Dietary fat: is it good or bad?
Both. You see, not all fats are created equal.
When I started to learn more about eating real food, I was over the moon to discover saturated fats from appropriate sources were actually GOOD for me. No more butter substitutes and low-fat ice cream for me and my family! Mother Nature doesn’t make mistakes. There are natural fats for a reason.
The Skinny on Fats
Heavily processed, hydrogenated “trans” fats used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body. They can compromise the cardiovascular system, immune system, and contribute to behavior problems. They can also lead to weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, and liver strain.
That said, our bodies need fat for insulation, vitamin and mineral absorption, and to protect our organs. High-quality fats can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair, and nails, and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly.
Where to Find Healthy Fats
Avocados, olives, butter from grass fed cows, and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with wild salmon and omega-3 rich organic eggs.
Other sources include whole nuts and seeds, and their butter like almond butter or tahini. The least processed, the better. Look for raw nuts and nut butter without a lot of extra ingredients. Nut butter is easy to make at home with a food processor. It takes a bit of time to process the nuts into a creamy butter, but is can be done with a little bit of patience 😉
Look for the highest-quality organic oils when shopping. Words to look for: organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin, and unrefined. Avoid expeller-pressed, refined, and solvent extracted.
How to Use Healthy Fats
For cooking at high temperatures (stir frying and baking), try butter, ghee (clarified butter), or coconut oil.
When sautéing foods, try organic extra virgin olive oil. Word of caution, olive oil is best used at low temperatures. High heat damages the molecules and causes rancidity and toxicity. Extra virgin olive oil is one of the best oils for salad dressings. It’s not only tasty, the fats will help your body absorb the nutrients in the salad.
Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut, and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings.
Try These Delicious, Easy Recipes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients together except extra virgin olive oil in small bowl.
Slowly add in extra virgin olive oil to emulsify.
Tip: You can add the ingredients at once into a shaker jar, food processor, or blender.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Makes 1 cup
1 large peeled and pitted avocado
2/3 cup plain yogurt, goat yogurt, coconut yogurt, or almond yogurt
1 diced tomato
a squirt of lemon or lime juice
dash or two of cayenne pepper
sea salt and black pepper
Mash avocado with a fork until very smooth.
Add yogurt, tomato, cayenne. Blend until smooth. This may be done in a food processor, in a blender, or with a fork.
Add sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste.
Serve chilled with mixed raw vegetables.
Tip: Best made a maximum of 1 hour before serving.
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