When most people think about choosing healthy foods, they think low-fat or fat-free. When fat is mentioned, it is usually in the form of liquid vegetable or nut oils and only used sparingly. Fats clog our arteries, thicken our waistlines, and will certainly kill us, right?
Wrong! Almost everything you’ve been taught about fat is wrong, and we need some serious reprogramming to realize that fat is not our enemy. In fact, healthy fats are incredibly important to our diet and are not to be feared!
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When I say healthy fats, I’m not talking about liquid vegetable oils. While we’ll cover good fats versus bad fats in the the next post, I will tell you know that traditional fats (think butter, lard, tallow, olive oil, and coconut oil) are extremely healthy despite the constant claims on the contrary.
The Many Misconceptions of Fat
Fat has gotten such a bad reputation in our society with many claims laid against it. However, many of these claims are being proved false!
- Saturated fat clogs arteries and causes heart disease. Research is starting to come out to prove what many traditional food proponents have been saying for a long time: heart disease has more to do with sugar and other modern diet traits than it does with long-used saturated fat.
- Eating fat makes us fat. Mary Enig is a PhD. doctor who has devoted much of her professional career to defending fats and proving that the right fats can actually help us lose weight or remain at a healthy weight!
- Fat only adds empty calories to our diet. Rather, fat makes fat-soluble vitamins available to our bodies, can be a source of much-needed vitamins, and supports our skeletal and immune systems!
Eating Fat Makes Sense
If your read an old cookbook, let’s say from the turn of the 1900s, you’ll find recipes loaded with fats like butter, lard, and tallow. Generations past weren’t afraid of fats, and we shouldn’t be either! If you really think about it, eating a diet with a generous amount of fat really makes sense.
- Fat makes us feel full and keeps us full longer. Many dieters don’t stick with their plans because they are left feeling hungry, but when fat isn’t limited, we feel full after a reasonable amount of food. That means less snacking and an easier time keeping portions at their right size.
- God put fat and protein together. Eggs come with their yolks, beef is prized for its marbling, and milk has its cream. Being one who believes that God makes no mistakes, it seems clear to me that eating fat and protein together might be a good idea!
- Fat makes food taste better. And the crowd said…. “Duh!” But think about it. We are designed to enjoy fat. I say it again: I don’t believe God makes mistakes.
Letting Go of My Fat Phobia
I was a dedicated drinker of skim milk. I made my poor husband eat green split pea burgers (to which he kindly explained that burgers are made of meat, not split peas). Chicken was the boneless skinless kind. Fat in my food made me nervous.
Once I was introduced to the concept of real food and started taking my baby steps, I was so nervous that buying 4% cottage cheese, trading turkey bacon for the real deal, and enjoying lots of butter was going to start packing on the pounds. I read so many claims about people actually losing weight while eating lots of fat, but what if it didn’t work for me?
Friends, I am here to tell you that I never gained a pound from eating fat. Neither did my husband, and our children are very lean and healthy. A friend of mine who was doing some of the same dietary changes that we were lost an impressive amount of weight by quitting candy and eating lots of butter. Best of all, we felt great.
I lost my fat phobia, and it’s never returned. The amount of fat we eat might shock some people, but you couldn’t convince me for a moment to go back to my old skim milk ways.
Since this series is all about keeping it simple, I left out all sorts of information on the chemical makeup of fats, their classifications, specific research studies, and more. However, you very well may want more information! I highly encourage you to check out the following resources as they provided much of the information presented here.
- Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
- Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Mary Enig, PhD.
- Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, DDS (Note: His studies of traditional, non-industrialized cultures are absolutely fascinating! They prized fat!)
- Know Your Fats from the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website (The article The Skinny on Fats is especially informative)
- The Healthy Eating Made Simple Pinterest board where I’ll be pinning many more helpful blog posts and articles on fat this week.
What do you think about eating a diet high in fat? Love it? Afraid of it? Not too sure? Let me hear your thoughts!
Please remember that the only kind of doctor I am is Dr. Mom in my own home. This post isn’t medical advice and can’t replace the counsel of a caring and well-trained medical professional