You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times before by now on my blog: Fat does a body good.

Fat…

  1. Balances Hormones. Your cortisol levels need fat to remain balanced (when we aren’t getting enough fat, our cortisol—stress hormones—gets out of whack, elevating cortisol, holding onto stubborn body fat and leaving us burning a candle at both ends—never able to ‘catch up’ or feel fully energized or rested)
  2. Aids in Digestion. Fat lubricates your intestinal and digestive system to help things flow smoothly and not ferment in our guts for too long.
  3. Boosts Brain Function. Your brain is over 60% fat itself—and it needs fat to think straight and operate at its peak.
  4. Fights Inflammation. Healthy fat—especially saturated fats, like coconut oil, ghee, egg yolks, animal meats and butter—prevents inflammation from building in your body.
  5. Absorbs Your Nutrients. It helps us ABSORB all the vitamins and minerals from our food.
  6. Is Yummy. It makes everything taste better. 

So which fats to choose?

Most folks talk about nuts, avocados, olive oil, nutbutter, and coconut oil when it comes to fat…but what if I told you a secret source that you’re missing out on?

Psst…You gotta try one of these:

Animal Fats!

tallow-usesretail-duck-fat1tub-of-lard

ANIMAL FAT 101

Seriously Lauryn? Animal fat? That sounds disgusting.

I thought so too.

In fact, when I heard the term: “Animal fats”—I typically envisioned the fatty skin on a chicken breast that you trim if you don’t want to eat gristle.

But cooking with animal fats is wayyyyy different.

Meet:

Lard: Pork fat.

Tallow: Beef fat.

Duck fat: Uh…duck fat.

Three different types of cooking fats that give your body a BOOST of much-needed:

  • Saturated fats (for brain health and metabolic function),
  • Omega-3’s (like those found in salmon),
  • Antioxidants and vitamins…
  • Plus make your veggies, and eggs, and potatoes, and meats taste good—like really good.

Here’s the low down (BONUS: Plus a recipe for experimenting with EACH of ‘em):

RENDERED FATS

Each of the following animal fats are known as “rendered animal fats.”

“Rendering” refers to the processing of animal products into more “useful materials”: the rendering of whole animal fatty tissue into purified fats like lard or tallow.

LARD

What It Is?

Lard is “pork fat”, and is composed of both saturated (the type in egg yolks and butter) and monounsaturated fats (the type in olive oil)—giving you a variety booster in your fats.

It is one of the oldest cooking fats—found in practically every culture that cultivated pigs (meaning, it came before the processed food generation).

Benefits

  • Not as oily as olive oil, coconut oil or butter on veggies
  • Great for cooking at high heat (meats)—it does not go rancid
  • Your great-grandmother ate it (so duh, it’s good for you)
  • Neutral tasting (Allows you to naturally taste foods, without overpowering them)
  • Pastured Pork has LOTS of vitamin D (2nd highest food source after cod liver oil), plus Vitamins A, E & K
  • Cost-effective (Compared to Ghee, coconut oil, olive oil)
  • Heart protective healthy cholesterol (not bad for you)

Uses

  • Sautee and roast veggies
  • In mashed cauliflower or potatoes
  • Bake into baked goods (like my coconut flour cornbread muffins below)


What to Choose?

  • Lard is in stores now! Fat Works and Epic both make versions of the “new” facelifted version of the fat.
  • Opt for a “Pasture raised” Lard when looking for sustainability and ensuring you are getting the biggest bang for your nutrient buck

Try This:

Cornbread Muffins

Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup lard (or ghee), melted
  • 4 pasture raised eggs
  • 2-3 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk eggs
  3. Mix all ingredients together until smooth
  4. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cup lined tins
  5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until fork comes out clean

TALLOW

What It Is

Tallow is rendered “beef fat” for cooking—or more specifically “rendered suet” (the nutrient-dense fat that surrounds the organs of cows and deers).

Fun fact: McDonald’s used to fry their fries in real beef tallow until, for “better health” reasons, they were forced to use hydrogenated oils (vegetable) instead…the “cancer causing” and metabolic destroyers.

Benefits

  • Saturated fats for maintaining healthy skin tone and cell integrity
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamins A, D, E and K
  • CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)- a fat burner
  • Anti-inflammatory for your body
  • Digestive wellness-
  • Reduces symptoms of constipation and IBS

Uses

  • Scramble eggs
  • Sautee mushrooms
  • Pan-fry potatoes

What to Choose?

Try This:

Sweet Potato Tallow Fries

Ingredients

  • 2 Sweet Potatoes (I used Garnet)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Tallow, Melted
  • Cinnamon or Sea Salt (you choose)
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Wash and dry sweet potatoes
  3. Slice sweet potatoes into wedges and line parchment lined baking sheet
  4. Drizzle with tallow + cinnamon
  5. Bake for 40-60 minutes, to desired ‘crispiness’

DUCK FAT

What It Is

Fat from ducks

Benefits

  • High in monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, olives, avocado)
  • Healthy saturated fats
  • Choline (liver function, normal brain development, nerve function, muscle movement, supporting energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism)

Uses

  • Scramble eggs
  • Sautee Veggies
  • Sear meats and seafood
  • Pan-fry potatoes

What to Choose?

 

Try This:

Duck Fat Sauteed Mushrooms & Greens

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cups Cremini mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. Duck Fat
  • 2-3 Garlic cloves, peed
  • 2 Heaping handfuls Baby Spinach
Directions:
  1. Heat duck fat in pan on medium heat
  2. Add mushrooms and garlic to begin sautéing
  3. When tender
  4. Add greens + a splash of water
  5. Cover with lid
  6. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally until greens have wilted (about 3-4 minutes)

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