Once upon a time, I used to choose low fat products.
Low fat milk, cheese, and anything else that sounded like it would be a healthier choice if marked as low fat. Little did I know, I was actually depriving myself of something that my body really did need! Fat is always portrayed as the villain, the bad guy that must be avoided! Let me assure you, fat is not always bad.
When we eat healthy fats the right way, they are very beneficial to our bodies and can even help us to change how our body looks and how we feel in general.
Did I just hear you ask “Say whaaat?” Yep - you read it right! Our bodies need fat in order to not only survive, but thrive!
Quick biology lesson! Did you know that one of the main ingredients in your cells is fat? The cell wall is around 70-80% fat. And your brain - one of the most important organs in your entire body - is about 60% fat. Every moment of every day our body is making new cells in order to keep us alive and healthy. Imagine what would happen if we cut out fat from our diet? Not only would your brain and nerves suffer, but the actual maintenance of our body will be affected because your body will recognise that it is missing a vital ingredient for cell replication.
The truth about fat is this: you can happily eat small amounts of fat with each meal (a good serving size is around the size of your thumb).
The fat you DON’T want is trans fats or hydrogenated fats. These fats are everywhere and they are sneaky little blighters! The food industry created trans fats and hydrogenated fats by altering the molecular structure of healthy, natural fats so they could create food that lasted longer, tasted better and had a better texture. That’s how they became dangerous to us. When we mess with nature it messes with us. If your food comes from a package, there is a very real chance that it has trans or hydrogenated fats in it. I’m not saying that it 100% definitely has, but there’s a good chance it does include these fats. This is why we need to make our own food, and not rely on foods from factories.
How can we get healthier, natural fats into our diet? You can include more of the following foods in your diet:
The really cool thing about the plant-based sources of fats, is how versatile they are. For breakfast, adding chia seeds to your breakfast smoothie will give you omega 3 fats (very important!), fibre, and protein. Adding a scoop of avocado to your smoothie will not only give you healthy fats, but it’ll give your smoothie a nice creamy texture too! For lunch, throw some pumpkin seeds and pine nuts on a salad and whammo - extra fats, fibre and protein in one hit! And of course if you’re on the go and need some energy, grabbing some homemade trail mix with nuts, seeds and dried fruits will help keep you going until your next meal (just don’t have too much trail mix - that stuff is delicious and addictive!).
Remember, fat is in foods for a reason. You don’t have to “go keto” and get the majority of your nutrition from foods with higher fats content, just don’t be scared to include more healthy fats in your diet. Your body will thank you for it, and you may even speed up those fat loss results that we work so hard for!