Eat Plenty of Healthy Fat for Optimal Health

When it comes to the topic of dietary fat, we’ve been sold a mountain of falsehoods over the past decades. The fats we were told were good, like industrial seed vegetable oils1, are actually largely toxic and can cause disease, while healthy fats can help protect against it. The good whole-food based fats, even quality saturated fats2, are an important part of a healthy diet.Healthy Fats

We were told that eating fat made you fat and we heard little about sugar and refined carbs’ role in weight gain (or disease). The evidence is now clear though: Good fat is crucial to thriving health and the real triggers for weight gain are often sugar, refined carbs and bad fats.3 4 The healthy fats you eat in your diet, are not the same thing as stored fat in your body. There is a whole other set of mechanisms at play to trigger fat storage, and that fat storage is often born of glucose (sugar).

Having enough quality fats in your daily diet actually tends to increase metabolism and leads to sustained weight management. It’s important for most people to get enough quality fat when trying to manage weight. Our body needs nutritional caloric satiation to function properly. When you try to lose weight simply by calorie restriction, it actually reduces metabolism. It’s important to eat enough good fats so that your body isn’t overly stressed and can perform its key functions well.

Fat was also supposed to be the big cause of heart disease and a number of other health conditions. When it comes to healthy fats, the exact opposite is true. By depriving ourselves of the good fats we need, we’ve shifted towards needing to eat and burn sugar and carbs for energy, which are literally killing us!

Healthy fats are calorically very nutrient dense. They feed the body far more per calorie than carbs/sugar. Therefore, you get a much better bang for the buck and are able to satiate yourself more than you can with carbs/sugar. You have to eat a lot more carbs/sugar for your body to get the energy it needs to run than you do with fat. This is a particularly important point for those who are trying to manage their weight.

Now as I said earlier, there’s a big caveat. Highly processed and easily oxidizable and inflammatory industrial seed vegetable oils, which we’ve been told for decades are so much better for us, are actually a big villain. We’re talking canola, soy, corn, safflower, sunflower, the so-called “safe fats.” These oils are extracted through chemical processes, often using toxic substances.

Alternatively, good quality fats are essential to our existence. Here we are talking about:

  • olive,
  • coconut,
  • avocado,
  • sustainably sourced palm oil,
  • nuts and seeds,
  • quality animal fats (grass-fed in particular),
  • egg yolks,
  • butter and ghee (yup, I said butter).

These are whole-food based fats. When not eating a whole food source, independent oils attained should be through expeller pressed methods, which, unlike toxic chemical processing, are safe and provide a nourishing food.

The good news is, by bringing in more healthy fats and replacing the bad, you don’t have to stop eating or cut something out of your diet, you’re simply swapping it with a form of fat that is much healthier and actually tastes even better. So it’s a win, win!

You want your fat stores to be of the utmost quality. The industrial seed oils that are often oxidized before you even use them, work against your body in a myriad of ways. Source quality is always critical! You are what you eat.

Most people find that when they shift to a diet that burns more fat for energy instead of glucose, body weight quickly stabilizes and energy is gained. Fat and glucose burn differently in the body. In most cases, good fat actually speeds up our metabolism. And it’s a more sustainable source of fuel for prolonged energy.

Oxidization is not our friend:

A key risk of consuming bad fats occurs because of a process called oxidation.5 Oxidation is a disaster for the body, and another main driver of disease, including: heart disorders, cancer and strokes. This is one reason that most vegetable oils are a problem. The bad ones oxidize easily.

Oxidation is damage caused by oxygen. It’s like when apples or bananas turn brown from air exposure. This happens with fats too, and it’s essentially what happens inside your body when you eat oxidized oils. It’s kind of like rusting on the inside. The ensuing “oxidative stress” creates “free radicals” that are inflammatory and can damage your body. Most of the bad and highly refined vegetable oils listed above cause great risk of this happening inside you.

Fried foods from industrial seed vegetable oils, leave your cells and arteries looking just like the fried foods — rugged, crusty, torn. They disable cells functioning in the short term, and ultimately destroy healthy cells, causing heart attacks and strokes. This process is also how oxidation fries arteries! While eating food fried in these bad oils is the worst of the worst, eating the oils themselves generally does the same thing over time. Eating fried foods from these oils is one of the very worst things you can do to yourself. It creates both short term damage and suffering as well as dire consequences in the long term. (You can fry your own foods in certain oils; see below for more details).

Trans & Hydrogenated Fat:

This type of fat that is now universally understood to be toxic and linked directly to coronary artery disease is called trans fat, or hydrogenated fat. Transfats and hydrogenated or even partially-hydrogenated oils are highly processed foods, typically made from industrial seed vegetable oils. They are created this way through processing, so that they can be more “shelf stable” and thus cheaper and easier to produce and store. These fats should be avoided at all times. Be mindful, even when your label says “0” trans fats, it can still include some as it allows for .5 grams or under to be listed as “0”. The more processed foods you eat with these bad oils, the more the grams will add up. ANY amount will do damage.

The lesson here: ditch the margarine and bring back the butter!

Learn much more about fats and other crucial dietary steps, by downloading my free guide “Your Path to Vibrant Health.”

Learn more about fat from the experts: For those interested (or who need more convincing), you can really geek out on the various types of fat our body needs, and those it doesn’t. There are so many roles fat plays in thriving health. If you are interested in learning more, I’d highly suggest reading the work of Dr. Mark Hyman and/or Dr. Catherine Shanahan. Google their names along with the word “fat” for a myriad of informative articles and videos. Here are a couple of good ones:

Dr. Hyman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgWBKJsJtk0

Dr. Shanahan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbpX41oCi1M&t=508s (this one’s really only for those who want to geek out on the deep science, it’s in-depth but fascinating.)

 

Favorite Healthy & Delicious Foods – Shopping List

Favorite Foods

The items listed below are my favorite healthy foods! They are all very tasty, paleo friendly, gluten free and on the healthier side compared to mainstream options.  They are linked to Amazon. However, another really good option is Thrive Markets online. They have really good prices and deal exclusively in health foods. They do have a yearly membership fee, but the cost savings are pretty significant. Amazon doesn’t always have the best prices.  You can also find most of these items at a local health food store, like Whole Foods (believe it or not, Whole Foods can have better prices than Amazon.)

Alternative Flours/carbs:

These are lower glycemic load “carb” alternatives that won’t wreak as much havoc on your body as many refined flours. You can bake with these or use them for a number of cooking needs.  They taste great. They are paleo friendly and gluten free. You should still be mindful about how much you indulge.

Paleo Pancake and Waffle Mix by Birch Benders.  This mix is sooo good.  Totally hits my need for occasional pancakes, without the giant carb hit.

Cassava Flour by Otto’s Naturals: This flour is made from Yucca root. Another great alternative baking flour that is a staple in low glycemic non-wheat flour baking.

Nutiva Coconut Flour: This is a great alternate for baking.

Cassava and Coconut Flour Tortilla’s by Siete. These taste good and are a great alternative for those that really want some kind of carb alternative for wraps or other uses.

Miracle Noodles Shirataki noodles made from a Japanese yam. These are zero carb and gluten free. Taste good. They have an assortment of styles, fettuccini, angel hair, etc.

 

Snacks & appetizers:

Mary’s Crackers: These are gluten free and relatively clean ingredients if you want a crackery snack. They have many flavors.  Crunchy and nice.

Siete Grain Free Tortilla Chips: These are AMAZING! So light and crispy. Tastes surprisingly like corn chips. They are made from Cassava and fried in Avocado oil.  Both are much better for you than other chips made with cheap industrial seed vegetable oils which are rancid and toxic.

Sweet Potato Chips or Blue Corn Chips: Jackson’s Honest chips are fried in coconut oil, which is a far better option than cheap vegetable oils.

Coconut Almond Butter: by Maranatha. This is so tasty! Creamy and delicious. A blend of almond butter with coconut cream. One of my favorite treats is a tablespoon of it.

Sardines: by Wild Planet. These are a great snack.  Loads of good omega 3 fats and decadent. I like to get the ones packed in extra virgin olive oil as they help protect the fat from the fish.

Roasted Seaweed: by SeaSnax. This is one of the only seaweed snacks that uses olive oil to roast in, not a cheap, crappy oil like canola.

Meat Bars, Grassfed: by Epic.  These are paleo friendly.  I bring them with me when traveling and flying.  Make a good jolt of nourishment.

Hummus, Organic by Hope: Make sure to get a brand that has good oils.  Most use canola or other cheap, bad oils. Hope brand uses extra virgin olive oil.

 

Sweeteners:

You don’t have to fully give up your sweet tooth! These sweeteners are less negatively impactful as cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener: Tastes good and makes a nice replacement for cane sugar. You can use it the same, cup for cup. This has almost no glycemic load (blood sugar raiser).

Stevia: Liquid or powdered packets: Avoid cheap crappy stevias, they don’t taste good. Only get 100% Stevia, not mixed with other types of junk sweetener.Just say NO to Truvia.

YS Raw honey: Be sure to buy raw honey, unfiltered if you can.  Heat processing kills many of the good nutrients in honey.

Coconut Sugar, Organic: Nice flavor, works well for cooking.  Occasional treat.

Maple Syrup, Organic: by Coombs Family Farm.  This should be used only occasionally, it still has a lot of sugar in it.

 

 

Oils and Fats:

Olive Oil, Napa Valley Naturals Organic: Great flavor and good quality. Always buy cold pressed extra virgin.

Amphora Olive Oils: This is a great company that carefully sources its oils (and amazing flavored, barrel aged Balsamic Vinegars).

Ghee, 4th and Heart Plain

Ghee, 4th and Heart Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Love these. Ghee is a great alternative for butter. Both of these are grassfed. Ghee has a high smoke point, so you can sauté with it at higher temperatures. I use the plain for cooking and the sea salt version for snacking.

Coconut Oil Artisana: Nutiva brand is fine as well, it’s more affordable, but I like Artisana’s taste.

Avocado oil: I use La Tourangelle for more delicate flavorful needs, like salad dressing.  I use Chosen Foods for cooking. Avocado oil has a high smoke point, and doesn’t oxidize as easily. So you can sauté with it at higher temperatures. Or even for frying. Chosen foods makes a pan spray as well.

Avocado Oil Mayo: Chosen Foods. Tasty and much better than almost all other mayo’s, as they all use cheap, unhealthy vegetable oils.

Macadamia Nut Oil: by Roland. Mac oils are great for salad dressings.  Healthy oil, don’t need a lot though, just a splash mixed in with olive and avocado. Another option is Piping Rock.

Dairy Alternatives:

Coconut Milk, Simple, Native Forest: This is one of the only brands that makes it without Guar Gum, which can cause digestive problems for some people.

CoYo Coconut Yogurt: This coconut based yogurt is very delightful and surprisingly creamy.  It also makes a great substitute for sour cream.  A similar consistency. Since it’s refrigerated, it’s at stores only. Check here to see if it’s in a store near you.

 

Herbs, Spices & Flavorings:

Celtic Sea Salt

Himalayan Sea Salt

Real Salt, by Redmond: This “sea salt” comes from an ancient seabed in Utah that was not exposed to modern toxins like sea salts are often today.  Another bonus is this is one of the only sea salts that has iodine.

Balsamic Vinegar: Amphora makes these barrel aged vinegars that really are pretty amazing. My favorites are the red “cinnamon & pear” and the white “apricot”. These are slightly thicker and a touch of sweet. But it doesn’t take much to flavor a great salad dressing or for a drizzle.

Swiss Chard Powder by Dr. Cowan’s Garden: This delightful flavoring powder is nutrient dense. If you have a hard time squeezing in enough vegetables in a day, try this out.  They also have Kale and number of other great options. I put a spoonful in salad dressings, sprinkle into soups, etc.  Great way to spice up and packed with nutrients!

 

Miscellaneous:

Bone Broth, Grassfed: by Kettle and Fire. Great source of nutrients for your gut and skin health, plus so much more.  Should be a dietary staple.

Wild Salmon: by Wild Planet. These are a great alternative to tuna (which is high in mercury). Loads of good omega 3 fats and decadent.