Healthful Habit 7/52

Healthful Habits is a way for our family to intentionally implement a more wholesome style of living one small step at a time. The process of executing these small changes over the course of a year enables them to become lifelong habits.

This is perhaps the most controversial of all the healthful habits we've attempted thus far. Modern nutrition experts have worked hard to convince us a low-fat diet full of polyunsaturated vegetable fats is the key to good cardiovascular health. Recent research and ancient traditional nutrition proves them wrong.

There are tons of excellent resources for further study on the subject of "healthy fats", all of which I highly recommend you investigate further. Given this, I'll share the "nutshell" version of what I've learned but make no attempt to prove the claims I'm setting forth.
  • Fatty acids are chains of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms. 
  • Saturated fatty acids are very stable because all the carbon atoms bonds are saturated with hydrogen. They are solid at room temperature and can be heated with damaging them. (Foods Containing High Amounts of Saturated Fat: Animal Fats & Tropical Oils)
  • Monounsaturated fats have double-bonded carbon atoms, thus lacking some of the hydrogen atoms. They tend to be liquid at room temperature but are still stable enough to moderately heat. (Foods Containing High Amounts of Monounsaturated Fat: Oil from Olives, Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts, and Avocados)
  • Polyunsaturated fats have multiple pairs of double bonded carbon atoms and have even less hydrogen atoms. Our bodies cannot make these fatty acids so they  must be obtained through food. Naturally in liquid form, they are the least stable and should never be heated. Modern industry has found methods for hydrogenating these fats to make them solid at room temperature. Omega-3 and omega-6 are two types of these fatty acids. (Foods Containing High Amounts of Polyunsaturated Fat: Canola Oil, Shortening, Margarine, and Oil from Corn, Soy, and Safflowers)
  • Cholesterol is the body's natural healing substance for damaged blood vessels. 
  • Our bodies {especially our brains and cells} need cholesterol and saturated fatty acids in order to function properly.
  • Animal fats and cholesterol do not cause heart disease, as we have been led to believe.
  • The typical American diet contains way too many polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids due to excessive consumption of corn, soy, safflower, and canola oils. These fatty acids are easily oxidized {damaged} by heat, creating free radicals that attack various parts of the body and are linked to all sorts of horrible conditions and diseases. Antioxidants (as the name implies) work to prevent free radicals from damaging cells. 
Here are the fats our family now consumes *, along with the most compelling reasons we've found for doing so.

I have to admit this is one of the most enjoyable healthful habits we've done. Good fats taste better!