Dietary Fat: Is It Good or Bad?

29 September 2016

 

Here’s a question that comes up a lot…Dietary fat: is it good or bad? Both. You see, not all fats are created equal.

 

The Skinny on Fats

 

Heavily processed, hydrogenated “trans” fats used in prepared, packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body. They can compromise the cardiovascular system, immune system, and contribute to behavior problems. They can also lead to weight gain, skin breakouts, high blood pressure, and liver strain.

 

That said, our bodies need fat for insulation, vitamin and mineral absorption, and to protect our organs. High-quality fats can steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair, and nails, and provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly.

 

Where to Find Healthy Fats

 

  • Avocados, olives, and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with wild salmon and omega-3 rich organic eggs.
  • Whole nuts and seeds, and their butters like almond butter or tahini.
  • Look for the highest-quality organic oils when shopping. Words to look for: organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin, and unrefined. Avoid expeller-pressed, refined, and solvent extracted.

 

How to Use Healthy Fats

 

  • For cooking at high temperatures (stir frying and baking), try butter, ghee (clarified butter), or coconut oil.
  • When sautéing foods, try organic extra virgin olive oil.
  • Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut, and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings.

 

Try these delicious, easy recipes:

 

Avocado Dip

 

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Serving Size: Makes 1 cup

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large peeled and pitted avocado
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt, goat yogurt, coconut yogurt, or almond yogurt
  • 1 diced tomato
  • a squirt of lemon or lime juice
  • dash or two of cayenne pepper
  • sea salt and black pepper

 

Instructions

  1. Mash avocado with a fork until very smooth.
  2. Add yogurt, tomato, and cayenne. Blend until smooth. This may be done in a food processor, in a blender, or with a fork.
  3. Add sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste.
  4. Serve chilled with mixed raw vegetables.

 

Tip: Best made a maximum of 1 hour before serving.

 

Sunbutter

 

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 8 mins

Serving size: Makes ~ 2 cups

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup (or raw honey) (Optional)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil or avocado oil

 

Instructions

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Divide sunflower seeds up on two baking sheets.
  2. Roast for 4 minutes. Rotate trays and toss seeds. Place back in the oven and roast for another 4 minutes.
  3. Carefully transfer to a food processor (or high powered blender) and add sea salt.
  4. Process for about 1 minute until seeds become powdery.
  5. Process 16 to 18 minutes, stopping every 2 minutes to scrape down the sides. Add the oil and maple syrup at about the halfway point.  This might sound like a lot but it takes a while for the sunflower seeds to release their oil. If you stop too soon, the sunbutter will NOT be creamy. Please be patient with this step.

 

GET EVEN HEALTHIER!

Want help learning how to choose and use nutritious fats and other good-for-you foods? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about!