Because we’re scared of fat!
That’s right – we’re scared of fat! Imagine reading a menu that said ‘high fat meals served all day long’ – if you’re trying to be healthy you might mistakenly avoid the place. But, how about your reaction to the menus that have ‘low fat’, ‘skinny’, ‘low calorie’ options? You’re doing the right thing by choosing those, right?
I’m sorry to say it but we have been duped… badly. As a nation, we are consuming low fat, low calorie and nutritionally void foods by the bucket load. And you know what??
We are getting fatter…not skinnier!! And unhealthier…. So what’s going on?
The dietary information given to us for decades is completely flawed. And now there are more and more studies proving that a diet high in healthy fats, and low in carbohydrates, is much better for our health and waistlines than we have been led to believe.
Why is low fat so bad?
I Eat Low Fat Foods. Why Am I Still Overweight and Unhealthy?
We’ve been conditioned to think that if we eat low fat foods we won’t get… fat. But when food manufacturers make a low fat product, they add in a ton of sugar (often masked as cane sugar, corn syrup or fructose) to make up for the loss of taste.
Did you know that a single serving of low fat yogurt could contain as many as 30 grams of sugar? That’s 60% of the USDA recommended daily amount!
What happens when we consume too much sugar?
There’s a lot that goes on inside our system when we consume too much sugar, but basically our bodies react to the influx by triggering the liver to start storing fat in various places around our bodies – places like your liver and heart – and over time, that build up is not good. But it also gets stored in different places in each of us – butts, hips, tummy etc. And that just doesn’t look good… ever!
When we consume too much sugar our bodies use it up first for energy (that’s why you get that ‘sugar high’ after eating a donut and then feel hungry 30 minutes later!). The more important process of burning fat is put into second place and then insulin (a major hormone in our body) takes the sugar in your system and converts it straight to fat.
As a final kicker, the signal to tell your body to make more insulin is delayed so you still feel hungry (and probably eat more food). This results in a massive destabilization of your body’s entire blood sugar system and can lead to all sorts of short and long-term health problems, including obesity, allergies, depression and diabetes.
A simple solution?
The problem might sound complex when you start looking at the science behind it, but thankfully the answer to this fear of fat problem is actually quite simple.
A diet high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates can easily and quickly set your health back on the right track.
What are healthy fats?
Despite what the marketing people at the food companies might say, the following foods are healthy forms of fat:
What about carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates contain sugar and starches which, as I mentioned above, do all sorts of bad stuff to your blood sugar levels and should be limited. Foods to limit/avoid include bread, pasta, rice, potatoes).
But eating these low carb foods ensure you feel full and they don’t put extra pressure on your body:
Vegetables (choose ones that grow above the ground i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, asparagus, eggplant etc.)
Check out the kind of foods I eat daily here.
As always, I love learning about how we can eat better to fuel ourselves and stay healthy. If you want an even more in-depth study of how the American diet got it so wrong, this is well worth a read.
Lucky for you I made the whole high fat, low carb eating super easy and you can download my free ebook for more information and tips.
For those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll know that I often share what we are eating for lunch or dinner that day. Now, I’m never going to be one of those amazing Instagramers who have thousands of followers because I share drool-worthy professional pictures of my food!!!
But I do always get plenty of comments and questions about what we eat, so I thought a roundup of some of the go-to meals we have in our house might help you to see that eating healthy really doesn’t need to be a chore. In fact, as much as I’d love to tell you to plan ahead and to know what you’re eating days in advance, I would be lying if I said I do that all the time myself!
And let’s face it, hardly anyone has the time to plan and prep too far in advance. I also wanted to say that it’s this easy to eat well (if I can do it, anyone can!)
Eggs and bacon with a Shakeology! Two eggs and two pieces of top quality bacon and this keeps me full for hours. I also try to add some veggies to my breakfast most days.
Shake – I usually make it with ice and water, sometimes some almond/cashew milk to mix things up.
Calorie-wise, the food is about 300 calories and my shake is always right about 250 calories. I eat 3 meals a day and if each is 550 calories…that’s 1650 (and perfect for me).
In my intermittent fasting, lunch is often my first ‘big’ meal of the day so I make sure it’s jam packed with goodness. You can’t really go wrong with a salad and a ton of veggies. One of my favorites is a micro green salad of spring mix, sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, jicama, nuts/seeds and high quality bacon.
My all time favorite dinner…
Steak and veggies. Yep, I’m a simple kinda gal when it comes to food, because simple is best and the most nutritious.
The steak must be grass fed and grass finished (read my post about this here – and get a discount voucher for some amazing meat!) and I cook the veggies in my cast iron first with a tiny bit of coconut oil, sesame oil or olive oil.
For the veggies, use whatever you have in the fridge or grab a pre cut bag for extra busy days. Eat the rainbow – so go for a nice mix of broccoli, carrots, beans, cauliflower, onions and peppers. Don’t overdo the cooking and leave a nice crunch to them.
When Wholefoods have wild caught salmon in stock I’m usually first in line to get some! I keep it simple with some smoked sea salt as seasoning and oven bake for about 30 minutes at 375°F.
Cooking a big fillet is great because you have your lunch-time salad protein good to go!
I know, I know – they can be gross, I agree! But only if you boil them to death and don’t take care of these little nutritious gems! Here’s how I love them (and I’ve converted many a sprout hater in my time too!)
Cook in the oven at 400°F. Spritz with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Cook on the cast iron until the outer leaves are browned. Enjoy!
In this picture I combined the sprouts with chicken, also cooked on the cast iron (of course!)
Spritz the cast iron with coconut oil then butterfly the chicken, sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and garlic and cook on medium high.
A little extra fat
I always get asked how I incorporate enough healthy fats into my diet – nuts and seeds!!
I get raw nuts and seeds and roast them at about 260°F in the oven, stirring occasionally, until you notice a slight change in color (30 minutes to an hour depending on the quantity).
I have here pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts and pecans. They go in my salads everyday and in our vegetable stirfrys when I remember.
Feeling hungry now aren’t you? As always, eat more from the farm than the factory, don’t overcomplicate things, and if in doubt, add more veggies to your plate!
OK I know that might seem a little ‘in your face’ or even rude, but honestly I hear almost every day from people who want to be healthier, fitter, skinnier, have more muscle etc etc… but they are just not willing to ‘show up’.
Let me explain…
For 99.9% of us, being fit and healthy is a lifelong dedication. There are those who, on the outside at least, seem to be able to eat whatever they want, never work out and still look amazing. But as I said in last week’s post, there is always more to the story than meets the eye. Plus, those people really are in a small minority of the population.
Why you need to show up…
The rest of us have to work hard to be where we are. We have to be mindful of our food choices – every single day – each meal is an opportunity to make good or bad choices. Each time we get invited out for lunch with a colleague, or over to a friend’s place for a BBQ, or to attend a family gathering, it’s about having the willpower to pick the salad and veggies, the healthy meats, the sugar free drinks – instead of the pasta and cheese sauce, the fatty burger with fries and the pie and ice cream for dessert.
It’s a workout just for your mind to consciously make healthy choices. And sometimes it means declining those invitations if you know healthy options aren’t on the menu, or eating before you go out, or, as we do in our household, pack up a load of healthy food before a long road trip so we know we don’t have any excuse to be tempted by the drive thru.
It’s more than just food choices.
What you eat, is only part of it. And don’t get me wrong, this post isn’t meant to make you feel bad or to make you think that being healthy is a chore. But I do want to make it clear – being fit and healthy is a lifelong choice and it does mean you have to put the work in.
I hear that working out everyday is not possible for some people because of kids, work, no babysitters, unsupportive partners, back pain, leg pain, no money, no workout gear, no one to work out with, blah blah blah. I honestly could write a list as long as my arm with the excuses I hear. And believe me, I know what it’s like to be a mom, run a household, work and try to fit everything else in – I DO!
There comes a point where you have to prioritize. You have to make changes to your lifestyle, to your schedule, to your commitments to make it work. Otherwise, you’ll get to 55 and be onto your second heart attack asking me ‘why didn’t I listen to you earlier?’ Think that sounds dramatic? Here are some stats to wake you up:
The good news…
I always like to end on a positive note because I do believe the path to your health and fitness goals needs to be an enjoyable one. Working out and staying fit really doesn’t require you to live in the gym. Here are some really quick and absolutely do-able ways to keep moving during the day. Even the most busy and overworked amongst you won’t be able to avoid these:
It’s your choice whether you’re going to be strong or weak. And when you need that extra nudge, I’m here to help and kick your butt!