Fat is not the enemy it has been made out to be. We need healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, seeds and nuts, and, yes, even butter. Saturated animal fat is okay too if the animals had a good life, were grass fed, and were not raised on antibiotics.
Why do we need fat? Because our brains and the cover on all our nerves are mostly fat. If we don’t supplement the fat in our bodies, it degrades and the organs that depend on it lose their ability to function well. This is why people on very-low-fat diets tend to get depressed. It’s like their wiring gets frayed.
When Dr. William Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, was on my Hay House radio show Flourish!, I asked him how he went from being an invasive cardiologist (doing angiograms and stents) to teaching about health. He started with his own personal experience, explaining that he went to a cardiology conference and listened to a well-known researcher extol the virtues of a low-fat, vegan diet. The talk was so impressive that he decided to follow this type of diet—and he gained 30 pounds and became diabetic. He quickly realized that fat wasn’t the enemy, and this eventually led him to the research on wheat, which became the basis of Wheat Belly, which links blood-sugar-spiking wheat to his ill health.
The fat that has been demonized over the past 40 years isn’t associated with cholesterol and heart disease—it all goes back to the inflammation caused by unstable blood sugar levels. As I mentioned previously, low-fat diets are often not very satisfying. But if you add healthy fats to your diet, you not only feel satisfied but you support the health of your brain and nervous system.
Incorporating more healthy fats into your diet will give you the necessary ingredients to maintain a happy mood and good brain health. Here are some of my favorite healthy fats:
• Avocado and avocado oil
• Coconut oil
• Flaxseed oil
• Grass-fed butter
• Mayonnaise made with avocado oil
• Organic extra virgin olive oil
• Organic nut butters of all kinds
The one type of fat you absolutely must avoid is partially hydrogenated fat, like the kind found in many packaged baked goods and in margarine. This fat is not found anywhere in nature. It is a fake fat that doesn’t get rancid. It is used in many prepackaged products because it extends shelf life. But do you really want to eat a product that doesn’t expire until after you likely will?
Another thing to keep in mind is that when you eat fat, you shouldn’t combine it with refined carbohydrates. Which means cheese is fine. Skip the crackers. Fruit and cheese, or vegetables and cheese are a much better option. Or make sure the crackers are made from legumes or seeds. The very worst foods for humans are the ones that are the most addictive—and the most widely available: sugar and fat combined. This includes donuts, pastries, and almost all baked goods. It also includes ice cream. This is where you remember the 80–20 rule. I intend to have a couple of ice cream cones every summer. And a few baked goods as well. Especially brownies. And I bless them with Divine Love.