Mondays with Millie – Healthy Fats

In the article Transition to Real Food in 8 Easy Steps, step #2 was Change Your Fats.  Contrary to what we have been led to believe, fat is not bad for us. Our bodies need fat. Fat helps with brain function, helps us deal with stress, helps our sex hormones, leads to strong bones, a healthy nervous system, helps with digestion, and can even prevent cancer along with a whole host of other important things.

But not just any fat. You need healthy fats. The kind found in nature not manufactured in a building.  Animal fats such as butter, lard, tallow, duck fat, chicken fat, goose fat, etc.  Coconut oil, palm oil, and olive oil are also healthy natural fats.

When I first started learning about real/whole/traditional foods, the idea of eating fat on purpose scared me.  I was, of course, a huge believer in the fat is bad idea. I’d done low fat diets for years and thought they were the right solution.  But learning about the processing and toxicity of these fake fats convinced me that they were not the health food I’d been led to believe.

Of course, I did remember the wonderful flavor of real butter (I grew up on a dairy and knew what I was missing). Fresh real butter is far superior in taste than anything man made.

We now quite happily enjoy not just butter but coconut oil, palm oil, duck fat, chicken fat and olive oil. Not to mention whole (raw) milk with plenty of cream, farm fresh eggs and grass fed beef with the fat left on.  We actually make a conscious effort to have enough good fats in our diet.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (the book the GAPS diet is based from) has a great chapter devoted to Fats. She talks alot about animal fats and their importance and even the importance of cholesterol. Cholesterol (you know, that thing that people take pills for to lower) is important for memory. Taking anti-cholesterol pills can actually cause

people to have trouble remembering things whereas eating cholesterol rich foods can improve memory. Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends anyone with memory problems or learning problems to eat plenty of cholesterol rich foods each day. Foods that are rich in cholesterol help the body to produce cholesterol allowing our bodies to not have to work as hard (did you know that cholesterol is made in our bodies and not ‘put into’ our bodies by food?). Dr. Campbell-McBride states “Research shows that people, who are unable to produce enough cholesterol are prone to emotional instability and behavioral problems.” Not having enough cholesterol can result in other issues such as adding to adrenal fatigue and causing our immune systems to not function properly.

One thing that concerned me about switching from fake fats/low fat to real fats/higher fat was my weight. I hate to admit to being vain but it’s true. I was very much afraid that adding fat to my diet would make me fat. Funny thing, I learned that fat isn’t what makes me fat.  We slowly overhauled our entire diet including eating an abundant amount of healthy fats. In the course of about 18 months, I lost 40 pounds.  Without trying!  Of course, your results may vary but that was my experience.

What do you think? Is the idea of purposely eating healthy fats scary to you?

Photos: Homemade Ghee from Chiot’s Run on Flickr, Butter made by me, Millie of Real Food for Less Money

*Please note; we are not health professionals. If you have health issues, please consult with your doctor before making radical changes to your diet, or any changes to your medicinal regime, especially if you have a cardiac condition.  We believe eating a healthy, full-fat diet to have health benefits, but it may not be right for everyone! 

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