I love fat! I want everyone to love it!
I chose this picture because I love chubby little kids. They are full of fat! Essential fat. Fat that will help them grow. A well nourished healthy baby will grow with strong bones, eyes to see, teeth, and a body that will perform its proper function.
Something that subliminally has been ingrained in all of us is the idea that fat is bad and we need to remove it from all of our meals.
I remember my daughter coming back from kindergarten and telling me that we couldn’t have pizza anymore because she had learned that it has oil on top and that the oil is bad.
Weather we study it or not, just by watching our surroundings we are often told that we need to buy fat free cheese and fat free yogurt, etc. etc.
Here is the thing though, a lot of foods come naturally rich in those substances because our body in reality needs fat to survive.
Fat protects our organs. Without fat our skin would be wrinkly and we would have hollow eyes and cheeks. Fat is also vital in order for our bodies to absorb certain vitamins.
Our body needs fat to transport Vitamin A,C,D,E, and K to where they need to go to perform their proper functions. And all of these vitamins are the ones responsible for our eyes, and our skin, and our bones, and in allowing our body to repair itself.
I think the misconception comes from the fact that because we often overeat, or the way meals are prepared, at times we may eat foods that have fat in excess. With a little bit of training we can learn to prepare those meals in a more efficient way and enjoy a fully rich yogurt in its natural state without having to feel guilty or being left feeling that we have broken the calorie piggy bank for that day.
If I only eat a super thick pizza with triple layer of cheese and a stuffed crust, I have not only eaten excess fat, I am also eating too many carbs and I will be so full that there won’t be any room left in my belly to eat some proper veggies with that right after.
I think of food as a math equation. We eat foods that have protein, carbs, fats, vitamins and water. All those are turned into their respective functions. All three macros, can turn into calories which equal energy. If I eat too much throughout the day my body will store what I didn’t use as fat. We may not enjoy when we have unwanted fat. But we still need to eat foods with fat in order to survive even while we are trying to lose excess weight.
Another way that fat can be considered less appropriate is when we eat calorie dense foods. Those are also high in fats. Ever made homemade brownies? Think of the oil, the chocolate, the butter, and the eggs and flour you mix into that bowl. They are dense and rich. They are packed with calories=energy. Cheese is also another example of a calorie dense food.
Whenever I think of eating calorie dense meals I like to compare it to the following analogies. When eating food I like to think of our stomach as a bag. There is a big difference between filling a bag with rocks vs. filling a bag with feathers. You may need the same volume to fill that bag, but the weight and density will vary immensely.
So our stomach needs a variety of foods not just one. In life you may need some feathers and some rocks in order to eat healthy and stay healthy. But you still need both.
Now here is what you can do once you learn all your vitamins and how they are absorbed. Try and figure out which foods have what and combine them with another food component that will help you retain the proper nutrition that you need. For example, try and combine a food high in vitamin C with some healthy fat. For example Tomatoes and olive oil, or tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Ever heard of a caprese salad?
The beauty of it is that a lot of foods in nature come with all the necessary components already to aid your body in absorbing them. Fruit is rich in fiber which slows down your digestion and allows your body to not only not get a sugar high when absorbing its sugar,(which is natural in this case) but also to absorb its nutrients. Eggs are high in Vitamin A but also have fat which in turn helps your body to absorb the vitamin A.
The last thing I will say about fat, is that the reason why we often shun it away is because there can be fats that are not good for us. Certain oils sold on the market are highly refined and chemically made. One example are Trans Fats. They are made in a lab and they are not good for our bodies.
I’d say to do your research on which fats are good or bad. On her book The Body Book, Cameron Diaz explains a lot about nutrition and gives a list of all the different oils and their functions together to their smoke point when in comes to using them in frying or sautéing.
The next step would be to learn to combine higher density foods with lighter foods. And also learning to combine foods in our main meals that have fat, carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals in a way that we can get all of the nutrition that we need and not over eat throughout our lives.
I have learned to think of food and meals as a process. Its’ something we constantly work at. Sometimes in my personal life I do great with water, other times I do better with fiber. At times I eat too much sugar, other times I do great and focus on eating vitamin rich foods. If you need help I’d recommend hiring a good nutritionist or a personal chef. There are lots of programs nowadays that prepare balanced meals for you.
But as far as fat, learn to love fat. Recognize that you need it and that is essential for your survival and long term health. Accept it in your life and focus instead on balancing what you eat better, exercising and moving around and expanding your energy, especially if you like to eat! Luckily eating is good. It’s not something that will ever go away and it’s supposed to be an integral part of our life together with being a joy and a pleasure for us.
My motto, all in moderation and with wisdom and order!