I’ve just finished a series of nutrition workshops with my team Dr Caryn Zinn (dietician), Dr Mikki Williden (nutritionist) and Julia McPhee (low carb cook). We ran workshops on low carb high fat for the public, health and fitness professionals, and athletes. It’s all interesting and motivating, but one thing was obvious to me. There still exists a widespread fear of fat.
That’s right, in my opinion, the number one barrier to the successful implementation of a whole food low carb diet is the fear of fat.
The trouble is when you don’t eat enough fat you either end up with a low fat, low carb diet (where it is hard to get enough calories to feel OK), or (most common) you are not fully satiated, so you end up over eating protein which gets turned into glucose in the liver, or worse you just binge on carbs because you aren’t full.
The secret is to get past the fear of fat that the food pyramid belted into us and just eat more fat. Eat fat until you are full is my mantra.
Here’s my top ten “go to” fats
- Coconut oil – add this to anything, but most important use it for frying. It holds together at high temperatures. Coconut oil contains lauric acid a medium chain triglyceride which has some antibacterial and possibly anti-inflammatory properties. Good quality extra virgin is what you want – it costs a bit more, but worth it.
- Coconut cream – same as above but can be used in smoothies – that’s a great way of getting your breakfast time fat up
- Avocados – this is a magnificent source of vegetable saturated fat. Avos are highly nutritious and a very effective way to get the fat content of a salad up. Use them in dips and so forth as well.
- Olive oil – in general I avoid cooking with olive oil. But it’s really the most effective way of turning a low calorie, rabbit food salad into something more substantial and nutritious. I almost always make my own salad dressing, most often a combination of olive oil and something else. My salad dressings are mostly zero carbs, and very high healthy fat.
- Cream – plain cream either poured or whipped is a great way to turn a cup of berries into a filling and extra yummy dessert. Added to coffee or tea you know you love it!
- Butter – get liberal with this – have a pound of butter on the diner table and add liberally to your vegetables.
- Cheese – extra fatty varieties – like blue vein are a great source of fat. Some of the double blue cheese in New Zealand can be 70% fat!
- Less lean meat – that’s right you can ask your butcher to NOT trim the fat off the meats you buy. Also, consider some of the other organ meats. My butcher makes whole meat sausages which are quite fatty and he chucks in all sort of bits and pieces like brains which modern humans have mostly given up eating. Avoid supermarket sausages as they tend to be full of wheat and starchy fillers.
- Macadamia nuts – can be 70-80% fat depending on how they are prepared. Yum. Be careful not to over eat these as they are so yummy you start and sometimes don’t stop (at least that’s what happens to me).
- Nut butter – my favourite is almond butter – add it to anything that seems plausible – smoothies, vegetables, eat it straight. You can even make your own in a blender.
Fats to avoid? There’s now plenty of evidence to show that we should ditch the manufactured polyunsaturated seed oils. We should especially avoid frying with them. We have only three oils in our pantry – butter, coconut oil and olive oil.