I know I get a few weird looks from some of my roommates (that’s right – I see you ladies) as I’m cooking my eggs in lard every morning or when I’m dumping a tablespoon of Kerrygold butter into my coffee and blending it into a delicious smooth and creamy latte. The amount of fat I consume any given morning is enough to make my college nutrition professor cry… or rescind that A I got in her class and give me an F.
So, why do I do it? Fruity pebbles sound so much better, right? Okay, I just made myself gag.
Now, not all fat is created equal. In fact, when I use the term fat or saturated fat, I’m talking about healthy well-sourced fat. Like the stuff in this infogram below:
Okay, so now that that’s established, let’s break down why I do what I do:
- Saturated Fat is a good source of energy. No, seriously. I know this goes against anything you’ve ever learned concerning nutrition but it’s true. Fat takes the longest time to break down in your system, giving you sustained energy throughout the day. In fact, fat provides twice the chemical energy per gram as compared to carbs and proteins.
Think of it this way: if you eat Fruity Pebbles for breakfast, do you ever really eat the recommended daily value and feel full and have lasting energy? I mean, really? Probably not. If you’re like most people, you’ll have quite a few bowls and then half an hour later after feeling like you could run a few dozen times around the block, you have a mega sugar crash, right? Sugar breaks down immediately in our system and is used quickly as the conversion process to a usable sugar type is immediate.
Fat on the other hand, takes lots of time and energy (I’ll touch on this one in a bit) to break down into a usable sugar that the body can metabolize. Thus, it leaves you feeling full longer and gives you more energy to seize your day.
- It’s provides cellular protection. For all the crap that it gets, I’m always amused at the gaping holes (pun intended) in nutrition and science. Human cells need fat in order to survive. We have this thing called the lipid bi-layer, also known as a plasma membrane, that acts as the first line of defense for our cells. In other words, the plasma membrane is our cell walls (we’re not plants so technically we don’t have cell walls but you get my point).
So the old adage “you are what you eat” rings true with this one. If you consume poor quality fats, what are you giving your cells to work with? (hint: the answer is poor quality cells) They simply don’t have the materials they need to keep a strong defense up, allowing themselves to become susceptible to mega-molecules which disrupt cellular function, disease, infection, mutation, poor cellular replication, death, etc.
- It’s brain food. Your brain is made up of saturated fat and cholesterol. A lack of regular replenishment leads to poor brain function which leads to poor regulatory function all over the body. Brains – they’re kind of important and we really don’t want ours to be this one:
- Vitamins, anyone? Proper fats help facilitate the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.
- No insulin spike to digest. I love this reason. In modern times, we’re so used to starting off our day with a massive insulin spike. Going back to my Fruity Pebbles example, starting your day off with a high-carb/sugary meal sets you off on a massive roller coaster. We’ve all experienced days of highs and lows. And they’re not fun you so know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Eating a healthy dose of fat for breakfast keeps us on an even playing field until we’re ready to eat again. And, it will be a while – it’s noon and I’m still feeling as content as I was when I ate at 7:30 this morning.
So what’s my take home? Starting your day off with a good portion of healthy fat is not just nice (let’s face it – fat tastes good) but it’s necessary for long-term health.
I can’t leave you with all that and no information to change anything. Here’s some ideas for ways to incorporate fat into your breakfast:
- Bulletproof Coffee
- Half an avocado with pink salt (Note: I’ll eat a whole avocado before going to CrossFit so I have a bit of an energy boost while I’m killing it)
- Pasture-raised corn/soy-free organic eggs… cooked in lard.
- Pasture-raised corn/soy/hormone-free organic bacon.
- Fatty meats – like chicken thighs… cooked in lard.
And pulling it all together, this morning I had bulletproof coffee, half an avocado, two eggs fried in lard and three slices of bacon with a healthy side of my homemade sauerkraut. This pic isn’t the best but here’s what the plate looked like.
Cheers to your health! And to enough energy and mental clarity to more than get you through your day!