I’ll be the first to admit that “fabulous fats” sounds like an oxymoron.
With all the negative connotations placed on the word “fat”, it’s easy to be confused. We’re bombarded with messages to not eat fat and to have zero fat on our bodies. So to clarify, I’m talking about fats, the macronutrients, like carbohydrates or protein. They are also sometimes referred to as triglycerides.
Now, just like hair days, there are good fats and bad fats.
Good fats are integral to a healthy diet. Adding healthy plant-based fats to the menu is the key to shiny and strong hair, glowing skin and feeling fabulous! Even more than that, good fats help you maintain and lose weight and are excellent for brain health.
Plus, these healthy fats can be found in so many delicious whole foods!
So today I’m going to demystify that little line on the nutrition label by breaking down the difference between good fats and bad fats, and I’ll explain why you need more fabulous fats in your life ASAP.
Right off the bat, let me say that good, healthy fat does not put on the pounds. Sugar is the true culprit of weight gain. It’s connected to increased belly fat, it saps the collagen from your skin, and it alters your brain chemistry. It’s nothing but bad news.
Good fats, on the other hand, are the bomb. If you want to shed some unwanted lb’s or just maintain a healthy weight, it’s essential to add good fats in and remove the bad fats, simple sugars and processed carbs from your kitchen that are found in items like processed breads, snack foods and fried treats.
And while you’re at it, you can toss those “diet” products in the bin too. The whole low-fat / non-fat craze definitely never made sense to me. You would never try to take the fat out of an avocado; it wouldn’t be a whole food anymore. Yet, some people still swear by those fake food products.
So what do I mean by “good fats”? I’m talking about plant-based fats that produce new brain cells and help keep your brain clear. Healthy, plant-based fats will also keep you feeling full! They can prevent you from overeating, help you feel more energized, are good for your hair, skin and nails, decrease bad cholesterol (LDL) and add to good cholesterol (HDL) that reduces the risk for heart disease.
When I say “add in those good fats”, just picture adding avocado to literally everything (#sorrynotsorry). And don’t stop there! Add almond butter to your smoothies or atop apple slices. Sprinkle hemp seeds on your salads. Go nuts (with nuts)!
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the four types of fats and which ones are fabulous for your figure and your health.
Polyunsaturated Fats (Omega-3 and Omega-6)
You want these all-stars in your daily diet! These good fats are so important because our body does not produce them naturally, but thankfully you can find them in vegetable oils, seeds, and fish. Aim for two to three servings a day.
Benefits include a healthy heart, a brain power boost and a calmer nervous system.
For the most part, these are not super healthy. The kind of saturated fats found in cheese, butter and fatty meats can increase your bad cholesterol and risk of heart disease. Yet you can also find them in savvy cooking alternatives like coconut oil, coconut milk and dark chocolate, so it’s acceptable to consume them in moderation.
If you do eat meat (which I do), focus on pasture-centered, lean meats. Whole Foods offers a rating system to help customers learn more about where and how their beef and poultry are raised. I recommend trying to purchase Step 4 or higher, and there are usually one or two options available in the butcher case at that rating. These animals are offered more freedom to grow and thrive and better quality feed.
Personally, I love getting farm-raised meats from my local farmer’s market, where I can have a conversation with the farmers and get all my questions answered directly from the source. And I am telling you, the meat straight from a farm tastes exponentially more delicious! It’s the basic energetics of food, my friends. You’re getting the meat from a happy animal versus a scared one kept in horrible, cramped conditions, and it makes a difference you can see and taste.
Kick these bad fats to the curb! They are a little like Frankenstein’s monster – man-made by taking a vegetable oil and adding extra hydrogen to it to extend its shelf life.
You may have heard the joke that Twinkies will outlast a nuclear blast, and this is the reason why. Junk food is chock full of trans fats, which increase your LDLs (bad cholesterol) and decrease your good cholesterol. Not to mention products containing this fat almost always contain a lot of sugar too!
It can sometimes be tricky to find it on the nutritional label, but here’s a good tip. According to the Mayo Clinic, “When you check the food label for trans fat, also check the food’s ingredient list for partially hydrogenated vegetable oil — which indicates that the food contains some trans fat, even if the amount is below 0.5 grams.”
Just Say No To:
• Snack foods, like potato chips, buttery popcorn, Oreos
• Fried foods, like french fries, doughnuts and fried chicken
• Processed foods (i.e. food that comes out of a box like microwave dinners)
• Buttery baked goods (Au revoir, croissants!)
We’ll be taking a look at clean eating all this month on The Plante Life, focusing on consuming whole, unprocessed foods that are better for your mind and bod. And as you can see from the suggested “good fat” foods I just shared, they’re straight from Mother Earth. Fats are not the enemy, and they occur naturally in foods that are delicious and good for you too.
So add those extra avocados to your shopping basket, and eat your healthy heart out!
What’s your favorite way to get good fats in your diet? Share your favorite recipe or any questions your have about healthy fats in the comments below.
Moniqua is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Real Food | Real Life Expert. As the Owner and Founder of The Plante Life, she helps women (and a few good men) get their groove on through real food, self care and radical self love so they can live the kick ass, healthy, energetic lives they're meant to live.