Think for a few minutes about foods that are good for you.
I have been talking to folks a lot lately about all the “fat is bad” misinformation out there. Friends say, “you mean I can eat avocado?” and I say YES! But I want to be clear: not all fat is good for you.
Natural, non-chemically processed, or non-antibiotic/grain-infused fat is fantastic – it’s natural and provides the proper ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6. Ordinary Standard American Diet (SAD) fat is way overloaded with chemicals and Omega 6, which is why there’s a huge market for Omega 3 fish oil supplements and designer eggs!
Here are the basics (no science involved) about foods that are good for you: if it’s a plant that can be squeezed to extract oil, it’s good. If it needs to be processed in a laboratory with chemicals to make oil, stay away.
Macadamia Nut Sunflower
Animal fats are just as simple: if the animal was raised on the food it was meant to eat (i.e. cows eat grass), the fat is healthy. If the animal was raised “conventionally” (i.e. in an industrial or commercial barn), it eats grain and corn and has been given antibiotics and possibly growth hormones. Stay away from this type of fat.
If you don’t have pasture-raised meat available, or if you’re at a restaurant, pick lean meats, and cut off the skin and extra fat – it’s less tasty but you will be cutting out the toxins swimming around in the fat.
More about foods that are good for you –
If you can get your hands on a pasture raised chicken or wild-caught fish, or if you belong to a meat farm (there are a ton around – who knew there were still so many small farms in America?), go ahead and eat the fat. It has the proper Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio, so you don’t need to waste your money on popping fish oil pills. Plus, fat (and protein) keep you satisfied longer so you won’t be reaching for the potato chips, your digestive system won’t revolt because you’re not eating a handful of chemicals with every meal, and it’s darned tasty!
My family belongs to Chestnut Farm meat CSA in Massachusetts. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture – a farm-to-table business in which farmers sell shares of food to local people who have committed to purchasing a certain share each month. There are several types of CSAs, including meat, vegetable, and fish.
What is it like to belong to a meat CSA? Here is the process in a nutshell: on the second Tuesday of each month I bring a check to the exchange location in my town and drop off the last month’s Igloo cooler. The owner is there with a few helpers, a hundred packed coolers of recently frozen meat, plus boxes of fresh eggs and extra items like sausages and hamburgers for sale. I pick up my cooler of meat: ground beef, steak, whole chickens, bacon, breakfast sausage, ground pork, etc. My share is 20 lb per month. I chat with the owner, say hello to neighbors and friends I run into, and head home with foods that are good for you. Opening the cooler is like Christmas – you don’t know exactly what you’ll get, but you know you’ll like it. Easy, convenient, and I know I’m getting the healthiest protein available.
For a list of meat farms close to you, check out localharvest.org, eatwild.org, or Google “local meat farms”. Buying locally not only helps you get the best nutriion, it brings you closer to the people who are raising your food. Like them? Trust them? I feel more confident about the food I’m eating from my meat CSA, than I do trusting the kid who shelves the chicken parts in the grocery store…wouldn’t you?