Sunday, January 16, 2011

Eat Fat!

(c) 2010, Kathy Fannon

Mother always said to eat your vegetables. Bleck. As a kid, I didn’t want my vegetables. On the bright side, my mother didn’t like them either, so I think the most exotic thing I had was lima beans (because my dad liked them). My son is not so fortunate. He gets parsnips, beets, kale and all kinds of goodies. Fortunately, for the most part he likes them.

But fat? Aren’t we told not to eat fat? What about no-fat and low-fat diets, low-fat cheeses, “diet” yogurts, skim milk, low-fat crackers or cookies, and a whole host of other things we've been told to eat instead? Now I’m telling you to eat fat?


Fat is necessary for our bodies to function, keep the joints lubed, to keep your skin smooth and healthy, and your brain in tune. Fat also helps your immune system function properly, maintains your nervous system, helps with hormone production and increases vitamin absorption.

Not all fats are the same. This does not give you permission to run for a bag of potato chips or a dozen donuts from your local donut den! You must pay attention to make sure you’re eating healthy fats.

What are healthy fats? Glad you asked.

Healthy fats are Omega-3 fats. You’ve heard of those; Omega-3 has been a buzz word for years now. Omega-3 fats are liquid at room temperature.

But where do you find Omega-3 fatty acids?

Fish: Wild fish (not farm-raised), like salmon, herring, tuna, cod, halibut or sardines. Also, look for a quality fish oil supplement. There was something to that cod liver oil our parents had to endure as children!

Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, walnuts and pecans are an excellent source, as well as sesame, flax and sunflower seeds.

Oil: Walnut, flaxseed and olive oil is an easy way to incorporate Omega-3 into your diet. I make my own salad dressing using 2 parts olive or walnut oil, and one part balsamic vinegar. Yum!

Avocado is also a great way to get Omega-3, but be careful not to eat too much. One fat serving is 1/4 of an avocado. (I make salads for supper to use up the whole avocado. Or make guacamole!)

Increasing your intake of Omega-3 will help with inflammation. Silent inflammation (inflammation you can’t feel) causes chronic disease, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and many others. Eating Omega-3 fat will help your health!

Other fats in small amounts can be good for you, such as cheese or cream if you're not dairy-free, REAL butter (from grass-fed cows), coconut oil, ghee, and even lard. Some people feel really good when they have a little of these fats with their meals and some feel sluggish. Experiment and see what works for you.

Does this challenge your view on fat in your diet? How so, and how do you think you will incorporate more Omega-3 into your diet?