Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Skinny on Fats - Ch. 3

Fats - uuuggghhh!!! Just the word makes me cringe. It seems everywhere I turn, people are trying to lower their fat intake. Of course, that's a good thing, but the bad part of that is - Everything I like is fattening!
We all know that a high-fat diet is bad for you. But did you know that high-fat diets are strongly related to colon, rectal, and prostate cancers? That gets my attention personally because my husband would be more susceptible to all of those and he already has a high cancer rate in his family.
Diets that may reduce the risks of these cancers must instead be full of high amounts of fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans. Of course, your grains need to be whole grains (natural) and the white stuff needs to go (unnaturally whitened)!
All of our bodies contain a hormone-like compound called PGE2. This dangerous prostaglandin is linked to prostate, colon, and breast cancers. Diets that are high in Polyunsaturated fats (think safflower oil, corn oil, and sunflower oil) and saturated fats (think whole milk, red meat, pork, chicken & turkey skins, bacon, lunchmeat, cheese, ice cream, butter...all the things I like!) increase the PGE2 in your body. That's bad!
However, the weird thing is that if you try to go completely fat-free, that also increases the PGE2 in your body! So, is it a lose-lose situation? Not really.
You see, there are these good fats (is there really such a thing?) called Omega 3's. Omega 3's are essential fatty acids that cannot be manufactured in our bodies, so they must be consumed from an outside source.
Here are some sources of Omega 3 fats:
* raw nuts, particularly walnuts
*flaxseed & flaxeseed oil
*coldwater fish (salmon, mackerel, halibut, tuna, herring, & cod)
*fish oil (sounds lovely, huh?)
*free range meats (I can't wait to discuss this subject later on!!!)
*olive oil & olives (my husband is so happy...he eats olives like candy!)
*dark green veggies (collards, broccoli)

The author of this book recommends using olive oil in the place of any other oil you currently use. I did so this morning and my pancakes were a little flat. But, it could have been the old pancake mix I used? Or perhaps, the out-of-date buttermilk? Hey, buttermilk is already sour so what's the difference? Don't you wanna come to breakfast at our house soon?
He also suggests grinding flax seed and sprinkling it into your cereal, bread or muffin mixes, or anything else you can. He personally grinds (in a coffee bean grinder) 5 tsp flaxseed and puts it in his food daily. He also takes 1 TBSP of flaxseed oil 2 x per day...let me know if you do this and how it turns out for you.

Lastly, let me mention a very dangerous fat that we should all stay away from. These are trans-fats and they are deadly! These fats are man-made and produced by hydrogenating vegetable oil. Basically, veg oil is heated to boiling and hydrogen is bubbled into it to produce a sort of lard we call margarine.
Margarine, believe it or not, is added to most baked goods, breads, pastries, and almost all processed foods. So if you see the term "hydrogenated veg oil" or hydrogenated anything on a food label - STAY AWAY FROM IT! It won't be easy either because SO many boxed foods have this.
In regards to cooking, always choose butter over margarine. The old saying, "You get what you pay for" comes to mind. Margarine is cheaper than butter...but in the end it may cost alot more.
So, in our family, we have resolved the following things in response to this newly learned subject:
2. Olive oil instead of any other oils.
3. Eat more fish - especially when eating out.
4. More beans and dark green veggies.

Finally, we are still consuming our daily soy milk. Well, some of us are. The kiddos are not so thrilled about trying something new, although 2 of them did settle for some soy hot chocolate this afternoon while the others looked on in disgust.
Hey, it's a process and we are reaching forward to goals, keeping the big picture in mind. I hope that you are also setting some goals to become healthier and happier this year!

1 comment:

New Mommy said...

Hi Christy,
I'm also in Georgia, trying to eat healthfully. You are right about trans fats, but traditional fats are awesome, and quite necessary. By this, I mean animal fats, like butter and lard (not the hydrogenated lard on the grocery shelf).

Here's a great summary of nutritional fats:

Know Your Fats

Here's to being healthy!