Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Simple Swap: The Skinny on Fats and Body Fat

**This month's winner is Stephanie!** We all want to live healthier, more intentional lives, but sometimes it seems overwhelming and daunting to take even small steps toward our ideals because there are so many steps before us.

Simple Swap was born out of a desire and passion to encourage other women on journeys toward living healthier, more inspired, intentional lifestyles through implementing one simple swap per month. 

Each swap will:
1. Take 30 minutes or less to accomplish
2. Be inexpensive to implement or boast overall, long-haul {health} savings 

3. Focus on improving health/eco-friendliness, being good stewards of our resources and/or fostering a creative and intentional life.

Some weeks, all three will be accomplished in 30 minutes or less!

The beautiful and creative Robin from Diet Coke on the Rocks will make the Simple Swap first each month so as to show ease and perhaps sometimes another way to implement a Simple Swap. Check out Robin's November Simple Swap for more ideas!

Be it fat in food or fat on our bodies, we often feel like we must flee from fat as fast as our legs can carry us.

But what if by eating fat we could actually reduce our body fat and maintain a healthy composition while improving our health?

Largely, we've been conditioned and educated to view fat as the enemy, particularly when it's nestled inside our food or beneath our skin.

And while I agree wholeheartedly that we must be vigilant about maintaining a healthy amount of body fat, I think we've been sorely miseducated on how to go about doing so.

In the past, if a label held promises of being low fat, I assumed naively so, that it was healthier than the other options that contained the full amount of fat. I'm pretty sure I thought that all fat was bad and was probably the culprit for making me fat.

In reality, that's no more true than any other outrageous generalization.

Eating the right fat can actually help our bodies shed unwanted fat cells.

Instead of slicing fats from our diet we should be consciously working on making healthy fats part of our meals. But how do we know the difference between the two?
Trans fats {hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated} = never! 
Saturated fats {coconut oil and animal products like cheese, yogurt, butter) = diligent moderation 
Mono and poly unsaturated fats {nuts, fish, avocado and olive oil; I don't recommend using any other oils} = healthy servings a few times per day
{Read more about dissecting fats at the Mayo Clinic}

Aside from helping promote healthy Body Mass Index levels and weight loss, the consumption of good fats like those found in avocado, olive oil, fish and coconut oil also aid in health by decreasing inflammation {like allergies, arthritis, heart disease} in the body while helping maintain insulin levels, regulate blood sugar and decrease the risk of coronary heart disease.

The list goes on and on, but I think you get the point I'm trying to make:

Switching out our unhealthy fats to healthier ones promote wellness, weight loss and prevent disease {and preserves the money you'd use caring for such disease}.

Here are a few ways you can Simple Swap the unhealthy fats for healthier ones:
day 210
Mango Chicken Chili
* Replace a few red-meat centered meals every week with a fish or bean entrees like black-bean tacos, mango chicken chili or hummus veggie wraps.
*Use ground turkey for burgers or spaghetti instead of ground beef. 
* Use hummus or avocado on sandwiches instead of using cheese 
* Replace butter with coconut oil in all baking recipes like muffins, cakes, slow-cooker baked apple pie oatmeal, pizza crust, bread, flat bread and toast
Baked Apple Pie Oatmeal
Briefly, I want to land on the last point: Coconut oil is our all-purpose fat of choice because not only because it tastes good but also because actually has been shown to improve immune system function.

We use it in all of the aforementioned baked goods and recipes and we've found it actually enhances the flakiness of pizza crust, the fluffiness of muffins and the consistency of the oatmeal and because coconut oil is one of the only oils that can withstand such high temperatures without losing its antiodidants.

Carrot Cupcakes with Coconut Oil
I was skeptical at first because I didn't really want all of my recipes to have a hint of coconut, but to my surprise nothing has had that coco-nutty flavor. And for someone who just cannot stomach dairy, coconut oil is a recipe saver!

With Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching, I would love if you would share a recipe you've Simply Swapped out the unhealthy fats for the healthier ones using coconut oil.

Of course, you can swap out any unhealthy fat for a healthier one and share your findings to be eligible to win a really wonderful addition to your kitchen.

As an incentive to make the Simple Swap, I asked my absolute favorite coconut oil maker, Nutiva, to sponsor November's Simple Swap and giveaway one jar of high-quality, super healthy and really yummy coconut oil. 

And Nutiva happily obliged!

So let's do this! Let's make this holiday season {and our bodies} much healthier by Simple Swapping out the unhealthy fats for healthier ones.

{No purchase necessary. Giveaway is open to all U.S. residents who are 18 years and older. The winner will be selected randomly Dec. 1, 2011 from the link up pool.Nutiva is only providing the giveaway item; I have not been compensated in any way or gifted with any product to talk about Nutiva}

This post is linked with The Green Resource at A Delightful Home, Sorta Crunchy, The Greenbacks Gal and Live Renewed.