This article was originally published in November of 2016. Through more life experience and information gathering, I continue to evolve my approach to diet and this updated article reflects and addresses that evolution, especially regarding consumption of fat.
I still eat lots of fat, now to a point, though. When this article was originally written I was at the tail end of transitioning away from eating a higher amount of carbohydrates and instead focusing on fats.
That switch to a high-fat and low-carb lifestyle brought a significant amount of positive changes into my life. Inspired by those changes, I may have subsequently doubled down too emphatically on consuming large quantities of fat within certain meals.
I knew how beneficial my switch to a high-fat diet had been, so let me run wild with fat was the thinking. Multiple tablespoons of butter, multiple tablespoons of heavy cream, MCT oil, and large quantities of cheese within a meal were becoming a norm for me.
Eventually, I plateaued on the positive changes to my wellness and even backslid a bit with some slight, but noticeable weight gain. Something was amiss, and I had a feeling my newfound enthusiasm with the fat consumption could be contributing.
I cut back just a bit on the fat and increased my protein consumption a bit as well, still keeping carbohydrates limited. Within two weeks I shed the handful of extra pounds I picked up and could even see a slight reset with my body composition.
To be clear, though, I reduced the excessive amounts of fat, still keeping fat as my primary and lead source of caloric consumption. My love and appreciation for fat have not changed one bit. I just now know there can be some diminishing returns if I get carried away with the overloading of fat.
So instead of two tablespoons of butter in a Bulletproof coffee I know enjoy one tablespoon. Instead of 3 tablespoons of MCT oil within a singular day, I will have one to two max. Instead of a half of a brick of cheese at a meal, I will now enjoy two sensible pieces.
When I underwent my slight revamping of my macronutrients and shed those excess pounds I also came across this informative article that put to detail the exact experience I had just gone through. It solidified for me that I was now on an even better track with my approach to fat.
Fat For Wellness
I eat lots of fat, to a point. I think the conscious decision to increase my fat intake may be one of the most important and impactful changes I have undertaken for my overall wellness. At a minimum, I now eat 50% of my calories from fat. It is typically closer to 60% and can even approach 70% on certain days, with carbohydrates being minimized in exchange.
The areas within wellness that I am noticing positive changes include energy levels, strength, body fat composition, and regulation of appetite. I have been steadily burning fat deposits in my body while leaning out with healthy muscle retention ever since I made the concerted effort to increase my fat consumption.
For my entire adult life, I had been resigned to the fact that my body type would remain “skinny fat” with areas of flab basically stuck on me for good. These problem areas, where my body previously clung to fat, are slowly and noticeably starting to change for the better. It is the ultimate irony that the tide for my body composition is steadily starting to turn thanks in a large part to eating more fat.
My Sources Of Fat
The main and recurring sources of fat that I eat are avocados, salmon, grass-fed beef, grass-fed butter, eggs, smoked oysters in olive oil, sardines in olive oil, grass-fed cheese, whole fat coconut milk from a can, macadamia nuts, and olive oil.
When I recently veered a bit too off track with my fat consumption, I felt cheeses and nuts, especially nut butter, were key contributors to the mismanagement of my weight. Cheese and nuts need to be approached with thoughtful moderation.
MCT oil provides an immediate and noticeable boost of clarity and overall steady source of energy upon consumption. It is noted to have multiple and significant wellness benefits.
I now limit my MCT oil supplementation to one serving a meal and no more than two servings within a day.
My Introduction To Fat For Wellness
Fat as a healthy ingredient for wellness first got on my radar through an introduction to bulletproof style coffee, which someone had posted about online. It was early in my stages of Paleo, so I was becoming more aware and open to new concepts for wellness.
However, I recall my initial reaction to adding butter to coffee as skeptical and defensive. I still had low-fat dogma ingrained in my being from all the low-fat hysteria I lived through as a kid in the 80’s and 90’s.
While I jumped into trying and ultimately enjoying bulletproof coffees, I still did not fully grasp the overall importance that fat played in our wellness. I incorporated the buttered beverage into my life but took no further actions to increase fat intake overall.
As I grew older and became a father I became even more interested in wellness and how foods directly impact our performance in life. The more I dug for information the more I started to come across key authoritative figures preaching the value of fat.
As the apt saying goes “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. There were two podcast episodes I viewed online that both created seismic shifts in my belief in fat as a key component to wellness.
The first involved Mark Sisson as a guest on The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Mark is a wildly impressive and accomplished guy, but he keeps his teachings and beliefs on wellness grounded in everyday life. He does not veer off into new age quackery which I appreciate.
While Mark is someone I would describe as a front line experimenter and investigator of life performance hacks, the second influential podcast episode featured a respectable figure entrenched in the medical community.
This episode was incredibly powerful to witness as Dr. Hyman acknowledged significant players within the medical community got it wrong with pushing low-fat diets.
He even specifically called out the American Heart Association for being complicit in pushing diets high in refined carbs. Those high-carb diets only served to further wreak havoc on the overall wellness of society.
These two figures, a front line hacker and highly respected representative of the medical community, put me on a new path of consciously increasing fat intake.
If you were a kid in the 80’s and 90’s then you got beat over the head with low-fat dogma. The majority of the medical community pushed a high-carb diet and demonized fat in the process.
I recall as a kid sitting down and digging into all sorts of snacks and processed junk food and thinking it was healthy because it was branded and marketed as “low-fat” or “fat-free”. We put trust into our doctors for guidance on these matters and the sad fact is that they got this one wrong.
Even worse, there is still a significant contingent of the medical community that is woefully behind on the times or just plain ignorant of proper nutritional information.
The current healthcare model seems to be lacking a comprehensive approach towards general wellness which should include an emphasis on the foods we feed our body.
Thankfully, the internet has completely shattered the model for the way information now gets disseminated to the masses. Long gone are the days of having to rely on the top-down flow of information through a few concentrated sources, like relying only on your family doctor for all wellness guidance.
Real people are out there on the front lines testing the limits of previous misconceptions and pushing wellness forward through productive chatter in communities online.
New means of improving your performance in life are spreading like wildfire online and are tipping beyond niche and into the mainstream.
Food Powers Our Performance In Life
Since graduating from college, almost 20 years ago now, and leaving behind the gluttonous nature of the college lifestyle, my life has involved a series of different dietary and exercise strategies.
While some concepts completely flamed out on me, like my attempt at vegetarianism, I do not consider anything I have ever attempted for the sake of wellness to be a failure. Even my period of being a vegetarian highlighted for me that what we feed our bodies has a direct and immediate impact on our performance in life.
So while vegetarianism was not a fit for me, I stayed open and aware of the lessons it was teaching me. My recent education and evolution of my diet surrounding fat had been one of the most significant changes I have undertaken for my wellness efforts.
Adding fats to your diet is an easily actionable step that you can take and repeat with consistency. You are not depriving or restricting yourself of anything by taking this step. In fact, you are opening yourself up to some incredibly tasty foods like guacamole, salmon, and grass-fed butter.
Focus On Breakfast First
As you begin to consume more fats you will undergo some positive physical changes. Changes like your body burning primarily fat for fuel and energy as opposed to burning sugar from carbohydrates.
This is especially key in the morning hours. Try focusing your breakfast around fats and proteins and truly limit the carbohydrates first thing in the morning. You will feel fuller for longer and burn fat as your primary source of energy.
By doing so you slowly but surely become “fat adapted”, as Mark Sisson would say. Your hunger and appetite will become regulated more efficiently. Your energy will be smoother and more sustainable. You will finally get yourself off the roller coaster ride of afternoon crashes resulting from carb-laden meals earlier in the day.
Fat Is A Powerful Ally
I truly feel fat is a powerful ally in our wellness efforts. I have been experiencing incredible first-hand benefits from my decision to increase fat intake. This decision to increase fat calories is so within your reach and is something you can sustain.
Try with the simple first step of changing your breakfast away from carbohydrates and moving strictly to fat and protein in the morning. You will be well on your way to better regulation of appetite, sustained energy levels, and a leaner body fat composition.
Give fat a chance as your primary calories for breakfast for a few days and drop a comment with how you feel. Is fat a key component in your wellness efforts already? What are the tastiest food sources you get your key fat calories from? Let us know in the comments.