Mason Jar Salads

You need to add this to your food prep list.

I love my mason jar salads; most weeks they are a usual part of my food prep routine. I talk about food prep a lot because I've seen what a difference it can make in a person's ability to make their health goals a reality. I don't mean what you're prepping for dinner tonight, I'm talking about what you can prep ahead of time to make your entire week full of healthy food choices.

I've always hated making salads in advance and storing them in plastic-ware (or even "traditional" glassware). You spend all this time washing and cutting up vegetables, just to find a salad with wilted lettuce and mushy cucumbers a couple days later.

Why I will NEVER go back to storing my salads in plastic-ware or traditional glassware:

  • They usually don't last more than 1-2 days before they start to loose their crunch.
  • I try to avoid plastic as much as possible (both for my health and the environment).
  • Mismatched lids and containers are a nightmare.
  • Dressing! You always have to pack it separate, I either forget it or it makes a mess somehow.

Why I will ALWAYS use mason jars for my salad prep:

  • They keep the veggies fresh for 2-5 days, seriously fresh.
  • They are glass, better for you and the environment.
  • They are all the same size with the same lids! Easy to organize and to grab in a hurry.
  • They fit well in a lunch box or cooler.
  • Dressing is already there, without making things soggy; actually making your salad even tastier.

Here's what you will need-

  • Mason jars, 4-5 if you're prepping for just yourself this week
    • You have to get the WIDE MOUTH jars, it will make it a lot easier to fill and empty
    • I use the large 32 ounce jars, but you could also use the smaller variety. The 32oz provide a large salad, the smaller ones would be better for a side salad.
  • Dressing of your choice
    • I love Tessemae's dressings because they meet my healthy fat standards (most dressings have inflammatory oils in them)
    • I also use plain extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar sometimes
  • Protein of your choice (I have cooked chicken pictured below)
    • Ideally this is a meat option, hard boiled eggs (with the shell on) can also be used but read through to see what you do differently
    • Beans would be a vegan option
  • Crunchy veggies of your choice (washed and cut-up)
    • I have broccoli, celery, red cabbage and carrots pictured below
  • Any other non-crunchy veggie (washed and cut-up)
    • I have peas pictured, cucumbers are another favorite
  • Leafy greens of your choice (washed and prepped)

STEP 1

-Place all your ingredients in separate bowls out on the counter or table.

-Make sure your mason jars are clean and dry.

-Take moment to look at the large amount of color you're getting in your diet this week!

STEP 2

-You will start by pouring the dressing in FIRST. I usually add more than I would to a fresh salad; your meat and veggies are going to soak some up! My guess is about an "inch" worth of dressing if you're looking at your jar.

-I found purple mason jars last week and am loving them!

STEP 3

-It's time to add all your goodies, the ORDER is very important.

-Meat or protein goes in first (except hard boiled eggs), followed by your crunchiest veggie. These are going to marinate in the dressing, I find that broccoli, celery and carrots work well.

-You want to make sure that they fill almost half your jar, this will prevent the dressing from leaking on to the lettuce too soon.

-After your protein and crunchy veggies you can add some "not so crunchy" items, like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes or peas.

-DO NOT SHAKE or stir your jar, you don't want the dressing getting on these other items.

-Add the leafy greens. I try to fit as much as possible in mine, usually I smash down the greens a little to do this.

-If you're using a hard boiled egg you could leave room at the top and place it on the greens, or pack it separately. You will just peel it and put it on your salad when you are ready to consume it.

-Place lids on tightly and keep in fridge until you are ready to eat!

STEP 4

-Pack in your lunch for work or enjoy at home!

-Simply pour out onto a plate and everything will fall into place. If you're in a hurry you could just shake up the jar well and eat right from it, although I recommend putting in on a plate or in a bowl.

Below are some other pictures from various food prep sessions. I use these salads to get rid of whatever veggies are in my fridge!

Cheers to food prep! Let me know what you think!


Paleo Shake & Bake Tenders (21DSD Friendly)

You need these in your life. I love chicken tenders. I don't know why, I always have. If I'm going to eat something I know I shouldn't be eating, it's chicken tenders hands down.

Of course I'm going to find a tasty way to eat them!

These are SO easy! I want to say that they kind of remind me of "shake & bake" chicken, but considering I have no recollection of what that tastes like I can't say for sure.

 
Paleo Shake & Bake Tenders (21DSD Friendly) 

Makes: ~10 tenders

Prep: 5-10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

What you need-

  • ~1 pound raw chicken tenders (you can cut up breasts yourself or be lazy like me and buy them pre-sliced)
  • 1.5 Cups Almond Flour/Meal (I highly recommend Now Foods Raw Almond Flour because its heartier than some of the others out there, this makes for a better tender)
  • 3 eggs
  • Seasonings, seasonings, seasonings
  • I used ~1Tb sea salt, and ~1-2 teaspoons of each of the following: pepper, cayenne, paprika, garlic granules

 

  1. Place aluminium foil over a cookie sheet. Set your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place almond flour in a large bowl and mix in seasonings.  Im heavy with the cayenne in this because I love them a little spicy.

 

3. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl to dip your chicken.

4. One by one dip each piece of chicken in the eggs and then the almond flour mixture. Place them on the cookie sheet equal distance apart.


5. Bake for ~25 minutes (at 375F) or until chicken is cooked!

6. Throw some veggies on a plate (because whats a meal without veggies) and a dipping sauce of your choice. Enjoy!

These store okay in the fridge, but are best immediately after cooking. They never last long in my house, my husband is already finishing up the batch I made today.

Let me know what you think!

Sugar, is it dangerous? Part 2 of 4 (so I don't overwhelm anyone)

Sugar...we know that's it hiding everywhere (see previous blog post about sugar, search "sugar"), but does it matter?

Yes. It really does.

In fact it drives ME CRAZY when people try to shove sugar down others.

Do I want a piece of birthday cake? No. "You should really just have one piece..." Should I?

If someone is trying to reduce their sugar intake you should support that person in any and everyway possible- because it's SO difficult to cut back on sugar and SO beneficial. The peer pressure we put on others to consume CRAPPY food shocks me. In 50 years we could be looking at it the same way as pressuring people to smoke cigarettes. When someone tells me that they are cutting out sugar I give them the same support and encouragement as someone telling me they have quit smoking. So don't pay attention to food pushers if you know you're making the right decision. AND IF YOU'RE A "FOOD PUSHER" YOU NEED TO LAY OFF.

So whats wrong with sugar? In a little bit I'll address the sugar from whole fruits (which are absolutely okay with me, but juice is on my NO list).  We are going to go over 8 reasons why you may want to rethink that sweetened latte, but this post only has 4. I think fewer shorter reads is better than 1 extremely long one!

4 (of 8) Reasons why your morning latte, donut, whole grain cereal, or sweetened yogurt could be affecting your health

1. It's robbing your savings account.

  • Your nutrient savings account to be exact. Tired all the time? Looking for something to get rid of that "dragging" feeling? When people ask me what they can do differently because they're tired all the time, my first response is- stop eating added sugar. When you drink a sweetened beverage, a flavored yogurt or pasta with sauce (that has added sugar)...what happens? Your body wants to use that sugar as "fuel" to produce energy...but it takes A LOT of tools (nutrients) to break down that sugar as fuel. If the sugar doesn't come "prepackaged" with those tools (nutrients) then it has to find them somewhere (your nutrient savings account),  depleting your stores. That is one of the differences between the doughnut and the apple. The (WHOLE FRUIT) APPLE comes with everything it needs. It's naturally packed with B-vitamins and minerals for your body to use the sugar from it as FUEL. The donut does NOT. It only provides sugar...and that sugar wants to be used as fuel. So what does it do? It "robs" your B vitamin and mineral storage tanks...resulting in fatigue. The juice from that apple also DOES NOT provide all the materials to access that fuel from the apples- robbing your tanks. Whole, natural fruits are great...processed foods from fruits are NOT (juice, packaged items advertising "sweetened with fruit juice"). This is where the term "empty calories" come from. These sugars provide calories, but nothing to help them break down and be used as fuel.

 

  • Take away...
    • A lot of B-vitamins are required for carbohydrate and sugar metabolism. The more sugar you eat, the more B vitamins you need. Mother nature is SO great, she packaged whole foods with the B vitamins they need to metabolize and break down. If you eat whole foods (not in a package, bag, box) you don't have to worry about this. When you eat carnage (carbohydrate rich garbage) or foods with added sugar you do need to worry (cereals, granola bars, juice, soda, sweets). Tired? Stop eating so much sugar and carbage.

2. It's affecting your immune system.

  • Sick all the time? Want to give you and your families immune systems a boost? You guessed it, CUT BACK ON SUGAR. Why is this? For several reasons...
    • Eating or drinking too much sugar can limit your immune system cells that attack bacteria. YES, consuming too much sugar can potentially not allow your immune system to work the way it wants (1).
    • 1 teaspoon of sugar could potentially impact your immune for up to 5 hours!
  • The FIRST thing I talk to people about when they ask me to "help them not get sick this winter" is their diet. You can't eat sugar all the time and expect to be well. I don't just mean cookies and ice cream- there is sugar hiding in everything that comes in a bag/package/box.
    • Zesty low fat italian dressing (1 teaspoon per 2 Tablespoons)
    • Organic, low sodium tomato soup (6 teaspoons per can)
    • Whole grain "protein" cheerios (4 teaspoons per 1 1/4 cup)
  • Side note- there is NO way you can eat cold cereal everyday and stay under the recommended sugar intake

 

3. It has a large impact on your cardiovascular system.

  • Remember the original visual from PART 1 that talked about limiting sugar? That's from The American Heart Association (AHA). Yup. The people who are making nutrition recommendations to reduce cardiovascular disease have pretty strict guidelines when it comes to sugar intake. That's because it's now widely noted that excess sugar can increase your overall risk for heart disease.  In fact they recommend that you limit added sugar to <5% of your total calories, that's MORE restrictive than their recommendations for saturated fat.
  • Their recommendations include:
    • No more than 6 teaspoons/day for females and no more than 9teaspoons/day for males

How does sugar effect your heart? For several reasons, but we don't even know all of them yet. Here are a few:

  • It may affect the pumping mechanism of the heart, increasing your risk for heart failure (2)
  • Are you skinny? Doesn't matter. One study showed that consuming excess sugar can increase your risk for cardiac issues EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT OVERWEIGHT (3)

The AHA came out with these sugar recommendations because of a large study that showed an increased risk of death from cardiovascular issues with excess sugar consumption (4).

4. Its promoting your addiction to sugar.

  • Sugar cravings? They are NO JOKE. Sugar can cause a surge in dopamine in the "reward" center of your brain. This can cause a viscous circle of cravings. Find someone who loves their sweets and/or soda and ask them to give it all up cold turkey. I bet they only last a couple days, it really is difficult.

When you eat sugar (even when its hidden) several times a day, everyday, it creates a steady flow of pleasure hormones being released and a constant increase in blood glucose. This is an addictive feeling. The amount of sugar that our body was naturally meant to handle should be coming from a piece of fruit, NOT a piece of pie or cup of soda. This is why it's difficult for people to "get off" sugar, it's a huge adjustment for their body. This is one of the reasons why I offer a sugar support group, where we complete the 21 Day Sugar Detox together with daily support. Check out more information HERE.

 

Even if you think you don't "eat any sugar," you probably do. Buy anything in a package, box or bag and there's probably some hidden sugar. Most items that advertise "low-fat" or "low-sodium" are fixed up with some hidden sugar to make them taste better.

For example, Amys Kitchen makes an Organic, Low in Sodium, Tomato Soup.

Turn it around and check out the nutrition facts label...

There are 13g of sugar per serving, with 2 servings per can.

I think most people can eat the entire can, so 26g of sugar PER CAN! That's 6 teaspoons of sugar per can of Organic Low Sodium Tomato soup.

How much does the AHA recommend to limit our intake before increasing our risk of cardiovascular disease?

6 teaspoons.

One can of tomato soup and you're at your limit.

Stay tuned for part 3 of 4 of the sugar series! In the mean time cut back on your packaged/processed goods and reduce your sugar intake!

 

 

 

Meal Prep on The 21DSD!

Do you meal prep? My week is a disaster for 2 reasons if I don't.

1. I don't eat as well as I know I should. This creates a chain of events...making poor choices, feeling worse, throwing a pity party  for myself...

2. It cost more money. If I don't bring my lunch and/or snacks I'm probably going to eat out ($$), or run to the store and get things that are conveinenet that I normally would not have purchased ($$).

So what do I do to prevent this? I spend at least 2-3 hours setting myself up for success. Considering how much better meal preparation allows me to eat, and how much money it saves, its actually worth the few hours. Not to mention the HEALTH BENEFITS. I also know and understand that people are stressed for time. I get it. I have a baby, a house, work more than full time and try to get some workouts in...BUT MEAL PREP IS A PRIORITY. Its just something thats on my "to-do list," like laundry...but its so much more rewarding. This week I'm preparing to start The 21 Day Sugar Detox with some fellow coaches, so things are a little more strict than normal. Im really excited because I think I need a "refresh" from this past month of summer parties, BBQs and treats. Next month I'll post a non-21DSD meal prep session, but its not too different. Here are my steps to "prepare for food prep."

  • Check out what you have
    • This may also involve considering whats coming that week from your farmers market, CSA, etc. if you don't already have it in your possession
    • I look in my freezer, fridge and cupboards to get an idea of what I need to use up
    • I know that this week I have a TON of veggies to use (overload from my garden and from my CSA box this past week)
    • I also know that I have fresh ginger and a bag of sesame seeds that I got on sale randomly last week
    • DON'T get discouraged if you're new to eating whole foods/paleo/allergen free, I have a lot of things in my kitchen that I never thought I would. Sometimes when I would look at recipes everything would seem so odd/expensive, but once you "get going" your pantry builds up! Rarely are you ever buying those "expensive" ingredients.

  

  • Make a list of what you're going to eat this week
    • This is really keeping in mind what you have already, you don't want anything to go to waste
    • This is as complicated as you make it- I don't like complicated so I keep it pretty simple
    • I make a list of veggies (salads, sides) that I can prep ahead, protein (eggs, chicken for lunches and some main courses for dinner) and snacks or "extras"
    • Snacks can be things prepped or easy grab and go items (sometimes I grab a piece of chicken as a snack), changing your mindset of "snacking" works wonders. I'm prepping some extra snacks this week because of The 21 Day Sugar Detox
    • Check out this weeks list....
img_9187-0.jpg

I know I have eggs. I also know I have a busy week and probably won't have time to make my lovely fried eggies, so Im going to cook them all ahead of time. Plan is to steam 1 dozen and then make egg muffins from the other dozen-

BREAKFAST ✔️

I also know I need protein for my salads and veggies Im prepping for lunch- chicken breasts and salsa in crockpot, hard boiled eggs, canned tuna... I'm going to make the mason jar salads last because I can throw all my leftover veggies In them. Here are the ones I made last week-   

LUNCH ✔️

Dinner? Im going to have a few different options (21DSD are from The 21 Day Sugar Detox Guidebook)-

  • Shepard's Pie 21DSD style (I need to use up that frozen cauliflower, and I already have carrots)
  • Beef and Broccoli  21DSD style (I already have broccoli and ginger)
  • Burgers on cabbage leaves (always fast and easy...maybe I should make ketchup and mayo)
  • Cucumber salad (I have SO MANY cucumbers...this would work with burgers or lunch
  • Asian style meatballs with ground turkey

I checked out the ingredients of each recipe to see what i would still need from the store...I tried to pick out items that I wouldn't need much more for.

DINNER ✔️

Snacks...check out this fruit basket, I just need some green apples and green tipped bananas to go with this grapefruit (fruits allowed on the detox). The lemons and limes will be used for some recipes and IN MY WATER. I love citrus in my water. I also have pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, shredded coconut and sunflower seeds to make a trail mix.

SNACKS ✔️ 

And...Im making Lemon Vanilla Meltaways from The 21 Day Sugar Detox Guidebook. Because Im awesome.

NOT SWEET TREATS ✔️ 

  • Make your grocery list and STICK TO IT. Unless you see something that is an amazing deal, you need to stick to your list.

My list.

Its SUPER short this week because I have SO many veggies waiting for me. I also already have a lot of paleo staples- coconut oil, coconut butter, nuts, seeds, etc.    Sooo...that gives me breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for at least 4 days. It will probably last me 5-6 days, because I'll probably have an "off plan" meal or two at some point. Stay tuned these next few weeks! Ill try and post about my own 21DSD and recipes/meals that Im eating.

I'll also try to share more about food prep, I know I've been getting some messages and questions about it.

Happy meal planning!

Fat. What were we thinking?

FATS...What were we thinking?

Fats are one of the most OVERWHELMING topics in nutrition. Last week I taught a class on  FATS and could see the confusion in the audiences eyes. This is a little long, but there's still SO much more that I could have included.

When some people explain to me that they “eat healthy,” their explanation usually involves something about not eating “a lot of fat.” They just use egg whites, only eat chicken, cook with "good" oils and NEVER would they eat butter (how dare I even suggest such a thing).

Many of these people have some sort of negative reaction when they hear about a food that’s high in fat (even if it’s good for them). I mean really, even an avocado scares some people. Limiting an avocado because of fat? We have some major work to do in the way of educating people about this wonderful macronutrient that has been given a bad rep. Don’t stop here and go get ice cream and french fries- read through so you know what fats are keepers and which need to be THROWN IN THE TRASH.

Why do we need it? Just to start, some fats are essential. This means that our body cannot produce them and they MUST be in our diet- otherwise bad things can happen. We also need fats to absorb fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K), produce some hormones (yup, some hormones are made from fats) and support brain function (our “thinker” is over 65% fat). One of the most important reasons why we want some fat on our plate, in my opinion, is to maintain proper CELLULAR FUNCTION.

The outside of EVERY CELL IN YOUR BODY is surrounded by fat (for those of you that care it’s called a phospholipid membrane).

It’s the boss of what gets in and out of your cell- energy, minerals, fluid, nutrients, etc. Most people want (and NEED) this membrane to work well and do its job. I mean if it’s not, you’re kind of in trouble (even if you don’t realize it).

Just as there are benefits to obtaining adequate healthy fats, there are also some DANGERS to consuming what we will call OXIDIZED/RANCID fatty acids. This is where things start to get confusing. Consuming oxidized or “bad” fats can ALTER cellular function (1), cause free radical damage (2- scroll to the lipid peroxidation section), increase your risk for cardiovascular disease (34) and promote an inflammatory response (5).

So how do you know which is which?

Read ahead with caution, you are about to be very disappointed with our food supply- but we’ll work through it.

To start- the major type of fat, both in your food and in your body, is called a triglyceride.  They look like this:

Triglycerides can be either SATURATED or UNSATURATED, depending on those long fatty acid tails.

A saturated fatty acid looks like this, “saturated” in hydrogen.

See how all the lines are single lines when you look at the "long chain" part? They have no “double bonds.” Think back to chemistry (I know, I know, not good), remember how stable those single bonds are? They are so stable, it’s difficult to “break” them. This is the basis of why we want to heat/cook with saturated fats, the single bonds can tolerate a lot before they “break.” They are typically solid at room temperature- think coconut oil, butter and ghee.

Some people associate these saturated fats as artery clogging bad guys and run far away from them, no matter the situation.  Recently they have been looked at in a new spot light, in fact several large studies have shown that they DON’T HAVE THE ASSOCIATION WITH HEART DISEASE we once thought (67, and 8). In fact, some studies have shown the positive effects of this fat, including increasing HDL sometimes (9 and 10). When we cook with a saturated fat it doesn't become oxidized or rancid, eliminating the risk for additional free radicals. We know that free radical damage has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more- so we WANT to reduce the risk for free radical damage any way we can.

Another fun fact, HALF of that cell membrane is composed of saturated fatty acids.

First thing to remember: When cooking use natural saturated fats (solid at room temperature)- coconut oil, butter and ghee. Remember I'm talking about how they are safe to cook with; I am NOT promoting the consumption of fried and processed foods high in saturated fats- these foods often do not use a natural occurring saturated fat (we will get to those oils later).

An unsaturated fatty acid looks like this:

or like this...

It can be either monounsaturated (ONE double bond) or polyunsaturated (SEVERAL double bonds). Think back again….double bonds are NOT stable (they are reactive, they have a lot of "energy"), they can break very easily- especially when exposed to heat. When these bonds are broken, the fatty acid can then be “oxidized.” It can create free radical damage, accelerating a vicious chain reaction (more info 11).  AHHHHHHH what?! Remember free radical damage….cancer, heart disease, etc.

Unsaturated fatty acids are typically liquid at room temperature, the more double bonds they have the more reactive (unstable) they are.

Let’s look at the two types….

Monounsaturated fatty acids are relatively stable; remember they just have ONE double bond. They can be manufactured easily, with NO heat and minimal chemicalsThink of olives and avocados- these are oily foods; the oil can be extracted fairly easily. They are often “cold pressed,” meaning that they were not exposed to heat during processing. This is GREAT news! It means that as long as you don’t heat them up at home the double bonds are still intact and the oil is not oxidized or rancid yet. Some research shows that monounsaturated fats can be heated up slightly, but I would be extremely careful with this.

Second thing to remember: Put olive oil or avocado oil on your foods after they are cooked; pour on salads, cooked pasta, etc. DO NOT HEAT THEM UP. Keep them in a cool, dark place where they are not exposed to heat and light.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids are a different story. They have several double bonds, making them very “reactive” and prone to oxidation. They are easily oxidized when exposed to heat, light and oxygen. These were almost NON-EXISTENT in our diet until the early 1900's when chemical processes allowed them to be extracted.

We do need a small amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, a SMALL amount. Most of us are consuming TOO much….and most of them are rancid and oxidized.

Typical sources of polyunsaturated fats: corn oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, rice bran oil, etc. MOST of the liquid oils down the aisle at the grocery store fall under this category.

So remember, because of all the double bonds we don’t want to heat up these oils because they are SO reactive and easily damaged. So does that mean we can buy them and just not heat them up? NOOOO.

Think of a piece of corn. When you take a bit do you think, “Oh, these corn kernels are so rich in oil.” NO. That’s because corn isn’t naturally high in oil (like the olives and avocados)- so how the heck do they make all that corn oil? With A TON OF HEAT, PROCESSING AND CHEMICALS. It takes a lot of work to get that oil from corn (and most of those other polyunsaturated oils).

When they make these oils they HEAT them up (free radicals anyone?) and use chemicals (like Hexane, 12) to extract the desired product. Usually they smell bad at this point (because they have oxidized and are probably rancid), so they deodorize them. Corn, canola or soybean oil anyone???

My point is that these oils are probably already rancid when you purchase them. Not only are they heated prior to packaging, but usually their packaging is a CLEAR plastic bottle (light also promotes fatty acid oxidation).

Here's an interesting video about how canola oil (one the most heavily advertised oils) is made...(I would ignore the propaganda in the first minute about it being "healthy.") Pay attention to the heating, pressing, chemicals and toxic solvents that are used during production.

Some recent research has shown that vegetable oils may increase your risk for heart disease, even when they lower cholesterol short term (13). In fact, a while ago they looked at fatty acids found in clogged arteries. They found that they are mostly unsaturated fatty acids, 74%, of which 41% are polyunsaturated (14). This is all being looked at more often now, some research suggests the types of fats may not have as large as an impact as we once thought on our cardiovascular system; but they are definitely questioning the high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids (15).

The one thing WE CAN ALL AGREE ON are the elimination of trans fatty acids. Remember a few months ago the FDA announced that it was considering banning them from the food supply (16)? One study looked at common vegetable oils on food shelves in the U.S. market and discovered that they contain between 0.56 to 4.2% TRANS FATS (17)!!! This is due to the manufacturing process of these oils and WILL NOT BE ON THE LABEL. If there is a single reason why you should stay away from these oils- THIS IS IT!

I know these oils are cheaper than what I'm recommending; keep in mind that corn and soy are two of the largest agricultural government subsidies. Billions of tax dollars are used to subsidize these commodities; this keeps them cheap and appealing for large food manufacturers to use. This is an entire different blog post though...

Third thing to remember: stay away from highly processed polyunsaturated oils. Think of corn, soybean, canola, rice bran, sesame, etc. Don't eat things that have been cooked with these oils (think fried foods along with packaged and processed foods- look at the ingredient label).

Last thing I promise…let’s talk about the polyunsaturated fatty acids that you do need.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 are your essential fatty acids (the ones your body cannot produce on its own). They are needed for proper cellular function, blood clotting, blood pressure, the regulation of inflammation and more pretty important stuff.

Most people get far TOO MUCH Omega-6, and not enough Omega-3. Good sources of Omega-3 are fatty fish, flax seed oil (kept cold in a dark container- never heated), raw nuts and seeds, etc. Most people need to focus on getting more Omega-3 in their diet; when we get too much Omega-6 with a much lower amount of Omega-3 it can lead to an increased inflammatory response (181920) and other concerns. Typically it’s recommended that we consume Omega-6 to Omega-3 in about a 3:1 ratio (21)- most people are consuming them at a 16:1 ratio (22). WE NEEEEEED TO WORK ON THIS!!!

I’d like to bring up grass fed meat and dairy products for a moment. The major difference between grass fed vs grain fed is the omega content. Grain fed cows result in foods that are HIGH IN OMEGA-6 and have almost NO OMEGA-3. You can see below that as cows are fed a grain based diet their essential fatty acid content is depleted.

Grass fed cows produce foods that are HIGH IN OMEGA-3 and have a much better ratio to the Omega-6 fatty acids. So choose GRASS FED whenever it’s possible!!!

Fourth thing to remember: focus on Omega-3 fatty acids. Get in wild caught fish, raw nuts and seeds, grass fed meat and dairy products, etc.

Let’s recap quickly! What should you do now?

Make sure you’re getting enough of the GOOD STUFF:

  • Cook with coconut oil, butter, ghee (natural occurring saturated fatty acids)
  • Use olive oil/avocado oil on “ready to eat” foods- don't be shy!
  • Focus on getting Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Store your oils in a cool, dark place
  • Purchase grass fed/organic products when possible (meats, dairy and butter)
  • Eat LESS packaged/processed foods

Make sure you’re staying away from the BAD STUFF:

  • Avoid polyunsaturated oils that have been heated/processed (corn, canola, soy, etc)
  • Do not heat oils that should not be heated
  • LOOK for trans fats, but also be aware of where they may be hiding
  • Stay away from fried foods and other products that have been cooked in processed oils
  • Read labels and see what type of oils are in your packaged food products (unfortunately you will be disappointed)
  • Eat LESS packaged/processed foods

“Nature doesn’t make bad fats, factories do.”

–Dr. Cate Shanaham

Another one of my favorites when looking at oxidized lipids...

"These studies have shown, for the first time, that degradation of lipids in foods can produce toxic oxygenated aldehydes. These compounds, well-known in medical studies for their geno- and cytotoxic activity, considered as markers of oxidative stress in cells as well as being causal agents of degenerative illnesses, had not previously been detected in foodstuffs. Researchers have shown that some oils produce these toxic substances in greater quantities and at a greater rate."

-Elhuyar Fundazioa

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