HEALING: WHY AREN'T I HEALING - I'M NOT EATING ENOUGH FATS
WHY AREN'T I HEALING
I'M NOT EATING ENOUGH FAT
I LOVE FATS.
They're one of my favourite, and most loved macronutrients, and I know there are so many misconceptions floating around out there in the interwebs regarding their credibility and healing factor. This is partly due to the vilification of fats, that date back to the 1960's when the American Heart Association had recommended people to drastically reduce their fat intake. The food industry pounced: High-carb, low-fat foods became the norm. Grocery store shelves and refrigerators were soon lined with low- and no-fat items that were packed with sugar (remember all those 100 calorie snack packs!?) — because without any natural fat, a lot of society's favourite foods just didn’t taste good anymore. Not coincidentally, both a sugar addiction as well as an obesity epidemic in North America began soon after low-fat diets became the standard recommendation.What we know now greatly squashes these claims, although a large number of the population still fear fats.
Which leads me to my mission today, dissolving your fears.
Often times we know we should be eating something, but we're confused by all the rest, such as quantity, type, quality, variety, as there are so many options, and so much conflicting information out there. I'm a Nutritionist, and it can be hard for me to navigate sometimes as there is always something + someone touting the 'miracle cure', plant and plan. To which their isn't one thing. We have to bring it back to basics, and truly look at the individual healing capability of each being.
I'm going to delve a little deeper into fats today, so you can take what you want, and decide what is absolute best for you, as we all need different things at different times, which is why my holistic nutrition practice is so individualized, because no two humans are alike, therefore no two protocol's + healing journeys are the same.
I often get asked the question: "Should I be eating 1/4 a avocado, or 1/2 or 1 whole (but isn't that TOO much fat?). No, I don't believe it is... but there are many factors that go into this.
First of all we do not need to fear fat, we truly don't.
I know there are many diets out there that advocate a very low percentage of healthy fats, 80/10/10 I'm talking to you, which isn't bad at all, as I know people who follow this and lead very healthy lives, it just wasn't for me. I will never, ever, ever judge another souls diet or choice of eating, as it's so personal, but I can speak from honest experience for most, as I've literally tried. them. all. I embarked on the above way of eating for around three months when I was trying to figure out the best way to tackle my Lyme Disease, after my diagnosis in 2012. When I began eating a diet composed of mostly carbs, coming from fruit, and very little fat and protein, I gained a lot of weight, and started to break out again. This was on top of the weight I had already gained from my lack of thyroid hormones. My confusion continued...
As much as I wanted to like it, and embark on this journey, it just wasn't for me. I gave it over 90 days, and had to say goodbye to it.
I love the concept of it, the cleansing nature, the nutritional information and knowledge to back it up, but despite all of that, my body was speaking to me, and it just wasn't for me. I learned, listened, accepted and moved on. I still eat fruit, just not in massive quantities of it.
Let's look at the other side of this.
Secondly, yes, you can definitely eat too much healthy fats.
Again I know this from front first hand experience when my hormones were completely out of whack. I would sometimes eat up to four to five avocados a day (They are my favorite food, but I mean, this is excessive), half a jar of nut butters (guilty), copious amounts of nuts (loved the crunch), and went high / 100% raw, and ate a lot, a lot, a lot of healthy fats because I know they were very healing, especially for the brain and nervous system! HA! They were healthy fats, and considered uber healthy? RIGHT? Totally right, but this is when and where quantity matters greatly.
At the end of the day, moderation and balance still apply when it comes to healthy food! This is a big lesson that I learned on my healing journey, and one I help my clients, and people navigate.
Following the other side of the spectrum also lead me to gain more weight, and I couldn't for the life of me find my happy weight... Not only was I trying to figure my Lyme Disease puzzle and heal from this illness, I was testing, researching, and trying so many different food lifestyles. It was such a wild journey, but I believe these first hand experiences allow me to truly feel and understanding exactly what my clients are going through. For that I'm forever grateful.
No extreme is good, even when you're eating healthy food!
When we look at people in the media, especially instagram, and see them following some of these lifestyles and ways of eating, and they have the 'perfect' body, or appear to be living the life. They are often in the 1-5 percent of the human population! They most likely have certain genes that resonate with a certain style of eating, or live in a climate / environment that welcomes their prescribed lifestyle! I just don't want you looking, and emulating someone because it worked for them, as it might not work for you. I tried, and it left me more hopeless, 'unwell' and frustrated...
So what do I think? How much, what type and when should we eat FATS?
I do believe healthy fats should play a large role in your life, but I think it depends on many factors, let's break this down.
- Listen to your body, do you feel good when you eat a diet higher in fat, or do you feel weighed down?
- What is your activity level? If you're active, and always on the go, your body will metabolize healthy fats quite well, if you tend to be more sedentary, maybe a bunch of healthy fats aren't right for you.
- It's hard, and comes with trial and error, but you will find your sweet spot with fats. My body loves a whole avocado, but I know lots of people who can only eat 1/2 to 1/4 at a time...Go with the flow, and really, really listen to what your body needs.
- This also depends on type. If you're eating denser fats, such as cold pressed oils and nuts, you will most likely need less, as they're dense. Where as avocados, nut milks, chia seeds, or more water-rich, and you can most likely consume more.
- Have you noticed any weight gain, when you started to eat lots of really healthy fats?
- You could have a specific allergy when it comes to specific nuts / seeds / fats - I do, so have to be careful which ones I consume or else I will break out, and have gastro problems
- Are you experiencing gut issues (leaky gut, compromised gut health, unbalanced microbiome, malabsorption, maldigestion...etc)
As you can see there is no simple answer, as it truly depends on the individual.
- First lets talk about what to stay away from.This one is hard, as there is lots of controversy over some of the big guns. We can all agree that trans fats are not good for our bodies. These are in fast foods, lots, if not most of processed / packaged foods, and we want to limit polyunsaturated fats, which can create lots of inflammation in our bodies (processed vegetable / cooking oils).
- Saturated Fats get a really bad wrap, but when it comes down to it, it's the type, and of course quantity of consumption. Hydrogenated oils = Bad, Butter in large doses = not so great, Lots of animal fat = not the best, But when we look at coconut oil = very good, and lots of oily fish = good (only if wild). So again, it's not so clear cut in saying all saturated fat is bad for the body, which some people believe. Coconut meat, coconut oil, butter and water, are natures gift to us all, and should be enjoyed mindfully, and joyfully. What we have to always come back to is the type, quantity, and of course quality.
- Again monosaturated fats are incredible, but there are some we still have to be weary of. Vegetable oils, such as canola, peanut, sunflower oils, where as avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, and some oils are incredible for you! Do not be shy around the latter, although of course only eat them in quantities that feel good for your body.
- There is no right or wrong time to eat fats! Every body will be different, but I will share my experiences with trial and error over the past decade.
- When I eat fats in the morning, and evening I feel a lot better. They are sustaining, filling and nourishing. It's not that I don't eat fats during lunch time, I just usually stick to my fats and proteins in the morning and early evenings (I/we eat dinner early!!!). I've noticed in the past when I eat a larger portion of healthy fats in the afternoon, I don't have a big appetite come dinner, as I'm so nourished and satisfied!
- I like to eat lighter foods during the afternoon to skyrocket my energy. I do these through vegetables, fruits, komboucha's, teas and juices/smoothies. All of these are digested rapidl (remember that digestion zaps about 80% of our energy!) so I'm able to have the energy, and brain power to perform during those hours of 1-5pm when it's very easy to start to feel a energy slump.
- Further eating fat in the evenings help promote a deeper sleep. When we sleep we do our most rejuvenating and repairing tasks, and therefore our brain and organs need the fat to help repair tissues, muscles and our skin. I found when I was eating a more carb-centric dinner my sleep wasn't as restful, and I actually had a hard time falling asleep due to the higher concentration of glucose in my blood.
- AGAIN, these aren't hard fast rules when it comes to the times of eating certain foods and macronutrients. This is also very intuitive, and comes with trial and error with your own body, lifestyle and schedule!
Finally, I want to share some my favorite Fats! I love fats, and consume quite a bit depending on how I'm feeling. I've found my body loves them immensely, and I've noticed the most drastic difference in my skin, hair, nails, and my bodies ability to perform and stay balanced in all areas /
- Avocados (I eat about one a day!)
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Pumpkin butter
- Coconut meat
- Brazil nuts
- Organic edamame beans
- Wild Salmon
- Organic chicken
- Bone Broth
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Chia seeds
This isn't everything when it comes to Fats, but it will hopefully give you a little more insight into the ins and outs of fats, while weaving in some of my own personal experiences with trying all of the eating 'styles' and 'diets' and sharing this with you, in hope that maybe you find something here that you can take back and apply to your own life.
I want to emphasize, that there is no perfect way of eating for anyone. No prescribed diet is perfect, optimal or the be all end all. You might take bits and pieces from some, while not welcoming others into your lifestyle, because they do not resonate with you. I know you will often hear, listen to what yourbody needs, and this can be frustrating, because sometimes we have NO idea what it needs!!!
This is where I was many years ago, hence the trial and error of almost every diet out there. I was confused, frustrated and uncertain, as I was eating so healthy, but nothing was working. I continued to gain weight, break out, and feel less and less in control.
We are all beautifully unique, and therefore we all require different things. When we learn and discover what we need to live in our optimal state of being, the puzzle pieces start fitting together like they never have before.