You’d think gawking at people’s food would be taboo but it’s still going strong. I’ve been sensitive to it since I was a girl when my dad would say things like – are you sure you want to eat that?
He was referring to anything on my plate that wasn’t “dietetic.” That was the word back then for food that won’t make you fat. It was an era of even more misinformation & confusion than we have today.
My dad believed, much to my chagrin, to be thin & beautiful was the most important virtue in life. Add this to his ongoing battle with weight and a medical system that shunned fat – and you get a fat phobic, food controlling, household.
In a nut shell, these were the “Food Rules” in my house:
- Fat is the enemy
- Red meat will kill ya
- You only deserve to eat if you’ve exercised hard (dripping sweat is a good sign)
- Fish is the only food to eat guilt free (that and crackers & jelly??)
- Sorbet is a pass, ice cream is NOT
- And, fat is BAD (mentioned twice for emphasis)
Today at my local health food store’s Oatmeal Bar, I wasn’t ashamed of eating oatmeal (Paleo/Keto peeps don’t scare me). I wasn’t afraid to fill my cup to the brim (I don’t have Weight Watcher’esque portion shame). What I didn’t want people to see was how much fat I eat.
Fear of FAT is steeped in our psyche.
Although I’ve healed my personal fat phobia – FAT saved me from incessant food cravings, anxiety & depression, roller coaster mood swings, debilitating PMS and a boring diet – my fear was what other people will think. Being a “nutritionist,” I don’t want to scare people away!
Are you judging the fat on YOUR plate?
Thankfully, media (which is about 10-20 years behind on nutrition science) is more fat-friendly. They acknowledge butter is better than margarine. But, won’t “too much” kill ya? And, will the fat you eat make you fat?
NO! I have to shout because it’s important.
Fat is your friend. Fat from pasture-raised animals not given antibiotics, growth hormones or toxic waste is a “superfood” (it has a high concentration of nutritional value). But non-organic fat is also important, it’s a macro-nutrient which means you MUST consume it (you’re body doesn’t produce it) in order to supply your body proper nutrition required for LIFE.
Weight gain is caused by undernourished hormones, stress, insomnia, DIETING, low access to food and poverty. The fat on your body is NOT caused by the fat you eat.
Fat is a digestive aid! It helps break down carbohydrates. Why do you think the French love their fatty sauces? Because in most cultures, meals are designed for digestibility. Fat, like fermented food, is intentionally included because they’re both high in enzymes which break down carbohydrates so your body can assimilate nutrition with ease.
Like bread was designed for butter, chicken breasts were designed to eat with chicken skin (the tasty stuff)!
If you’ve taken animal protein out of your diet, you’re likely deficient in fat.
Grains need to have fat added, like my oatmeal at Alfalfa’s Oatmeal Bar. I tucked 2 pads of Organic Valley Butter into the center to get it melted. I added one more for good measure. And I would’ve added a fourth packet (another 1/2 Tablespoon) but not in public!
The measure of the “right” amount of fat is – how I feel. I wasn’t hungry or snack’y until 4 hours later. Feeling satisfied is a sign of a balanced meal and sufficient fat. When I don’t add the butter, I get hungry too quick.
There’s no reason to be ashamed of eating large portions of fat. In fact, use people’s reactions as a measure. If jaws drop (and they do around me), you’ve added the right amount. And when it happens, give them my name. Hey, thanks ;).
To optimize fat digestion, drink bone broth regularly. Bone broth increases your bile production and bile is a critical nutrient in the break down of fat.
Until then, increase the amount of fat in your diet at a slow & steady pace. That’s wise with any dietary change. Choose organic (when possible) butter, extra virgin olive oil and animal fats.
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