I like to look at all the dumb diets I’ve gone on and see if I have at least learned anything from the miserable process.
And more seriously, as dumb as going Paleo was, because I had already sworn off dieting (ugh. so upsetting). I learned a lot about fat. I already knew about industrial seed oils, and was pro-butter myself, but I don’t think I fully realized how healthy saturated fats really are- until Paleo.
And as they say, Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat. BUT, my addendum is: If you binge on it… it will. Obviously!!! Which is what I did. Because restrictive diets make me crazy.
But let’s begin, shall we?
Mainstream, conventional diet wisdom will currently vouch for non-saturated fats. (Nuts, seeds, avocados, olives) Finally, as they did not do this in the 80s and 90s when fat-free was King of the diet kingdom.
Canola oil (rapeseed), corn oil and soybean oil are seen as healthy by people who think the-less-saturated-fat-the-better (and also thanks to their industries’ lobbying). But it turns out now, that these oils are highly processed, rancid, and inflammatory and also have too-high levels of Omega-6. Our bodies do not thrive eating these oils in large quantities. I mean, how does one get the oil out of corn exactly? And yet, Whole Foods still uses Canola oil in a lot of their products and prepared foods.
I do not intend to be a fear-monger. The point I am making is to have healthy skepticism, eat real food liberally and shun questionable claims made by big industries who are pushing their products in the name of health. Because, apparently butter and lard would have sufficed all along.
That being said: Enjoy nuts and seeds and avocados and olives. Use olive oil. And when you go to restaurants, where I assure you they use soybean oil & friends in their cooking: Do not think of it. Your body will be fine if you enjoy your food. The end.
(May as well not cook with them though because they are stupid and fake and taste like crying children.)
Saturated fats are now said to be the most nourishing and anti-inflammatory. Coconut Oil would be one of them. Apparently increasing fat burning, supporting the thyroid, and even being anti-viral and anti-fungal, and being very stable with a high smoke point (good to cook with). Palm oil is another good substitute for trans-fats in packaged baked goods and such. Also, I am happy to tell you that chocolate is another healthy, saturated fat.
This is where its at, YO! And even though I think the Paleo dogma is stupid and ruined my happiness for a good 7 + months, I truly still believe their teachings on Fat.
This includes fat on the animal (lard, tallow, goose) and from the animal: dairy (butter, ghee, cream, milk) and… eggs. Saturated fat is supposed to be the most supportive of our brain and the making of our sex hormones.
Dr. Andrew Weil just recently changed his stance on saturated fats. Heart Surgeon Man‘s stance. Mercola‘s stance. Mark’s Daily Apple. Four Hour Work Week. And here we have the NYtimes writing on the subject, just so all my sources aren’t too alternative for you.
And… seafood. Fish are high in omega-3. Which is apparently good! Haven’t you heard? (Ray Peat would argue that, but I don’t care for any unnecessary fears of unnecessary things.)
Unfortunately, the truth is, my fear of processed Omega-6 oils (canola, soybean, corn, etc) is still where I am a bit stuck. I fear it. And they piss me off. It is a manipulated and fake food, and nearly unavoidable unless you eat every bite at home.
And, you know why it was created? People were foolishly afraid of real fat. Like butter and lard.
I have made great strides recently by eating in restaurants. I think of cheap oils I inevitably take in as a form of medicine for my neuroses. Like a supplement to prove to myself that I can handle less-than-ideal foods. Try it!
Fat is not a problem. Fat, inherently, is good for you. And it is not “fattening”.
(If this post seems less passionate than my post In Defense of Sugar, it is only because I have known and believed that fat was good for a long time. The sugar thing is newer and even more radical.)
But, if you suffer from the fear of processed omega-6 PUFAs… remind yourself, that regular doses will supplement your mind and prove that it can not hurt you.
Your worry and stress over any food is way more harmful than the food itself.
And remember to say:
Another great topic for discussion!!! Yes, I tried all the mentioned diets and ways of eating as well, and was shocked (SHOCKED!!!) to discover that eating tons of fat (and meat) would not make me fat. When I did the Rosedale I actually found it made me the opposite, but at the cost of missing all carbs and being a total bitch. A skinny bitchy chick is not my goal in life anymore, key word bitchy = carb hungry. BUT, and this is important, I first discovered the joys of fat while eating carbs while practicing the Fit For Life way back when I was a teenager. I was fat-phobic, anorexic, and then found FFL, and it showed me that I can eat carbs and fat, at the same time, and not get fat… wow, do people even believe that these days???? It seems like every diet person keeps saying if you have carbs + fat you will fucking explode or something… wtf? for real. My take away from the whole fat circus is that fat will not make you fat, and even fat and carbs and sugar. OMG.
I will admit on a side note that I am still freaked out by margarine, like TOTALLY freaked out. I did that experiment when I was a kid where I put the tub of margarine out in the garage and left it there for weeks, and it didn’t change at all. HOLY SHIT, that freaked me out, and still to this day it does. Just the idea of something in my body living longer than… the earth? yeah, freaky stuff. But I’m sure that I’ve ingested some margarine and far grosser things in the last couple of decades and am still here to rant about it. It’s all so trivial and amazes me how we get so freaked out over this stuff, myself included. Fake foods are freaky to me, but I know somewhere in mind that it won’t kill me… right? lol
Wow, I could have written this! Sounds like my history of dieting, which included extreme deprivation, a flirtation with bulimia, and everthing from Atkins to the Zone. The last was a repeated effort to be “Paleo”, or should I say an obsession with it. This site is a godsend to me, as I have been slowly seeing the light myself. Thanks for sharing! I really need some sanity. Oh, and the fat thing is my takeaway from the Paleo experience as well. Funny thing, I wasn’t overweight before I started dieting, but I am now.:(
clsloan, wow that was me as well! after i did Paleo, i put on some pounds fast and it was crazy! that’s so odd, the other diets i’ve done never added on the weight when i stopped them as quickly as going Paleo did… i’m not sure what’s up with that but major thumbs down.
Yes, I was actually pretty thin and normalish intuitive eating style LAST summer. (Though still scared of sugar) But my hormones weren’t quite right. I was also crazy addicted to coffee. And I heard about paleo in the fall, and thought I would be able to be normal with it. But I went CRAZY. Just like I always had. I mean all I did was think about Paleo, buy food and eat food. It was miserable, and everything got even worse.
Then in January, after trying to be perfect low carb GAPS, but bingeing almost every night on paleo goodies, I came out of it by telling myself fuck this, I can eat whatever I want. This is not working and clearly not worth it and, Thank You, I have gone crazy again! But no matter how slowly and intuitively I tried to come out of it, I still gained weight and fit into none of my clothes. Clothes I fit into BEFORE I EVEN DID PALEO. Very frustrating.
But my good takeaways are: Not afraid of fat at all (except processed pufa… ehhh… working on it). And NOW I’m not even afraid of sugar. And I drink less coffee. Boom! AND I have this blog and get to talk to all you fine people 🙂
This was very well written!
Best. Line. Ever.
I think of cheap oils I inevitably take in as a form of medicine for my neuroses.
I’m so glad you like it! I HAVE to think of it that way, or I can go nutso! It works!
I second that! Love that way of thinking!! I too can get completely caught up and swept away with…well…pretty much anything that makes “sense” to me. (And my brain can make sense out of ANYTHING…so you can imagine how neurotic i can be HA!!!!) I just had some gluten free toast (i actually have been diagnosed with celiac for about 8 years…bummer…which i kinda blame on restrictive diets but thats another story) … but i read the label and it had (no!) PUFA! I almost let myself freak out…but i took my medicine for my neuroses and it was quite tasty 🙂 🙂 I don’t even like to read labels anymore because I know that if i want something…but i read the label…and it has something “scary” in it…it will ruin it for me. But i have to know what’s in my food right?! gosh we are crazy huh…..not even a big deal! #american problems! LOL!!! Love your blog <3
As all of you may already know, when electricity began to become a feasible source of lighting, Proctor and Gamble were a candle company. They could see the writing on the wall and knew that the market for candles and the cottonseed oil needed to make their candles would tank. So they hydrogenated cottonseed oil and came up with margarine and more importantly, Crisco. At first, these products were not accepted, especially margarine because it was white, so they colored it a sort of sunshine yellow and then started a campaign to discredit animal fats as unhealthy, very successfully.
Anyway, “People were foolishly afraid of real fat” is not quite accurate. Actually, they were frightened into being afraid of real fat by a totally unscrupulous corporation. Imagine that!
One of my very early difficulties with PUFAs is the smell when they break down. I re-verified this recently when I was invited by a friend to watch some very wholesome classic stag films and he quite proudly brought out some popcorn on the cob. I was flabbergasted that popcorn on the cob actually existed, but where else would it come from? A plastic bag? He poured some canola oil into a saucepan and shucked a few cobs into it and a bedlam of popping ensued. When he emptied the popcorn into a bowl, he drowned it in grass-fed butter and served it up with a boatload of salt. How tasty! But how smelly! It smelled like old fish! Thanks to Ray Peat, I now know that old fish smell the way they do, due to the breakdown of the PUFAs in their bodies.