the skinny on fat

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Following on yesterday’s post about sharing more of the overall health and wellness information I learned from my week-long stay at The Biggest Loser Resort, Fitness Ridge, today I’ll be kicking off a 3-part series on nutrition.

Counting calories, or even just being aware of the caloric value of the food we eat is important, but where those calories come from (Fats, Carbs, Protein) matters most of all. Since we all just love to focus on the dirty boy in that trifecta [Fat], let’s start there shall we?

So there’s good fat (believe it or not) and bad fat (quelle grande surprise!).

And the truth is, consuming the right amount of good fat can turn you into a wonderful fat burning machine. It can truly become a “miracle food” in that respect. What? You must be crazy, Nancy!  No, I’m dead serious! The very well qualified nutritionists on staff at BLR told me so.

They even told me 5 reasons to eat good fats!

  1. Your diet needs good fats in order to burn body fat.
  2. Eating good fats provides a more consistent level of energy.
  3. Your brain needs good fats to function properly.
  4. Good fats help you to feel satisfied and won’t leave you hungry.
  5. Good fats have great overall health benefits for your whole body.

Isn’t this stuff fascinating??? No, like really, isn’t it? It certainly was eye-opening to me!

Good fats include: Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated and Good Saturated. The ones listed below are examples of the optimal fat to incorporate into your daily diet.

Monounsaturated Fats:

  • Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Avocados
  • Peanut Butter (organic/natural)
  • Nuts (pecans, almonds, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts, macadamia)
  • Olives

Polyunsaturated Fats:

  • Soybean Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Walnuts
  • Seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin)
  • Flaxseed
  • Chia seeds
  • Fatty Fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines)

Good Saturated Fats:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Palm Oil
  • Real butter (but only in moderation)
  • Meats (organic/free-range/grass-fed: beef, chicken & turkey)

But Fat can also live up to its bad-boy image. Oh yes it can… namely in the form of Hydrogenated, Trans Fat and most Saturated Fat.

Examples of Bad Fats include:

  • Fried foods
  • Bakery goods
  • Packaged snacks
  • High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork)
  • Lard
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Stick and/or tub Margerine
  • Candy Bars
  • Ice cream
  • Cream
  • …pretty much all the tasty stuff you like. 😦

Okay, so let’s face it, some of the stuff in the “bad” list is stuff that we’re going to eat from time to time. Don’t look at me like that! Yeah, sure, just go ahead and pretend you’re never going to have Ben & Jerry’s again. Or a Snickers bar. Or an egg roll. Or a croissant. Or movie theatre popcorn with that hot mess of fake butter stuff on it. I know I will.  (Sorry BLR nutritionists…sometimes you’ve just gotta be bad.)

 

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The great news is, in now knowing about the good fats, and why they’re so important to our diet, I am now making better, smarter and healthier choices. My biggest takeaways that I’ve incorporated into my real life on a daily or near-daily basis are: coconut oil and chia seeds.

 

English: Coconut oil in solid state

 

Coconut oil is FANTASTIC!!! Like hallelujah, the skies just opened up and a divine being just dropped this manna straight from the heavens, fantastic!

I use it to cook with, because a) it’s good for me; and b) it tastes great!

And to quote the Russian Princess, “It looks like lard, and that makes me happy.”  🙂  God, I adore this girl!

Oh, and did I mention, coconut oil is also wonderful for your hair (conditioner), your skin, even my antique dining room table got a new lustre after I rubbed a glob of coconut oil onto it! A miracle food! I love it!!!

English: Chia (Salvia columbariae) seeds Franç...

 

Chia seeds are another easy-peasy thing to incorporate into your daily regime. I sprinkle them on salads; I add them to smoothies; I pretty much throw them on or into just about anything.

They remind me of poppy seeds! Chia seeds are great because they don’t really have a discernible flavour; at least not one that has left an impression on me. So, it’s really some added texture they provide (to salads, etc.) – in addition to being a wonderful addition of good fat to your diet.

And that, my friends, is the skinny on fat!

Get moving!

xoxo nancy

Hey you…pssst… yeah, you over there. Have you followed me on twitter yet? @nancytex  Do it…you know you want to! 😉

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14 thoughts on “the skinny on fat

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  5. So glad you referred me to this! I will definitely hunt for chia seeds.

    There are a few things you mention that I think I might like to question.
    1. Animal fat is bad. Ummm … based on the research I’ve been doing, animal fat is good, PROVIDED the animal in question has been raised on pasture (not grain) and not pumped full of hormones, etc. When beef goes to a feed lot it gets fed a lot of gross stuff to make it grow, and the fat stores those nasties. However, steers like our pretty boys, who get hay through the winter and rich pasture the rest of the time and are bumped off with a minimum of fuss right here at home, have only good stuff in their fat.

    2. Lard is bad. Again, based on my research, CRISCO is bad. Lard from pigs that have been abused and fed substances that we wouldn’t want to consume is potentially toxic. However, leaf lard off the kidneys of a free range pig (preferably pasture-raised) is great stuff. I have a big bag of it in my freezer and will blog about it when I get around to rendering it. It’s just a pity that my new carb-free approach to food won’t give me much opportunity to test it in pastry-making; it’s supposed to be wonderful.

    3. Cream and butter – same as above. As I understand it they’re not at the top of the good fats list, but if you can get them from grass-fed, naturally raised cattle, they’re fine.

    4. Canola oil – I can’t speak definitively about this, but I’m suspicious of it because I don’t believe it’s real food. As I understand it many of the vegetable oils are so heavily processed that they’re not like the original substance in the plant, so I avoid them.

    5. Palm oil – may be healthy and delicious, but the real cost in terms of environmental destruction is huge. Please be aware of this, and avoid using it! http://www.wwf.org.au/our_work/saving_the_natural_world/forests/palm_oil/

    • 1. Animal fat is listed under the good fats section (saturated list) – providing it’s organic – do I think we’re on the same page on thus one.

      2. I’m not sure there’s a nutritionist in the world who’s going to recommend lard, regardless how organic the pig it come from, as a healthy source of fat, BUT if it works for you, carry on, sister!

      3. Same as bullet one. Good saturated fat. (if real butter, not margarine/fake food). 🙂

      4. I don’t use canola oil personally, but it did appear on the list of good sources from the nutritionists and dietitians on staff.

      5. Have never used palm oil. Same as #4.

      The purpose of this post was to share the learnings I’d taken away from daily lectures at the resort. (When we weren’t exercising 6.5 hours per day, we were eating healthy meals and participating in cooking classes and lectures on nutrition and lifestyle.

      As with everything in life, these recommendations are like a buffet: pick what you like, and what works for you and leave the rest. 🙂

      My takeaways were things like coconut oil and Chia seeds, as well as adding more walnuts (a super food!) Into my diet.

      If you click on the previous post, Paying it Forward, I share the higher level principles before diving into the fats (this post), proteins and carbs entries. Buffet style, pick what you like and leave the rest! 🙂

      • I agree, and I’m finding the same principle applies to ALL the research I’m doing. Maybe a doctor or professionally qualified dietitian could make more sense of the various conflicting ideas out there, but I’m approaching this like a kid on an Easter egg hunt in a public park. If it looks good, pick it up and pop it in my bag, then take it home for further investigation. I know I won’t find all the eggs, and there’s a chance I’ll grab some trash along the way. Dialog like this is an important part of making sense of it, though… 🙂

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