Fat is your friend. That’s right, you need to eat fat to be healthy, but there’s a catch. Some types can kill you slowly, while others can make you healthier. Knowing the difference is essential, for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
It’s time to set the record straight about why fat is your friend, how to distinguish the good from the bad, and how to incorporate more of the good stuff into your diet.
Get Friendly With Fat
Fat tastes good.
When the food we eat is tasty and good for us, we are more likely to continue to eat healthy. It can also help break the cycle of yo-yo, fat-phobic diets that just don’t work.
Fat is filling.
Fat makes us feel full and satiated, which is great for people whose between-meal snacking habits don’t serve their optimal health. Bio-individuality has a lot to do with this.
Fat is fuel.
Fat helps supply each cell in our body with energy. It provides essential fatty acids necessary for strong cell growth, healthy skin and good metabolism. It also helps our bodies absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E and K.
Fat can heal.
Omega-3s are important for both physical and emotional health. They can help with arthritis, various inflammatory conditions, depression, ADHA, asthma, and also lower the risk of heart disease.
It’s clear. We love fat and so do our bodies. But how do we tell which fats are friends and foes?
Here’s a quick refresher on fats and why you care.
We know why we like fat, and which types are best for us, but how do we actually incorporate the good fats into our diet?
Invite Your New Friends to Join You For a Meal
Here’s a list of 9 foods that everyone, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, can add to their eating lifestyle with pride.
1. Flax seed/flax seed oil
High in Omega-3s, aids digestion and helps with constipation (fats/oils helps lubricate the intestines). Sprinkle on fruit or yogurt, add to smoothies, toss on salads, or bake with them.
2. Chia seeds
Great source of Omega-3s, complete protein, and contains more calcium than milk. Sprinkle raw on cereals, smoothies and salads, make into a pudding, or add to ice tea & juices for a fun texture experience. (Warning: you might fall in love with them)
3. Coconut Oil/Butter/Milk
Healthy form of saturated fat. Great oil for medium- and high-heat cooking. Sautee with it. Put in on toast. Add it to Thai curries. Explore!
4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Avoid using for high heat cooking (it turns into a harmful fat when exposed to high temperatures). Drizzle over salads and steamed veggies, or use in cold grain salads (Quinoa Pilaf is one of my favorites).
Toss them into garden or bean salads, add to pasta dishes, or just indulge and eat them straight from the container (permission granted).
Eat them solo with a squeeze of lime, make guacamole, add to salads, sandwiches, burritos and smoothies (yes, you read that right).
Great source of protein, Omega-3s, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Top picks: raw walnuts, almonds and cashews. Make a homemade trail mix and keep it in your bag or at work for energy boosts. Grind them up and add to your power smoothie in the morning for a creamier texture. Soak overnight to increase digestibility.
Top picks: raw pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds. Sprinkle on salads or morning cereals, add to trail mix, or grind them up and put them in your morning smoothie.
For meat-eaters and vegetarians who occasionally eat fish (also called Pescetarians), oily, cold-water fish such as salmon, trout, halibut and sardines are good sources of Omega-3 oils.
*A few tips if you choose to include fish in your diet:
- Buy wild, sustainably caught fish.
- Avoid farmed fish.
- Be aware of mercury/heavy metal levels – the smaller the fish the better.
- Consider the ocean’s radiation levels (after Fukushima) and make a conscious decision about eating saltwater fish.
No matter who you are or what you eat, healthy fats and oils are an essential key to optimal health and happiness. With so many food choices out there, we have the ability to give our bodies exactly what they need to thrive.
So add in the good stuff, enjoy what you eat, and reap the benefits.