02 Jul EAT FAT, GET SKINNY
Eat Fat, Get Skinny
That’s right. This is NOT a joke. If you eat fat, you will lose weight. Don’t get too excited, folks. I’m NOT saying that by eating chocolate cake and pizza pockets every day you are going to get skinny. You are NOT. (damn!) Sorry. But there are healthy fats that our bodies need. And by making them a part of your daily diet, you will lose weight. Hooray!
The theory that eating fat makes you fat is an antiquated thought in the fast-paced, ever-changing recommendations of the FDA and the billion dollar weight-loss industry. In 1977, the FDA recommended a low-fat diet. Food manufacturers subsequently rushed to put their new, “healthier” low-fat and non-fat foods on the supermarket shelves. However, by taking the fat out, the food tasted horrible! So what did the food manufacturers do? They added extra sugar. (See the blog, Still Fat?) And by consuming these lower fat foods, we ironically got fatter and fatter. We were all brainwashed into believing that eating fat would make us fat. Eating fat does NOT make us fat, folks. It’s the extra sugar added to processed foods that makes us fat. We actually need fat to be healthy. Fat is necessary for our bodies to store, transport, and absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. (See the blog, Bones of Steel). In addition, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats must be supplied by the foods we eat. Our bodies don’t make them. So if your skin is dry and your hair is frizzy and dull, you probably are not eating enough fat. This does not mean that you should sit down with a quart of Cake-Batter ice-cream. That, my friends, will go straight to your ass or thighs (or for some of us, that spare tire around our mid-sections). Ugh! “Good fats,” however, should be added to our diets. These fats make our hair and skin youthful and shiny. They satisfy our hunger and keep cravings at bay.
These are the top 10 “good fats” that should be eaten daily.
1. Avocados: Avocados have 30 grams of heart-healthy fat, the kind that lowers bad cholesterol. I personally eat 1/2 an avocado every day. I use it as a condiment on a sandwich (instead of mayo), slice and eat it with a veggie-packed omelet, or use a couple of them to make guacamole (See the recipe, The Best Guacamole- EVER!).
2. Olive Oil: We’ve been hearing for years how olive oil and the Mediterranean diet is good for you. It reduces high blood pressure and inflammation and is loaded with antioxidants. Store-bought salad dressings are often loaded with sugar; it’s much healthier to make your own. For a basic lemon vinaigrette, squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk for 30 seconds. This is also a great marinade for chicken or fish.
3. Fatty Fish: Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, trout and herring are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends eating these fatty fish at least two times per week. If you are not a fish-lover, then take a supplement. On days that I don’t eat fatty fish as a meal, I take a codfish liver oil supplement.
4. Nuts: Nuts have been a part of my diet for well over a decade. In fact, not a day goes by that I don’t eat at least a handful of raw almonds. They are not only full of the good fats that our bodies need, but they’re also packed with fiber. The fiber keeps us feeling full and keeps sugar cravings at bay. (See the blog, Little Tricks to Curb Your Cravings). In addition, nuts are loaded with protein, vitamin E and magnesium.
5. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has gotten a bad rap in the past, due to its high concentration of saturated fat. However, not all fats are created equal. The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil actually have medicinal properties, which include increasing brain function, accelerating fat loss (particularly around the waistline), and significantly reducing appetite. In addition, coconut oil has been shown to increase energy expenditure by as much as 5% within a 24-hour period. This could potentially lead to significant weight loss over the long term. For all these reasons, coconut oil is fast becoming known as a super-food. There are many ways to consume coconut oil, the easiest being to use it for cooking, as well as in baked goods. A new trend, however, is to mix a tablespoon of coconut oil into your morning coffee. It gives your morning jolt a nutty flavor and suppresses your appetite throughout the day.
6. Chia Seeds: Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 9 grams of good fat. They are 20% fiber-loaded carbohydrate and 80% fat. But this isn’t just any sort of fat. Chia seeds are full of Omega-3s. In addition, they have anti-inflammatory properties as well as numerous other health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure. One of the more popular ways to eat these small dark seeds is to make chia pudding. Mix 1/4 cup of seeds into 1 cup of liquid (I use almond milk or pomegranate juice). The seeds will expand into a gel-type tapioca in as little as 15 minutes. You can store the “pudding” in the refrigerator for several days. Dry chia seeds can also be sprinkled on salads, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or blended in your energy drinks.
7. Whole Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein. There was a time when egg whites were all the rage because a whole egg (more specifically, the yolk) held all of the fat. Well, hallelujah! Since we’re no longer “fat free,” we can all feel good about eating the whole egg again! We need the yolk for vitamin K, especially since it’s difficult to find grass-fed beef any more.
8. Dark Chocolate: Yep, dark chocolate made it into the top 10. Hooray! This is, of course, in moderation. If you had 1-3 squares of dark chocolate per day, great! If you are eating dark chocolate M&M’s by the bag-full…Hello?… bad. Let’s be reasonable, folks. Don’t search for the justification. (See the blog, Own It). Search for dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. It is loaded with antioxidants and plays an important role in cardiovascular heath. In addition, dark chocolate provides 50% of the recommended daily allowance of copper, iron, manganese, and magnesium.
9. Flax Seeds: One tablespoon of whole flaxseed contains over 4 grams of good fat. In addition, flax seeds are high in antioxidants and fiber. Sprinkle them on your cereal, salad or in your soups.
10. Full-Fat Unsweetened Greek Yogurt (maybe): To be completely honest, I don’t eat ANY dairy. I have a dairy allergy which was undiagnosed for years. I firmly believe that allergies to dairy are grossly under-diagnosed. But most nutritionists agree that unsweetened Greek yogurt is a healthy part of a diet and has valuable probiotics necessary for a healthy digestive system. Be careful here, folks. Most of the yogurts on the grocery store shelves are loaded with sugar. If you are going to eat yogurt, make sure it is full-fat and unsweetened Greek yogurt. Sprinkle it with 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or chia seeds for an extra dose of healthy fat and fiber. So there you have it. Add these good fats to your diet every day to keep yourself healthy, your hunger at bay, and your waistline slim.