Some people are afraid of heights and confined spaces. Some of the dark, spiders, and being alone. Lucky for me, I don’t have any of these phobias. However, I used to be a fat-o-phobe.
Recently I received an email question from a reader about why I use cooking spray in some recipes and oils in others. This question inspired today’s post about FATS! Before I get going, I must again stress that I’m by no means a certified nutritionist and I speak from personal experience only. That being said, here’s my two cents.
During my weight loss days, I avoided fats like the plague. (Well, with the exception of salmon, which has always held a special place in my heart). I was under the impression that the fewer fats I ate, the easier it would be to lose weight. When it came to making meals, it was cooking spray, all the way. Even when my ‘maintenance’ days started, I avoided fats. In my first year at university, I lived on a steady diet of sandwiches, Mr Sub, and the dining hall’s salad bar, with the suspicion that everything else had some sort of fat lurking in it. I suppose I had some fear that by consuming oils, butter, or whatever the fat was, it would derail my weight loss progress and I would fall into some sort of fat trap. It sounds very silly, but looking back, it’s the only explanation I can think of.
The bulk of my weight loss occurred over a one-year period and I attribute the progress mainly to 1) a healthier diet and 2) a rediscovery of my love for fitness and being active. Since that one year (which was 2004 I believe), my interest in food and cooking has grown immensely (which is evident in the birth of my little bloggy!) and so has my knowledge.
The main difference between pre-weight loss me and post-weight loss me has certainly been my intake of fresh produce. As you may have observed from posts such as this week’s Try Something New Tuesday, this girl likes her greens! One day, I came across an article that talked about how people often don’t get the full benefits of the vitamins and minerals in the greens they eat because they don’t pair them with healthy fats. I didn’t know this at the time, but consuming healthy fats with some vegetables actually helps your body to absorb their nutrients more effectively (specifically, vitamins A, D, E and K which are fat-soluble). Fats also have beauty benefits – they protect your body’s cells, including skin cells. Who wouldn’t want all these things? Over time, my ‘fat’-itude (haha I’m not one for puns but I couldn’t resist that one) has changed. According to Canada’s Food Guide, 2-3tbsp of unsaturated fats is the amount we should be consuming each day. However, oils are not the only way, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite healthy fat sources and some tasty ways to enjoy them:
Some of you may be thinking “She forgot about avocado!” Don’t worry, I didn’t. I’m just honestly not a fan. However, if you are, I won’t hold it against you. Check out these 8 Avocado Recipes (besides guacamole) from Health.com.
So, when to use oils over cooking spray? Generally, if I’m cooking dark greens or am looking for a specific flavour (like sesame, for example), I’m about the oils. I still use cooking spray occasionally (like for my dear veggie scrambles), but I’ve taken to the strategy of putting olive oil in a spray bottle. If consuming a product that comes from an aerosol can is something that you’re not so sure you like the idea of, I highly recommend this strategy!
If you’d like more info on healthy fats, I’ve found the following sources that you may find useful:
- The healthiest things you can do for your body, from Women’s Health
- All about olive oil
- The Mayo Clinic on health benefits of nuts
- Women’s Health on the importance of Omega-3’s
- Maranatha’s (one of my favourite nut butter manufacturers) info on benefits of nuts and nut butters
A few of yesterday’s eats…
Since this post is a little long already, I’ll keep the eats short! Lunch was a lovely super-stuffed wrap with tuna, alfalfa sprouts, romaine lettuce, diced bell peppers, and a little red onion.
I smothered the fillings with salsa and rolled ‘er up.
At dinner, there was some lean ground chicken in the fridge that really needed to be used up. I wasn’t really in the mood for burgers (a rare occasion, but sometimes it happens. Just like earthquakes in Ontario….) so I created some Asian-inspired meatballs. Into a mixing bowl went 300g of lean ground chicken, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1 diced spring onion, 1/8 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and 2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro. I rolled out about 12 meatballs and popped them in the oven for 25 mins at 400 degrees.
When they were finished, I added them to a stir-fry of edamame, bell peppers, snap peas, mushrooms and zucchini. The garlic scapes also made an appearance in this recipe and reminded me a bit of green beans, but with a little garlicky taste. I only used a few because I was worried they’d be really strong tasting, but after being cooked they were much more mild. The veggies and meatballs were coated in a mixture of about 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce and 2 tbsp chicken broth.
Not bad for an improvised recipe!
This morning’s workout was a rather tough and long one, but I’m definitely feeling like I worked hard this week and am fully deserving of my rest day tomorrow! In addition to school work, I plan to add some new strength routines to the Workouts page later on today so stay tuned! I hope you have a very Happy Friday!
Questions for today:
- Do you have any phobias?
- What are your favourite ways to get your healthy fats?