Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just the FATS Ma'am

Yep, you read that title right--I said the F word. Fats! As I mentioned in last week's post (very important info here peeps!), my bones and my body have finally begun to show the consequences of battling an eating disorder for the majority of my adult life. This included many factors, but most of all, it has negatively effected my bone density and hormone balance. Without measurable hormones, I am unable to absorb several valuable nutrients, but most importantly, calcium, which is what is negatively impacting my skeleton. While several hormone replacement options have been discussed, D and I are doing a ton of research and not rushing into anything.

That being said, I have decided to try a little experiment on my own! You see, ones' body cannot produce estrogen without fat. Without estrogen, the rest of your hormonal system is thrown way out of whack, hence the lack of ovulation and fertility issues. But also, without estrogen, no calcium is absorbed into the body no matter how much Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or laughing cow plus calcium supplement are consumed. So basically, it all goes back to FAT.

Of course I'm not talking about gaining an extraordinary amount of weight or eating spoonfuls of butter here. But I have made it my goal to increase the good, healthy fats in my diet in order to improve my overall health. I'm taking on this challenge with the help of my dear friend Susan over at The Great Balancing Act.

A few ways I'm planning on incorporating more healthy fats:
Nut butters, avocados, salmon, and my version of Abby's Spicy Mixed Nuts. Remember these? I have been savoring them since Christmas and my supply finally ran out. I decided to duplicate the flavors minus the sugary syrup. I simply roasted some raw nut varieties with chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, stevia and cloves. They're so addicting!!

I will also continue to take an omega-3 supplement, which I have been doing for years. I think these are helpful, but apparently not on their own unless they are in addition to other fats. i mean, get real, they only have 1 g of fat per pill, so taking two a day as my only source of fat probably wasn't doing me a whole lot of good.

In my research, I came across a fascinating report, manifesting as The Fertility Diet. This "diet" details several theories to improve fertility based on a study of about 18,000 women and what they ate while trying to conceive. Not only does the study recommend more fats to improve chances of conception and reduce ovulatory infertily, it has these additonal tidbits to offer:
  • Adding more carbohydrates at the expense of naturally occurring fats predicted a decrease in fertility. This could very well mean that natural fats, especially unsaturated fats, improve ovulation when they replace easily digested carbohydrates.This could very well mean that natural fats, especially unsaturated fats, improve ovulation when they replace easily digested carbohydrates.
  • more fat in the diet, and in some cases more saturated fat, improves the menstrual cycle
  • Unsaturated fats do things to improve fertility—increase insulin sensitivity and cool inflammation
  • Replacing 25 grams of animal protein with 25 grams of plant protein was related to a 50 percent lower risk of ovulatory infertility.
Another article backs up the findings of this study, reinforcing that "women who ate full-fat dairy foods, including ice cream, more than once per day had a 25 per cent reduced risk of infertility due to ovulatory disorders compared to those who ate full-fat dairy foods only once a week." (source)

So, I will also try to tackle full fat dairy products. While I don't think I could ever really bring myself to drink whole milk, and I could NEVER give up my 0% Fage and lowfat cottage cheese, I think I could try some regular ice cream and cheese. Especially this stuff:

Baby blue obsession. It's been such a long time since I've had real cheese. Good grief!

I think the whole article was really interesting, and I'd encourage all of you to read it here.

Overall, it is just really clicking for me that fats help our bodies in so many ways, from helping out brains function, to regulating hormones and improving hair and skin. Help, in the skin department BTW, is also majorly needed. My hair is in good shape, still as pouffy and large and in charge as ever, but my skin belongs in an African wasteland! I know Susan is posting pics of her skin before and after, so I thought I'd do the same--warning--this IS not attractive! Yikes! Anyway, so I am really hoping that our Fatty February will be a great exercise in health improvement. I know it will be a big, and very difficult challenge for me, but I am super excited to see how it all pans out!

Anyone want to join us? I would love to hear your suggestions on incorporating healthy fats, and if you have done so and seen increased health benefits! Happy humpday tomorrow, and happy BEST DAY OF THE YEAR on Thursday--it's my birthday! :) Whoo hoo! xoxo

18 comments:

  1. Great idea! I actually eat ...ahem...about 3 servings of nut butter each day along with EVOO in my meals. The nut butter is my fave way to get fat ..

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  2. Full fat yogurt is like HEAVEN!

    Swear to god! I eat goat because I'm a little sensitive to dairy, but I do try to ramp up nut butter a couple times a day and take Omega 3s. I'll be cheering you both on the whole way!

    Your skin should improve pretty quickly from the added fats, it will amaze you! And yes, full fat yogurt kicks ass- get on it!

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  3. Haha, I was just talking about the importance of fat in beauty with Christina! I honestly had REALLY bad, itchy, dry skin before...but then I started eating 1-2 lbs of nuts a day, and my complexion cleared up, and it got WAY softer and smoother. okay, I wouldn't recommend eating that much nuts, but just about any form of healthy nuts would do, about 2 handfuls a day maybe?

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  4. Huge fan of healthy fats in the form of nuts and PB :) Avocadoes and ice cream rank high on the list, too! Good luck with your challenge!

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  5. dude. utah sucks for skin! mine is dryer than the sahara. AHHH ALMOST YOUR BEEDAY! i am so taking you out when i get back. I LOVE YOU!

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  6. Good on you. The thing that dieting does is it really robs us of loving fats and having a healthy relationships with GOOD fats. It's interesting that WW had now added in 2 tsp of oil each day..cause you need it.

    I love your ring btw..goregous.

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  7. Happy almost birthday love! Those roasted nuts sound delish...might have to give those a try!

    I get fats in through nut butters, raw, unsalted almonds and olive oil. I definitely prefer nonfat greek yogurt though to any other kind! Have a fabulous day!

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  8. Yayyyy!!! I love the title of this post. You're so clever ;) My hands looked like that when I worked at Starbucks, it was baaaaad. They hurt from the dry skin too. Now I'm rubbing lotion on them all day at my desk, so it's at least a little better.

    I love the extra info you provided about hormones. I just went off birth control for the first time in four years, so I'm hoping a little more fat will help keep the hormones and cycle in check!

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  9. wow this is such an enlightening post! its been almost a year since i've had a period even though i definitely get some fats through nut butters and cream cheese. but full fat dairy & ice cream....i'm definitely going to have to work for that!
    happy wednesday!!

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  10. I am joining you and Susan. Much needed.

    Fave sources of fat...hummus (real middle Eastern hummus is high in olive oil and tahini), cheese, nut butters, butter... Oh, and does it get better than chicken salad made with real mayo, craisins and walnuts?

    Oh and how could I forget PESTO! Best sandwich ever: pesto, roasted veg (with olive oil) and mozzarella. Yum.

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  11. My hands look just like that! Maybe I should jump on the fat bandwagon? Well I'm already on it, but maybe I should drive it a little more frequently.

    Hummus and almond butter in my lunch today!

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  12. My hands look like that too, but I think the cause is eczema, had it since I was a baby.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me where you got your awesomely cute measuring cups!!!

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  13. Sounds like a great idea!!! And those fat sources are delicious, no?

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  14. I have to say that I think incorporating fats into my diet helped me IMMENSELY. When I went off the pill, I had no idea if I'd get my period since I'd been anorexic for most of my adult life. Lo and behold, it returned! My estrogen tested at normal levels. I really think it's because I've made a point to eat enough fat. I actually get well above the recommended daily allowance, and I'm totally fine with this. I used to freak out about fat, but I have a good deal of it now. I don't buy anything light or diet, and I eat lots of avocados, nuts, cheese, oils. I didn't really know the science behind including fat, but I think it's been a big part of keeping my body healthy. Oh, and my weight did not skyrocket with including healthy fats. There was a time when I lived on less than 10 grams a day. I eat probably 7 or 8 times that now and my weight has not changed much, just fyi. Weight gain, for me, has been all about calories. I sort of regret all those years I feared fat.

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  15. Hey sweetie! I actually am such a firm believer in including tons of healthy fats into our diets. Ive noticed such a change in my mods, hair skin and nails since i have. I love it! As long as I keep my calories in check I haven't gained since eating more fats. I eat a serving or so of almond butter a day and snack on pistachios. I also love eggs, avocados and evoo. So tasty! Great idea on incorporating more! Take care hon!

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  16. You only need 1.6 g per day of those omega-3 fatty acids. So if you are consuming foods like salmon ( which have at least 1 g omega-3) or avacado or flaxseed - AND taking 2 pills, you are getting at least 4 times as much as you need!

    If you have been taking those omega-3 fish oil supplements ( which aren't an awful idea, especially if you don't regularly consume fish, nuts, nut butter, avacado, flaxseed or meat) then you have been making plenty of fat for your body. Plus, any fat that you do need will be synthesized and stored from your other macronutrients ( carbs and protein).

    The dry hands are 99% due to cold weather, increase in washing, decrease in absorbtion of moisture due to many things but probably not fat intake.

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  17. granted, I am not taking into account the metabolic after-math of eating disorders or even cholesterol. Cholesterol (and other sterols) are used to make hormones.. i.e estrogen.. so your cholesterol intake and the amount your individual body syntesizes is going to play the largest role in estrogen

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