Practical Paleo – Fats

One of the urban food legends that those in the low-carb community are constantly struggling against is that eating fat makes you fat. Luckily, this past year saw a lot of positive gains on that front.  As more and more people turn towards a low-carb/Paleo/primal lifestyle, the question now becomes how to practically and healthily increase your intake of fat?

Are nuts the best way to eat healthy fat?

Popular Suggestions

Some of the first suggestions that many people hear are to buy grass-fed meat, start wolfing down fish oil (Omega-3) pills, or add a handful of nuts to each meal.  While these are all well and good, I think that they miss a critical step.   Grass-fed meat IS great for you, but you might not be able to afford it for every meal.  Fish Oil – again, good, but for many people having to take 12+ capsules a day is off-putting, and we don’t want that to be a deal-breaker.  Nuts are delicious and DEFINITELY help people get over the hump of their first 30 days, but long-term the Omega-3/Omega-6 ratio is concerning and the costs can add up.  So instead of forking out for these things first, why not start with a simple, cheap, and effective change that will affect almost every meal you cook?  Switch out your cooking oils.

Cooking Oils

But which oils should you use?  The list of available oils can be daunting.  There’s: Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil (which is suspect), Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Avocado Oil, Sunflower Oil, Palm Oil, and Peanut Oil, just to name a few.  And what about Coconut Oil, which is loaded with SATURATED FATS?  You could go out and buy a bunch of cooking oils, but what good does having 8 different oils in your cupboard do you?  And how do you know which oil to use for what?

Personally, I have found that owning TWO of these oils suits all of my baking/grilling/cooking needs, and provides me with all the healthy fats I could want.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is my no. 1 cooking choice!

If I had to choose only one oil to use, this would be it.  The saturated-fat-loaded Coconut oil. Although we have been warned about SATURATED FATS in cooking oils by the popular media, this information is misleading.  It supposes that ALL saturated fats are bad – not just the man-made hydrogenated vegetable and seed oils (AKA trans fats) that have been linked to degenerative diseases and banned in at least 2 European nations as well as several cities and states in the US.

Say No to Crisco

That seems to be a pretty strong case for knocking Vegetable Oil off the list,  but what about coconut oil?  In fact, some saturated fats (including the natural kind found in coconut oil) are ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU.  Coconut Oil is chalk-full of Lauric Acid (also found in Human Breast Milk) which has novel antiviral properties and protects against diseases such as HIV and chicken pox. It also:

  • Promotes Heart Health
  • Promotes healthy weight loss
  • Boosts your immune system and metabolism
  • And helps your thyroid function properly

Put simply, Coconut Oil rocks. (For more info on the health benefits of coconut oil, check here and here.)  Add to that that it cooks well under medium-high heat (making it ideal for pan-grilling), leaves no coconut-aftertaste, and can be used to bake amazing Paleo goodies, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

(Tip:  Coconut oil can be solid at room temperature, which can make getting it out of the bottle difficult.  What I like to do is cut open the bottle at the top to have easier access to the oil with a spoon.  You don’t have to worry about leaving it out – as long as it’s solid, it shouldn’t go rancid.)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cavemen wish they had Olive Oil too.

The second oil that I always have handy is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Olive Oil has long been recognized not only for its health benefits, but for its rich flavor.  Because of its flavor, it is perfect for making homemade salad dressings (a dash of olive oil and a dash of white-wine vinegar is my favorite), and for cooking at lower temperatures on the stove.  I like to keep a big jar of common olive oil around for cooking, and a smaller bottle of “nice” olive oil for salads.  The taste just can’t be beat.

When starting a new nutrition lifestyle, it’s important to keep things simple.  By using healthy cooking oils like Coconut Oil and EVOO as your main fat sources, you bake goodness right into your meals without ever having to weigh, measure, or worry.

Stay healthy everybody.

4 thoughts on “Practical Paleo – Fats

  1. Andrew Durham

    Hello Matt!
    You got nice site. I saw your post in on the journal. Where, in rural Japan, are you located? If you ever make it down towards the Yokohama area maybe we can meat up for a WOD. My firend is the owner of CF Yokohama.

    1. Matt Post author

      Hey Andrew! I’m actually a little bit farther south on the island of Shikoku (Kochi City). If I’m ever in the neighborhood, I’ll be sure to give you a shout. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the chance to workout in a CrossFit gym, as I was a poor college student before crossfit really took off and have been in Japan since then. I read the journal and have kept up with the main site for over 3 years. Would love to put my body to the test with you guys. Thanks for the invite.


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