Now hear this: Your body needs fat! And eating an aggressively low fat diet is not the ticket to health we once thought it was. So, if your diet is extra lean, it’s time to give it a re-think and fatten it up! Fat is absolutely essential for every function of the body and brain – including healing and repair – so shorting yourself on this delicious stuff may well be doing more harm than good. Need more reasons to eat healthy fat? Then read on!

Demonized fat is a 50-year-old mistake.

Plenty has been written about why fatty foods were demonized for the past five decades. In a nutshell, think deeply flawed studies, widely-circulated, then fully embraced by our doctors and the entire medical system which diligently followed governmental guidelines and Big Food’s marketing efforts. And all of that gave rise to a tidal wave of harmful carbohydrates, refined sugars, seed oils, and fake foods that were swapped in to take fat’s place, and then took over the supermarket shelves. Now, the tide is at last turning as we’re learning more about fat’s essential role in optimal health. The time has come to fix our twisted relationship with fat and bend it back to a healthy one.

Take advantage of the big fat benefits.

Still stuck in the old school idea of fat as the enemy? Then think again. Falling short can lead to trouble, for example, studies show that women are at higher risk of heart attack on a low-fat diet than a high-fat one. Other studies have demonstrated that higher-fat, low-carb protocols are more effective in countering the scourges of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Among the benefits fat brings to the table:

  • more even, longer-lasting energy and fewer hunger highs and lows
  • a more efficient metabolism (meaning more stable weight) and fewer cravings
  • clearer thinking, more balanced moods, and healthier hormone function
  • healthier hair, nails, and skin
  • better absorption of critical vitamins (the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K)
  • strengthened immunity and lubrication for your digestive system
  • protection for your vital organs and reduced inflammation
  • fuel for your mitochondria, the cellular powerhouses that determine how energized you feel and how you age

And because fat makes food taste good, another positive ‘side effect’ of fat is that you’ll actually be satisfied sooner and enjoy what you’re eating.

Stop being a fat-phobic.

‘Fatifying’ your diet is about including more real-food fats to your meals– as in, naturally fat-rich foods and unprocessed fats in their original state – and letting them replace the space all those refined carbs and sugar have been taking up on your plate. Not only do real-food fats deliver all those powerful health-protective benefits mentioned above, but they’re hard to over-do. Because they digest more slowly, they give your hunger-regulating hormones time to catch-up and let you know you’re full when you’ve eaten the right amount – like a natural cut off switch!

Here’s your ‘no plan’ plan.

To do fat right, there’s no need to dive into a rigorous dietary plan. Just focus on adding fat-rich ingredients in small ways throughout the day, and keep your starches and sugars low. Adding extra fats to a high-carbohydrate diet is a no-no that will encourage weight gain. Ultimately, it’s all about consuming small amounts of really good, healthy, satiating fats from (preferably organic) plants and healthy animals, in other words, nutritious whole foods (see list below). Keep it simple, keep it consistent, and you’ll be on your way to creating a new, healthy relationship with this super-powered macronutrient.

Your Big Fat Shopping List.

Not sure about what to buy when strolling the supermarket aisles? Then keep this mantra in mind: if it’s made by nature, it’s probably healthy. If machines and factories are involved, be it feedlot or processing plant, then it’s probably not. At the market, shop the perimeter where the whole foods are, versus the inner aisles which house most of the processed foods. As you shop, be conscious about your sources – the fattier the food, the more important it is to buy from a quality source, as toxins accumulate in fat. The fewer toxins the better! Here are some healthy fat staples to stock up on:

ANIMAL FOOD SOURCES

  • Bone broth made with healthy animals or plants
  • Chicken, preferably organic, with skin (dark meat)
  • Dairy products, preferably organic (goat and sheep cheese, cow cheese if tolerated, grass-fed butter, yogurt/kefir)
  • Eggs, ideally pasture-raised and preferable organic
  • Fatty cold-water fish like sardines, mackerel, herring and wild salmon
  • Pastured pork, including pork belly and bacon
  • Red meat and lamb, grass-fed and finished

PLANT FOOD SOURCES

  • Avocado
  • Chocolate, preferably dark
  • Coconut (oil, butter, milk, cream)
  • Nuts and nut butters (in moderation, preferably raw/unroasted)
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Seeds (pumpkin, chia, sesame, flax, hemp)

POURING AND SPREADING FAT SOURCES

The things you drizzle, spread, or spoon over your food (or into your smoothie or coffee) straight from the bottle including: extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, hemp oil, nut oils, nut butters, MCT oil (liquid coconut), cacao butter, dairy butter, and ghee.

COOKING FAT SOURCES

Animal fats like ghee and butter, duck fat, pork fat, chicken fat, tallow (to sear your protein); plant oils like coconut oil, sustainably sourced palm oil, avocado oil, and quality olive oils.

Enjoy – and dig in!

Adapted from my book, How To Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life.

 

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