Healing Food Allergies and Chronic Illnesses with Real Food: Baby Step # 4 |Fats|
Remember the good old days when pie crusts were made with lard and french fries were fried in beef tallow?
We discovered the low fat craze and replaced a vital nutrient with copious amounts of grains, artificial sweeteners, and chemical flavor enhancers to trick our bodies into feeling satisfied all in the name of health. Then we got sicker and sicker…and fat. Really fat.
We’re doing something wrong here.
Our bodies need fat. The benefits of dietary fat is such a vast subject with an overwhelming amount of research and relevant studies that it would take a long series of posts to cover it completely. We’ll cover the basics here, and I’ll point you to some further reading sources to get you started.
The Importance of Dietary Fat
Fat is an essential nutrient and an important component in hormone production and regulation. It helps regulate body temperature and blood glucose, lubricates skin and joints, and protects us from heart disease. Our brains especially rely on it to function correctly.
Lack of dietary fat affects memory, emotional health, vision, circulation, energy levels, and so many other body processes. Just look at the neuroses that came out of the last 30 years of low-fat living! A chronic lack of nutrients is causing health problems at epic levels.
Saturated fat is necessary to the structure of cell walls and the creation of myelin (the fatty insulating sheath around nerve fibers that protects them and assists nerve impulses). A lack of myelin can cause neurological disorders and disease such as multiple sclerosis.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning that our bodies can’t properly utilize them without the presence of fat.
Many other vitamins and minerals are best absorbed with fat, so even fruits and vegetables should be eaten with a drizzle of olive oil or pat of butter.
Look to traditional food pairings – fruit with cream, a salad with vinaigrette, or cabbage sautéed in butter.
Fat makes you feel satisfied longer, so there is less of a tendency to overeat.
A Case for Saturated Fat
If you’re still worried that saturated fat causes heart disease, be sure to do your own research instead of taking the word of others. Chronic lack of nutrients coupled with the introduction of massive toxin intake is the likely culprit.
It’s estimated that less than 20% of the cholesterol in our body is from dietary intake. The rest of it is produced by our bodies.
The arterial build up that saturated fat and cholesterol have been blamed for is often a bandage site. A damaged area that needs repair.
Much like you would put a Band-aid on a cut or scrape to protect it while it heals, your body temporarily patches a damaged arterial wall with cholesterol on purpose.
Only our bodies can’t keep up with the damage being done to them, so that patched area doesn’t resolve itself and begins to collect more cholesterol and other floaters that begin to dam the artery.
Get rid of the processed food, chemical additives, and toxins. Lose the chronic inflammation. Heal the arteries.
Dietary fat does not make you fat.
Let me repeat that in case you missed it. Fat DOES NOT make you fat. Dietary fat is utilized by the body in many different ways.
It’s not just calorie-dense food that slips into your fat cells as soon as you eat it. Those doughnuts and cookies make their way to your belly and thighs through the overconsumption of processed foods full of grains, sugars, and toxic oils in processed foods.
In that vein, the diet theory of calories in equals calories out is fatally flawed. Our bodies utilize different nutrients in different ways, including the macronutrients – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
- Increase your fat consumption slowly. Give your body time to adjust to breaking down a larger amount of fat, so you don’t experience gastric distress by overloading your unprepared body.
- If you have an imbalance in lipids (‘high LDL cholesterol levels’), research more about coconut oil and focus on that as a beginning source of healthy dietary fat (buy it here*).
- Eat fat with digestive aids like enzymes supplements (buy it here*), homemade broth, raw and naturally-fermented foods that are acidic like kombucha, sauerkraut, and apple cider vinegar.
- Be sure to work on increasing your dietary fat intake to prepare for reducing or removing grains from your diet in a future Baby Step. If the right foods are in your diet, it is MUCH easier to reduce and replace the wrong ones.
*affiliate links to products that I use every day
You Bet Your Life: An Epilogue to the Cholesterol Story by Dr. Michael R Eades (M.D.)
Know your Fats Weston A. Price Foundation
The Definitive Guide to Cholesterol by Mark Sisson, Mark’s Daily Apple
Omega3 fatty acids University of Maryland Medical Center (keep in mind this is a mainstream medical article that still touts low fat and does not explore the connection with a real food diet that focuses on healing; it only looks to one component of a complete nutritional protocol)
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Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.
When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.