Want to burn fat? Eat MORE (not less) fat
- Mel’s weekly food pick:
- Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Chocolate Peanut Butter “Pudding”
In my last post, I offered five real benefits of including more fiber in your diet. To enjoy healthy blood sugar, lower your cholesterol, and feed the good bacteria in your gut, get at least 25 grams of fiber each day. Check out the post to learn the 15 fiber-rich foods you can start eating today for real results!
Now let’s get down to the eighth and final Universal Truth: Dietary fat is essential.
There was a time in my life when I avoided dietary fat like it was the Grim Reaper. Everything I ate was either fat-free or super low-fat. At the time, it was a common belief that dietary fat made you fat. That’s what all of the diet books led you to believe, and of course it was supported by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Guide Pyramid, which at the time encouraged you to eat six to eleven servings of grains every day (YIKES!), while minimizing fat. Naturally, being a follower of “sound” (note the sarcasm) nutrition advice from both the government and my dietetics classes at the University, I followed the advice…but took it to the extreme.
Every piece of food that passed my lips had no more than one or two grams of fat inside. I paid no attention to sugar, preservatives or any other substance that was harmful to my health, only fat. Cookies, ice cream, candy, yogurt, breads, crackers, salad dressings, cakes, frostings and peanut butter (yes, peanut butter) were all either fat-free or very low-fat. Pretzels were a staple in my diet because they were naturally fat-free. My favorite afternoon snack was twenty mini pretzel sticks and diet Pepsi. I would eat this treasured dieter’s delight while sitting it my nutrition classes learning all about proper nutrition!
How’s that for irony?
There was a major unwelcome consequence of my fat-is-evil philosophy…I was ALWAYS hungry. And there is a very good reason for this– dietary fat is the one macronutrient that aids in feelings of satiety (fullness). And because I stayed away from it, I never felt full. And when I did manage to feel satisfied, it didn’t last very long.
Unfortunately, these ridiculous rumors– “fat makes you fat” and “fat is bad for you”— continue to persist in the United States. I have at least one conversation a week with a misinformed individual, who still believes eating fat will make them fat. Not so! Not only does dietary fat help you burn fat, it is essential for proper brain and hormone function, nutrient absorption, and blood sugar regulation.
Of course there are dietary fats you want to avoid, such as refined vegetable oils and trans fats. Refined vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and can promote inflammation in your body. They include soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower and canola oils. Trans fats, as previously mentioned, contribute to inflammation in your body, increase your bad cholesterol (LDL), and decrease your good cholesterol (HDL).
So what fats should you be eating for better health? I recommend the following:
- For salads, stews and low-temperature cooking: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil, walnut oil, almond oil (1 tablespoon)
- Avocado (1/2 to 1 avocado)
- Grass-fed butter such as Kerrygold or Organic Valley (1 tablespoon)
- Ghee, or clarified butter (1 tablespoon)
- Extra-virgin coconut oil (1 tablespoon)
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts (1-2 handfuls)
- Seeds: Sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds (1 tablespoon to ¼ cup)
- Nut and seed butters (1 tablespoon)
- Olives (1/4 cup)
- Fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, herring, wild salmon (4-6 ounces)
- Tahini (sesame seed paste) (1 tablespoon)
- MCT oil (1 tablespoon)
As a general rule, make sure you have at least one or two servings of healthy fat per meal (I typically eat at least three servings per meal). For example, if you eat a salad for lunch, you’ll want to add a nice piece of wild salmon, a handful of sunflower seeds and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Making a smoothie? Do me a favor. If you are using the powdered peanut butter PB2, in an effort to save calories and fat…please stop! This product contains three ingredients: roasted peanuts (of which the natural oils have been removed), sugar, and salt. If anything, the presence of sugar and lack of fat in PB2 will only make you more hungry. Go for the real thing– a tablespoon of fresh ground peanut or almond butter…where the only ingredient is nuts (and sometimes salt).
In summary, the eight Universal Truths that I believe apply to everyone:
Universal Truth #1: What you resist, persists.
Universal Truth #2: You control food; It doesn’t control you.
Universal Truth #3: What you feed your body most, it will crave.
Universal Truth #4: Some foods can heal you.
Universal Truth #5: Some foods can harm you
Universal Truth #6: Some foods are questionable (Dairy; Gluten; Alcohol)
Universal Truth #7: Dietary fiber is key
Universal Truth #8: Dietary fat is essential
With the above Universal Truths in mind, I have created a list of Nourish Guidelines for you to follow as you plan your meals. In my next post you will learn the first of these guidelines—a very hotly-debated topic indeed: to snack or not to snack!
Mel’s weekly food pick:
I used to avoid avocados because of their high fat and calorie content, but then I grew up and discovered that the
presence of dietary fat and fiber in whole Earthfoods (i.e avocados) actually helped me eat less! Now I eat them every day.
Avocados are mostly monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that protects your heart and brain! A member of the fruit family, avocados contains nearly 20 vitamins and minerals and 7 grams of fiber per half.
To seed an avocado, simply cut it lengthwise around the entire seed and rotate both halves to separate. To remove the seed, slide a spoon underneath and gently lift out. Scoop the avocado out of its shell using a spoon.
Here are some easy ways to start enjoying the heart-healthy, brain-loving benefits of avocados today:
- Can that chip dip and whip up a batch of homemade guacamole in less than 10 minutes!
- Mash up half of an avocado and use as a spread on sprouted toast or sweet potato slices.
- To thicken up a smoothie, add half of a small avocado and blend. Try my Feel-Good Smoothie!
- Swap out your traditional mayonnaise for homemade Avocado Mayo (takes only 5 minutes to prepare!)
- Make a simple breakfast bowl using diced avocado and hard boiled eggs.
- In the mood for something sweet? Prepare a batch of my Chocolate Peanut Butter “Pudding”. The main ingredient is avocado. Shhhhh….don’t tell anyone!
Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Chocolate Peanut Butter “Pudding”
The beauty of this recipe? It can be eaten as a sweet treat or wholesome breakfast! And guess what? It’s dairy-free. The sneaky ingredient is avocado- which lends a beautiful creamy texture…just like traditional pudding!
With five Earthfoods per serving, it offers healthy fat and fiber, (from the avocados, chia seeds and fresh ground peanut butter) and a rich, natural chocolate flavor from the raw cacao powder.
It’s naturally sweetened with a mere 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup and ripe banana. You can omit the chia seeds If you don’t care for the texture…but just remember, you’ll be missing out on the omega-3 fatty acids!
Want it a little sweeter? Add another tablespoon of pure maple syrup or raw honey. Don’t like banana? Leave it out!