When we switched to a more traditional/nourishing diet the hardest thing for us to give up was bagged chips. At first we thought, 'well, if it's ok to eat potatoes, then we can eat chips.' After all, they're gluten free (warning: a gluten-free label does not equal healthy!) and a bag of Kettle chips usually only has potatoes, oil and salt listed on the ingredients. Not too bad, right? And definitely ok if they're organic...WRONG! Valerie reminded us that even the organic versions of our favorite snacks still contain 'bad oils'. Which oils are bad and what's so bad about them?...
"Today most of the fats in the diet are polyunsaturated from vegetable oils derived mostly from soy, as well as from corn, sunflower, safflower and canola. Excess consumption of polyunsaturated oils has been shown to contribute to a large number of disease conditions including increased cancer and heart disease; immune system dysfunction; damage to the liver, reproductive organs and lungs; digestive disorders; depressed learning ability; impaired growth; and weight gain.
One reason the polyunsaturates cause so many health problems is that they tend to become oxidized or rancid when subjected to heat, oxygen and moisture as in cooking and processing. Rancid oils are characterized by free radicals—that is, single atoms or clusters with an unpaired electron in an outer orbit. These compounds are extremely reactive chemically. They have been characterized as "marauders" in the body for they attack cell membranes and red blood cells and cause damage in DNA/RNA strands, thus triggering mutations in tissue, blood vessels and skin. Free radical damage to the skin causes wrinkles and premature aging; free radical damage to the tissues and organs sets the stage for tumors; free radical damage in the blood vessels initiates the buildup of plaque. Is it any wonder that tests and studies have repeatedly shown a high correlation between cancer and heart disease with the consumption of polyunsaturates? New evidence links exposure to free radicals with premature aging, with autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and with Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, Alzheimer's and cataracts.
Elevated triglycerides in the blood have been positively linked to proneness to heart disease, but these triglycerides do not come directly from dietary fats; they are made in the liver from any excess sugars that have not been used for energy. The source of these excess sugars is any food containing carbohydrates, particularly refined sugar and white flour.
The much-maligned saturated fats—which Americans are trying to avoid—are not the cause of our modern diseases. In fact, they play many important roles in the body chemistry:
- Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50% of the cell membranes. They are what gives our cells necessary stiffness and integrity.
- They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated.
- They lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates proneness to heart disease. They protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins, such as Tylenol.
- They enhance the immune system.
- They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids.
Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats.
- Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated. The heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.
- Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties. They protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract.
*From The Skinny on Fats
Written by Mary G. Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon
further reading: How Vegetable Oils Make Us Fat
The problem then becomes, as usual, what CAN we eat?...since nearly all packaged foods contain polyunsaturated fats that have oxidized and gone rancid from processing. The healthiest fats and the ones we should be eating regularly include organic butter, lard, tallow, chicken, duck and goose fat, coconut & palm oil, extra virgin olive oil, expeller-pressed sesame, flax & hempseed oil and fish liver oil. Well, I probably won't be cooking in fish liver oil anytime soon, but I do cook EVERYTHING in coconut oil, which benefits our health in so many ways:
"Some of the most recent research has come from people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, with reports of people improving or even reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s by using coconut oil. Alzheimer’s is now seen as a type 3 form of diabetes, and for years we have seen positive results from people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in using coconut oil. We have also seen a lot of reports of coconut oil health benefits from those suffering from hypothryroidism, as coconut oil helps boost metabolism and raise body temperatures to promote thyroid health. Restricting carbohydrates and increasing coconut oil in the diet has also led many to report losing weight with coconut oil. Candida sufferers also report health benefits with coconut oil as research now confirms, and those suffering from various skin diseases are also seeing tremendous health benefits by applying coconut oil directly on the skin. The benefits of coconut oil for healthy hair are also well known, and other healthy benefits of coconut oil included fighting off bacterial infections and viruses. Coconut oil is also increasingly being seen to benefit athletes and fitness trainers giving them an advantage in sustaining energy levels longer without drugs or stimulants."
Enough said...next time you're craving something salty and delicious make your own chips using coconut oil instead! (providing you can tolerate potatoes or brown rice, etc.) It's takes a little more time, but they taste so much better and your body will love you for it. An added bonus: you'll eat less since you're the one doing the prep and you'll be satisfied quicker by the good healthy fat!
Thin sliced organic potatoes, use a slicer or your first time making these will be your last!
Heat oil in skillet. Place sliced potatoes in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and turn when golden brown. Continue in batches until all potatoes are crisped.
or fry some brown rice tortillas in coconut oil until golden and crispy and make nachos for the ball game!
Fry brown rice tortillas in coconut oil and break apart
Cook grass-fed, organic hamburger, adding:
2 Tbsp Cumin, 2 tsp Oregano, 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper, Himalayan Salt & Pepper
Chop red and green bell peppers, red onions and jalapeno or habanero peppers
Top all this with raw pepper jack cheese, homemade sour cream (recipe to follow) and guacamole.
Enjoy the game!