Eat saturated fat for good health?

I want to talk fats. Over the weekend, I taught at and attended the “Food For Life” weekend at the Sequatchie Valley Institute near Chattanooga. There were many intriguing presentations, but the one that has my gears turning was about fat. We learned how to make ghee (clarified butter, milk proteins removed), a staple in Indian cooking, which stores at room temperature for years! We also learned how to render lard from pig fat, a very similar, though more time consuming process.

For our desire to understand the impact of fat in our diets, we have all been subjected to a rollercoaster of sorts, getting torrents of new and contradictory information that serves to confuse, not really inform us. The couple that gave this lecture call themselves fat-a-holics, they love fat, and they argue the importance of keeping good fats in our diets, (and they are both thin). Saturated fat fuels the brain, lubricates the body, and softens both skin and internal tissues. Saturated fats also absorb well into the skin, and can be used to prepare and apply medicines.Their outlook flies in the face of everything suggested by mainstream doctors and modern medicine. They only cook with butter, lard, or coconut oil, the only vegetarian option on their list. They count olive as a salad oil that is only good for you raw (uncooked). They warn against canola, peanut, and corn, because while coconut, lard, and ghee soften tissues, the others harden them.

According to them, the cause of all the controversy about saturated fats and good health can be explained by the industrial nature of our food system, which produces poor quality, chemical-laden fats. As saturated fats are an efficient carrier for other components, like medicines or chemicals, eating poor quality fats rushes the worst of industry’s byproducts into our bodies. There is logic to their claims, as humans have consumed animal fats for millennia, but have only prioritized low fat foods very recently. They certainly made us all think, so I thought I’d share the experience.

This Week’s Harvest: Garlic Scapes, Green Onions, Swiss Chard, parsley, oregano

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