Let's get this out of the way first - fat does not make you fat. Fat is an essential part of the human diet, the trick is to choose the good-for-you fats. The brain is 60 percent fat. Fats are needed for memory, learning, mood and fetal brain development during pregnancy. They protect our nerves, help keep our hearts beating, hold our internal organs in place and allow our body to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fats also slow digestion, provide a stable source of energy, and keep us feeling full and satiated after meals. In fact, long-term adherence to a low-fat diet can backfire, causing hormones to fall out of balance and a whole range of issues from weight gain to fatigue. Emerging science has debunked the long-held myth that saturated fat causes heart disease and people are starting to incorporate traditional fats back into their diets.
One of the main sources of fat in our everyday diet is oil. We are very picky about the types of oil we cook with here at Provenance Meals.
Oils we always avoid:
Trans Fats - Most of us know to avoid trans fats by now. Banning trans fats in New York City has led to fewer heart attacks and strokes in the city (Source: NYTimes). Did you know that any label that has a hydrogenated oil listed in the ingredients has trans fats, even if it lists 0 grams trans fats in the nutritional information? Read those labels, as even small amounts of trans fats can be harmful.
Processed Vegetable Oils - Often billed as "heart healthy", vegetable oils like canola, soybean, corn, sunflower, cottonseed, and rapeseed are highly processed and typically come from GMO crops. Canola oil is extracted with petroleum-based solvents and then treated with deodorizers. These polyunsaturated fats oxidize easily, causing free radical damage to the body. Any products made with these oils, like margarine and other vegan butter-like spreads should be avoided.
Oils we love and use:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - High-quality extra virgin olive oil should be a staple in everyones pantry. This is the most common oil we use. It's an excellent plant-based oil that's high in healthy monounsaturated fats. It has been used for centuries around the Mediterranean and has become famous for its potential life-extending properties.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil - Coconut oil is the current darling of the wellness community. It can be used internally and externally. It's naturally antimicrobial and antifungal. The medium chain fatty acids are an excellent source of energy that is easy to digest and doesn't readily get stored as fat. It has been proven to help with weight loss, reduce inflammation, boost memory and brain function, balance hormones, and improve digestion. It's also great for the skin.
You'll also occasionally find sustainable palm oil as well as high-quality cold-pressed avocado, nut, and seed oils like sesame in our meals.
In addition to the oils listed above, we also believe in fats from "happy" animals - animals raised on pasture, roaming freely and eating what nature intended them to eat. Happy animals contain a different ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids than industrially-raised animals - and it's the ratio our bodies need. Wild fish fall into this category as well. We never use dairy in our meals, but grass-fed butter and grass-fed ghee (clarified butter) can be excellent nourishing fat options if you can tolerate dairy.
Remember, fats are crucial to our good health, as long as you choose the right kinds. It is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in health and wellness.