There is a lot of talk about fats. There’s a lot of back and forth about whether or not to stay away from them or embrace them. The truth is – it depends on the fat. This begs the question: what is the difference between good and bad fats?
Bad fats – The big thing to really avoid is your trans-fats. What makes them bad is pretty simple, they do bad things for your body. They raise LDL or bad cholesterol, lower HDL or good cholesterol and increase your chances of heart disease. One trick to avoiding these bad fats is staying away from processed foods.
- Margarine/vegetable shortening
- Fried food
- Candy bars
- Pre-made pie crust
- Pancake and waffle mixes
Good fats – These are your monounsaturated and unoxidized (roughly meaning it hasn’t been subjected to heat) polyunsaturated fats. For oxidized (heated) polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats there’s a lot of contention, but currently there’s a lean to oxidized polyunsaturated fats being bad, and saturated fats being good. Good fats improve your cholesterol levels, reduce risks of heart disease and improves vitamin absorption. While you may not want to live solely off fatty foods, here are some that it’s okay to indulge in a little more often.
- Good quality oils
- Pumpkin/Sunflower seed
- Fish (salmon, tuna, etc.)
- Peanut butter
- Clarified butter
Knowing the difference is an important thing. Just as important may be knowing how to use good fats in place of bad ones. Instead of grabbing a candy bar or bag of chips for a snack, try a trail mix made with nuts and seeds. Have a piece of haddock with dinner instead of a burger. Spread mashed avocado on toast instead of butter. Use unrefined coconut oil to grease a pan. The possibilities go on and on. Here is one of the recipes I use that incorporates good fats.
No Bake Chocolate Dipped Almond Butter Cookies
- 1 C. Raw Almonds
- ½ C. Raw Almond Butter
- 10 Medjool Dates
- 1 T. Honey (for vegans, use another sweetener like agave)
- 1 T. Coconut Oil
- 1 Organic Dark Chocolate Bar
- Place the almonds in a high speed blender or a food processor. Process until the almonds are chopped fine enough to resemble a coarse meal.
- Add the almond butter and blend in.
- Add the dates, honey, and coconut oil. Process until the mixture resembles a thick dough and there are no chunks of date visible.
- Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, scoop the dough out onto a non-stick mat or parchment lined baking sheet. Roll each scoop of dough into a ball. Place each dough ball about 1½” apart. Press each ball down with the flat side of the tines of a fork, once vertically and once horizontally to get the ‘hatch’ look. Chill the cookies for one hour.
- When the cookies are cold, melt the chocolate bar in a double boiler.
- Dip each cookie in the chocolate and lay them back on the baking sheet. The chocolate should begin to set right away since the cookies are cold.
- Keep refrigerated.