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8 Weeks to REAL FOOD Week 3: FATS

~~Let’s get down and dirty, folks…. Let’s talk about fats.


Remember, our goal here is to eat REAL FOOD. Which means no to little processing. And when processed, we want it done without chemicals.


Myth: Fat is BAD.
FACT: Fat is essential to our health!  (oils are necessary for optimal cognitive functioning. The brain is comprised of approximately 2/3 fatty acids. The brain requires fatty acids for it to function as it should. Fatty acids are important for childhood development-particularly regarding reading abilities, spelly, auditory memory, speech and overall intelligence. )

Myth: Vegetable oil is a healthy fat
FACT: vegetable oil is an over-processed, toxic brew your body doesn’t even recognize as food! (turning a vegetable into an oil is a highly involved process of bleaching, deodorizing, and treatment with chemicals. The resulting oils are linked to free radical damage and degenerative conditions. Hydrogenated oils have the ability to cross into the brain. They adhere to receptor sites for DHA (good fat) which causes a hastening in the aging process, particularly as it relates to cognitive functioning.)

Myth: we should limit fats in our diet
FACT: our bodies run on fat and most people do not get enough (with out good fats, your body will actually feel like it’s starving and will kick into “survival mode”.. storing whatever food you  do eat as body fat, as if in preparation for a famine. Fat also helps to balance blood sugar spikes that happen after consuming sugar or refined carbohydrates. )

FAT LINGO:


Saturated fat: fat molecules that have a single bond between them and as many hydrogen atoms as possible are bonded to the carbon atom.
 Saturated fats are needed for the production of hormones, the stabilization of cellular membranes, the padding around organs, and for energy. A deficiency in the consumption of saturated fats can lead to age-related declines in white blood cell function, along with dysfunction of the immune system and even cancer.

Unsaturated Fat: Fat molecules that have a double bond between them.
Unsaturated fats (except trans fats) are usually considered good. These fats are known to increase the levels of High Density Lipoprotein and hence decrease the bad cholesterol. A diet hight with unsaturated fats helps to lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in the blood.

Trans Fats/Hydrogenated: Hydrogenation is the chemical name for the addition of hydrogen to an existing molecule, usually an organic molecule which has a double-bond between two carbon atoms. That bond is broken and a hydrogen atom binds to each of the free bonds on adjacent carbon atoms.
This is achieved by forcing hydrogen, at high temperature (250-400C) and pressure into the liquid oil, usually in the presence of a catalyst such as nickel or platinum, over several hours. Unfortunately, the process can't control where the hydrogen atoms are added to the molecule, resulting in a mixture of totally unnatural fats, many of which are trans fatty acids. Fatty acids are the "building blocks" of fats, in much the same way as amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.  The resulting fats are totally unnatural hydrogenated fats.
The consequences of of creating hydrogenated fats are:
• The melting point of the oil is raised, turning many previously liquid oils into solids.
• Shelf-life is increased, as the resulting oil is less susceptible to degrading over time
• All nutritional value in the original oil is lost.
• The texture of the resultant solid can be made to resemble that of natural, animal fats.
• The previously perfectly natural oil becomes a totally unnatural, dangerous, relatively undigestable "plastic".
• Tissues made with the "false" fat cannot function properly, as thousands of enzymes can't bind to them, giving rise to a host of disease states.


GOOD FATS
• Provide energy
• Are the building blocks of cells and hormones
• Help satiate your appetite
• Are a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K

 
  Fabulous chart courtesy of www.balanced bites


Now for me, I have gotten down to using mainly 3 oils in my cooking. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE using Coconut Oil. I use it on everything!!! Especially popcorn (heck, I even use it for lotion, face wash, baby butt balm) Coconut oil is FANTASTIC!!. I use a good organic cold pressed olive oil for pasta salads, salad dressing and such. I am also staring to incorporate animal fats into my cooking. Right now, I save all my bacon fat (since I purchase good grass fed bacon). I cannot tell you how awesome roasted potatoes and pan seared venison backstraps taste when cooked with bacon fat.

 

How to make the switch
1. Start by going through your panty and reading the ingredients on the products you currently have. Pay extra attention to products that contain flour, as they most likely contain hydrogenated oils
2. When you replace these products, look for a brand that doesn’t contain hydrogenated oils. You will have to start shopping in the organic section for this if you can’t find one on the shelf next to your usually purchased products.
3. Time to delve into your fridge. Margarine is plastic. Who wants to eat plastic? Find yourself some real butter. Coconut oil easily replaces any type of shortening ingredient in a recipe.
4. Consider adding in some of the different types of good oils to your diet. It’s easy to add in some healthy fats. Try tossing in a handful of walnuts or almonds into your favorite recipe. I love carrying around a bag of almonds in my purse for those moments when I’m away from home starving. You will be amazed that just 4-5 almonds will satisfy.

READ YOUR LABLES: it is a must. Some item may say “healthy” or “zero trans-fats” but the ingredient label will tell you what is in the product.


Now, just as in everything else: MODERATION. We are not suggesting you go overboard on fats. Only that you look at the fats your are currently consuming and switch them out for REAL fats. Choosing healthy fat options such as nuts and fish over processed oils like canola or margarine will greatly improve your inflammation, memory, attention span, weight loss, and more

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