When I tell people that my diet runs between 55% and 65% of my total calories from fat, they look at me like I’m growing a second head. “How do you do that?” they ask with a look that says they suddenly suspect me of deep fat frying everything I eat.
Next up, the inevitable, “Why do you do that?”
The answer to both is simple. Women like me do better on higher fat diets. It boosts our energy levels, balances our hormones, increases our fertility, contributes to serene moods, keeps our complexion glowing, and reduces the risk of having a stroke.
Yep, you read right. Generally speaking, women actually need high fat diets. The alternative is to synthesize all our saturated fat from the sugar we eat, and that comes with an unacceptable set of risks. (Hello weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.)
So, how exactly do I get this much fat in my diet?
You’d be surprised! It’s really not that hard at all.
1. Eat and drink full fat dairy.
This one’s probably the easiest. When you see fat-free cottage cheese, sour cream, or milk, run the other way! Study after study has shown that high fat dairy lowers your risk of heart attacks and strokes. So, don’t be afraid of it. Drink real cream in your coffee or tea. Liberally stir in whole fat yogurt to your cut up fruit.
2. Eat eggs — with the yolks.
I eat an egg or three a day. When I tire of eggs for breakfast, I eat them in an egg salad or quiche for lunch or dinner. Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can buy, particularly given their low cost. Even when I pay up to $6/dozen for eggs from pastured hens, I’m still getting a good deal when I consider all the nutrients they contain.
Eggs are rich in quality protein — having all eight essential amino acids. They’re also an excellent source of choline (necessary for brain and memory), folate (important for fertility and pregnancy), and other trace minerals like calcium, selenium, and even iron.
3. Spread that butter!
When you make toast, sandwiches, pancakes, baked potatoes, or waffles, spread more than just a tiny, thin little pat of butter on that goody. Layer it on thick. Butter is far healthier than margarine, particularly if it comes from pastured cows.
4. Ditch the non-stick cookware and use fat.
How many people make eggs without any sort of added fat at all? You know why you can do that? Because you’re cooking on toxic, non-stick cookware! Opt for traditional cookware made of cast iron or steel and suddenly you’ll realize that you need that added fat to keep your food from sticking or over cooking.
I do have one important caveat for those of you who take this plunge though. Milk fat will brown and stick if heated too quickly, so if you cook with butter you’ll want to reduce the amount of heat you’re cooking with to avoid sticking.
5. Cook your vegetables in fat.
Roast your vegetables in a coating of a traditional fat like olive oil or coconut oil. Pan-fry your potatoes in a healthy fat like beef tallow from grass-fed cows. Melt butter from pastured cows or bacon grease from foraged hogs over your steamed veggies. In short, any time you serve up a vegetable, make sure it’s surrounded by a healthy fat.
Why? Not only does it make these veggies far more flavorful, but it also increases the availability of the vitamins and minerals in the vegetable. Many nutrients common in vegetables are fat-soluble. That means your body will only make use of them in the presence of fat.
Hey, look at that! I didn’t mention deep frying once.
That’s because I don’t deep fry. I don’t have a frier, and I wouldn’t know how to use one.
Won’t this make me fat?
No. Studies have shown that people who eat higher fat foods get full faster and stay full longer. That usually translates into them eating fewer calories, or at least eating fewer calorie-rich but nutrient-poor foods like desserts, breads, or candies. Both of those translate into weight loss, or at least weight maintenance.
Finally, remember the words of Julia Child.