I had to step on a scale for life insurance this week and it triggered crazy anxiety and numerous unpleasant emotions.
I haven’t looked at the scale in years. According to the BMI (which is a mathematical calculation never intended to be used for health purposes but that’s a whole other post), I have been overweight since I was 16 years old. Because I’ve suffered from chronic health issues my entire life, I know when I’m in a healthy place and I know when I’m in an unhealthy place. The scale has never been a reflection of that. But it can tell me when my body is on high alert or fighting to restore balance.
Yes, I am a health coach, but I don’t use the scale as a measure of health.
I dig deeper.
Because my endless hours of training are in integrative nutrition and functional medicine, I care more about what rapid weight gain or weight loss tells me about underlying imbalances.
Often times, weight is a protective mechanism. Body fat tissue is biologically active, producing hormones and immune-system proteins that act on other cells. There is a REASON for the inflammation. It’s how our body stores toxins and manages internal or external imbalances, not to mention physical and emotional stress.
“Cholesterol is so important that your body will manufacture it if you don’t eat enough of it.” – Steve Welch
Steve is a NESTA certified Fitness Nutrition Coach and former publisher of the world renowned medical journal CHEST. His background in medical publishing provides him with insights into assessing medical and nutrition research, which he uses to educate others to improve their own health and fitness.
He is coauthor of the new book “The Ketogenic Key,” which is available in stores now.
In this episode we cover:
– Why we fear fat
– The history of low fat diets and why the data is skewed
– Why our bodies need fat to function
– The cholesterol conversation
– Carbohydrates, cholesterol, and inflammation
– How cutting extreme calories can backfire
– Individualizing the approach for YOU
This is such a fascinating interview that I hope you enjoy and learn from as much as I did!
Fat is getting a lot of attention these days. Which is pretty awesome, because does anyone remember Susan Powter and the days of “fat makes you fat?”
Those days are over.
In fact, we now know that our brains MUST have fat. Personally, I think it’s pretty interesting that we have experienced a rise in mental illness and other chronic illnesses following the “fear of fat” campaigns. Could there be a connection? Maybe.
But not all fats are created equally.
Processed, trans fats – the hydrogentated oils we find in all our Doritos and Twinkies and good old standard American packaged food – is extremely damaging to our mental health. These fats increase inflammation and modern day research on mental illness tells us that an increase of inflammatory cytokines in our bloodstream could very well be at the root of mental illness.
To keep inflammation levels in check, we MUST have a healthy balance of fat in our bodies. We NEED fat for vitamin absorption, brain health (our brains are made of fat), heart health, metabolic support, and to keep our hormones functioning as they’re supposed to.
Where to Find Healthy Fats
Avocados, olives, and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with animal sources like ghee, grass fed butter, wild salmon, grass fed beef and omega-3 rich organic eggs (always, always eat the yolks).
Whole nuts and seeds, and their butters like almond butter or tahini
Look for the highest-quality organic oils when shopping. Stay away from genetically modified vegetable oils like corn, canola, safflower, and soybean.
Words to look for: organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin, and unrefined. Avoid expeller-pressed, refined, and solvent extracted.
How to Use Healthy Fats:
For cooking at high temperatures (stir frying and baking), try butter, ghee (clarified butter), or coconut oil
When sautéing foods, try organic extra virgin olive oil.
Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut, and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings.
I try to get a healthy fat in at every meal. It keeps me full and my brain clear. I start my day with fatty coffee – French pressed coffee, MCT oil, coconut milk or grass fed butter and sometimes I add in some collagen protein. I blend it altogether and it’s like my own homemade latte. I try not to use bottled salad dressings, and instead make my own. And my pantry is ALWAYS stocked with various raw nuts to snack on or to add to meals.