Fat, It’s What’s For Dinner

“The argument against fat was totally and completely flawed.”
— Dr. Robert Lustig, Institute for Responsible Nutrition.

It has taken 50 years and an obesity epidemic for our “governors” to reconsider their faulty (and sometimes fatal) advice to add carbs and eliminate fat from our diets. I’ve preached the error of our ways in this column for a long time, so I won’t reiterate those reasons here. Just remember that my grandparents and parents lived abnormally long and full lives on diets that included plenty of good fat and protein. If there is a problem with beef, pork or chicken at all, it has everything to do with the Omega acids getting out of balance from the forced and unnatural diet of caged and penned animals and not with the meat itself, a flaw you avoid when eating from JVF. Congratulations. And remember that when you think about trimming your budget by eliminating our good meats and going back to the cheap stuff in the meat counter, it’s cheap for a reason. You’re only saving money in the short run. The big costs will come later and it has the power of wiping out those savings exponentially. Not to mention what it does to your quality of life at a time when you are supposed to be enjoying your life accomplishments. Don’t be short-sighted.

What is as disturbing as obesity and its many related diseases are recent studies that correlate a lack of dietary fat with dementia and the A word, Alzheimer's. I am reading a neurologist’s book, Grain Brain, by Perlmutter, which follows the relationship of grains, sugar, and/or produce/fruits with mental dysfunctions. Bottom line according to Perlmutter: the higher your fat content, the lower your likelihood of a demented mental state. His analysis goes beyond correlative studies. He explains his belief by his knowledge of bio-chemistry and how essential fat is for a healthy, functioning brain.

So, should we eliminate carbs from our diet? Not at all. I’m not willing to give up my Blue Bell ice cream on Sunday afternoons either. But refined sugars and white carbs should be infrequently consumed. Stick to whole food carbs in moderation and be sure to include good fats and protein in an adequate amount. You’ll find it in your JVF cooler this weekend.

Everything is better with butter

“With enough butter, anything is good.”
— Julia Child

It was a glorious day when Honi saw the June 23rd issue of Time magazine on the newsstand shelf. It’s simple title: EAT BUTTER. Subtitled: Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong. Wow. Someone finally summoned the courage to expose the diet police for their erroneous but long-insisted upon mandate that fat must be eliminated from our diet. It seemed such a simple theorem: fat must make us fat. Fat must clog our arteries. So simple that it instead was merely simplistic, and entirely wrong. Time’s writer did nothing but review existing science, all of which says that sugars and carbs are the primary villain with chemically-altered fats and oils (think margarine and hydrogenated oils) running in second place.

There are so many quotable passages in the piece that trying to state them all here would make for a 20 page newsletter. So let me leave you with this one from Dr. David Ludwig and leave the rest to your perusal: “Americans were told to cut back on fat to lose weight and prevent heart disease. There’s an overwhelmingly strong case to be made for the opposite.”

Eat unadultered meat in a diverse diet which includes complex carbs. In all cases, make sure it is Real Food not manufactured food. Your food will not only taste better and satisfy you with fewer calories, it will be medicine for your body and mind. And remember my grandmother of Fair View Dairy. Her daily breakfast was 8 ounces of pure, unpasteurized Jersey cream. Born in the late 1800's, she “only” lived to age 93, all faculties functioning. (Paw Paw, who brought her the glass of cream as he prepared to deliver his dairy to the residents of Lake Charles, was not so fortunate. He died 4 years younger).

Viva la fat !!

Julia Child

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
— Julia Child

Child is one of my favorite characters. She had such a zest for life in general, and cooking and dining with family and friends in particular. You see it in her cooking shows and feel it in her writing. Life was a party in Julia’s world. We could all benefit from her example.

So what did she mean when she said to take even moderation in moderation - a great line if ever there was one. Of course, she meant just blow it out every once in a while. Put your self-discipline aside momentarily. Our psyches need a little indulgence every once in a while. We are not made for a perpetually rigid lifestyle in my opinion. Discipline can only be maintained for so long before we crack. So plan for a little immoderation or you may end up with a lot of it.

In your dietary life, that means eating the abandoned things every once in a while because it’s something you grew up with and its taste triggers special memories. For me, that could be a Mrs. Baird’s fried apple pie with a heavy sugar glaze and a pint of whole milk, preferably from Oak Farms Dairy, followed by cheap convenience store coffee. My childhood home was in the yeasty jetstream of Mrs. Baird bakery on Holcombe and Oak Farms was still an urban dairy around Chimney Rock Road. So I get this instant burst of memorable pleasure, soon followed by regret over what I have done. The regret refreshes my commitment to eat well and for good health and happiness. Can six fired pies a year hurt me if balanced with good habits the rest of the time? I don’t think so. Try a little immoderation occasionally. We as humans relieve tension, routine and drudgery with celebration that sometimes goes too far. It’s a good thing - if done in moderation. 

Quote of the Month

“Almost all the food faddists I have ever known, nut eaters and the like, died young after a long period of senile decay. The British soldier is far more likely to be right than the scientists...all he cares about is beef...The way to lose the war is to try to force the British public into a diet of oatmeal...etc. washed down, on gala occasions, with a little lime juice.”
— Winston Churchill

(Well, he did live to age 90, so who are we to question?)

“One that would have the fruit must climb the tree.”
— Thomas Fuller

So let’s start climbing with a couple of interesting studies. The one I found most interesting concluded that vitamin B-12 seemed to be an antidote for memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Subjects suffering from accelerating memory loss were found to first, arrest the losses and then improve cognitive function with the ingestion of B-12. Do you know what foods contain the highest amounts of B-12? Pretty much in this order of importance, they were: liver, beef, pork, turkey, fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs and chicken. How about that?! All natural suppliers of B-12 come from protein and fat sources.

The other study of interest this month, one which studied a lot of people over a long period of time, was the salt study. The finding: prescribing a low sodium diet for persons with or at high risk of heart disease actually exacerbated the chance of a fatal attack by 37%, Low sodium was worse than high sodium. But moderate amounts of salt per day, say 4 to 6 grams, improved one’s heart health. Sodium is an essential mineral for our good health. Don’t you love it - almost everything we have been told is bad for us is turning out to be good for us. Liver, beef, pork and salt are now on the list of good things to eat if in moderation. Wow! Isn’t it clear that we simply need to eat good, naturally-grown foods for good health and its many pleasures? Be a whole foods person. It’s a good thing.