I’ve recently realized that to be truly successful with a Paleo life-style, I need to overcome my “fat phobia.” I understand intellectually that the right fats are good for me. I’ve also never gone really low fat (25-30% of caloric intake has been my norm for most of my life). Plus, I really enjoy eating some fats -cream, avocado and coconut milk are especially lovely! But I still have an aversion to fat, both emotionally and physically. For example, I don’t like the taste of “greasy” food, such as eggs fried in bacon fat or even bacon that is still dripping fat (although I do like bacon a lot). Maybe this is a personal taste issue, but it may just be a conditioned taste that relates to a deeper emotional aversion to “too much fat.” I have lived 43 years as a very health-conscious person who has been conditioned to believe that some fat is good, but too much fat is bad. I just can’t help having a gut reaction every time I eat the fatty part of my steak instead of trimming it away, or every time I let my sons pile on an extra tablespoon (or two or three . . .) of butter on their potatoes (or watch them just eat butter off the spoon . . . ).
What are your experiences with fat aversion? How did you overcome it, or are you still working on it? Is this something that just naturally lessons the longer you follow a Paleo lifestyle? How do you explain a goal of increased consumption of healthy fats to concerned parents/grandparents when you are still feeling emotionally adverse to it yourself?
Thanks for your thoughts.
EDIT: I want to re-stress that I have a very intelligent, analytical mind and I do intellectually understand and AGREE COMPLETELY with all of the good arguments out there about why we should eat less carb and therefore, more fat and protein. I'm not looking for more rational reasons to eat fat. What I need are strategies for dealing with or even assurances that the long-conditioned emotional reaction will eventually subside.
Two words: Gary. Taubes.
After reading his books and watching several of his talks on YouTube, I left conventional wisdom in the middle aisles of the supermarket.
Maybe try some butter or ghee instead of bacon fat, since those dairy fats tend to be less greasy and have a smoother flavor. As much as I love bacon, sometimes I find that pork fat can be a bit of an overload when I cook with it.
Just take it slow, and remember that fat is an extremely important component of the diet, especially for getting fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and K2.
This is a great article by Mark Sisson. He takes a moderate approach to diet, and gives a great number of different ways to up the fat content of your food.
I think fat should be embraced, but not forced. Eat full fat everything, and eat the fatty things you enjoy. However, I do not think that you need to add extra fat to your meals. I do not see how this is helpful in any way. For satiety I would say to increase protein intake, before melting coconut oil over a fatty pork chop, just because.
I started to overcome it after reading Gary Taubes' Why We Get Fat and Sally Fallon and Mary Enig's Eat Fat, Lost Fat, but I really overcame it when I started seeing the results in the mirror and on the scale. It seemed like the more fat I included in my daily diet, the less fat was on my body. Seeing is believing.
You can get lots of fat in your diet without eating greasy food or globs of fat off the spoon. If you don't like those things, don't eat them. Stick with the foods you like: avocado, coconut milk, cream.
I'm with you on greasy foods! I don't like that sensation in my mouth. I still don't like excessively greasy foods and I still pat down my bacon with a paper towel. I get plenty of fat otherwise (butter in cauliflower mash, cream and coconut oil in my tea, the fat still present in the bacon after patting, etc), so I stopped feeling like it was necessary for me to like the way "greasy spoon" food feels. Yech!
I think you could start by eating more the types of fat you already enjoy; having to choke something down every time won't endear it to you. Maybe over time, as you increase the fatty foods you DO like, you might start to feel okay with the fatty edge on the steak. (Though I don't think it will harm your health if you never adapt to it, either; I get more than half my calories from fat without eating the stuff I don't enjoy.)
Eat organic, grass fed fat in the form of butter, ghee, raw cream, raw milk, lard, avocado, activated nuts and seeds, fatty cuts of meat. You will never be hungry and save money. The difference between eating good saturated fats is that you can see them, whereas all those seed oils and transfats are hidden so you can be in denial that they really exist. When you embrace what fat can do for you, lose/maintain weight, curb hunger, endless energy, regularity, cognitive clarity, no aches and pains and save you money you will enjoy seeing it slapped on your food. Take a bowl of steamed vegetables covered in grass fed butter - healthy? Yes! Compared to a vegetable stirfry in peanut oil - healthy? No!
I have lost 6 kilos in 6 weeks by increasing my fat intake, I can get through 250g of organic butter on my own in one week - it's great give it a try.. Check out my blog for ideas on how to incorporate fat into your diet..
I just sort of forgot about it over time. In the beginning of my Path to Paleo™, I read books and studied blog posts about it, and I still had those lingering doubts. Days and weeks passed, I stopped reading, studying and thinking about it so much. Instead, I just kept on eating in a way that someone like, for example, Mark Sisson would probably approve. I kept on feeling great.
Fast forward a year or so, and now that I re-visit the issue, I find that the experiential part of this path informs me as much or more than any book or blog post I could read. Instead of hoping the theories I have been reading about are true, I now know that I feel great and quite honestly I don't care one iota about the fat fearmongers. I feel good and know I'm healthy and that's enough.
This might be an unusual answer, but marrow was a big gateway for me. I was in a similar place as far as my preferred fats (leftover from a vegan-ish lifestyle), but the first couple times I tasted that rich creaminess that is unique to good marrow - and the primal voracity that it seems to invoke - I was really hooked. I started cooking in tallow shortly thereafter.
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