Confessions of a Real Food Dietitian

All of the reasons I LOVE nutrition are the same reasons why I make specific food choices.

 
I eat a lot of fat. It is the nutrient that I consume in the largest quantity, but guess what…I am HEALTHY. I am not obese and I am not at any increased risk for having a heart attack on my next run or stroking out as I climb the stairs at work. Mainstream medical professionals and functional medicine practitioners alike would look at my cholesterol panel (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, HDL:LDL ratio and triglycerides) and give me a double thumbs up.
 
I choose fat from high quality sources. My favorites are avocados, whole olives, cold-pressed coconut oil, cold-pressed olive oil, real butter and fat that is found naturally in grass-fed, pasture-raised animal products. The major difference between my favorite fats and those found in the standard American diet (SAD) is that my list of fats are either real food or easily identifiable from their real food source.  Vegetable oils, that supposedly promote heart health, go through extensive processing, bleaching and deodorizing. Just watch this short video from Discovery Channel on how canola oil is made. It is gross, and certainly does not fit within my perception of a quality sourced product. 
 
My favorite fats have an optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are readily available in the standard American diet (SAD) with an over abundance found in vegetable oils. Excess omega-6s can increase inflammation and oxidative stress. On the other hand omega-3s are more abundant in grass-fed, pasture-rasied animal products, fatty fish (wild caught of course) and in nuts. These fatty acids can reduce inflammation and among other fabulous benefits have a positive effect on heart health. 
 
Not only am I eating a lot of fat, much of it is coming from saturated sources. These fats are solid at room temperature and are more stable. They better withstand heat and do not go rancid as quickly as unsaturated fats. By the time an unsaturated fat is processed and makes it to your kitchen it has been exposed to heat, air and light, all of which further contribute to its breakdown and produce off flavors. When consumed, unsaturated fats are oxidized in the body which creates free radicals that cause cell damage and once again…inflammation. 
 
Besides all of the health benefits associated with my favorite fats I also have to admit that I am most grateful for their flavor. Seriously…why eat something that does not taste good? Try this for a quick meal and a burst of flavor.

Sauteed Greens 
2 strips of bacon
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
4 handfuls greens of choice (I prefer kale)
salt/pepper to taste
 
Chop the bacon and pan fry.  Remove bacon from pan, keeping bacon grease over heat.
Sautee chopped onion and minced garlic in gacon grease until translucent
Add greens and wilt to desired consistency
Season with salt and pepper to taste
 
Roasted Plantain
1 plantain
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
salt to taste
 
Preheat oven to 375-425 degrees
Slice plantain into thin discs
Melt coconut oil
Toss plantain with coconut oil
Season with salt
Roast in oven until it smells good and looks done.  I like mine crispy, so a little brown is best.