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Thanks for stopping by! I'm young, I'm in love with my man, and I'm a mommy. We're busy, but happy. I'll share with you how to eat natural, healthy, whole foods while balancing family life! Learn to love your food, it will love you back!
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest Post Series-Healthy Fats

The Good Stuff: Healthy Fats

Are you surprised by my topic today?  Do you cringe when you hear the word FAT? Well, it may come as a surprise to some of you that healthy fats are, in fact, essential for a healthy life.

We have been so brain-washed as a society today.  We have been led to believe that low-fat and fat-free eating is better for us and will lead to weight loss. What the big companies don’t tell you is that in those fat-free and low-fat products lie large amounts of sugar!  Think you’re making a better choice by using that low fat mayonnaise rather than a smashed avocado (with naturally occurring fats mind you), on your sandwich?  Think again.

We have been told that if using oil is necessary, in cooking, baking, etc., then the best oils are safflower, canola and soy. However these oils, already highly processed, are carcinogenic when heated over 400 degrees!!! I don’t know about you but I don’t want to put that into my body.
Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA’s) are essential for our bodies to function; for silky hair, smooth skin and cellular function everywhere in the body. Organic virgin coconut oil has the highest levels of MCFA’s, but unfortunately, thanks to a very successful political campaign by the soy industry, tropical oils (coconut and palm) are practically a swear word in our society because they are saturated and said to cause heart disease.

The studies that were published about saturated fats (over 60 years ago) did not distinguish among all the different kinds of saturated fats (factory-farmed beef, grass-fed beef, Crisco, coconut oil). It turns out it is actually the trans fat that is linked to heart disease not good sources of saturated fat.  

Look at two civilizations, the Inuits and Pacific Islanders, hardly affected by western civilization and with little to no occurrence of heart disease.  The Inuits live off a diet which consists of large amounts of whale blubber.  The Pacific Islanders’ diet is up to 60 % fat and most that is from saturated fat from coconut.

So, what are the good fats?  Luckily, there are many to choose from.

Tropical Oils (Like coconut and palm)
-Coconut oil is pretty easy to find; the less processed the better.  Virgin coconut oil will have a slight smell and taste of coconut, whereas a more processed coconut oil will be odorless and tasteless.  However, there are tons of health benefits with virgin coconut oil (too many to name, but a worthwhile investment of your time to research it.) Use coconut oil in cooking and baking and even as a skin moisturizer! I also use it in my granola and put a spoonful in my kids’ hot cereal.

Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed.  This should not be heated in order to gain the most health benefits from it.  It is great for salad dressings and drizzling on top of things. “Light tasting” olive oil is more processed and can be used in sautéing and pan-frying.  I wouldn’t use it in baking because of its strong taste, unless the recipe specifically calls for it.
Nuts and Seeds
-You can buy a variety of nuts and seeds that will supply you with healthy fats, but make sure they are raw and unsalted.  I usually find them in the bulk section of a local grocery store. You can use them to make nut milks, nut butters, in granola, or just eat them whole.

Avocado and flax oil are also good sources of healthy fats
Good sources of fat should comprise about 10% of your total calories. The ratio is not difficult to achieve when your diet consists mainly of greens, vegetables, fruits and legumes.  Eat high-fat whole plant foods like avocados, olives, seeds and nuts of all varieties every day.  Avoid fake fats like margarine, and shortening (and other hydrogenated fats such as rapeseed oil found in low-quality peanut butters), vegetable oils, and any processed oil. Avoid animal fats like lard or bacon grease as well.

Coming up...whole grains, protein, sugar and staying "whole."

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