The first time I made a stew I purchased an expensive cut of meat from a farmers market and proceeded to cut off all of the fat before cooking it. It tasted awful! Just recently I enabled my dad the extravagance of a no-judgment corned beef sandwich at a world-renowned deli in my neighborhood. Ordered “extra lean,” it was a dry-tasting disappointment.
But taste really isn’t the point. Too little fat in your diet, can lead to poor health.
Fat is not the enemy! In fact, the body needs fat to protect cells, shield organs, and absorb nutrients (among other things). That’s not to say you should go out and eat any fat – it’s the right kind of fat that will help you thrive! A diet rich in 20-35% of calories from good fat to be precise.
Your brain is made up of nearly 60% fat and it needs fatty acids to function optimally. Essential fatty acids cannot be manufactured in your body so must come from the foods you eat.
Myelin, the fatty material that wraps nerve cells, makes it possible for them to fire the electrical messages that enable you to think, see, speak, move, and perform the multitude of tasks natural to a living body. The brain’s tissue is also rich in fat, and contributes to happy chemicals, the ability to focus, and mood.
If that’s not enough to motivate you to eat “healthy fats,” note that the body utilizes dietary fat for energy, health of hair, skin and nails (so you’ll also look good), vitamin absorption, and normal everyday bodily functions.
Omega 3 healthy fats like fatty fish such as salmon and like those found in walnuts and flax seed, lead to cardiovascular health and reduced cholesterol, hypertension and heart disease.
In addition, fats help your body with absorption, so you can avoid vitamin A, D, E and K deficiencies
The nation has gotten so much fatter since the non-fat craze hit the shelves. Fat was taken out and often substituted with sugar or chemicals, making it worse than eating full fat items (which keep you satiated longer). Low fat diets have been reported to result in increased food cravings and hunger. Ugh!
For breakfast, I often recommend full fat plain yogurt jazzed up with your favorite fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and a bit of natural sweetener if need be. Try it against your low-fat-already-sweetened yogurt and notice which makes you feel full longer.
So let go of the notion that all fat = bad. Avoid trans fats in many boxed foods, baked goods and partially hydrogenated oils, and instead focus on EVO (extra virgin olive oil), avocado, nuts, eggs and the aforementioned fatty fish, and delight in their taste.
As for that stew, next time I’ll leave the fat on and enjoy the juiciness and flavor (within my daily 20-35% allowable of course).
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™