Isn’t it glorious? We can eat fats! For those of us who grew up with the notion that fats caused obesity and heart disease, the news that there are good fats that actually help us lose weight, lower cholesterol, help our nervous systems function and give us glossy hair, healthy skin, and strong nails is almost too good to be true.
Last post, we talked about what fats you need to get rid of. Now here’s what fats you should have on hand.
Organic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I am becoming obsessed with olive oil, the way someone becomes obsessed with varietals of red wine. I love Spanish, Italian, Sicilian, Portuguese, Greek…on and on and on. They all have their own zest and flavor, body and bouquet. Love love love olive oil.
Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats which is awesome for heart health. Like the above oils, its full of antioxidants and so offsets free radical damage and is an anti-inflammatory food. It has a low smoke point, so it’s not the best for cooking except in low-simmer sauces, but you can pour it all over salads, cooked veggies, hummus, and as a dip for breads.
Here’s the thing: you need to be picky – and careful – when choosing your bottle of olive oil. Look for the extra virgin variety. Bypass “light” and ‘blends.” There’s a lot of fake olive oil out there, so read the label carefully so that you are buying a legit bottle. Look for single-source varieties that make an effort to prove their origin with harvesting dates and Q-codes that trace a particular bottle’s origin, and certifications of authenticity such as ones from California, Australia, Italy, and the International Olive Oil Council. Bargain olive oil is not always olive oil. Expect to pay over $10 bucks a bottle, and make sure the bottle is dark to protect against oxidation.
Organic Grass-Fed Raw Butter/Ghee
Unlike the Frankenfats we discussed in the last post, real butter from happy, free-range, grass-fed animals is very good for you. Butter contains fat-soluble vitamins, trace minerals, and contains omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which are great for the nervous system and the skin.
Butter burns at temperatures above 250 degrees Fahrenheit so to safely use it at higher temperatures you need to clarify it.
To make clarified butter, or Ghee, take a pound of unsalted butter and melt it over medium heat in a saucepan. Lower the heat until the butter barely boils and heat uncovered for about 15 minutes (more if you’re using more butter). Keep a close watch on it so it doesn’t burn. It should become clear, with a golden color and white curds on the bottom. You’ll have to push away some foam on top with a clean, dry spoon to check that it is clear all the way to the bottom. It should smell like popcorn at this point. If it smells nutty and is slightly brown, it burned.
When it stops sputtering, remove from heat and let it cool until it the pot is warm enough to touch comfortably. Pour the ghee through cheesecloth or a very fine sieve into a jar with a tight lid. Discard the curds. You can store it at room temperature for a few weeks, but to keep it longer, put it in the fridge.
Because you discarded the curds, ghee is lactose- and casein-free – great for folks who are intolerant to regular butter!
Organic, Expeller Pressed Virgin Avocado Oil
Avocados are one of the healthiest, fattiest fruits you can eat. They actually lower VLDL cholesterol while raising HDL and creating a healthy balance overall! They contain vitamins and have antioxidant power to fight free radical damage. The oil has a subtle taste and a remarkably high smoke point (around 500 degrees Fahrenheit) so you can use it safely in baking, grilling, and frying. It’s also good at room temperature for salads and vegetables.
Omega-3 Fish Oils/Plant Oils
This is an important oil group, but also a little challenging to navigate. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids, meaning we need to get them from food sources. It is an important ally against inflammation and immunity building. There are different types of Omega-3 oils; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPS), and alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which conjugate in the body into the prior two.
Why is this important to know? Because DHA and EPA are found in seafood like sardines, krill, and salmon; salmon oil has the added bonus of astaxanthin, which is a very powerful antioxidant. However, I don’t advocate eating fish anymore because all fish is unfortunately poisoned with toxic heavy metals like mercury now, and factory farmed fish which should be avoided for health and humanity reasons.
So, to get a decent dose of fish oil, you need to have it supplemented by a reputable supplement company.
ALA is an omega-3 found in plants, nuts and seeds, as well as finer cuts of meat like grass-fed beef. As I said before ALA becomes DHA and EPA in the body, but not efficiently. You would need the equivalent of 10 gel caps of ALA to conjugate to the same amount of DHA and EPA you would get with one fish oil gel cap.
Still, that’s no reason to give up on ALA sources. Green leafy veggies have a good amount of ALA, as do Brussel sprouts. Walnuts have nice amounts of omega-3 oils; so do flax and chia seeds. If you use flax seed oil, you have to use it up quickly, because it goes rancid quickly. It’s better to get it in an encapsulated form.
As a rule, go for 1,000 mg of EPA/DHA supplementation, and 4,000 ALA/EPA/DHA supplementation a day for healthy brain, heart, joints, and nervous system.
Organic, Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil
I luvs me ma coconut oil. Coconut oil is wonderful on skin, in food, and is a perfect sexual lubrication. Coconut improves memory and cognitive functions, and increases healthy cholesterol balance so its heart-healthy. It has antioxidants so it’s a great anti-inflammatory food for joints and muscles. It’s rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which doesn’t easily turn into fat in the body…meaning, you use the energy from the coconut right away!
Coconut is awesome in food, but it does have its signature coconut taste so if you’re good with that, use it like you would butter. It’s solid at room temperature, so you can spread it on toasted bread (gluten free too) and it melts beautifully. Sprinkle cinnamon on top for a yummy toast!
What’s your favorite oil? Let me know!