Archives for October 2014
Once you have come to terms that real fat is good for you (see Part 1), choosing which type to incorporate into daily life can seem even more confusing. In FAT Phobia, Part 2, I will discuss the differences of various fats, along with which ones we should emphasize and which ones to ignore.
Types of Fat
There are three types of fats; saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. The difference between these fats has to do with their fatty acids – chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms attached to a carboxyl group. Saturated fats are considered stable against damage, and therefore the healthiest for consumption, because all of their carbon bonds are occupied with a hydrogen. However, when a fatty acid chain has 1 double bond of carbons (carbon to carbon, not carbon to hydrogen), it is a bit less stable, and is called Monounsaturated. Knowing that “mono” means one, makes it relatively easy to guess that Polyunsaturated refers to fatty acid chains that have two or more double carbon bonds. This higher number of double bonds in polyunsaturated fats makes them extremely fragile and highly prone to damage, thus they should never be heated.
Saturated Vs. Unsaturated
If all carbon and hydrogens are bonded (which is the case for saturated fats), the hydrocarbon chains are straight and compact, thus allowing the “fat” to be solid at room temperature. However, when carbon double bonds occur (otherwise known as being mono or poly-unsaturated), there are kinks or “bends” in the overall structure making it “loose,” or otherwise known as an “oil” product at room temperature. This is where the irony of butter substitutes such as margarine comes in, as they are originally vegetable oils that are then later chemically altered. The photos below compare both an unsaturated and saturated bond.
From polyunsaturated fats, there are two fatty acid categories that are essential for our body, meaning we can not get them anywhere else but from food. Omega-3’s, usually viewed as the “good guy” with anti-inflammatory benefits, get there name from having a double bond on the 3rd carbon in its fatty acid chain (hence the number “3”). Omega 6’s have a double bond on the chain’s 6th carbon atom, and are usually seen as the “bad” guy due to having lower anti-inflammatory benefits than omega-3’s, coupled with their potential pro-inflammatory precursors. However, omega-6’s are only harmful when they are consumed in excess. This is one of the reasons why the Standard American Diet is so harmful, as the omega 6: omega 3 ratio is much higher than the suggested 2-4:1 at a whopping 20-40:1. Because the fatty acids from omega 6 and 3’s are both constantly working on the same enzyme pathways to occupy our cells, having a significantly higher omega 6 count raises inflammatory markers in the body, which then results in a plethora of serious health issues. However, when there are enough omega-3’s present in the body, inflammation is kept at a balance, resulting in overall wellness and protection against illness. Foods that contribute to omega-6 dominance in the body include all forms of processed oils, carbs, sugars, conventionally raised animals and dairy products (due to they themselves being omega-6 overloaded through a grain-based diet), and pretty much any other pre-packaged food. Reversing too much omega-6 in the diet can not simply be fixed by increasing omega-3 intake, but rather by eliminating processed junk and replacing it with whole food sources.
Trans or Hydrogenated?
As I said before, all polyunsaturated fats are naturally liquid at room temperature. Because of this, trans or hydrogenated products should clearly send off warning signals in our minds. Partially hydrogenated oils are made when through the process of hydrogenation (when an unsaturated fat is put under extreme, pressurized heat, and mixed with toxic metallic solvents), which then alters the chemical structure into a saturated fat (i.e. solid at room temperature). Trans fats are the chemically altered by-products that occur during the process of hydrogenation, and also can easily be oxidized, resulting in free radical chain reactions in the body when ingested. They get there name from the change in normal “cis” structure of the fat into “trans” form. Though hydrogenated products have a longer shelf life, consuming their changed molecular structure causes immediate and direct adverse chemical reactions in our cell membranes, which lead to systemic inflammation, a dysfunctional immune system, obesity (due to inability to metabolize fat), and many other disease and illnesses (including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc…). Because the awareness of partially hydrogenated trans fats is spreading, the industry has created a “new” chemically altered oil known as “interesterified.” Essentially, this product is just as harmful as its “trans” and “hydrogenated” cousins. Sources of trans/hydrogenated oils include all vegetable oils, margarine, shortening, and all the foods that are cooked and (or) fried in these products such as fast food, packaged/processed items, baked goods, doughnuts, etc…
Things to Remember
- Saturated fats are naturally solid at room temperature, while unsaturated are liquid at room temperature and thus called “oil.”
- There are 3 types of fats: Saturated, Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated.
- Saturated fats are the most stable making them suitable for high heat cooking.
- Monounsaturated oils are less stable and thus should be reserved for moderate to low temperatures.
- Polyunsaturated oils are incredibly fragile and should never be heated, as this changes them into literal poison (i.e vegetable oils; canola, safflower, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, etc…)
- Omega 3 and 6’s are fatty acids derived from polyunsaturated fats.
- Omega 6’s are only harmful when the body encounters excess amounts (as is the case for all processed foods and oils.)
- Adequate amounts of omega 3’s can be easily met by eating oily, cold water fish.
- Chemically made trans/partially hydrogenated oils are extremely detrimental to the body and should be avoided at all costs.
- 1 lb organic ground beef
- 6-8 medium sized bell peppers
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 lime – juiced
- 1/4 cup gluten free soy sauce, Coconut Aminos, or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp fish sauce (or 1 tsp sea salt)
- 1 cup shiitaki mushrooms – diced
- 2 cup shredded broccoli
- 1 bundle of scallions *You will be using both the white and green end
- 2 large garlic cloves – chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger – chopped
- 1 can of crushed pineapple
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro – chopped
- 1 egg – beaten
- In a food processor fitted with the shredding attachment, shred broccoli into small pieces, and then transfer to a medium sized mixing bowl, along with 1/2 cup sliced scallion (white part only), diced mushrooms, chopped garlic cloves, chopped fresh ginger, and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. *Alternatively you could finely chop the broccoli by hand.
- In a small bowl, make the sauce by combining 1/4 cup canned pineapple juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice, and fish sauce.
- In a big skillet on medium-low, heat olive oil until hot and then add the ground beef.
- Season the beef with garlic powder, ground ginger, turmeric, and sea salt, stirring to incorporate the spices.
- Once the meat has partially cooked, add in the bowl of vegetables, and stir to combine.
- Pour the prepared sauce over the pan and allow to finish cooking for 2-3 minutes.
- Take the pan off heat and transfer the mixture back into the medium sized mixing bowl previously used for the chopped veggies.
- While the stuffing mixture cools, prepare your peppers by slicing off the tops and discarding any seeds or membranes.
- In a medium-large pot of boiling water, par-boil cored peppers for 3 minutes, removing from the water with a slotted spoon or tongs, and then placing in a large baking dish upside down. *This ensures there is no trapped water in the peppers.
- In a small bowl, beat egg and 1/2 cup crushed pineapple and add to the cooled “stuffing” mixture, mixing thoroughly until evenly incorporated.
- Spoon into prepared peppers, add 1/8th inch of water to the baking dish, and bake at 350 dg for 30 minutes.
- Once finished, plate and serve peppers with 1/2 cup of chopped (green) scallions.
Isaiah 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
There are some days when the success of a new recipe is becomes ultimate highlight of the entire week. Today’s recipe just happens to be one of these, and I am super excited to share it with you all! Gizzards, an organ meat of certain animals, is typically eaten in the U.S as a fast, fried food. Though I did not mind the taste of my chicken gizzards sauteed plain, I decided I wanted to see if I could mimic the deep fried goodness of this hot “chicken” dish. Lets just say, in the end, my father and I were extremely happy with the results, as we both could have easily eaten the entire bowl. Many vegan and Paleo recipes use mashed bananas in baked goods, which made me think their cousin (aka the plantain) would be a perfect substitute for an egg. Instead of almond, tapioca, or coconut, I went with sweet potato flour, as it does not seem to have the same overly starchy and gummy quality as arrowroot, and is also nut/seed free. Beef tallow, much like other stable animal fats, is great for high heat cooking, as it does not break down and oxidize like crop and “vegetable” oils. Therefore, you do not have to be afraid of this fat, and I will explain why in an upcoming post. In the meantime, these protein and mineral packed pieces of meat are technically coated in two vegetables, and then cooked in beneficial and vitamin rich fat, making them the ideal comfort food whether you follow a Paleo diet or not. The end result of these key ingredients was a perfectly crunchy and crispy nuggets, with not one iota of any funky “gizzard flavor. This is the perfect recipe to sneak some nutrient dense meat into your kids, parents, siblings, or even yourself (if the thought of organ meat gives you the heebie jeebies.) My father and I ate ours over chopped salads, and for a dip I whipped up my rendition on a tartar sauce with fresh tarragon, capers, green onion, lemon, and sheep yogurt. Truly, I have nothing else to say about this recipe except for you have to try it! Whether able to tolerate eggs, flour, nuts, or not, this recipe will satisfy any palate. Think GMO chicken fried in processed vegetable oil is “good?” I challenge you to try real food fried in real fat. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Fried Chicken Gizzards
- 11 oz greenish-yellow plantain – peeled *My plantain was an in-between stage
- 4 tbsp avocado oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup sweet potato flour
- 1 lb chicken gizzards
- 1/2 cup beef tallow *lard or coconut oil will also work
- In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, puree plantain.
- 1 tbsp at a time, add the avocado oil until the plantain is smooth and thick.
- Scoop plantain into a bowl and set aside.
- Put sweet potato flour and salt in a small dish and set aside as well.
- Remove chicken gizzards from packaging and slice of any shiny or blueish looking skin.
- In a small pot, fill 2/3rds with water and let come to a boil.
- With a slotted spoon, add chicken gizzards and par-boil for 15 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and pour gizzards into a strainer.
- Place pre-cooked gizzards onto a paper towel and pat dry.
- In a large skillet, heat beef tallow on medium-low heat until sizzling
- Taking 1 gizzard at a time, dip in plantain mixture and then dredge in flour.
- Drop gizzard into the oil and continue coating the rest, adding each once coated in the mixture.
- Allow the gizzards to cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until the outsides have become nice and brown.
- With a slotted spoon, remove gizzards from heat and place on a paper towel to soak up any excess fat.
- Repeat with remaining gizzards and serve!
Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”