Cooking / Uncategorized

When is Fat OK?

My favorite TV shows are all on the Food Network channel. I haven’t found a show that I don’t like. 30 Minute Meals, Everyday Italian, Food Finds, Ultimate Recipe Showdown, Chopped, Home Cookin’ with Paula Dean, Good Eats . . . I’ll stop for brevity’s sake.

I don’t know what it is about food, but I love eating it, watching it, making it and looking at other people do all the above. I love how matter of fact many chefs are about fats. When making a dish, they say that they need to add some fat to round out the flavors, etc.

We Generation Xers were raised with the low-fat mentality. It’s hard to break out of that for me. My eyes immediately go for the fat content on packages, rather than calories, fiber, sugars, proteins, etc. I’m totally leery of fat in products. And yet in the things I make from scratch, I understand that it takes all different kinds of ingredients – including fats – to make a good dish. I think that’s another reason for my obsession with home-made.

But here’s some cool information about fats. My husband posted an article on his company’s website about getting fat to get fit. The original article touts the benefits of animal fats (pork lard, lamb fat, etc.) vs vegetable fats. She postulates that we’ve been brainwashed in thinking veggie fats are better for us than animal fats. Check this out:

So how exactly is cooking with animal fat better for us?

Unlike vegetable oils, animal fats are very stable and don’t turn rancid easily. This makes them ideal for cooking, which involves heating the fat. And they have no trans fats.

It is much easier to roast a bird or a joint of meat if it has a good quantity of fat. The fat guarantees taste and succulence. Without it, the meat will be dry and tasteless.

Animal fats have lots of good fatty acids that fight disease, help absorb vitamins and lower cholesterol. Your body burns the short-chained fatty acids found in animal fats and stores the long-chained ones found in polyunsaturated fat. It is a myth that eating animal fat makes you fat.

Animal fat also has a good ratio of essential fatty acids. Many of us have a skewed ratio thanks to too much vegetable oil. When this ratio is out of balance, it results in illness and depression.

I love it! I totally think that if we ate like the Amish or the pioneers we’d all be healthier and thinner. I also liked her push for sitting down for regular meals instead of snacking all day long. We’re so afraid of fat and real foods that we gorge out on other things that are terrible for us.

I just have one question: Where can I buy some lard?

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2 thoughts on “When is Fat OK?

  1. Sweetie, you can get lard in any grocery store. But it’s super easy to find it in Mexican grocery stores.

  2. The key is summed up in the statement by Michael Pollan. “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” That is by and large the way the pioneers, the Amish, and almost every single society prior to 20th century American culture ate. A few cultures such as the Zulu and Arctic communities excepted, meat has been a much smaller part of humanity’s diet and plants a much larger. And, of course, processed foods and refined sugars were not present.

    A lifestyle more like our ancestors (ie, one in which we didn’t spend the majority of our waking hours on our rumps) would be key to being healthier as well.

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