You heard me. I want to eat more [healthy] fat. Reason: it’s our body’s primary, and preferred energy source.
The husband and I have been on the Paleo train for several months now with great success. No, we aren’t perfectly Paleo. Yes, we have a sandwich or cupcake every now and then but we do make a conscious effort to avoid grains, sugar, dairy and processed foods. I believe we have a pretty good handle on how to eat Paleo successfully. One thing I realized is that we’re missing is intentionally adding healthy fats to our diet. Last week, I was making our weekly dinner outline in preparation for a trip to the commissary. I suddenly realized, we’ve got plenty of meat, vegetables and fruits, but what about fats?? I know, I know, it’s not something you usually hear right? That’s because America lies to us when it pushes this fat-free, low-fat diet on us. Well guess what! A low-fat diet is not healthy for us, folks! Just take a look at this article or read Robb Wolf’s book, The Paleo Solution to affirm this fact. Our bodies thrive on healthy sources of fat for energy. I repeat, HEALTHY SOURCES of fat. By telling you that fat is our primary energy source does not give you a license to go to the cupcake shop every day (the dessert whore in me is crying right now). By healthy fats, I mean fats that are readily converted into energy like coconut or palm oil, plant based fats like nuts, seeds, avocado and animal based fats like grass-fed beef, wild caught salmon and grass-fed poultry eggs. When I learned this, it seriously changed my outlook. I grew up learning that carbohydrates=energy. Why do basketball coaches tell their players to eat a huge spaghetti dinner the night before a big game? Energy! What if that wasn’t entirely true? Robb Wolf lets us in on a little secret, the only cells in our body that NEED carboydrates are certain brain cells and those cells actually have the ability to produce all the carbs they need. God thought of everything, didn’t he? Side note: All athletes need to check this article out and try this approach.
So my first step in adding healthy fats to our diet? Trail mix. I started with a variety of nuts. I decided that each week, I’d buy a couple of different types of nuts to use as the base. No, peanuts don’t count! They aren’t even nuts. Next, I added dried fruit for color and variety. Have you tried dried strawberry? To die for, seriously. Dried fruit in trail mix is great because I’d never sit down and eat a whole pack of dried fruit because of the sugar content and because it adds a subtle sweetness to the nuts that keeps my sweet tooth in check. I know what the cheapskates out there are saying, “But nuts are soooo expensive!!” Blah blah blah. I see people like you at Sam’s Club buying huge boxes of goldfish and gummy bears as snacks. You may think that those packaged foods are cheap snacks but they add up. Replace the fake, processed foods with something real like nuts and perhaps you won’t feel the need to snack as much! Did a light bulb just go off above your head right now? Bingo. Now you’re getting it.
Step two. Actually, let’s back up a step. My very first step in adding healthy fats to our diet was to get rid of all the nasty stuff in my pantry. When we decided to go Paleo all those months ago, I collected a huge box of non-Paleo approved food stuffs from my cupboard. In the box were things like vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, Karo syrup amongst other overly processed demon foods. I then replaced those bad oils with good ones like olive oil, coconut oil and grapeseed oil. I’m embarrassed to say I gave that bad food box to a (non-Paleo) friend–some friend I am.
Next, I committed to adding avocado and salmon to our diet. Those are two things that are exceedingly good for you but hardly ever made an appearance on our table. I also decided that if butter was called for, it was going to be real butter. None of this fake margarine stuff for us!! I find it funny that margarine is marketed to us as a healthy product but contains more fake stuff than one realizes. I choose butter (bonus points for the cream being from grass-fed cow’s milk) because it’s not fake.
So that’s my plan of attack to add more healthy fats to our diet at home. What are your thoughts?