The Weston A. Price Way

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How to Avoid Trans Fats (cont. from 'A Week of Fat Facts')

No trans fats here, folks! 

If you haven't been keeping up, or if this is your first visit, you may want to look back to The Dangers of Trans Fats, How Margarines and Shortenings are Made, and A Week of Fat Facts before going any further. Also, I was away at a conference during the Week of Fat Facts and didn't post every day due to our intense schedule. That's the reason you'll see last week flow into this week.

As promised, today I'll be sharing what I've learned about how to avoid trans fats. Current trends point us towards some "healthy" fats that aren't really healthy, while some fats given the reputation as "unhealthy" are actually very healthy and beneficial to our bodies. (I am personally so impressed with one of these latter fats that I will be dedicating an entire post to it at a later date.)

So, let's get right to it.

The only way to completely avoid trans fats is by shunning processed foods. That means a lot more food preparation at home in your own kitchen. For some, that's a major obstacle, but there are so many wise ladies out there that have met the challenge and consequently created cooking websites to help the rest of us make the journey with more ease...EVEN working-out-of-the-home moms.

You know, I could kick myself for allowing others to imply to me that it's soooo much easier for me do this because I'm not 'working'. Um. Hello. It's the age-old balderdash, is it not? I work my BUTT off at home and happen to know at least a hundred others in my immediate circle who do the same. I fall into bed at night and crawl out in the morning...OFTEN. So, yes, it's 'easier' to do this because my work happens to be in the vicinity of my kitchen. But as far as time management and effort goes, there is little difference. Now, with starting a new home business, having my husband home 24-7, caring for four grandchildren at least part-time and as summer ensues, full-time...I have constant interruptions to the food preparation part of my day. For that matter, I have interruptions to the blogging research part of my day, the writing part of my day, the keeping in contact part of my day, the business part, the home-care part, and as I already said, most definitely, the food preparation part...should I go on? I think not. The point is, I have been on both sides of the working mom road, so I do know of what I speak.  I'll share a few links to those who have helped me much in this food journey before I close today.

The reason we have to get the processed foods out in order to get the trans fats out is because trans fats are in all of them. In our home, we chose those items we believe are at the top of the list to rid ourselves of and went slowly from there. It is difficult and I still have some of these items in my fridge or on my shelves mainly because I am not a world unto myself. I care for children who are not used to sourdough breads, home-made crackers and probiotic 'soda'. I have had to make choices, some of them quite difficult. For the most part, we have rid ourselves of commercially made cakes, snacks, crackers, breads, salad dressings and oils, margarines and oil blends.

We discovered that foods labeled 'partially hydrogenated' contain trans fats, so we avoid them. Yes, we have become label readers and I will admit, sometimes I don't want to read the label of something that looks especially appetizing because I am usually correct in my belief that it houses something partially hydrogenated. To make matters worse, when you have mono- and di-glycerides, or deodorized vegetable oils, like canola oil, there is no labeling to alert you to the small amounts of partially hydrogenated oil contained within.

This is the reason for cooking yourself and knowing what's going into your food. Saturated fats that are given the 'no-no' by today's food gurus are actually the best fats to use. But there are stipulations.

When the Weston A. Price Foundation recommends fats such as butter, lard, tallow, goose fat, duck fat, palm oil and coconut oil for baking, they are recommending them with specific guidelines. When it comes to animal fats, which most of these are, it is important to note that fat holds toxins. Therefore, we want toxic-free animals. Therefore, we don't want animals raised by conventional methods, but instead, by the traditional methods of grazing. This means they should be grazing on grass that is pesticide-free and synthetic fertilizer-free as well. (According the documentary, "Food, Inc.", if a cow raised conventionally were allowed to graze on good, toxin-free grass for a week or two before slaughter, it would be cleansed of toxins.)

No trans fats in this home-made mayo, either!
There are also qualifiers for palm and coconut oils. These are to be expellar-pressed at low temperatures and preferably, not shipped from their native country for packaging, which allows for rancidity to occur. They should be 'unrefined', not 'refined', in order to maintain their maximum nutrient density.

Olive oil is a great substitute for canola and other partially hydrogenated oils. And hopefully if you've been keeping up, you want to use butter instead of margarine or spreads. Even the spreads labeled, 'low trans', should be left alone because the vegetable oils from which they're made are highly processed and more often than not, contain several additives.Coconut oil is solid at room temperature until about 70 degrees. It works well in place of things like Crisco, but beware, the best is expensive. Well worth the expense, coconut oil has a multitude of benefits and may be used in just as many ways. I hope to write about that within the next week or two.

Clean, creamy and edible tallow from pasture-grazed beef..
In time, you will discover, if you don't already know, that butter and tallow do contain small amounts of trans fats. The good news here is that they are the natural kind and are not harmful.

We don't go out to eat as often as we used to and when we do, we opt for non-fried the majority of the time as most restaurants fry in partially hydrogenated oils. I was pleased to find out that Five Guys uses peanut oil, however. It's not at the top of the best list, but it is an 'okay', of course if organic, and most likely not organic at Five Guys, but it is still a 'lesser evil'. And that's what a lot of eating is about. Learning the truth of what is best and choosing as often as possible, the lesser evil.

In order to satisfy the sweet and hungry teeth of our grandchildren, I will sometimes make smoothies with fresh fruit and home-made yogurt. Because my adult children aren't real keen on our giving raw milk to our grandchildren, I pasteurize my raw milk in the process of yogurt-making but the culturing process does at least add the enzymes back in. When the kids want milk, we have to, (sigh), give them organic from the store. But at least it is without antibiotics and hormones. In our yogurt,  I use a culture that has three types of enzymes so we're getting the best for our buck. Also, raw milk has no antibiotics or hormones added. For sweetener, I use honey or real maple syrup. When the fruit is especially ripe, less sweetener is needed. They love yogurt with fruit, too. And sometimes, it's just fruit or just cheese. Two of our grandchildren love shredded feta.

We have become used to our lack of processed foods here. So much so, that coming home after the Las Vegas conference was especially happy because I still had home-made yogurt in the fridge and healthy oils and meats to eat on hand. While we were away healthy eating was, forgive the pun, but...a crap shoot.

It's nice to be home where the odds of good consumption are much less of a gamble. And one last word on that: When we eat well the majority of the time, our bodies can handle the off times much more easily. I was constantly aware of those around me, on planes, in airports, at conference tables, who sneezed and coughed and hacked. I can't say, like some of my more-seasoned traditional food friends, that it didn't concern me. No, what I must admit is that each sound of sickness brought forth by a neighbor brought forth a silent prayer from my heart...If I were a better Christian, I would be able to say here that I was praying for their recovery, but the truth is, I was asking for my and my husband's protection! But God was patient with my selfishness and we have been home now since Sunday night and neither of us is suffering a cold, even with the jet lag and fatigue that ensued after a 'three-time zones away' trip. I give Him the credit as well as our 'new way' of consumption...which we both believe He led us to in the first place.

Here are some of the fine gals out there teaching us how to make traditional food preparation easier:

The Healthy Home Economist
The Nourishing Gourmet 

Mom's Frugal

Next Post:  Getting to The Nitty Gritty: What, Exactly, ARE Trans Fatty Acids?

No comments:

Post a Comment