Fabulously Free: That’s right, fat is good for you!

Recently, I’ve been busy experimenting with different eating plans and figuring out what works and what doesn’t (for me).

The most interesting (and effective) eating plan I’ve tried this year so far has been a high-fat regime called The Keto Beginning from American blogger Leanne Vogel via The Healthful Pursuit.

The Keto plan is filled with nuts and avocados and coconut milk, vegetables cooked in olive or coconut oil and small portions of grass-fed meats and chicken with skin on (preferably on the bone). It’s not exactly low-carb, because there are loads of vegetables which are obviously carbohydrates, but she doesn’t include grains or breads.

This was a massive challenge for me to adopt as we’ve all been programmed to think of fats as evil; and it’s quite difficult to change one’s belief systems to accept fats as being good for you.

As hard as it was to change my years of thinking about a diet full of fat, I followed it for about three weeks, and I must say that I really like the programme, and I lost weight. (Weird, huh??) Leanne spells out the science behind her programme in her blog (nutritional ketosis) and what her programme is all about, and it’s quite complicated, so I won’t go into it here, but if you’re interested do check out her blog.

However, I stopped that programme after only three weeks as I had bought a subscription months before to the I Quit Sugar programme which was starting at the end of January, three weeks into my Healthful Pursuit programme. Having already paid the fees, I thought I’d better do it.

I Quit Sugar is a programme designed by Sarah Wilson with the aim of cutting out our sugar addiction – you adhere to a no-fructose plan stretched out over 8 weeks – I mentioned her in one of my earlier posts about sugar alternatives and decided to give her programme a go.

Interestingly, Sarah’s programme, like Leanne Vogel’s, contains recipes that are also high in fat. Her recipes with yogurt and milk use the whole fat versions. She extolls the virtues of skin-on meat and full-fat coconut milk too. She uses grass-fed butter… There is clearly something in the air here.

However, while I liked the wholesomeness of most of her recipes – and I’m all for giving up white sugar and processed foods – I did not like saying goodbye to fruit. I like fruit; fruit is good for you. Sure, I can happily munch on an entire punnet of blueberries to satisfy a sweet craving, but surely there’s enough that’s beneficial in fruits (and yes some are better than others) to make it a bit severe to throw fruit out altogether. For me it comes back to: moderation, moderation, moderation!

Suffice to say, I disliked I Quit Sugar and ended up only managing the first two weeks before giving it up. There will be some who say I couldn’t hack it and if I had stayed with it for the full 8 weeks I would have ‘seen the light’… and although that may be true, I just did not enjoy being on it.

What I have taken away from these two plans is that natural fats are really very good for you and that I personally feel happier when I have sweet in my diet, be it raspberries and some banana in my morning porridge, an apple with my lunch or some homemade energy bites made with medjool dates. I was a miserable snark eating only savoury food.

Ondines_waldorf_salad

Ondine’s Waldorf Salad:

Ingredients: 

  • 6 chicken thighs, oven-roasted skin-on and on the bone
  • 3-4 TB homemade mayonnaise (made with MCT oil)
  • 1 stick celery, diced small
  • 1TB fresh parsley and coriander, chopped roughly
  • ½ cup walnut pieces, chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins or chopped dates
  • Fresh lemon juice (a few squirts)
  • Himalayan pink salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper
  • Toasted pepitas, for garnish

Method:

Roast the chicken thighs in an oven-proof dish till cooked through (20 minutes or so at 160 degrees)

While the chicken is cooking, make your own mayonnaise using MCT oil or olive oil (you can easily find a recipe online, but remember to drizzle the oil into the blended egg yolks-mustard-lemon mixture SLOWLY)

When cooled, chop the meat off the bone, keeping the roasted skin on, into bite-size chunks

Combine the mayonnaise with the chopped chicken, celery, raisins or dates and herbs.

Mix well and then add the walnut pieces in and mix again.

Season with salt & pepper to taste, squeeze some fresh lemon on top and sprinkle with toasted pepitas. Enjoy!
This salad is extremely good on toasted superfood bread (gluten-free of course – the best in my opinion is by Deliciously Ella) and makes for a great picnic sandwich, especially when followed by homemade almond butter cookies.

What with spring right around the corner, I’ll be brushing up on my favourite picnic recipes and inventing some new ones!

Follow Ondine on Twitter: @ondinebarry

Ondine Barry
The author:

Ondine is a passionate fan of gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free eating and writes our Fabulously Free blog