Friday, July 26, 2013

On Fats

Something that I've really tried to focus on in the last few months has been eating enough fats. My diet used to literally contain zero fat, since I ate diet/low-cal everything. Even since committing to weight gain about a year ago, I still had major issues getting enough fats, and always trended towards fruits, veggies, lean meats, whole grains etc.—all "healthy" foods.

Both my eye doctor and pain doc have brought up the importance of eating fats, especially as related to hormone production, but the nutritionist I saw back in March was the first one who really sat me down and plotted out concrete ways for me to increase my intake.

Since then, I've been pretty diligent about it. Hard to say yet if there has been any noticeable difference in my health, but I did get an extra boost of motivation from my uncle last week. He's a pretty big-name doctor back in East Coast City, and my dad recruited him to help out with my medical saga. When I sent over my records for him to review, he responded with this note:

"The recurrent infections, fatigue & dry eyes are probably due to immunocompromise from your AN, but I would expect that to improve over time. These deficiencies usually take a longer time to bounce back especially since they require fat ingestion to repair the cell membrane (remember the phospholipid bilayer from Biology class) defects. Most major hormone production (especially the sterol class: all the major sex hormones), and cell membranes require some cholesterol & essential fatty acid ingestion."

Poor man doesn't realize I haven't taken a biology class in seven years. But thanks for the reminder to be patient and keep it up, Uncle M!

My current favorite high-fat foods:

—duh, peanut butter

—cocoa roasted almonds


— avocado

—cheddar cheese

—full-fat Greek yogurt


— more peanut butter, obviously

Happy Friday, all.


  1. I think diet culture around the time people our age were starting to become food/weight aware was so big on the "FAT = EVIL" message that it really did a number on people's health in many, many ways, and on both sides of the spectrum. (For people with AN cutting it out completely to people with overeating problems that thought they could eat as much as they wanted as long as it had no fat).

    I often think people would be surprised if they found out how much fat I eat even in times when I'm underweight or losing weight, the whole concept that fat makes you fat is a fallacy. I'm really glad you've made it a point to work on this recently, and hope that it helps with a lot of the health issues you've been having.

    I wasn't able to get fat-free yogurt in my Tropical Research Country earlier this year, so I just ate what they had, and the first time I had a fat-free one back Stateside I was shocked at just how crappy it is in comparison. Ditto for cheese.

    My dietician was all about coconut as a healthy fat; she had a 4-page print out of all the reasons people should eat more of it. It's a bit pricey, but a jar (I just buy the 100% coconut, it is pretty spreadable above about 73 degrees) can go a long way, and I've found almost endless uses for it.

    Peanut butter = perfection. Have you experimented with other nut butters too?

    Also, from your last post, hang in there with making sure you are controlling the exercise and not vice-versa; that's a dangerous trap to fall into. Take care!

    1. I've never thought of coconut! how do you buy/eat it? I've only just started eating cheese again, and I'm a huge fan of full fat yogurt now. I've tried almond butter in the past and didn't really like it, but other than that I'm all pb all the time.

    2. I'm a huge fan of sunbutter and macadamia nut butter too (although mac butter is EXPENSIVE). Cashew butter is pretty bland. I've found almond butter is way better in crunchy version, since it's not quite as flavorful as peanut butter either. I'm dying to try making my own pistachio butter at some point.

      Coconut butter: it's great to add to oatmeal; I put it on a variety of breads (I'm a carb fiend; it's great on cinnamon raisin bread), I've even put it on Clif bars or things like that if I need to meet a calorie mandate and am not in the mood for a bulky meal. You can also mix it half-and-half with canned pumpkin, or with peanut butter (which makes anything awesome, right?). A lot of people cook with it instead of vegetable or other oils; I haven't had my own kitchen in a while because of my crazy travel lifestyle, but there is something about the stability of the fats in it that is supposed to be great for cooking.

      I tried using coconut flour (not a fat, but on the topic of coconut) for pancakes the other day, and it tastes okay but the chemistry of it is weird; the dough was really spongy and the pancakes fell apart. So that one can be tricky but is probably worth figuring out.