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Part-time Foodie: Fats Are Friends!

As I wrote this post, I kept wanted to chant “Fats are friends, not food!” like the sharks in Finding Nemo, but the truth is that fats are friends and food! Like I mentioned in the last post, fats play a big role in our health - they perform several functions that other macronutrients just can’t do. So they’re important! However, there’s a couple different kinds of fats, some better than others.

What do fats do? Well, they’re the preferred source of fuel for our bodies*. Your body prefers fats to carbs and sugars. Also, there are certain vitamins that can’t be received by your body without an accompanying fat. Fats literally allow your body to absorb specific micronutrients better.* Not only that, but fats don’t raise your blood sugar like carbs do. Fat is a completely different molecule than carbohydrates and sugar, so it isn’t processed the same way. Eating a meal that’s comprised of fats and protein with minimal to zero carbs will have almost no effect on your blood sugar levels.* Finally, healthy fats don’t have much effect on cholesterol. Seriously. Foods that are considered high in cholesterol - red meat, for example - do not usually translate to high cholesterol for you.

So with these benefits in mind, it’s reasonable to begin eating more fats, or at least focusing on getting healthy fats. (Remember that it’s important to keep fats and carbs separate.) That said - there’s still a difference between healthy and unhealthy fats. In general - and I mean really general:

  • unsaturated fats are good
  • trans fats are bad
  • saturated fats are open for debate.*
Healthy fats can be found in lots of foods: Olives, nuts (almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts) avocados, fatty fish, natural peanut butter (just peanuts and salt). Trans fats can be found in anything labeled “Partially Hydrogenated” or with trans fats. Essentially, these fats had been heated and combined with hydrogen to make them more stable, however it also removes any healthy elements. Repeat offenders include fast foods and fried foods.

NOTE: Omega-3 fats are the most healthy and the most difficult to get! They’re found in seafoods. Seafoods are that one fat where you can eat all you want - which I can say because most of us simply don’t eat enough. Salmon, tuna, shrimp - eat all of the seafood. It’s not as debatable as red meats, and it’s vastly nutritious!

Saturated fats are found in places like red meat, eggs, dairy products, etc. Some say these sources of fats can raise cholesterol and cause heart disease. However, more recent research shows that this is probably not true. (Additionally, eating red meats and eggs combines protein with fats in a marvelously natural way… Just sayin’!) This particular category is up to you to decide. However, I typically include one meal of eggs and a few scattered instances of dairy throughout my day. More research and information about these three types of fats is available through the final resource, labeled “Healthy vs Unhealthy Fats.”

Finally - recipes! As I said, I often eat eggs. It’s my favorite breakfast meal. I get enough fat to kick-start my energy and enough protein to keep me going until lunch.

2-3 eggs
⅛ cup chopped onion
⅛ cup chopped red pepper
2 tbsp cream cheese
Low carb tortilla
½ Avocado

My favorite way to prepare them is to chop some onions and red pepper into a pan with olive or coconut oil. I saute them for a few minutes, add the eggs (which I scramble) and wait for them to almost finish. Then in the last minute, I sprinkle them with salt and pepper and add a few tablespoons of diced cream cheese! I serve it on a plate, or in a low-carb tortilla for a breakfast burrito!

The onions, peppers and cream cheese are of course totally optional. I just prefer to have the egg taste covered up a bit with some variety.

Another favorite is chicken with sauted vegetables. I don’t personally know how to cook chicken very well - I’m always having to look up some sort of recipe. However, my husband taught me a great way to prepare sliced chicken breast.
2 chicken breasts
1 lb frozen vegetables of choice
Italian seasonings
Olive oil (or substitute).
Slice the chicken to about 2 fingers width. Lay the strips on a plate and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and an italian-garlic-herb blend. (I use Mrs. Dash. You could use garlic powder, oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, etc.) Rub in the spices, and repeat on the other side. Saute the chicken in oil (olive or coconut) over medium until done.

In a separate pan and over medium heat, drop some coconut, olive oil or butter into a pan. Stir in vegetables of choice (brussels sprouts, green beans, asparagus). Sprinkle with your choice of italian seasonings, cover, and stir occasionally until done.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any fat and protein based recipes!

Fats as Fuel research: Paleo Girl by Leslie Klenke
Fats for Vitamin Absorption Research: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/vitamin-supplements/fat-absorb-vitamins.htm
Fats - Effect on Blood Sugar: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/fats-proteins-affect-blood-sugar-levels-11172.html
Fats and Cholesterol: https://chriskresser.com/the-diet-heart-myth-cholesterol-and-saturated-fat-are-not-the-enemy/
Healthy vs Unhealthy Fats: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-fats.htm

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