be weary of anything that looks artificially enhanced. I buy much of my salmon at Aldi. The pieces look a little scrappier than what Whole Foods sells but it’s wild caught and eats all the same. My family also enjoys salmon patties which can be made from canned wild caught salmon.

 Helen’s Personal Experiment

Before I leave you, let me share my personal experience with one of these healthy oils. I’m going to show my age. I did grow up in the fat-free/low-fat era and those ideas were engrained in my brain. Then I read a book called Eat Fat, Lose Fat by two of my nutrition education heroes Mary Enig and Sally Fallon and things began to fall into place for me. I began to eat (yes, eat) coconut oil straight from the jar. I used it in recipes also but I also began to eat it and it was weird but what I found was that my brain was waking up. It’s hard to explain but it was like a lightbulb came on and the world was a little brighter. I listened to my body and ate coconut oil when I craved it. I thought for sure that I’d gain weight but funny thing is that I didn’t. Getting those good healthy fats filled me up and I found that my hunger levels diminished. Now I didn’t do this forever. One day about six weeks into this habit, I woke up and my cravings for coconut oil were waning. Now I listen to my body. I eat some type of healthy fat at every meal. I vary my choices so I’m getting different micronutrients.

This week I challenge you to pick one of these healthy fats that you’ve never tried and just try it. See how you feel. Listen to your body. Is it craving those fats?  How does your brain feel? How does your body feel?

Shoot me a message and let me know how this challenge goes. Small steps make big impacts. Just take this one little step. I dare you!

Stay tuned for more healthful info next week. If you have a topic that you’re dying to learn about, let me know! I love to research and learn and am happy to take suggestions.

And if you’d like to learn more about working with me to improve your health, schedule a FREE 30-minute Path to Wellness Chat or email me now.

Helen

Resources used preparing this post:

My Favorite Healthy Fats {Affiliate Link Disclaimer – if you order from these links, I will make a small percentage of your sale…won’t cost you a dime but you’ll be assured you ordering what I use in my very own kitchen} Enjoy!

Products from Amazon.com

 

2 thoughts on “Fall Head Over Heels for Healthy Fats”

  1. What a fantastic article! More people need to know that fat is nothing to be afraid of – when we’re eating the RIGHT kind of fat. Thanks for writing this! I laughed when you said “noggins” because I haven’t heard that word in awhile. Love it! 🙂

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