March 27

Real Food and Fat Phobia

MAZOLA“Bill Warner’s new bride promised to love, honor and Polyunsaturate…with a big assist from Mazola.”  So began the vintage ad for Mazola corn oil and margarine.  The ad insists that this wife is following the recommendations of “more and more medical authorities”—who were convincing everyone that fat was bad, and polyunsaturated oils were the way to go for health.   Along the way, those same “medical authorities” told us that formula was best for babies, egg yolks were bad for health, and eating fat made us fat.  And if there was one thing we didn’t want to be, it was fat.

Recent challenges to all this government-supported medical ‘knowledge’ include the following:

  • Polyunsaturated seed oils like corn oil—once thought to be healthier than saturated fat—are higher in Omega 6 fatty acids than our body needs, contributing to inflammation.
  • Eggs—including the yolk—are almost the perfect food; they don’t contribute to cholesterol issues like once thought, and the lutein in the yolk is a necessary part of preventing macular degeneration.
  • Butter—especially when made from the milk of grass-fed cows—is actually good for you; margarine—especially when it contains partially hydrogenated oil (trans-fat) is actually bad for you.
  • Saturated fat—depending on the source—may not be as bad as everyone once thought.
  • Milk from Mom (as opposed to a soy bean or a cow) is the perfect baby food.

We still don’t want to be fat—but being overweight isn’t necessarily synonymous with being unhealthy. FortunatelyREALISTIC MANNEQUIN there are signs that this is changing too:  last year a major department store added realistically sized mannequins to their displays.

If everything keeps changing, how do we know what to eat?  It’s pretty simple, actually.  The most basic advice is the same as it has always been:

  • Eat MORE actual food: good protein, lots of vegetables and fruits in their recognizable forms, rather than processed in a box or wrapper with additional unpronounceable ingredients.
  • Eat reasonable amounts of fats that agree with your body, including olive oil, good butter (from grass-fed cows, if you can manage it) and avocados. (If you eat dairy, go with a higher fat version, instead of nonfat, for calcium absorption.  Low and non-fat versions of dairy products often have added sugars and thickeners that no one needs.)
  • Keep desserts and refined white-flour snacks and breads at a minimum.
  • Move as much as possible—and enjoy life with friends and family.

Finally:  Don’t get your health advice from McDonald’s with their “egg white” sandwiches.  Eat the yolks!Colorful salad with anchovies, tomatoes and eggs.