It may fly in the face of conventional medicine, but I’d like to share my thoughts on fats in a 3-part series. If you are on the fat-free train or use any amount of soy/corn/safflower/sunflower/canola oil, stop what you’re doing, and read this as if your life depends on it… because it does.
We need fat.
The cell wall of Every. Single. Cell. in your human body is made up of fat. Our brain is approximately 60% fat. Fats have been treasured and eaten for all time.
But, the clincher is that we need the RIGHT kind of fats. We need fats that heal, nourish, and support us, not fuel chronic disease via inflammation. Look back 100 years before the tidal wave of chronic disease. People ate fat right? Butter, lard, bacon, rendered fat, chicken skins, fat within meat. And, I don’t know how or where they got it but my mom tells me stories about lining up as a kid and opening her mouth like a bird for a spoon full of cod liver oil. We need fat…we’ve just lost our way.
Fat #1 you need in your home: Butter
It’s natural. Not that natural means a lot these days but it’s not hydrogenated. If you had a dairy cow, you COULD make it yourself. Just you, a bowl, cream from a cow, ice water and a straining cloth. NO technology or messing with mother nature.
Butter is just what your cell membranes need to maintain their structure. Weak membranes mean intercellular communication breaks down. That means the nutrients going into the cell for fuel aren’t functioning optimally, and waste products aren’t being eliminated from the cell. In theory, this alone could contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction and thus a label of “chronic fatigue” or “fibromyalgia”.
If you can go another step in your healthy lifestyle, purchase organic butter. Toxins are stored in the fat cells. We are what we eat and we are what THEY ate.
Ready for more? Look for butter from pasture fed cows (instead of factory, grain fed cows). Pasture fed cows eat what they are supposed to eat, which is grass. If you thought the organic butter from Costco is because they have a 100,000 acre farm full of cows getting milked in shifts, I have a bridge to talk with you about.
Two fairly easy brands to find are Kerrygold which is pasture butter from Ireland so not exactly local….and Organic Valley pasture butter. Having tried both, the Kerrygold is a deeper color and I do think a richer flavor. It is available at Costco at the right times of year (because we don’t have green grass year round right?) I’ve found it with specialty cheeses though…not with the other butters. Really, any step you take away from margarine and butter substitutes is a step toward better health.
Pasture fed butter has more Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). CLA is an antioxidant and essential fatty acid that has been getting a lot of attention lately. In animal studies, it reportedly exhibits anti-cancer effects. It is also thought that CLA increases metabolism. We could all use a little of that right?
Factory cows are fed grains – mostly corn. These days, most corn is GMO. Because of confinement, they are also fed antibiotics right in their feed, even if they aren’t sick. Remember, we are what THEY ate too.
Last but not least, research indicates that if the ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 in your food exceeds 4:1 then it may not be good for you. The ratio is around 3:1 for grass-fed animals and over 20:1 for grain-fed animals, since grass fed animal are able to make omega 3’s and grain fed animals produce more (inflammatory) omega 6’s. So eating more grass-fed products helps you maintain the right balance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids which in turn helps modulate inflammation.
Pay the farmer or the doctor right? You choose.
Join us next week for Healthy Fat #2.