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SAD = Standard American Diet
Characterized by a dependence on commodity crops like GMO corn, soy, and canola; fast food; highly processed food; and filled with additives, chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics and synthetic ingredients.
In other words not very likely to provide a base for a healthy life.
Take 21 days and make a difference in your health. It doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to taste bad either! If you like to journal this would be a great thing to journal about! What motivates you to make changes to your diet? Your own health? Spouse? Children?
I hope to make this as easy to understand as possible. If you want to go more in depth on any item I will provide links to find more information. If you have children elementary age or older this would be a great project for them as well!
Let’s get Well Fed!
DAY ONE: Out with the Bad Oils and in with the Good Fats
Why start with fats and oils? Because this is where you can make the most impact in your overall health both quickly and in the long term. Structurally our brains are 67% fat. Saturated fat provides structure to brain cells and body cells alike. Healthy fats and oils provide sustainable energy, important vitamins, and stable moods.
The kinds of fats and oils found in the SAD way of eating create fatigue, deplete vitamins and increase inflammation and oxidative stress which can promote anxiety and even anger.
What oils and fats need to go?
- Any industrially produced seed oil. This includes canola, soybean, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, and safflower oils. Seed and nut oils are delicate oils that can turn rancid very quickly when exposed to heat. If your canola, corn, soy or other seed oil is clear and you found it just sitting on a grocery store shelf then it is already rancid. Rancid oils are a major source of inflammation in the SAD way of eating. Additionally canola, soy, corn and cotton are the most widely Genetically Engineered (GMO) crops on the planet. For lots more information about genetic engineering risks visit the Non-GMO Project.
- Any margarine or butter substitute. Even the ones that promise to lower your cholesterol or magically eliminate some other kind of disease. These products are made mostly from the previously mentioned industrial seed oils. Often they are also hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated in some way.
- Any vegetable shortening, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated animal shortening. These are also called trans fats. These start out as liquid polyunsaturated fats, but through industrial processing they become solid even at room temperature. Your body has trouble recognizing what to do with them, and they lead to cell dysfunction and even cell death! Read more about them here. Or take a deep dive with Sally Fallon Morell’s Nourishing Fats: Why We Need Animal Fats for Health and Happiness.
What Oils and Fats Should I Use?
There are 3 categories of fats: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Healthy diets should include some from each of these categories.
Overall you need to look for animal fats from animals living outdoors on pasture eating species-correct diets. This means grass for the ruminants (cows, sheep), and access to omnivore appropriate food for the others (pigs, chickens and other poultry). They all need sunshine!
You need to look for vegetable fats and oils from cold-pressed and organic sources that are not treated with solvents or bleaches.
- Saturated healthy fats include butter and ghee from grassfed cows. Beef tallow, lamb tallow, pork lard, duck fat and goose fat from animals living outdoors on healthy pasture. Coconut oil from sustainably grown coconuts. Palm oil can be a part of a healthy diet as well, however there are a lot of ecological problems with palm oil so I am not recommending it for that reason. MCT oils is another saturated fat making headlines recently.
- Monounsaturated healthy fats include cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. Avocado oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil and sesame oil are other options. Once again these need to be cold pressed or expeller pressed and preferably organic. Peanuts, especially, need to be organic due to a common toxin found in conventionally farmed peanuts. Incidentally pastured pork lard is also a very good source of monounsaturated fat. Good lard is roughly 50/50 saturated and monounsaturated.
- Polyunsaturated healthy fats are the trickiest to find. These oils need to be expeller pressed without heat, because heat will damage the delicate oils and cause them to go rancid quickly. Also exposure to light and oxygen will turn them rancid, so these oils need to be stored tightly closed and kept in the refrigerator. Flaxseed oil, walnut oil, non-gmo canola, and grapeseed oil. All the fish oils are also in this category. Fish oil, cod liver oil, krill oil, and foods like caviar are all quite delicate and need to be treated carefully to remain healthy and viable.
So open up your pantry, cupboards and refrigerator and start tossing the bad SAD oils and replacing them with healthy fats!
Visit Well Fed Family on Facebook to see the conversation around healthy lard. Like our page and keep in touch! Let us know what you find when you start cleaning out your SAD fats and replacing them with healthy ones!