Fats aren’t making you fat. In fact, what if Fats, the macronutrient, were called “youth” instead of the dreaded ‘F” word? Would that change the perception of “fat” making us “fat”? It has been a long time since the F word has made me wince. In all reality, it is my favorite food group and one that makes me happy, satiated, full of energy, with great skin (no – never don’t botox at 35), hair and nails and with the ability to function throughout my crazy day.
Fats are the fountain of youth, too many times have I seen women on a lower fat diet for a long period of time where their skin starts to lack luminosity, glow and even ages a good 5 years. On the other hand, the healthy fats found in foods such as avocados, olives, seeds, nuts and animal fat (well sourced), can provide you with the plump, youthful skin often sought out in a “botox brunch”. Dont get me wrong; I’m not saying that botox isn’t an option now a days, but a lot of the time, changes in nutrition will make much more of a drastic effect on all levels of physical being, including skin.
Low Fat, No Fat, Non-sense
I wish I could say that the low-fat, no-fat craze of the 80’s are long gone; days where every company seemed to jump on the bandwagon of FAT FREENESS; No fat desserts, yogurts, ice-cream bars and dressings made people believe that the food they were eating was “free” and therefore wouldn’t make them gain weight or was considered a “free-for-all”. Unfortunately, I still see many products on the shelves supporting this backward thinking, and still here many people speak of the “no-fat” version of their favourite treats.
The premise behind these foods is to REMOVE the natural fat found in for example the cream, butter, milk fat etc. and REPLACE it with……SUGAR! Yes, you have it, sugar or aspartame, or some other “plastic” like food to make sure that your newly fad “non-fat” product will still simulate the same texture, or at least similar of their original counterpart.
Grab your low fat yogurt for example and compare it to its full fat counterpart. The non-fat yogurt will have something like this- 0 fats, 22 carbs (from sugar). Where as your full fat version will have say 8 fat and 5 carb. Which do you really think is better for you?
Calorically, they look very similar, but what the actual ingredients are reporting to your body is quite different. This is WHY the dreaded calorie counting diets don’t take into consideration your body’s function, energy, bowel movements, skin, hair, nails, cognitive function etc. If I haven’t been clear enough – I CHOOSE THE FULL FAT VERSIONS!
I cannot be more adamant about this; especially when speaking about your children. If anything, they NEED all of that fat and then some to properly grow, function and be happy! Throw out the Wonderbread, and give them eggs, cheese, nuts, and full fat versions of their favourite treats. My daughter loves both the avocado recipes below, and the truth is, she doesn’t even know they have the addition of this high fat, superfood.
When To Get Fats
I like to keep my fats high at breakfast, before bed and AWAY FROM MY WORKOUT WINDOW. Typically, my post workout meal is my highest carbohydrate meal, and keeping your fat intake low to nil will help the carbohydrate and protein replenish and start repairing the muscle at a faster rate. Whereas fat will slow down the absorption of the carbohydrate and protein to the muscle belly. Adding fat however to my later in the day meals, where I typically don’t eat large amounts of starchy carbs will help keep me full, functioning and happy!
Add Fats To Treats
Including healthy fat in your diet is not only recomended, but essential, hence the word EFA- Essential Fatty Acids. If you are sourcing organic and grass-fed meats, wild fish and eating your proper quantity of animal proteins (see PROTEIN BLOG)- then you are most likely getting your fill of EFA. Supplementing, however with a good quality fish oil, is also a good option.
Believe it or not, taking 1/4 teaspoon of EFA with every meal will actually lower the glycemic load of the meal being eaten. When treating myself to higher carb or a “treat” meal, I usually always add in a swing from the fish oil bottle, reaping the rewards of the elixir as well as keeping the higher treat meal lower on the GI index. When getting ready for a shoot or show, I ALWAYS add in the 1/4 teaspoon of fish oil with every meal. I know it almost sounds counter-intuitive, but trust me, it works every time! I feel tighter, lighter, leaner for my shoots, and my skin and hair glow!
This is why something like counting calories doesn’t work well for me. The amount of “calories” in fat would make obsessive calorie counters cringe. Yes, out of all 3 macronutrients, fat has the most amount of calories per gram, weighing in at 9 calories/gram, as opposed to its protein and carb counterparts at 4 calories/gram.
Good Night Sleep
Many of my clients when starting up have complained of not being able to fall asleep at night, or with awaking every night at the same time, and having difficulty getting back to bed. By giving them a tablespoon of nut butter, a full-fat yogurt, or a protein pudding made with avocado (see recipe below), it is the perfect combination of protein and fats to keep their muscles fuelled and their central nervous system relaxed!
Ok, now that I have hopefully convinced you of not being scared of fats, how much should you be ingesting?
The recommendation is between 20-35% of your daily intake. However, I have seen “bodybuilder” diets go as low as 10-15%, and ketogenic diets as high as 50%. You fat intake is quite individualized depending on your goals, your starting point and your ingestion of carbohydrates. Normally, someone ingesting a higher amount of carbs- 65% for example would not leave much room for a lot of fat, wheras, someone on a lower carboydrate protocol would ingest a lot more fat to keep energy and hormones balanced.
Pick Your Fats
My Favorite Fat Sources include:
- Avocado ( I probably eat 1 a day)!
- almond butter
- egg yolks
- coconut oil
- grass-fed bone marrow
- salmon and salmon skin
- chia seeds
- raw milk fats
- olive oi
Here are two of my favorite high-fat recipes:
Avocado Pecan Pie
I love the creaminess of this pie from the ripe avocados! Enjoy!
- 2 handfuls of almonds
- 4-5 Medjool dates (soak in water for 30 minutes)
- 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
- 1 ripe avocado
- 5 dates or dried figs (soaked and pureed)
- 2 tbsp of coconut oil or all natural almond butter
- Halved pecans or walnuts for topping
- Drizzle of all natural maple syrup
- All spice or cinnamon
- Pulverize almonds until they turn into a fine meal (watch carefully as to not make almond butter).
- Add dates and a little of their liquid from their soak. Continue to puree.
- Add the coconut oil and pulse for another few seconds.
- Spread the mixture using your hands on a non-stick small pie plate.
- Bake at 375 degrees Fahnrenheit for 7 minutes (watch not to burn) to crisp up. Remove.
- As crust is cooling, make filling.
- Mash avocado with fork.
- Add pureed dates, coconut oil or nut butter and all spice. Mash together.
- Transfer this mixture to the pie cooled pie crust.
- Place pecan halves on top and drizzle with maple syrup.
- Broil in oven for a few minutes to caramelize top.
Enjoy a slice (1/8 of pie) as a perfect pre-workout meal or a special indulgence!