Fat makes up a vital part of the human diet, providing a portion of the energy our bodies need to grow and function. It also cushions our organs and allows our bodies to absorb such nutrients as vitamins A, D, E and K. A diet that cuts out all fat isn’t a good diet. Despite messaging that would have you believe otherwise, it’s entirely possible to include fat in your diet in a healthy (and essential) way.
Before we get to the good, a quick look at the bad. Without a doubt, not all fat is friendly. The worst is fully or partially hydrogenated fat, aka trans fat. Created during a chemical process that converts liquid vegetable oil into solid fat (think margarine), trans fat’s been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Processed foods often contain hydrogenated fat (including certain types of crackers, cookies, chips and peanut butter), so always read the label.
Fat that’s been minimally processed gets the green light – in moderation, of course. The following recipe for Primal Nut Bars (from Mark Sisson’s blog) for example, includes good-for-you fat derived from such foods as virgin coconut oil (associated with helping to prevent kidney diseases and improve the condition of skin and hair) and almonds (associated with reducing the risk of coronary heart disease). Plus, these bars will give you the energy you need to do your Bikram Yoga best.
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup nut flour (we used hazelnut flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dried fruit (e.g., cranberries)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; toast nuts until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
2. Transfer toasted nuts to blender; give a few pulses until they are a coarse meal.
3. In a medium bowl, stir blended nut meal into nut flour.
4. Warm coconut oil and almond butter together in microwave, about 20 seconds. Stir well. Add honey, vanilla and salt; mix until creamy.
5. Fold nut mix into honey mix; add dried fruit.
6. Pat into 8 x 8 baking dish and sprinkle with the unsweeted dried coconut; cool in fridge for at least one hour until solid.
7. Cut into squares; store in fridge.
Make ’em, let us know what you think!