What a glorious day it is when you are sent out in search of something fatty to eat! Granted, we’re talking about the healthy stuff, all those mono-saturated and omega-3 rich sources, the middle chain triglycerides — the fatty fats that actually do the body good.
A quick lesson before we get into it: All fats are not created equal. Unfortunately, most of the fats in the modern diet live in the lower, unhealthy spectrum of totem pole. Saturated fats and trans fats are the problem children, causing heart clogging, disease, and those dreaded cholesterol spikes. These naughty fats are found in things like dairy, beef, and bacon, as well as in packaged treats and fast food.
On the other hand, there should be a spoonful of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which actually are instrumental in controlling weight, lowering cholesterol, and even keeping us in a good mood. These good fats are found in a plethora of delicious treats — things we all enjoy but may have been foolishly avoiding because the age-old horse-phooey about a low-fat diet being healthy.
Here are five-plus super sleek choices for eating fatty the vegan way (that is to say knowledgeably and healthfully):
Seeds are absolutely delicious accouterments to all sorts of stuff — salads, sweets, and breads — or just nice by the handful. Saviseeds are actually the highest source of omega-3 on the planet. That’s right — fatty fish, step aside. Also, following closely behind on the omega-3 bandwagon are super food celebrities like hemp and chia seeds. Even sunflower seeds, a good provider of monounsaturated fats, are on the list of fatty foods we should be eating.
Omega fats are a bit of a byword these days. The skinny on them is that we should try to have a balanced amount of omega-3 and omega-6, but that balance is horribly askew. What should be one-to-one is actually closer to one-to-fifteen, respectively, in the average person. In other words, the word omega doesn’t necessarily mean you should eat more.
Nuts are probably the best thing going for straight up snacking. They are filling, unlike potato chips, and they are healthy, unlike potato chips. Nuts are a great source of vegan protein, but just as relevant, they are a plant-based gold mine in monounsaturated fats, thereby reducing the risk of heat disease. The top nutty providers of the good stuff are walnuts, almonds, and Brazil nuts.
In recent days, nuts are undergoing a fantastic reputation makeover. For too long have they been viewed as unworthy of our consumption, when, in fact, nuts are very healthy.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is fantastic to cook with because not only does it have a distinctively delicious flavor, but it also handles whatever temperatures are thrown its way. The stuff can get hot and just keep on going. As for fats, it once was degraded for having high levels, but scientists have recently discovered that coconut oil is a great source of medium chain triglycerides, which turn to fuel in the liver and forgo stomach storage, unlike butter or — eww —lard.
Coconut oil has a unique combination of fats that has been found to be wildly nutritious. Check out this article, “10 Amazing Health Benefits of Coconut Oil,” for additional information.
I had the privilege of working on an avocado farm for two years, and rarely do I tell someone that without an envious sigh of awe following. Avocados are simply delicious in whatever form they come: guacamole, the half shell, or even chocolate mousse. Yes, they’re fatty, but luckily for us avocado lovers, we can fall back on the old “good fat” argument. Avocados are packing monounsaturated, a healthy trait.
Don’t settle for just guacamole. Avocados are extremely versatile and can be used for salty sides as well as creamy desserts.
5. Cacao Nibs
The good news is out, and don’t ignore it: chocolate, when done right, is a health food. But not to deceive, cacao nibs are not the sugary, milk-laden candy bars separating check-out lines, but they are chocolate. Dark delicious chocolate, packed with anti-oxidants and, what’s that, good monounsaturated fat. That’s right, chocolate fights cancer and helps with cholesterol. It’s a great source of the fats and nutrients we need, but we just need to stop ruining it with our additions.
Check out this infographic on the benefits of raw cacao. It may just do more good than you realize.
As you can see, there are many delicious and nutritious plant-based clean fat options available for all of us!
Image source: David Monniaux / Wikimedia Commons