Nutrition seems to thrive on making cavalier broad sweeping statements– categorically don’t eat that, absolutely do eat that, omit this from your diet it is SOO dangerous. Admittedly, I choose not to eat certain things, mainly as I have allergy issues and I listen to how my body feels after eating.
Macronutrients- carbs, fats, protein- are constantly being demonized and when I was an impressionable teen the message was low to no fat was a healthy choice.
Had I but known.
Our desire to lump all fat into the ‘will make you fat’ basket has meant that this misunderstood nutrient has disappeared from several well-intentioned peoples diets. The fight against trans fat has become a fight against all fats, good or bad and encouraged companies, interested in their pockets rather than our own health, removing fat from products, bumping up the sugar content to appeal to the ‘health conscious’ individual.
I too throughout high school and university was seduced by the fat free = weight free façade. Despite losing weight, I looked pallid, had cracked nails and yellow skin…little wonder, when I thought eating fat free yoghurt loaded with sugar and a can of diet coke was going to make my skin glow and my health shine. Furthermore, the ‘weight I lost’ was clearly muscle tissue, so despite being smaller I was still ‘frumpy’ and without any clear muscle definition.
I realize now what a disservice I was doing to myself. Fat can be such an important part of a healthy diet and cutting all forms of it out is quite wrong. By removing the fat, not only was I upping the sugar I was consuming but I was also removing flavour!
My diet today incorporates healthy fats from a variety of sources: mainly macadamia nuts (lowest in Polyunsaturated Fats – another blog post my friends), avocados, and coconut and olive oils in moderation. If anyone hasn’t tried coconut oil I can’t recommend it enough!
As a quick aside, yes- coconut oil is very much on trend at the moment, ‘because it’s like, so amazing’, like anything, it isn’t the miracle cure to fat loss.
Rather it is just damn tasty and yes it has some pretty unique health properties that you simply can’t dismiss.
Benefits of Coconut Oil:
▪ High smoke point- you can nuke the crap out of coconut oil and it doesn’t sabotage the oil’s health properties. This is why it is great as an all-round cooking oil.
▪ Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)- medium chain triglycerides- a type of saturated fat that your body readily uses for energy because they are easily digested by the body. This thermogenic effect has meant it is now ‘all the rage’ in bodybuilding arenas. You can even buy fat burning supplements with the main ingredient being, MCT’s. Although a tsp of the stuff tastes much nicer than a little pill.
▪ Digestion- my favourite part of coconut oil is the fact that the body readily digests it. This takes pressure off your other vital organs; pancreas/liver unlike other fats. Anything less taxing on the body is also going to help with your bodies overall stress levels. Less stress = less cortisol which equates to better sleep and better health. With winter in full throttle at the moment, a less stressed body is the best defense against a cold!
▪ Antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral- which is why traditional Ayurveda practice suggests oil pulling; in which you swish coconut oil in the mouth as a form of effective teeth cleaning. Not bad right?
Now before you go and down tablespoons of the stuff, moderation is key. Just ensure that in your pursuit to be a healthy hot someone you ensure that fats are a vital component to your diet.
If anything your skin will thank you this winter!