Differentiating healthy fats vs. unhealthy fats is crucial when it comes to your health and a balanced diet. Healthy fats are necessary for good health. The fat phobia in our food culture has endangered our health, esepcially since its focus is on quantity as opposed to quality and individual requirement. Good fats are building blocks for cell membranes, protection for organs and cells, compenants of nerve insulation and transmission; all our nerves have a coating of fat, regulation of body temperature, regulation of metabolism, calming to the nervous system, carrier for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K, slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, primary source of energy for the heart, aids use of protein and minerals in the body and good for the brain (60% of the brain is fat!!). Fat is used to store/maintain energy, make/balance hormones, transport vitamins, keep the immune system strong and is needed for clear thinking, healthy skin, hair, eyes, nails and even helps maintain a healthy weight. Essential fatty acids help conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, PMS, ADHD, eczema, inflammation, pain, menopausal symptoms, depression, cancer and immune function.
Americans typically consume large quantities of damaged fats, which are found in packaged and processed food, commercially baked goods and fried foods. Damaged fats are fats that have been oxidized due to high heat processing, which removes healthful nutrients and creates lipid compounds that the body cannot utilize for healthy cell building. Damaged fats create free radicals in the body, which causes damage to tissue, cells and DNA. Damaged fats slow neurotransmitters in the brain and slows metabolism. Health effects of Trans Fats are: low birth weight infants, low quality and volume of breast milk, reduced visual acuity in infants, greater risk of childhood asthma, increase rate of heart disease, decrease in sperm production, elevated LDL cholesterol, increased rate of cancer and diabetes, increase in obesity and essential fatty acid deficiencies due to enzyme interference. Our bodies do not have enzymes that recognize trans fats.
Excess animal food consumptions leads to an imbalance of omega 3 and omega 6. Animal foods contain excess omega 6, so we need more omega 3 for a healthy balance.
-Margarine & vegetable shortening
-Partially hydrogenated fats
-Saturated fats, in excess (no more than 25% of daily intake)
-dried milk (including the dried milk added to low fat dairy products)
-Un-pasteurized, organic, grass-fed dairy (it is loaded with Omega 3 fats, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, X factor and Wulzen factor, and is high in CLA -supports immune system, eicosanoid/prostaglandin formation, blood sugar control and weight control).
-Ghee (clarified, organic butter)
-Coconut: organic, unrefined (saturated, but still a healthy fat)
-Eggs: organic, free-range
-Fish (especially salmon and sardines)
-Seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin, hemp, sunflower)
-Olive oil, grapeseed oil, flaxseed oil, rosemary oil: cold-pressed, unrefined, organic
Cook with coconut oil and ghee as they are stable at high temperatures. Eggs should be lightly scrambled or poached to maintain nutrient content in the yolk (yolk is the most important!). The serving size for eggs is 2-3 (not exceeding 15 eggs/per week). Oils should be drizzled on salads, dips or already cooked foods. The serving size for oils is 1 Tablespoon. Nuts and seeds can be can be thrown into smoothies, soups, salads, on cooked foods, grains & used for baking. The serving size for nuts & seeds is 2 Tablespoons.
Recipe (great to keep on hand for a satiating snack):
-4 T coconut flakes (unsulfured. I like Bob’s Red Mill brand)
-2 T Almonds (unpasteurized)
-2 T pumpkin seeds (I like Go Raw Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds)
-1 T sunflower seeds
-2 T organic raisins
*Prepration for nuts/seeds: Always soak nuts & seeds (with the exception of flaxseed & chia seed) in filtered water with sea salt for 8-12 hours. Soaking, sprouting and roasting at 105 makes nuts and seeds much more digestible. Sprouted is even better. Drain, rinse with filtered water, pat dry and eat immediately or (more tasty option) put in your oven at 105 degrees for a few hours until they are dehydrated (or you can buy a dehydrator and use it to make jerky & dried fruit as well!).
**Storage Tips: Store nuts and seeds in the refrigerator for longer keep. Avocados should be left at room temp. for a few days until they are soft and ready to eat. It can be kept in the fridge for up to a week. If you only eat part of an avo, it will keep for one day in the fridge as long as the pit is stored in contact with the flesh. Store oils in dark, cool, dry places. Store olives in glass containers (not plastic!) for several weeks. Store one stick of organic butter in the fridge and the rest in the freezer until you want to use it.