Let’s talk about fats! No, not your body fats, healthy food fats! Dietary fats are a vital source of essential fatty acids the body cannot make for itself. Roughly 40 years ago, the conversation started that fats are bad for you. One example of this was The American Heart Association’s “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” campaign telling the world that dietary fats, especially butter, caused high cholesterol, clogged arteries, obesity, and heart disease. The new BETTER option was to swap over to now deemed healthy artificial fats… Queue in Crisco, canola oil, PAM, etc. These are lab-made products created by an industrial process where a hexane solvent and hydrogen are added to what is now primarily a GMO vegetable oil, making it more shelf stable and inexpensive. Unhealthy fats are used in almost all foods, such as baked goods, popcorn, frozen pizzas, refrigerated dough, fried foods/ frying oil, nondairy coffee creamer, stick margarine, and so much more. Try finding something packaged without canola oil added. It’s a challenge.
I feel that more and more commonly, we see that food substitutes are advertised as “healthier” for you than the real thing. For example, margarine (made from canola and soybean oil) was deemed better for you than butter (made from cows). Now, that starts up a whole conversation about organic dairy from grass-fed, free-range cows, etc., but why would we switch from a natural life process used for thousands of years to a GMO crop oil? Even when big schools like Harvard University have come out to say it was a well-intended guess on lowering heart disease? It doesn’t quite make sense to me…
I remember when this shift started, and commercials for these cheaply produced substitutes informed us that eggs, butter, dairy, and fatty cuts of meat/skin were the cause of all these health issues, and to save ourselves, we needed to make this switch immediately. What I find fascinating is that our country’s physical and mental health has plummeted since implementing these changes.
Let me explain the difference… HEALTHY fats are essential for your body to create energy and to support cell function/growth. They also help protect your organs, regulate your body temperature and make most of your hormones, such as estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol.
So, why does this matter? When you constantly deny your body the nutrients it needs to create healthy cells and hormones, you’ll see a plethora of issues. The biggest one I see is hormone imbalances, which can be more than just hot flashes. Hormonal imbalances can present as gut issues such as constipation/ diarrhea, depression and anxiety, unexplained weight gain/loss, extreme fatigue, insomnia, low libido, diabetes, etc. Additionally, up to 70% of our brain is fat, and Omega 3 Fatty Acids are needed to function correctly. Organic grass-fed butter is high in Omega 3, making it incredibly important for brain functions and our body’s anti-inflammatory ability.
Due to the gut-brain connection, we see more interactions about food and moods. When you’re sad, you usually reach for sweets, but in actuality, that is your body asking for healthy fats to change the brain’s interaction with those feelings. Emotions, especially postpartum, will be all out of wack without your Omega 3 healthy fats. When you grab the wrong type of fats, you’re increasing your probability of obesity (at rapid rates), depression, and further confusing the brain’s understanding of its cravings.
This is an easy thing to remedy. Let us get back to eating those natural foods. Fish is a beautiful source of those healthy fats—salmon, herring, trout, sardines, oysters, anchovies, shrimp, and tuna. Cooking oils need to be organic grass-fed butter or olive oil. Try making bulletproof coffee, maybe, if you’re looking for ways to sneak it all in. Bulletproof coffee is coffee, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil all in the blender, and its ready to drink- so simple and perfect for people who struggle with kickstarting their metabolism/ hunger throughout the day! Avocados and eggs are quick and easy ways to get in your fats and can be mixed with many other food items. Seeds and nuts are also quick and easy! You don’t need a lot, either. Most of these HEALTHY food items can be toppings for meals, snacks, or just a quick bite and run. Try handing your child a stick of butter! You might be surprised at how much they munch on! And that’s okay! You can’t have too much fat – as long as it’s healthy fats.