The Skinny on Healthy Fats …. What You Need to Know

Let’s follow up the Healthy Living 101 post with something equally as important, Healthy Fats.  What’s the “skinny” on healthy fats?  Isn’t that a loaded question.  If you are in your 40s, you probably spent a bit of time eliminating fats from your diet during the “Fat Free” craze of the 90s.  How many Snackwells did you eat?  I ate a lot.  I was skinny.  I was not strong.  Well, “Strong is the New Skinny”, right?  The neat thing about being in my 40s is that I no longer care what is “in” or what is “cool”.  Not that I was ever
“in” or “cool”, let’s be clear on that.  But my focus now is laser sharp on me.  What makes me feel good. What doesn’t.  I’ve discovered that healthy fats are essential to our diets.  All of us.  Not just athletes.  Not just people who want to lose weight or get strong.  This is what I’ve learned, feel free to use whatever possible to help you and your family.  And the disclaimer still stands.  I’m not a nutritionist, registered dietician, or health coach.  I’m just an enthusiast who wants to feel good each and every day and I want the same for you.   

1.  What are Healthy Fats?  Healthy fats are fats that are found naturally in food.  Real, whole foods.  Once a food is processed, then natural fats are generally stripped out to modify the food in some way.  Dairy is a perfect example.  Cows produce one type of milk.  One kind.  Yet, there are how many different options of milk at the supermarket?  Whole (real milk), 2%, Skim, 1%, Chocolate, Strawberry, etc.  Take this a bit further to the yogurt aisle and depending on where you shop, you may not even be able to find real, whole milk (grassfed) yogurt.  The food industry processes dairy products to strip out fat & insert sugar, fake sugars & flavors to make it taste better.  The sugar & chemicals inserted by the food industry activate the same part of our brains as the drug heroine.  Its addictive.  If we are addicted to sugar & chemical laden foods, we eat and BUY more of it. 

So if you want to eat healthy fats, you need to stick with whole foods.  And as always, buy organic and from reputable brands to ensure that you are getting the best possible nutrients that are not contaminated.  See the list of foods below that will offer the best healthy fats available:

  • Avocados
  • Nuts  & Seeds – Raw, unsalted nuts.  Almonds, Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts, Chia Seeds, Flaxseed, etc.
  • Nut & Seed Butters – Be careful with these!  Look for Natural, Organic products.  Always read the ingredient list.  It should be short and just include the particular nut/seed + maybe salt.  See the ingredient list from the one I just pulled from my cabinet for reference:  Organic Roasted Peanuts, Contains 1% or Less of Salt.

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  • Full Fat Dairy – Organic, Grassfed, if possible.
  • Eggs  – Farm Raised, Locally Sourced, if possible.  You want chickens that are walking around eating bugs and different plant materials.  They will make the best nutrient dense eggs.
  • Salmon and Tuna  – Wild Ocean Caught, not farm raised.  Sustainability is an issue with anything from the ocean; however, farm raised fish has issue with diseases due to dense populations.  Secondly, farm raised fish are usually fed a kibble type product that is a combination of soy & corn, among other things.  The majority of soy & corn in the US is contaminated with GMOs.  Lastly, farmed fish, salmon in particular have up to 50% less Omega 3s, the healthy fat that you’re looking for in the first place.  PLEASE NOTE – If you shop at Costco or places that sell “fresh” fish, look at the ingredients label.  I noticed awhile back that most of the “fresh” salmon at a major retailer, has dye injected into the fish, along with preservatives, to keep the salmon looking pretty as it sits on the shelf.   I buy frozen Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon now. 
  • Olives – Check ingredient labels.  A lot of olives have extra “stuff” in the ingredient list that we don’t need.
  • Oils – Avocado, Coconut, Nut/Seed Oils (Walnut, Pine, Cashew, etc), Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil.  Be careful with Olive Oil, many of those sold in the US are not a good quality or contaminated with GMOs.  I tend to use Avocado Oil as my default. Good reputation.  Nice Consistency and great flavor.

See the graphic below for additional healthy fat options:

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Image Source

2.  Why Healthy Fats?  This was certainly a BIG question for me personally after avoiding fats for so many years.  The idea of buying full fat milk and real butter was just almost more than I could wrap my brain around.  However, the science is there.  Real science that’s waiting to be read, shared & acknowledged.

  • Supports brain function.  Our brains are made up of fat themselves, almost 60% actually.  Healthy fats stimulate new brain cell growth and improves memory.  Helps the absorption of key nutrients that are required for cognitive health.  Protects the brain from toxins.  And improves mood & alleviates depression.
  • Supports Metabolism.  Increase fat burning and energy production.
  • Keeps us full between meals.  Fats are burned at a slower rate.  They also trigger the release of hormones to tell our body we are full.  Keeping us satisfied longer.
  • Helps the body absorb key nutrients.
  • Improves body composition thanks to increased fat burning capabilities.
  • Builds muscle faster.

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Image Source from The ChalkboardMag.com

3.  How Much Healthy Fat Do We Need?  THIS is the million dollar question.  I think we have a bit of a “fat” craze going on right now.  Many of my friends are super skinny after adopting a ketosis type diet.  Terms like Metabolic Efficiency and Fat Burner are becoming common.  Carb Cycling is happening at every gym in the area.  So what’s normal, for someone who just wants to be healthy?  It looks like the the average dose of healthy fats for a normal person is 2-3 servings per day.  What’s a serving?  1 TBS of a clean oil or a thumb size chunk of an avocado.  Or a few nuts in the palm of your hand.  If you have salmon for dinner, plus a veggie & half of a sweet potato with butter, then count that as 2 servings of fat.  The salmon & the butter on the sweet potato.  When its broken down like that, its not so hard. 

4. Warning About Healthy Fats.  Super easy to overeat. Fats taste GOOD!  Yum!!  I’ve been eating healthy for years but just consciously added healthy fats into my diet over the last year & a half.  Initially I did too much!  I even used a Metabolic Efficiency program once but the guidelines were very loose.  The participants kept asking “how much fat do we need?”.  The program designers would just say, “eat some with every meal”.  Some?  How much is that?  So I’d eat 3 eggs with a side of avocado & bacon.  Or Avocado Mayo Egg Salad with a side of Avocado.  Salmon, 1/2 sweet potato w/ butter & a salad with avocado oil dressing. 

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Everything tasted AMAZING but I suffered from free styling the program.  There weren’t set guidelines.  No macro counting.  Not enough information for me & I was doing it wrong.  I didn’t feel awesome.  I gained weight.  Yep.  Too much healthy fat!

I’m currently doing a carb cycling program with HiggsLifestyle.  Lots of info.  We were told exactly what to eat, in what portions & exactly how much fat.  Our current fat percentage is about 50% of our daily diet.  THIS is working for me.  I’ve dropped all my weight that I’ve been holding onto for the last several years.  However, this may not be the right combo for everyone.  My sister is currently doing a carb cycling program with her gym & they are using 70% fat for the day.  I know from past experience that this would probably be too much for me but its working for her and the participants in that program. Bottom line, there are lots of different programs currently focusing on healthy fats & how to kick start the metabolism as a result.  Be careful & don’t get stuck in one that doesn’t work for you.  Be dedicated to yourself, your health and finding what works for your body.  And know that if weight loss (better body composition) isn’t something you need, then 2-3 servings of healthy fats each day will lead to optimal health.  Adjust as needed based on how you feel, that’s just the guideline.

As always, the healthiest eating plan is one that is focused on natural, organic, whole foods.  Eat a rainbow of colors.  Each color of fruit/vegetable has different nutrients.  Make food a priority in your life, not just an afterthought on the way home from practice or a sporting event.  Incorporate all aspects of foods:  Lean proteins, lots of veggies (some fruit), healthy carbs (legumes, brown rice, quinoa & sweet potatoes) & healthy fats.  Drink water.  Keep your daily added sugars under 24g per day (36g for men).  Limit or avoid alcohol & sugary beverages/treats.   Good luck, all. We have one life.  One body.  Let’s do the best for it that we are able. 

** That’s the Skinny On Healthy Fats ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil Review & Discount Code

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When Skinny & Company first contacted me to review their coconut oil products, I ignored them.  I get a decent amount of opportunities to review products but I don’t accept very many.  I have trust issues.  I don’t want to accept something and be obligated to write about it when I don’t know if I will like it.  In fact, once, a couple of years ago, I accepted products from a new compression wear company and ended up having to send the items back.  For that reason, I go after the stuff I want to review and don’t accept many new products unless I’ve heard good things.  I hadn’t heard of Skinny & Company.  And I was really put off by the name.  I believe in “healthy” not “skinny”.  The second, or maybe third email came to me in July.  I was in the middle of the Swim Bike Fuel program,  I was very focused on what I was putting into my body.  I had eliminated most of the chemicals from my diet and the next step was finding alternative products for skincare & health/beauty.  Enter Skinny & Company.  A company with all natural products that are vegan & gluten free.  100% Raw.  Cold pressed.  Any scents or flavoring is added with essential oils.  Products are all edible because they are natural & raw without harmful additives.  Sound good?  Yes!

I’d been wanting to try coconut oil for its many health benefits, I just hadn’t gotten around to buying any.  I figured accepting the Skinny & Company package would be a good intro to coconut oil without much of a “cost” to me per say. Then if I like it, great.  If not, I’m not out much.  I was shocked when the packaged arrive.  More than just coconut oil!

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They sent five 2oz jars of pure goodness.  Very similar to their travel kit HERE minus a few items.  Pic of the travel kit below with its reusable bag.  I really want that bag!!!

travel kit

My sampler contained:

2 oz Coconut Oil

2 oz Facial Oil

2 oz Oil Pulling

2 oz Whipped Body Butter

2 oz Sugar Scrub

To be honest, I didn’t know what to do with all this stuff!  Oil Pulling, what?!?!?  I was so excited that I immediately hit the net to figure this out. 

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I devoured the info on the Skinny & Co page.  Read all the blog posts.  Looked up all the products and was very happy to see a video available for many of the products, including one demonstrating oil pulling.  Then I dove in & started testing products.  I soon realized that I was doing more than testing. I was instantly smitten with all of these products.  I can honestly say that I’ve used most of these products every day since I’ve received them.  And I just made an order today purchasing more of everything, plus the Shampoo Bar & Lip Balm.  Shhhh, don’t tell hubby!!

Products were liquid when I received the shipment but the consistency of the oil changes depending on the temperature of my house.  They solidified almost immediately in the air conditioning, which is actually easier for use.  I dab my fingers in the face oil or the body butter and am able to better control the quantity with the product solidified.  It softens up with the heat of my skin so its easy to apply & smooth out without feeling oily.  Note that a little goes a long way.  Below, the coconut oil upon receipt in pic 1 & now (today) in pic 2.  Kinda cool!

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I’ve been adding the raw coconut oil to my green tea every morning.  I just spoon some into my hot tea and don’t really worry about the amount.  It melts immediately and doesn’t flavor my tea abnormally.  I haven’t yet tried cooking with it or using it in my hair but will once I get a larger quantity from my new order.  There are so many uses for coconut oil from eating it with a spoon purely for the health benefits (I know several people who do this), skin/hair moisturizing, sex lube, weight loss, metabolism & energy booster & it increases mental clarity. Not sure I’ve found another product quite as diverse.

I’ve been using the oil pulling 3-4x a week.  Initially I only pulled for 8 minutes but I’m now up to 20 minutes.  I do it when I’m drying my hair, putting on makeup, or writing blog posts.  Smile  I love the way my teeth & mouth feels after the pulling.  The coconut oil has a bit of peppermint essential oil added for the pulling to freshen breath.  It leaves my mouth feeling clean & refreshed.  That being said, I always brush my teeth after oil pulling to get rid of the toxins and bacteria that are released during the pulling.

The sugar scrub is awesome.  It smells great.  Its edible (although I haven’t eaten it cuz I’m limiting my sugars).  It’s coconut oil with coconut sugar and vanilla bean.  Thicker consistency.  I put some in my hand, then add a little water to use.  So far, I’ve mostly used it for my face.  It would be a great full body scrub in the shower but since I only had the 2oz sample, I wanted to save it & won’t even let my kids look at it.   I love the way it leaves my face feeling clean & fresh.  My face is soft but not greasy.  So nice. 

The facial oil is one of my favorites from this group.  If I had to pick just one product, I’d be sad but I’d pick this one.  This also contains organic almond oil.  I’ve struggled with moisturizing products for years.  I don’t like my face to be oily or greasy from a product but I do need some type of moisturizer.  Then add in the chemicals and perfumes in conventional moisturizing creams and I’m always less than pleased.  My skin, particularly my face, takes a real beating between the pool and lake water that I swim in, plus the sun that gets me while running and biking.  I have a lot of sun damage despite the usage of sun screen (don’t get me started on sun screen!!).  The coconut facial oil leaves my face feeling soft & smooth without the grease.  If it’s greasy, I used too much & need to rub it in better.  Plus, it may just be that time of year where I’m starting to get less sun, but my sun spot are looking a little lighter.  I don’t know if that’s from the coconut oil but I’m sticking with it.  Plus I just read that coconut oil blocks up to 20% of the suns rays.  Huge win, I can use the facial oil as a moisturizer and still get some sun blocking benefits without any chemical additives. Please note that the facial oil can also be used to remove make-up!

The body butter is another one of my favorites from the Skinny & Co line.  For years, I’ve been using the pure cocoa butter “for stretch marks” as my body lotion, not because I have stretch marks all over my body, but because my skin is sensitive to fragrance & if I use a scented lotion, then my legs break out in hives.  After a couple trips to the ER, I gave up chemical scented lotions but I can’t give up moisturizing my body.  I use the body butter now for massaging my tired legs.  And I also apply as soon as I shave my legs.  The body butter is know to reduce the inflammation of razor burn and it just feels great overall.  Totally different feeling than a thick lotion.  This leaves the skin feeling soft and clean.  Not greasy.  Once again, a little goes a long way.  No need to slather it on, like you would a traditional lotion.  Just a dab will do the full lower leg without leaving a residue.

You’re in luck, if you want to try some of the awesome Skinny & Co Coconut products, they are currently offering a 20% off code thru 8/27/16, code:  TREATYOURSELF.  I made my order today!!!

20 Percent Off

If you want to wait til next pay day to make the splurge & miss the 20% off code, then Skinny sent me a 15% off code that’s good at any time:  SKINNYCO15

Hope you enjoy learning about Skinny & Co as much as I have over the last month.  And even if you aren’t interested in Skinny & Co products, I encourage you to look into the health benefits of coconut oil.  Could be the ace in the hole that your missing from your regimen.  Smile

** Focusing on HEALTH, Wellness & Fitness ** Amanda – TooTallFritz