If only Dr. Seuss had written a book on fats, maybe it would have saved us all some confusion.
Fat phobia. This is probably the longest food phase I had in my life. Haha I say that like I am 80.
It started out when we were first married--I had learned that I couldn't zip my pants if I didn't eat right, (uh, no kidding), and I didn't want it to happen again. I needed to make some changes, and really, it was pretty easy--every commercial, magazine ad, and label on any store product shouted "low fat this" and "no fat that", I assumed that was my answer.
Fat=Bad. This was my new motto.
So in my mind, it was ok that I ate an entire family sized pack of Twizzlers with my lunch, because hey....fat free! Never mind that they are 100% sugar. And Slim Fast snack bars--I'd eat three at a time.....but they are low fat, so of course it was ok--who cares what unidentified ingredients were lurking in them.
I substituted applesauce in all of my baking--which don't get me wrong....I'll still add a little applesauce in some of my banana breads, or muffins--but I was putting applesauce in EVERYTHING--chocolate chip cookies! That's just not right. And it's definitely not a cookie.
After I had my first baby and was determined to quickly loose the extra 35 pounds I had acquired, so my low fat obsession only grew. And lucky for me, every other box of whatever I needed at the grocery store, boasted it's no fat/low fat nutrition label.
I would stock my freezer with low fat ice cream sandwiches--which did absolutely no good, because in my head low fat = healthy = I would eat two or three.
I didn't even buy butter, and forget cooking in any kind of oil......oil=fat=bad. That's how I was programmed. I ate scrambled egg whites only. I bought reduced fat peanut butter--which if you actually read the label of reduced fat peanut butter, it's called peanut "spread"....ha! Even science can't suck the fat out of peanuts, so they just throw a few peanuts in, and add a bunch of other.......stuff.
Low fat crackers.
Low fat cereal.
Low fat cheese....or just no cheese.
Low fat turkey bacon. Seriously the thought of that right now makes me gag. It's like chewing on a dry piece of canvas.
Low fat. No fat. Fat free......
But then come to find out (shock!), that while these products are all low fat......they aren't necessarily healthy for you. If a food has been processed to a point that they have taken out the fat, chances are they're adding, refining, and tinkering with other parts of the food as well. The "food" becomes more of a science experiment, rather than a food that was placed on the earth to be eaten.
I'm guessing there are a few of you who have taken a trip to this same low-fat-land I am talking about....right?
(Courtney I am totally calling you out on this one.....I think you added applesauce to mac-n-cheese:)
I don't really know how I got off that kick....it was a slow process to retrain my brain.
Maybe it was when I realized that vegetables taste 1000x better sauteed in heart healthy olive oil.
Or that real peanut butter, with nothing in it but peanuts and salt, is just about the best thing ever invented.
Sure, a piece of salmon may contain more fat than a skinless chicken breast, but that piece of salmon also contains Omega-3 fatty acids (these aren't found in chicken) that are essential for heart health, brain and nerve function, and improving our immune systems as well.
So it turns out that some fats aren't that bad (shock!).....and it took me a year or two to start believing in good fats, and ignoring every low fat/no fat claim that jumped in my face every time I went down a grocery store aisle.
Now don't get me wrong....it's not a fat-eating-free-for-all over here. I still buy low fat milk, I only use cream for special occasions, and butter is used sparingly (except in baking.....THERE ISN'T A SUBSTITUTE IN THE WORLD FOR BUTTER IN BAKING. DON'T TRY IT. EW.) We're not eating bacon and eggs for breakfast every morning (I like to think of bacon as more of a garnish, rather than a main part of a meal), so I do try and keep the saturated fats at a minimum.
But there is nothing that will get between me and an avocado.
I refuse to eat pizza without cheese.
Or anything without cheese for that matter.
We eat endless amounts of peanut butter and almonds.
I use olive oil every time I cook.
For some reason, fat has become a bad word in most people's vocabulary, and I think once a person takes just a little bit of time to research fats--the good and bad fats in foods, that's where the fat phobias will begin to fade away.
If you are truly interested in your health, and not just your image (two totally different things), you'll realize that fats play an important roll in nutrition.
The challenge for you this week:
Figure out what your relationship is with fat.
Are you afraid of it? Do you know what the good fats are? Are you eating bacon wrapped everything fried in butter?
This is something that can't be changed all at once. It has seriously taken me a few years to establish a healthy relationship with fat. But YOU need to figure out that healthy relationship for yourself. Research. Read. Google. Talk to your friends.
Just educate yourself.
Just like everything else I've found,
it all comes down to eating a balance of real, whole foods,
as close to their original state as possible (example real peanut butter vs. reduced fat peanut "spread".
Peanut butter = peanuts, while peanut spread = ?)
Try not to gorge yourself on saturated fats like those found in animal products (but you don't have to totally eliminate them), or trans fats found in packaged foods (you should eliminate those), and try to get enough of the good fats, like those that are found in salmon, avocados, walnuts, almonds, and olive oil.
And before you reach for something labeled "low fat" read the label and see what's been added/taken away to magically replace the fat, you may be surprised to find it's not as healthy as you think.
So that was really long....probably too much for Dr. Seuss to put into rhyme, I would guess.
I'm curious to know if you've been through a "fat phobia" phase.....it really is funny looking back at some of the things I thought were healthy because they were low fat.
as always I'll be posting favorite comments/tips on my FB page.
disclaimer: I have never said "fat" so many times in my life. It has lost all meaning.
disclaimer: I LOATHE that dress. You know what I mean if you've been pregnant. It was the only dress that fit at the end, and I wore it over and over for the last two months. Just looking at it reminds me how uncomfortable and swollen I was.
disclaimer: look at my baby!!! why is he so big now? boo.