Fat is good. No, being fat is not good. Eating fat is good. Now, before you get excited, I am not talking about a Big Mac or a Milkshake. I am talking about salmon, avocado, nuts, seeds and butter. The good fats. I remember when I was a young teenager living in North Carolina and I discovered that guacamole was the best thing ever. Do you know what my mother said to me? Be careful, avocados are full of fat! I looked at this ugly green thing in front of me and I thought, “that’s weird, green food is supposed to be good for you and this bumpy pear thingy looks kinda healthy.” But, I listened to my mother and put the avocado down and swore I would never eat it again. If only I had googled it. Then I would have realised that avocados are a superfood; filled with potassium, fibre and vitamin C. I was also told by friends and family members that nuts were bad and they would make me fat. So, I ate low-fat and reduced fat potato chips instead along with low sodium crackers and snacks. Little did I know that these ‘low-fat’ snacks were full of crazy ingredients derived from corn (a government subsidised crop in the United States) such as maltodextrin and (genetically) modified food starch. I probably would have been much better off if I had just eaten that bag of peanuts.
You are going to think that I am crazy because I am going to tell you things that go against everything you have ever been taught. Please, go to your refrigerator and take out your margarine. Is it ‘Flora’ or ‘Utterly Butterly’ or maybe it is ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter’? Think about what you are holding in your hand. You are holding something that a company has produced, probably as a result of multiple scientific experiments, to look, taste, feel and smell like butter but without actually being butter. What words pop into your head? The first one that pops into my head is “fake”. This butter-like substance is an imposter. In fact, let me just make it simple for you. Go to your dictionary and type in ‘margarine’ and read the definition: “a butter substitute made from vegetable oils or animal fats.” Hmmm… sounds gross. Butter on the other hand is the butterfat separated from milk and cream, and is a creamy delicious source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is key for good vision, immune system health and cell growth. So, unless you are lactose intolerant, skip the margarine and go for the real stuff- butter! Now, in my opinion, and some may disagree, the same does not hold true for milk. If you can give it up, I would. That is because one serving of milk has 5g of carbohydrates in it, which are all sugars, whereas Alpro almond milk has 0.1g. The last thing you want to do is spike your blood sugar first thing in the morning. If you think about it, the only time you really drink milk is on your cereal. Throw your cereal away, because it is probably full of sugar and weird ingredients, and instead, eat some oatmeal made with water or almond milk. Porridge, or oatmeal for the American readers, is higher in fibre, higher in protein, and contain plenty of carbohydrates but only a very, very small amount of sugars. If you like breakfast cereals, switch to oatmeal instead and if you are a gym-lover like me, stir in some of your favourite protein powder (there is a link to the phD Diet Whey that I am taking right now) to keep you fuelled through your morning and your workout.
While we are on the subject of breakfast, I must add that I usually have a green smoothie with my porridge and on my low-carb days, I have about five eggs instead of porridge. You are probably freaking out. FIVE eggs? She must look like the hulk! I can assure you I don’t. Eggs are not bad for you! You have been lied to! Eggs are low calories, at about only 70 calories per egg, but are high in Vitamin B2, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. They do contain some fat but it is good fat and your body needs fat to stay full, and to feed your brain. Right now, I am doing carb cycling which involves going extremely low-carb for a couple of days in the week and then eating high-carb for another couple of days in the week. If you are eating low-carb, or want to try it for a while, eggs are the best thing ever. They keep you going for hours and there are so many different ways you can eat them; in an omelette, scrambled, or even poached. I would easily go through about 12 eggs a week. This morning, I wanted a low-carb breakfast so I had pancakes. Don’t laugh! These weren’t just any pancakes. These were protein pancakes! Four ingredients: eggs, almond milk, protein powder and flaxseed. The recipe is on my Instagram page. My tummy was happy, they were delicious and I felt full for hours.
When I was younger, I was so confused and misinformed about food. I would buy everything low-fat, low-sodium, low-sugar, low-whatever, without even reading the ingredients. I looked at the calories but I ignored the sugar and fat content. I ate cornflakes with skimmed milk and then wondered why I was hungry an hour and a half later. I would snack on pretzels and tortilla chips because they were advertised as low-fat and I thought they were healthy. Today, I eat peanut butter out of the jar sometimes but it’s Meridian peanut butter so there are two ingredients; peanuts and salt. I am not advising you do this but I am simply pointing out that fat is okay! There are stories on the internet of people who have increased their fat intake or have started eating a Paleo diet and have lost weight. I am one of those stories. Yes, I lost weight by exercising and making better choices with my diet, but the real results started happening when I started eating a clean, primal-style, healthy diet with a more healthy balance of carbs, proteins and fats. Oh, and I must add that my skin, hair and nails flourished. You have been taught to be afraid of fat and to keep it out of your diet but I challenge you to embrace it and start reintroducing it in small amounts, until you reach a point where you are comfortable with it. Start by sprinkling some nuts and seeds on your porridge, take a little bag of almonds to work as your morning snack, eat a little avocado with your dinner, and eat salmon for your Sunday lunch instead of chicken or turkey. Eat more fat. The results might surprise you.