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“Eat healthy fats at every meal.”
We’ve been told now for going on 40 years that eating too much fat is the reason we are suffering from heart disease and obesity, so it’s understandable that so many dieters make the mistake of cutting down too far on their dietary fat. Fat is an essential part of our diet. In fact, some fats are classified as “essential fatty acids”. This means that our bodies need them but cannot manufacture them. If we don’t eat these healthy fats our bodies have to somehow make cell walls and many of our hormones (including HDLs) with inferior building material.
Let’s not make any mistakes here. There are unhealthy fats, but they may not be the ones you are used to avoiding. Vegetable oils, whether or not they have been hydrogenated, should be avoided as much as possible. Olive oil is of course a healthy choice, as is cold processed coconut oil.
Other healthy fats include avocados, butter, cream, nuts and the fat from cold water fish or grass fed animals. These fats provide our bodies with the nutrients necessary for health. And I’m going to say it one more time. The same diets and activities that make us healthy make us leaner and vise versa.
In addition to providing essential nutrients, eating healthy fat at every meal has other advantages. Fat slows down the absorption of sugars so we get a more even insulin level after eating. Another advantage, readily apparent to the dieter, is that fat keeps you satisfied for much longer after eating.
Hunger is a powerful and necessary sensation. If our eating program leaves us hungry we are probably not getting what our bodies need and we are most definitely destined to abandon it at some point. A large salad at lunch, or anytime actually, is a great idea. If all you’ve had to eat by dinner time has been vegetables, however, then you are probably going to be tired, famished, and prone to overeat the rest of the evening.
Don’t give up on salads, though! It’s easy to make them complete, satisfying meals whether you are preparing your own or eating out. If you are making your salad at home, add two or three ounces of cheese or an ounce or two of raw nuts. Don’t forget some type of protein. Around four ounces of fish, chicken, game, or some beans and legumes will make your salad much more filling and nutritious.
I make a habit out of carrying small Ziploc bags with an ounce or two of walnuts, almonds, or cashews in each one. That way when I end up eating out I can fortify my blackened salmon Caesar salad or whatever and feel full and satisfied.
You can’t go wrong with eating vegetables and healthy protein anytime, but again, adding some healthy fat makes it a complete meal and you will stay full for much longer afterwards. Remember, essential means that we have to eat it, so while you cut down on all the processed foods, keep healthy fats a regular part of your diet and you will be much more likely to adopt this way of eating permanently.