When I was younger I used to try a different diet almost every week. No surprise really…I was a teenager in the 90’s – the decade of low-fat/no-fat foods. Remember Snackwells? Yeah I was all over those things!! When I was about 15 I read that one should not have more than 25 grams of fat a day. I pretty much took that one and ran with it. For years I would constantly aim for as little fat as possible, always trying to stay as far under that magic 25 grams as I could. Jeez, I was so misguided! LOL
Fast forward to my early 20’s when I started having some MAJOR health issues that I could not figure out! I was constantly sick, had achy joints, my digestion had gone from bad to worse and my periods were all over the place. I went to countless doctors but all the tests came back negative. According to the docs I was fine.
However, I was not feeling fine. It’s not like I was lying in a hospital bed but I felt unhealthy even though I kept being told that I was okay. My skin was dry, so were my eyes and hair. No matter how much water I drank I still felt dehydrated and it seemed that the food I was eating wasn’t being absorbed.
Let’s just say that this period of my life served as my wake-up call. Since that time I’ve cleaned up my diet and lifestyle significantly. I kicked the processed junk-food habit and starting eating a LOT more veggies and whole grains. But fat? Sure I’d cook with olive oil but that was the extent of my knowledge on fat.
And then Sally Fallon (author of Nourishing Traditions and founder of the Weston A. Price foundation) spoke at my school The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Check out the Weston A. Price Foundation website, it’s a goldmine!
Here is what she had to say: Many years ago Dr. Price traveled all over the world and found that people from indigenous cultures ate very different diets but had common health characteristics. They did not suffer from the modern-day diseases. When these people moved from their remote villages to industrialized areas and were exposed to processed foods for the first time, they got sick!
I’m sure you’re wondering “what does this have to do with fat?” Well, as Sally explained, traditional diets ate meat – with all the skin, organs and fat included. Some cultures ate little meat but plenty of whole, raw milk. In short, naturally occurring fats were an important part of their daily diets.
So the bottom line is our bodies require a certain amount of fat to function. Did you know that 60% of your brain is fat? And that there is more fat than protein in breast milk. It’s also super important for fertility too. Traditional cultures rarely, if ever, experienced infertility. Yet infertility affects six million American women every year and it is a $2 billion industry. Our low fat/no fat craze is literally making us infertile!
I know that the idea of letting go and eating those vilified saturated fats is not your idea of healthy. But let’s refer back to what Dr. Price found. His findings clearly show that natural foods (including animal products with saturated fats) lead to good health, but modern, processed foods lead to a serious decline in health. By the way, when I talk about animal foods, I’m talking about sustainably raised organic foods…not that factory farmed shit.
Sally Fallon also told us that she eats half a stick of organic raw butter in her oatmeal every morning. There was an audible gasp in the room. How could that be possible!? She then went on to say that the fat in dairy products is essential for absorbing vitamins and calcium and that low-fat dairy products just leave the body wondering where the rest of the food is. Basically, there is a reason that certain foods have fat in them. Mother nature knows what’s up!
Since learning all this I began cooking with butter and even coconut oil. I also started using sesame oil and walnut oil in different recipes. I eat avocados, flax seed and chia seeds and lots of nuts. I also take my Omega-3’s! I no longer feel dry and brittle and I haven’t gained any weight either 🙂
I know this might be a new concept for you so here is some more information: