As I was cooking my dinner tonight, some kale and collards in coconut oil, pan-frying some chicken in olive oil, and spreading a sweet potato with coconut butter, a fleeting thought passed through my mind…very rarely, if ever, do I look at nutrition labels now.
I just don’t.
And it’s amazingly freeing!
For years, I studied nutrition labels like I was studying for my boards.
At 10-years-old, I remember standing in my kitchen pantry and memorizing the fat grams, calories and sugars on every box of cereal, granola bar and canned food item in there.
If I went to the grocery store, I’d obsess over the different labels of similar fods—picking and choosing the ‘best’ one (ie. The least amount of fat and calories)—from sliced turkey, to salad dressings, to yogurt.
I’d surf the web to uncover how many calories and fat were in various dishes and menu items at restaurants I’d be going to.
I would never EVER choose or use any food with fat content, such oils for cooking, meats with natural fat like chicken sausage, bison or whole eggs, or raw nuts and seeds for that matter.
Fear. Fear of fat and getting fat.
Guess what? News flash…Eating fat will not make you fat.
This is one of the most common reservations I hear from people when we start talking about nutrition and diet.
“But I’m scared that will be too much fat.”
In fact, did you know that eating the quality fats your body needs to optimally function will actually boost your metabolism, enliven your brain, balance your hormones, regulate your appetite and food consumption, support your organs and cells, and give you a surge of energy?
Consuming fats will make your body more efficient at using fats (from your diet and your fat stores) for fuel.
“Politically correct nutrition” is based on the assumption that we should decrease our intake of fats, particularly saturated fats from animal sources. Fats from animal sources also contain cholesterol—ie. the ‘villain’ of a civilized diet. In addition, the common ‘Standard American Diet’ has told us for years that ‘heart healthy’, and a healthy diet, equals low fat.
Think: Special K breakfast cereal with Skim or 1% milk for breakfast, a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread and a side of carrot sticks and pretzels for lunch, an apple and fat-free yogurt for a snack, and a bowl of whole-grain spaghetti noodles with marinara sauce and a side salad, or a Lean Cuisine frozen meal, for dinner.
Quite the contrary, most people actually benefit from more fat than less fat. Quality fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, flax seed, coconut oil, animal fats, fatty fish (salmon), egg yolks, grassfed butter, raw soaked nuts and seeds, nutbutter, coconut butter and flakes and avocado, are all valuable sources to add to your daily diet.
This, coming from a gal who, at one time, made it her goal to eat less then 0.5 grams of fat per day in all her food combine.
Today, I’ve never felt better or healthier than I do now, and I eat more fat than I ever did when I was more diet-conscious and consumed with striving to be an image on the cover of a magazine.
If there is one piece of advice I could give any of you who are hesitate to ‘take the plunge’ and eat the yolk, cook with the oil and don’t fear the red meat.