Monday, September 23, 2013

Being afraid of.... Avocados and other natural fats for weight maintenance

Being an overweight kid and now adult (1970's then on and off until mid 2011), I started my weight maintenance transition completely terrified of switching up from a low calorie, low fat diet to a Paleo/Primal template that had....  FAT!

The slow transition
During weight loss on Medifast in 2011, I came to enjoy the olive oil I was adding on my salads. It tasted great, but there was not much of it. I knew that fat was essential for fat soluble vitamins. The next step was post transition to the first 6 months of weight maintenance.

On one hand: There was going to be..... fat! And a decent amount of it. I would go slowly, I would ease into it. I knew a person in real life who went suddenly from a low calorie, low fat diet to a pizza binge to the ER and then surgery for gallbladder removal. Whoa! I still have my gallbladder and I like it.

On the other hand: I went to an Everyday Paleo lecture where Sarah Fragoso, Jason Seib, and a room of about 75 people just like me, scientists, teachers, neighbors, mom's with kids, for example, were eating LOTS of the right kinds of fat and those on the food template the longest..... were not overweight.  

 What works now (* note I'm dairy free & nut free)
1. Coconut oil: High heat- I scramble/fry eggs every morning and veggies, too. Coconut oil is great!
2. Avocado Oil: High heat- I use Avocado Oil to saute vegetables and as a base for salad dressings
3. Olive Oil:  No heat- I use this as a base for salad dressing, with balsamic dressing.
4. Avocados: I eat about 2/3 of a large Costco avocado most days, or one whole small avocado. If I run out of ripe avocados, it's sad day!
5. Bison or grass-fed beef fat:  I'll use the left over fat (from grass-fed meat only) to saute kale or broccoli slaw.
6.  Kerry Gold butter and full fat yogurt- I keep both on hand for Jr. Family Member

This was breakfast 9/20/2013

The best things about using real fat to cook:
1. Food tastes..... wait for it.... GOOD!!
2. I feel sated, meaning I can trust my "I'm hungry" or "I'm full" signals more often. The off/on switch works more normally.
3. My lipid, blood work, and inflammation markers have never been better. See my recent post.
4. I do not get body fat from eating the right kinds of fat... I get leaner.
5. I can go longer between meals with the time right before meals leading to a normal sort of hungry.

 What didn't work: (note- all these fake fat foods are now removed from my house.  If a guest brings low fat, non-food products ,the items go in the trash that night. I advise "I don't eat these things so take them with you.)

There is no natural fat in these products (or turkeys in this box!)
1. Low fat Margarine Substitute: During my overweight days I thought I was doing the "heart healthy thing" by eating I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and  Brummel and Brown margarine. (it's made with yogurt!).  It has a heart healthy symbol, no cholesterol!,and it's low fat and WW points. I'm a scientist and it didn't even phase me that when you melt this stuff it's water and a weird consistency!  If I stir it, I can still make low-fat brownies.

2. Low fat yogurt regular and frozen: This never filled me up. I couldn't understand why I wanted to eat more. No "off "button. Frozen yogurt was a delivery vehicle for binge-y, sugary topping. Carb city. But low fat. And the "on" button was stuck.

3.  High fat, high inflammatory Canola Oil:  I used this stuff to make "heart healthy" muffins.  And I'd eat a lot of muffins. But it was okay, because it's low in saturated fat! My hs-CRP was 6.8!!!  Glad I survived the canola days.

4. Avocados : They are so good, and I was so afraid avocados were ONLY for skinny people. Much too high in WW points I was saving my points for Skinny Cow ice cream. Oh the irony!

5. Ground turkey only:  I used to spend more money to buy extra lean turkey. I would eat lots ground turkey with a truck load of McCormick packaged Taco Mix and Chili  Packets. There's no way I'd touch beef with a 10 foot pole. 

Thank goodness I got through the "low fat" or "no fat" phobia. Life and food is much better. My heart is much happier in body and soul! My brain, since feeding it with foods that it requires, is more clear.

Photo bombing cat- Sunday Funnies!


  1. We are now eating butter at our home! This is new this year. My teen daughter asked if butter was bad, and I thought about it and said, "At least we know what it really is." That's a good test for many foods. So we quit buying margarine and started buying butter. We also cook with olive oil. And some canola oil. I really have never been too adventurous with new types of oil. :D

    1. I'm so glad, Marion that I stopped buying the fake margarine for my daughter. Ughhhhh!!! My daughter has a good flavor palate, so it's a joy to cook foods with her and have her talk about the flavors coming through. I've been doing it with the whole family. Fun to see there faces!

      I've always worried about the olive oil breaking down with heat, so that's why I use the avocado oil. I'm still sad that I cannot have even ghee. :(

  2. Funny, I ran out of coconut oil this week, and was using regular butter. My husband 'caught me' and said, 'whaaa? Isn't that fattening?" Um, yeah, honey, it is, but 'fat' isn't the enemy, it ends up. LOL

    I need to get more avocados. But I've had rotten luck with them the past few months. You are lucky to be by so many professional avocado groves. I might need to start driving down there on Saturdays to pick them up....? :)

    1. I'm going to do a post or link to one about choosing avocados. The OC does not have good avocados? YES!!!! Jumping up and down... we must get together for coffee and a Farmer's Market run on a weekend. Maybe a coastal walk, too?

      I'm so spoiled on the avocado front. I'm also overdue on sourcing avocados while on the cruise in Alaska.

  3. OH! And I was a huge fan of SYTINB, light. And yeah, it gets all weird foamy when 'melted.' LOL

    1. Gwen, I used to melt it and put LOTS of it on low fat microwave popcorn. Ohhhh, but it's low points... I cringe when I think of all the chemicals and how badly it would throw me off my efforts.

  4. I eat a small avocado every morning.
    Or sometimes half a large one.

    I do eat nuts every day.
    Usually 15 raw (no salt added) almonds,
    Sometimes a 1/4 cup raw chopped walnuts with raw/plain fruit (like sliced strawberries).

    I rarely eat oil, when I do it is not heated.

    Very good post.

  5. We mustn't fear good fats - we should enjoy them.

    Butter, avocado, nuts such as macadamia's, almonds all good food.

    And yes, "the best things about using real fat to cook is Food tastes..... wait for it.... GOOD!!"

    All the best Jan

  6. I have to say that I've been enjoying my food a lot more since I put real fat on/in it :) Salad now are amazing not just a bland dish that I need to get through. I love coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil and avocado when I don't hurt myself getting the pit out.

  7. Vickie and Jan and Suzanne- yes! Real fat on real food- soooo good. I carry a small bottle of olive oil and vinegar in my purse for salad dressing while eating out. I know that I'm getting the inflammatory oils in most eat out meals- but If I can doge the funny oils brought to me at restaurants, I feel more sated post meal.

  8. For a long time I steered clear of avocados simply because of the calorie count. But as I get away from processed foods and want to eat better, I recognized how awesome avocados are! I can have a few crackers or celery with avocado on it and for around 100 calories be totally satisfied and full for a long time. It's a great snack!