Simplifying nutrition and using food as medicine - one bite at a time.

My goal with this blog is to set folks straight about what good nutrition really is! Starting by discarding the info we get every day from 'sponsors' that do not really have our best interests at heart, I want to inspire you to eat better AND realize it is much easier than you thought it would be!

Just about any health issues can be addressed with nutrition (and meditation), from mild to chronic to acute. We truly have the ability to heal ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually...

And you can use your daily routine as your vehicle to drive that change :)

Join me...

Quote of the Month

"When food, in the minds of eaters, is no longer associated with farming and with the land, then the eaters are suffering a kind of cultural amnesia that is misleading and dangerous"
~Wendell Berry

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Healthy Fats - Part 1

Why is fat so misunderstood?  It is my opinion that our confusion has been bred in part by decades of mass marketing campaigns that lead us to believe that fat itself is our enemy.  We have seen a major shift since the 1970's toward a 'Low-Fat Revolution'.  And I think that this may be one of the single most damaging messages we've been exposed to in my lifetime.  I have seen people eat virtually no fat, striving for a virtually fat-free diet and they, inevitably, are suffering from all kinds of deficiencies and diseases as a result (more on that later).
Not only is the overall message to eat less fat but inevitably we are steered toward 'manufactured fats' or certainly those that are highly processed and therefore very unhealthy.  The result is major deficiencies of quality dietary fats such as (animal and plant sourced) saturated fat, unprocessed (vegetable sourced) polyunsaturated fats and essential fats (aka: essential fatty acids or omega 3/6/9, sourced largely from fish, nuts and seeds).

Infertility is just one of the 'diseases' that have become much more prevalent in the past decade, just as Multiple Sclerosis and Heart Disease and ADHD.  These diseases and many more, in my opinion, have some form of fat deficiency at their root, among other things.  In many cases though, positive dietary changes can reverse these major disease conditions in the body, using 'food as medicine' as the catalyst.

There is a statement I put in many of my nutritional recommendations to clients and that is:
"Your body wants to be in balance and is always trying to achieve it (it is programs into the very genes of every cell in your body). You simply have to give it the right fuel (appropriate whole foods, clean air and water) and allow it to do its amazing work. Part of that allowing is your trust in the process and letting go of any resistance in your body by using a daily practice of focused, deep breathing."

So the fat component of "appropriate whole foods" is; whole, natural fat - as nature intended.  We are, after all, part of the 'natural world' and so we get our most efficient, health promoting food from the 'natural world'.  The more it has deviated from that natural world the less our body recognizes it and thrives from it.  There are, however, methods of preparation that can healthfully alter natural food from its original state but that is done by way of natural method; ie: fermentation, natural preservation, dehydration, etc.

So, the truth about what constitutes a healthy food, including a healthy fat, is not really that complicated after all.  It just seems that way in a market-driven, food-manufacturing, falsified labeling-driven culture.  But once you let that all melt away and you only choose that which is produced in a healthy, sustainable, compassionate and respectful way, it's not all that difficult to sift through the garbage and find the 'gems'.

Here is a simple chart of the good and the bad (and the ugly in some cases)

Common refined vegetable oils(these are the majority of what you find at the grocery store and no one type is exempt)                         

Non-organic corn, canola or soy                          

Too much Sunflower, safflower, corn and cottonseed = too much inflammation-promoting    
Omega 6 in your diet                                            

Modified/hydrogenated anything = trans fats and inability to properly metabolize (ugly!)       

Non-organic butter (from factory-farmed, medicated, grain-fed cows)                                   

Unrefined or cold-pressed veg. oils

Virgin Coconut or Olive oil

Organic and cold-pressed corn, canola and soy

Use (virgin)olive, sesame, hazelnut, walnut, etc.
(these contain lower levels of Omega 6 and some of which are high in healthful Omega 3

and are even local :)

The only vegetable based oils that should be solid are coconut and palm b/c they're naturally saturated,
otherwise vegetable oils should not solidify unless by unnatural means.

Organic butter (ideally from grass-fed, free-range cows). Yes, it's healthy!

 *Some brand names of healthful oils I've used have been happy with are: Orphee, Spectrum (their unrefined varieties), Alpha (coconut), Rapunzel, Earth's Best, Flora.  And I'm sure there are many smaller, quality oil-producers out there too that I don't yet know about.  I
(If you know of one in particular - please let me know!)
There are a great many organizations out there today that have been fighting to put healthful food back on the dinner tables of people like you and me, with much achievement, and here are just a few: - Named after one of the 20th century's most prominent Nutritional Researcher's. - Founded by the indelible Alice Waters - Chef and Food Activist - Author of 'In Defense of Food' and Omnivore's Dilemma' -one of America's leaders in the fight for Food Reform - Farm Folk, City Folk - A wonderful organization cultivating a local, sustainable food system Our local Farmer's Market Association - a food security & fermentation enthusiast who's making a difference!

So I say bring on the 'High Fat Revolution' - as long as it's real fat!

Stay tuned for more on this huge topic...
Be well, Lisa Marie

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