Monday, May 24, 2010

The Skinny on Fats

Hey there, lovely bloggies :)! How's your weekend been? 

I'm not sure what it's like all around, but the weather here in the midwest has been love-ly! Seriously, I've been soaking up some major sun. I think there's something about loads (and I mean loads) of good produce shopping at the farmer's market to get a girl going. Take a look at the goods: 

Not only is this a wonderful spread (can you say green and red? It's almost Christmas-y!), but most of it is local, organic, or both! The deals this week were nothing short of amazing. I love that as spring finally comes into full swing, there is an abundance of the good stuff. A giant bunch of kale for $0.75? A 4-pound bag of local sweet potatoes for $2? An abundance of organic strawberries and fresh organic kale? Yes please! 

I was lucky enough that all of this produce is of outstanding quality. It really makes my heart sing. Unfortunately, we're not all lucky enough to have such choices. When faced with limited produce problems, do you choose local, organic, or neither? Local and organic can sometimes be expensive, but we try when we can. The new study that showed that pesticides are contributing to ADHD in children has definitely supported my ideas even more. However, sometimes it is hard to find local or organic, or it is just simply too expensive. What's your take? 

As much as I love my veg and fruitas, there's definitely room in my heart for more. What could I be talking about, you ask? Fats, of course! In honor of Chocolate Covered Katie's Hug a Fat month, I thought it was finally time to get on the train and talk about fats

[My biggest hug goes out to flaxseed. I absolutely adore Bob's Red Mill's Golden Flaxseed Meal. Yumsies. Please excuse the just-got-out-of-bed-dressed-for-yoga look. Hey, it was the weekend.]

First, I want to address the matter of it's name. Fats have often been accused of making you fat, or overweight. Fats do indeed have more calories per gram than carbohydrates and proteins (9 calories per gram vs. 4), so a small amount of fats generally is higher in calories. Why is this? Well, fats are made up of hydrophobic molecules. That means that they "fear" water and therefore foods high in fat are usually low in water. Just think of fruits and veggies; they usually have a high water percentage and therefore a lot of your consumption of them is actually water. 

[More hugging goes out to almonds. I would have hugged my Maranantha raw almond butter jar, but I was about to dash out to yoga and couldn't find it. Either way, I love me some almonds.]

Anyway, the fact that fats are calorie dense does not make them unhealthy. Actually, it's quite the opposite! Most healthy fats are also very nutrient dense with such essential vitamins and minerals as Vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids. Did you know these nutrients can even speed up your metabolism and improve saiety? A healthy consumption of fats has actually been shown to promote weight loss and increased energy! So before you turn away from fats, remember that everything is good in moderation, and they won't actually make you fat. Not to mention, who wants dry and lifeless hair, cracked skin, a loss of umm "womanliness," depression, and fatigue? Not me! 

[Whoever thought of making flax seed in cracker form was genius. Just another vehicle for getting flax into my belly, I guess.]

Honestly, I could go on and on about the benefits of fats. Although I once turned my nose up at such a statement, I now have come to embrace the nutritional powerhouses. How, you ask? Well, it's simple. Here are some of my favorite sources of healthy fats: 

  • Flax seed (pictured above in my fat-hugging because it's my all-time favorite) 
  • Almonds & raw almond butter (especially this one)
  • Walnuts 
  • Hazelnuts 
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hummus (come on, who doesn't like hummus?!)
  • Chia seeds (a new find for me) 
  • Greenies 

In addition, these are some other great [vegan ] sources: 

  • Cooking oils (olive oil, safflower oil, etc.) 
  • Coconut (once misunderstood because of it's high saturated fat content, it is now known as a nutritional power house because of it's medium chain fatty acids. Jessica did a wonderful post here and Avery seems to know quite a bit about it, too.)
  • Avocados & guacamole 
  • Nuts 
  • Seeds 

[Although I'm allergic to coconut meat myself, I made Mama Pea's KIND bars for my neighbor who works at the farmer's market. She hooked me up with some produce, and I hooked her up with some of these. That's what friends are for :P.]

Even though you may not see pictures of my fat consumption every day (other than flax seeds, which I hope you don't mind because they're not going anywhere anytime soon), rest assured that I do my own fat hugging every day. Because vegan diets are naturally low in fat, I make sure to get my daily dose and enjoy it whole-heartedly. A dip in the almond butter jar (*swoon*) or a handful of raw nuts (one of my new favorite methods, even though I previously didn't like nuts by themselves) keep my body healthy and happy every day. 

What's your favorite healthy fat? Did you go through a love-hate relationship with fats, like me? 

If you would like more information on the benefits of healthy fats, I'm sure you can find lots on google, as well as in magazines, books, and even by looking at other blogs. As this website says, don't go no fat, go good fat! 

Have a lovely day! 

P.S. To those of you who read my last post, I should probably explain this: 

As you can probably guess from the picture, I burned myself on the stove. Contrary to what everyone asks when I tell them, no, I did not burn it while cooking. Actually, it's still quite a mystery of how it happened. When I came home from school, all of the burners on the stove were off. However, as I picked up a pan that was on the stove already (in the back), it burnt me. I immediately let go of it. As I did, I noticed that the handle (which never gets hot) was smoking! Strange. I guess it's just a kitchen mystery. However, it was a good reminder that even when I'm not cooking, it's important to be safe and that even though I am always super careful, weird things can happen. Thank you so much to all of you who expressed your care. It's definitely recovering but the burn was a bad one. It blistered immediately! All I cared about was whether I would be able to do downward dogs in yoga that night, hehe :P. 


  1. Ouch! I have so many burns from nannying during college because the mother always made me use the broiler, not cool. I love fats so much and eat at least a few sources every day. Today I had chia, flax, avocado, almond butter, coconut oil, olive oil. I once was slightly afraid of them but then realized that was silly considering I don't eat any animal fat! I have some living zen sprouted buckwheat I need to try.

  2. Great informative post about healthy fats !!!!!!! My all time favorite is flaxseed too!!!!!! I love its nutty flavor and put it on everything!!!! Your local produce looks wonderful - what great prices!!!!!
    Sorry to hear about your hand - hope it is feeling better -
    Have a great week - xoxo aimee

  3. Ack - that is so weird about the pan!! Kinda creepy even, if no one had been cooking. Glad ou're recovering okay though :)
    And great post! When it comes to produce, I definitely try to buy what's on sale, and go for the organic stuff first. Right now, all I can get at the farmer's market is greens and apples (produce wise) so I do - but otherwise I'm out of luck for now. I try to go by the clean fifteen and dirty dozen list when at the supermarket.
    And for fats - yes, please!! I also love having just a handful of raw cashews, peanuts, almonds, anything! And nut butters, of course :) And thanks for the shout-out on my coconut post. Definitely another of my favorites ;)

  4. I've definitely had a rocky relationship with fats; there was a time I cut them out of my diet completely, which was one of the stupidest things I've ever done, honestly. Although it was hard to start adding them back in, after gradually working my way up, I can't get enough. I don't think I can choose a favorite one, as I love so many, but almond butter, tahini, hummus, coconut butter, and avocado are some of my favorites.

    And when it comes to produce, I try to buy local first because I can ask the farmers how they grow their stuff, and then I mostly try to stick to organic in the supermarkets... especially when it comes to the dirty dozen.

  5. Even though I know all of the books I read seem to point towards choosing organic over local, I would choose local first. Most farmers that produce for local consumers use fewer pesticides, and even used organic processes a lot of the time, but don't want to deal with the expense of paying for the certification. I love supporting local communities, so that's my first priority.

  6. Oh my WORD, how adorable are you? P.S. I really enjoyed reading your blog and am adding it to my reader :)

  7. ur totally adorable!! so glad u got on the hug a fat train.. and u chose flax meal too which totally ROX! almonds do too of course :)

    LOVED the stuff u picked up at the market, mm that'll be so tasty when u make up some fun dishes with them!

    ive burnt the top of my hand from picking up a pan from the stove ... i would always hit the top coils ... OUCH!
    ur poor hand tho :(

  8. HOORAY for fats! I totally used to avoid them like the plague but now I probably have 2-3 servings of almond butter a day, along with chia seeds, avocado, etc!
    Sorry about your burn, that must have hurt!

  9. love this post girl!! I LOVE FATS!! My fav fat-DEF PB.. hands down!! :)

  10. Love me some healthy fats!! Great post! Plant-based fats are essential in all diets, and necessary for optimal health.
    Thank you for your nice comment on my blog-I really like yours! and yes, i eat oatmeal all year long! i also love overnight oats if i'm not feeling a hot bowl in the am!
    keep up the quality posts chica!

  11. This is a great post! so many people out there are like omg..nuts no way..those have fat..i'm like yeah...uh better fat then whats in those potato chips your just can't tell them though. anyway..nice post! :)