In recent years, fat has been looked at as an enemy to be eliminated at all cost. Unfortunately, the cost has not been understood by most of us. The goal seems to become “Fat-Free” instead of “Fat-Wise”. One of our goals at Divine Nature is to turn this thinking around through educating you on the difference between “good” and “bad” fats.
So, what are the “good” fats?
There are two fatty acids, LA and LNA that our bodies cannot produce and we must therefore obtain from our foods. They are called “essential fatty acids” because our bodies must have them. These fatty acids are crucial in our body’s process of deriving energy from our food. They are mandatory for proper growth, mental state, skin condition, learning ability, liver and hormone function, vitality, and even behavioral patterns.
LA and LNA contain 9 calories per gram but rather than using them for energy, our bodies use them for hormonal, electrical, and structural functions (as long as they have not been formed into a trans-fatty acid by heating them at too high of a temperature). When one’s intake of these EFAs is high this metabolic rate and fat burn-off is increased. This means an increase in vitality and a decrease in weight.
Allow the information in the two previous paragraphs to motivate you to spend some time now to learn about these amazing fatty acids, their sources and ways you can incorporate these sources into your cooking and eating habits allowing them to benefit your health.
Some of the richest sources of LA are cold-pressed safflower, sunflower and grape seed oils. The best readily available sources of LNA are RAW flaxseeds*, raw walnuts and raw wheat germ. (This is why one of your goals is to eat ground flax seeds daily. They are by far the richest source of the three.)
Most oils on the market today are processed with heat and chemicals. They are bleached and deodorized. Most of their natural antioxidant taste, oil-soluble vitamins, and enzymes are removed and destroyed.
The healthiest oils with these properties still in tact are “cold-pressed”, stored in dark bottles and refrigerated. There is no heat and are no chemicals used in their processing. Because the taste is not removed, it may take time to adjust to their flavor. These oils are very unstable and should not be cooked with. Cooking with these oils will easily form trans-fatty acids. The only exception is “extra virgin olive oil”, which is still “cold-pressed” but much more stable. This is the reason for our recommendation for its use in cooking spray on p.___.
The next best oils are those that are often termed “expeller-pressed” on the label. These oils are heat-processed but by lower temperatures to insure that trans-fatty acids are not produced. These oils do not have as strong a taste and can therefore be mixed with “cold-pressed” varieties until a taste for them is acquired. “Cold-pressed” and “expeller-pressed” oils are found, almost exclusively, in health food stores.
Foods high in fat such as nuts, seeds, avocados, etc. should always be eaten raw, as well as dairy products where available.