How fat helped me
Today I want to talk about fats and how they helped me in my journey to wellness. Fats are one of the food groups. One that I had probably almost eliminated from my diet when I was younger. I was a plump child and plump teenager, I was both and apple and pear shape and it bothered me and effected nearly all areas of my life. I went low fat on EVERYTHING. That’s what the media were promoting and I thought I was being healthy – it was easy because you could buy anything low fat. Rosemary Conley ruled the diet world and everything she did was about low fat. I wonder how many people’s health was ruined by following this regime?
Fats were blamed for many diseases which are now finding to be untrue.
Going low fat or fat free was the worst thing I could have done and I’m going to show you why.
Your body needs fat
1. To absorb certain nutrients that are fat soluble, like Vitamins A, D, E and K.
2. Most of your key hormones are made from fats
3. Every cell in your body has a fat membrane which forms a barrier to protect the
4. Certain fats are highly anti-inflammatory and help fight disease
5. Fats are great for your skin, hair and nails. They are a lubricant for the body.
With that in mind let me briefly explain the good, the bad and the ugly parts of fat.
Polyunsaturated fats are known as your Omegas. They are split into 3 groups.
1. Linoleic Acid LA (Omega 6) which promotes blood clotting and gamma-linolenic acid GLA, both promote an anti-inflammatory condition in healthy individuals.
– LA foods: nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, most vegetables, fruit and animals products
– GLA foods: spirulina, evening primrose oil, black currant and borage seeds, seeds of maple, mother’s milk
2. Arachidonic Acid AA (Omega 6) which also promotes blood clotting and inflammation beneficial to health wounds and injuries.
– Animal meats, diary, eggs, peanuts and nori seaweed
3. Alpha-Linolenic Acid ALA and EPA/DHA (Omega 3) which reduce clotting and are anti-inflammatory
– ALA foods: flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, soy, dark greens
– EPA/DHA: fish such as salmon, sardine, tuna, trout, eel, anchovy, pilchard, mother’s milk
Within this group you want to aim to ideally for a ratio of 4:1 – so for every 4 portions of omega 6 foods you want to eat 1 portion of omega 3 foods.
You also have monounsaturated fats which are plant based oils and are great at lowering LDL cholesterol. These are oils from olives, sunflower seeds, safflower, avocado, almonds, sesame.
Saturated fats are primarily derived from animal products, like cheese, butter, eggs, meat, but also some plant based products like coconut oil.
Out of the three types of fats polyunsaturated fats are the least stable and have high oxidation levels which means they can go rancid quickly. Whereas as saturation fats are the most stable and survive heat.
The most problematic fats are refined oils, where the oils have been heated and treated for longer shelf life, also called hydrogenated fats or trans fatty acids. These are found in a variety of pre made foods like cakes, breads, pastries, pies. They are also found in margarines and shortenings.
So here’s what I did:
1. Introduced raw nuts and seeds into my diet at least 3-4 X per week
2. My salad dressings are comprised of unrefined cold pressed olive oil, sesame seed oil, hemp oil or flax seed oil
3. I freely eat avocados
4. I ditched the margarine and brought back the butter, coconut oil and ghee
5. I freely use nut butters
Good fats will rarely make you over eat. They satiated my appetite and I didn’t feel the need to continue gorging.
Like with any changes to your diet, if you are on medication seek professional support before altering your diet as food will have an effect on your physiology.
So how are you embracing fats?