Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fat makes you phat {but only the right kind}

As often as possible, the hubster and I buy local, natural products. This discovery {farm fresh butter} was a great one!

I feel, look and function best when I follow a low carb diet, occasionally punctuated by a moderate carb day to sort of re-stock my glycogen stores. But that's a story for a different post altogether. I'm here today to talk to you about fat.

You see, when I first started eating paleo, I didn't do so well. I "knew" that fat was bad for you - I mean, I'd heard that all my life! So when I started cutting grains and limiting carbs, my body kinda stopped working as it should have been working. I wasn't counting calories, so I can't say for sure, but I'd guess I was trying to get by on about 1000 calories per day - that's about half of what I eat per day now!

What made things better? Eating fat. And lots of it. I just about doubled my daily caloric intake by eating more fat. And I feel amazing for it! Now, don't get me wrong, I don't sit around and eat coconut oil by the spoonful or anything, but I make sure to include a healthy serving of fat with every meal I eat. For example:

  • Breakfast: I cook my eggs in lard, I usually eat 1/4 of an avocado, and I put about 2 tsp ghee and 2 tsp coconut oil in my coffee, like this and this. Sometimes I'll add full-fat coconut milk as well, like here and here.
  • Lunch: Often I add avocado to my salads, I eat fatty fish such as sardines, and I made a homemade salad dressing using olive oil or homemade olive oil mayo.
  • Snack: This will vary, but sometimes I'll make a deviled egg using mayo {here, here or here}, dip veggies in tahini, throw together chia pudding using full-fat coconut milk, or eat homemade ghee-based chocolate...
  • Dinner: I cook my veggies and meat in ghee or lard or dress them with olive oil or homemade olive oil mayo.

Now, I could explain what makes a fat good and what makes a fat bad, but Steph of Stupid Easy Paleo has already done such an amazing job doing so that I will just direct you to her wonderful article on the subject!

But, for those of you that are local to me, I will share what fats I use and where I buy them. I'll include the price if I can remember it.

Farm fresh butter.
  • Coconut Oil/Coconut Milk/Coconut Cream: I buy this from my local ethnic chain store Chez Kausar. I've also seen it sold at all my local Asian stores. Often, I make my own coconut milk.
  • Palm Oil: I also buy this from my local ethnic chain store Chez Kausar. I'm not sure of the ethical/sustainable side to this particular brand though, so I only use it for one specific recipe that I promise I will share with you one day.
  • Butter/Ghee: The hubster eats butter, I clarify it myself to make ghee. We buy it from the Chat Lait in Nandrin. It's farm-fresh, unpasteurized butter, made and sold directly from the farm. It costs 7€ per kilo and tastes amazing. (You can also buy fresh, raw, whole milk there.)
  • Lard/Bacon Grease/Pork Fat + Duck Fat: I render my own from whatever fatty piece of pork or duck we might have, including things such as Parma hams. We have also bought already rendered pork fat (saindoux) at Carrefour. This fat is clarified and almost tasteless, and the hubster uses it in his deep-fryer.
  • Goose Fat: I buy this from Delhaize. I mostly use it to season my stainless steel frying pans. I think it's about 4€ for a pretty big jar.
  • Olive Oil: I buy this at the Batte in Liège. It costs 8€ per liter and is produced small-scale by a family using their own olives and traditional techniques. The bottle is dark and unlabeled - and I could seriously drink this by the glassful.
  • Tahini: This is sesame seed butter. I usually buy this at Delhaize, but sometimes I'll buy it from an ethnic store of some sort. Depending on the brand, it's about 10€ per kilo at Delhaize.
  • Other nuts and seeds + their butters: I occasionally eat other nuts and seeds and their butters, but I like to limit the amounts as I don't digest them well. The cheapest nuts are at Lidl, the seeds are usually cheapest at various ethnic stores and I make the butters myself.

And, just to make things easy for you, here's a handy printable guide to paleo fats {both the ones you want to eat and the ones you want to turn down} Diane from Balanced Bites threw together for y'all. Download this one page guide, print it out and stick it on your fridge so you'll never forget the do's and don't's of fats! {Not like you need a reminder for some of them, but still! :p}

Local or not, this is a great guide to have!

The bottom line I like to follow is: could someone make this fat/oil at home? If the answer is yes, I'll eat it. If the answer is no, I won't eat it. Simple.as.that.

Edited to add: Check out this great post as well by The Paleo Mom to read even more about how to choose fats. :)


  1. Hello Meg! I find this post very informative as I'm currently struggling with an eating disorder and trying to introduce paleo- it's incredibly difficult as I have a fair bit of weight to gain and am unsure how to differentiate between healthy and obsessive. : ( Do you have any tips on how to allow yourself flexibility and happiness with food on the paleo diet? All I want to do is keep cutting food groups out! Ugh : (

    1. I struggled with BED, and I'm sure I could fall back into bad habits easily... What helped me was not counting calories any more (I do count carbs for the moment, but I'm trying to lose weight). Also, finding what foods make me feel best helped enormously. When I realized just how horrible my usual trigger foods made me feel, it was easy to say no to them. Your problem is kind of the opposite... maybe try to find what foods make you feel better, and help you perform better. Do you practice a sport? Getting proper fuel and nutrition is essential for optimal performance and could encourage you to eat more and better, once you start seeing the changes.

      Also, add in healthy fats. They will help get your calories up, and they are easy to eat. You don't need mass quantities :P Make fat bombs (essentially a healthy fat blended with nut or seed butter, plus a bit of sweetener if desired) and treat yourself :)

      Also, only cut a group if it makes you feel bad. If not, enjoy the freedom of eating all the food!