I’ve been confused about food for most of my life.

In my late teens, I began to form my “own” beliefs for healthy eating. A sponge to mainstream guidance, I did as I was told.  Not by my mom or grandma, but by far more “smarter” sources like Katie Couric, Matt Lauer and those health columnists from Seventeen.

It was very clear to me that fats and oils would make me fat and that I should only use them sparingly. Just like the USDA Food Pyramid and “health” experts still tell us to do today.

My nine-year journey to natural health encompasses a time where I ditched mainstream “healthy” and went full vegan, to a later proud “clean eater” who ate small meals around the clock, to a world of being strictly paleo and fearful of all grains.

Today, I’m a mama who’s ditched the labels and simply focuses on the power of honest to goodness nourishment.

You see, when you commit to a label such as being vegetarian, vegan or paleo, you’ll likely stop listening to your body and its daily needs. Every day is a different day. I now subscribe to and teach nourishment. With each day I think to myself: Is it real food? Is it nourishing me? What am I craving today? What’s in season? What’s the temperature outside? What am I going through today? Am I stressed? Am I exhausted? How did my workout serve me? What does my body need to perform optimally? It’s a beautiful process that takes little energy and yields amazing results.

I accept that we learn by living…by doing. However, if I can be the beam that sheds some light into your journey to natural health and save you a few mistakes along the way, I would absolutely start with getting your facts about fats straight. And yes, I’m talking about grass-fed butter, tallow, lard, cold pressed coconut oil, organic olive oil…REAL, nourishing fats.

Knowing the truth about fat from the beginning, would have changed my entire course. I wouldn’t have:

1.  Thought Matt & Katie were smarter than my mamma

Fat makes you fat and cholesterol will kill you, they said.

Once upon a time, I trusted mainstream media. But, let’s be real. The so-called healthy vegetable oils (such as corn, soybean and canola)  and imitation butter spreads (margarine) are in large part responsible for our national obesity and health crisis. Not to mention, they’re actually rancid upon consumption. You can’t tell though, because the manufacturing process has done a superb job of hiding it by bleaching and deodorizing the oil before it hits the shelf. Gross.

And as for cholesterol, well, the truth is that we as humans cannot live without cholesterol. It is a friend. A bestie who is there to help you deal with all of life’s stresses. Cholesterol is the body’s repair substance and is needed for proper brain function, proper hormone balance and more.

If you want love on your cholesterol, listen to my mama and eat your REAL butter. And, by all means, ditch those naughty grains and sugars that are found in your processed foods.

2. Gone Vegan

This was my first leap to a more “natural” life. With only the Skinny Bitches as my guides, I wasn’t equipped to make the “real” vegans of this world proud. Soy substitutes are the only way I signed up or survived.

I can vividly remember looking at butter, precious butter, with such disgrace. I couldn’t believe that my parents fed me that growing up.  I would even bring my own “butter” to Thanksgiving dinner.  I traded one of the most sacred saturated fats, loaded with natural vitamin A, D, and E, and so much love to my immunity, for a toxic “healthy food” substitute.

The truth is my “soy everything” days were actually quite damaging to my body. Soy is not a health food. Let me repeat, SOY is not good for you or your family members. In fact, studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive problems, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, even heart disease, and cancer.

Unless soy is in its fermented state like tempeh, miso or soy sauce, I run like hell from it. And you should too.

3. Spent my hard earned money on all those “healthy” packaged foods

I’m such a sucker for good marketing. If the box said it was healthy, it was going in my cart and I was patting myself on the back for being such a smart consumer. Reality is, majority of all processed foods contain a little something known as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

These processed fats interfere with healthy function of the cells and hormones, encourage inflammation, increase risk for heart disease, and depress your immune system.

In fact, partially hydrogenated oils cause or make worse the following conditions: heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, autoimmune disease, low birth weight babies, reduced fat content in breastmilk, psoriasis, eczema, atherosclerosis, lowered sperm count, and so much more.

With this news, you can now walk right on by aisles 2 through 12 at your local grocery store.  And, if you’re in need of something from a package, you now can put on your detective cap and read the fine print of those labels. If you see hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, remember that’s key word for Trans Fat. Put it back on the shelf…No ifs, ands or buts!

4. Been so quick to fully embrace the clean eating way of life

If I had my facts about fats straight, I would have taken one look at that clean eating mumbo jumbo and tossed it. You want me to throw away my egg yolks, eat only lean meats like farm-raised tilapia, and treat myself to fat-free yogurt and cottage cheese? There’s just so much wrong with this picture…

First off, those precious yolks that I tossed are one of the most nourishing foods on the planet. They provide you with most essential amino acids, many vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, A, D, and biotin), essential fatty acids, a lot of zinc, magnesium, and many other nutrients that our culture is deficient in.

As for those meats, I was missing out on the glorious nutrients that come from animals that get green grass, fresh air, and sunlight. These raised-with-love animals are zero comparison to the “lean” and quite toxic meats that I was subscribing to.

There’s certainly nothing and I mean NOTHING clean or nourishing about the low-fat, non-fat foods which are laden with refined salts, sugars, chemical additives, and preservatives.  Low-fat not only makes us fat, but makes our bodies fall into a mode of starvation…And later down the road, makes us very sick.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. And I agree. Clean eating can certainly help you rid some processed foods from your life. But you really need all the facts straight before you jump in, otherwise you’re likely to sink instead of swim.

5. Held on to crap… literally

I hated talking about poop growing up. It made me so uncomfortable at the thought of someone knowing that I was pooping! Geez, I was missing out. Years of pooping every now and then sure caused me a lot of grief…Bloat, acne, exhaustion, irritability, weight-gain…the list goes on.

Depriving yourself of fats will dry up your bowels, hair, skin, sinuses, and your brain. Once I started eating more of the right fats like butter, coconut oil, lard, cold-pressed olive oil, and properly prepared nuts, I magically started to eliminate more. A LOT MORE. I poop a minimum of two times a day.  Do you know how much better you feel when you are ridding toxins from your body regularly? Meal in…Meal out, baby. Yeah, it’s amazing. There’s no shame in pooping, I’ll talk about it with you anytime, anywhere.

6. Binged and craved so much junk

I was such a closet binge eater. There were too many times to count that I just couldn’t help myself. It was like an out of body experience. Suddenly, the package of Oreo’s evaporated (and I didn’t even remember buying them!?!). I had all my tricks to hiding this little secret of mine, like burying the wrappers deep into the trash, hiding stashes of junk under the bed, or simply pushing the blame on someone else (perk of growing up with three brothers).

By simply incorporating healing, traditional fat into my life, my cravings dissipated. For the first time, I felt satiated. I haven’t been to a fast-food restaurant in nearly a decade. I have zero desire for any type of candy, pastries, breads, cookies, or anything of that nature. ZERO DESIRE. The foods I crave are the foods my body genuinely needs. I AM TUNED IN. Sure, I might still be able to eat a row of brownies, but it’s totally different (made with nourishing fats and natural sweeteners like raw honey).  Best of all, I don’t feel like poo afterwards.

7. Been so crazy stressed

Life is a million times more stressful without the right fats. Everything’s intense. You feel out of control and irrational. I felt that way through all of life’s peak stress times. I was fat deprived and my brain was suffering. Eating the right fats nourishes your nervous system, keeps you calm, and your brain functioning at an optimal level.

The next time you start to feel a wee bit out of control, or you catch yourself referring to a kiddo as a little brat, or your neighbor as a wicked witch, stop and go treat yourself or your loved ones to a heaping tablespoon of butter or coconut oil…Or both!

8. Accepted being exhausted as my normal

I was so exhausted for so long. I began to believe that I was destined to be exhausted and anxious forevermore…That it was just part of my daily life. Truth is that exhaustion and anxiousness is not normal, it is brought on by deficiencies and fat deprivation! Once I began to consume the right fats it was like flipping on a light switch. And it was no wonder why, once I understood that consuming healthy saturated fats provides quick energy. The right fats are utilized by the body for immediate energy since they do not need to be broken down in digestion to be absorbed. They also don’t get stored as excess fat because they are used for immediate energy both throughout your body and your brain. Want to feel more energized? More ambitious about life? Start consuming coconut oil into your diet in copious amounts. Hello, new world of vibrant, radiant, energy, and health!

9. Deprived myself of sweet treats

I always felt guilty eating dessert. Today, I enjoy it almost daily. The dessert I feed my family is a sure-fire way to get in a hearty dose of saturated fat. From brownies, to peppermint fatties, oops I mean patties, to lemon bars, I eat dessert without guilt or shame. This is all part of my nourishing ways…I even make “ fat treats”  that are literally frozen chunks of coconut oil with a little something extra (like raw honey, almond butter, or coconut flakes) for all members of my family, including our dog.

Yes, you read this right. You now have permission to eat that fantasy treat, loaded with saturated fat. Heck, you might even want to eat it first and get your body good and ready to digest your meal.

10. Obsessed so much about gaining weight

The idea that eating fats makes you fat is completely wrong. The truth is, consuming processed carbohydrates and sugar causes obesity. The right fats go into the structure of your body, your brain, your bones, muscles, immune system… Every cell in the body is made out of 50%+ fats! Saturated fat in particular is an important component of a diet that promotes lean body mass.  I do not limit the amount of fats I eat in a day, and I make sure my toddler gets mostly fats as part of his diet. For children especially, the right fats are essential for the development of their brain, nervous system, digestive system, bones, and reproductive system.

Fats are nourishing, contributing to the entire well being of the body, soothing irritation in the nervous system and the bowels, as well as assisting in adequate vitamin and mineral absorption. Remember, a well-fed person doesn’t crave junk. A starving (malnourished) person craves junk.

So, please I beg you… Eat your butter, darling! Your body & mind will thank you!

My journey to natural health has been nothing short of a fantastic roller coaster ride.  I invite you to take a look at yours and really consider your dietary lifestyle or the label that you are living behind right now. Even if you deeply, philosophically agree with it, tune in and see what your body is screaming for… Chances are it’s fat.

Sources & Recommended Reading:
Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol,by Mary G. Enig, Ph. D
Eat Fat, Lost Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats, by Mary G. Enif & Sally Fallon
Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride MD
The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food, by Kaayla T. Danielle
Cholesterol Myth: The Real Truth about Cholesterol They Don’t Want You to Know, by Joshua Collins
Get Your Fats Straight: Why Skim Milk is Making You Fat & Giving You Heart Disease, by Sarah Pope