I remember about 7 years ago when my then boyfriend, now husband Brett, blended butter into his coffee. I just about fell on the floor. What on earth was he doing, and why? At the time, I was still in college and on the sorority girl diet of low fat froyo and cheap vodka. Super healthy, right? So the idea that high calorie foods like grass-fed butter, coconut oil and avocados were good for me was not on my radar, at all.
It look me a looong time, years actually, to come around to the whole fat is healthy for you thing. Since I was diagnosed with celiac when I was 18, I was really conscious of avoiding gluten to stay healthy but I was also really into calories and keeping my daily intake below a certain level. At the time, I thought that was what eating healthily meant; eating a certain amount and not going over it, no matter what. So, when Brett blended together a 400 calorie butter coffee and offered it to me, I thought he was nuts. Black coffee with a splash of light almond milk for me, please.
After a couple of years on my low calorie sorority girl diet I began to feel really, really crappy. I was exhausted, not sleeping well, edgy and hungry allll the time. In an effort to try to feel better, I started to slowly give in to Brett's way of eating (lots of healthy fats, veggies and lean proteins) just to see how I felt. I started to feel better! So I thought, there must be something to this. I began nerding out on nutritional websites like Bulletproof, Nutrition Stripped and MindBodyGreen to get a pulse on what healthy eating was really like. Hint, it's not counting calories.
If looking and feeling great isn't about calories, then what is it about? It's about insulin. Insulin is a hormone that your pancreas secretes when you are digesting food. When you put high sugar, high carb, processed foods into your body, it raises your insulin levels and pumps glucose (sugar) in your fat cells. This means your body is running on glucose as its primary source of energy, instead of your body fat. Therefore, when you run out of glucose, your body can't access its fat stores for energy and immediately demands more glucose for fuel. Hence, those major, intense food cravings and hAnger which are associated with weight gain. So, how do you get your body to tap into it's own fat stores for energy instead of relying on glucose? Eat FAT!
Healthy fats like nuts, avocado, coconut oil, wild salmon, olive oil and ghee help control insulin and allow your body to access its stored body fat as fuel instead of relying on glucose. This then leads to stable energy levels, subdued cravings and a faster metabolism. Fat burning fat! It can take a few days for your body to adapt to a low sugar, high fat diet, so don't worry if you have a slight headache or feel tired during the transition, this is normal. After a few days, I guarantee you will feel amazing and over time, you will notice major improvements in both body and mind.
Below is a sample of a day in the life of a high fat, low sugar diet. Enjoy!
Breakfast: 3 fried eggs in grass-fed butter with sautéed kale. If you're still hungry, add in a bulletproof coffee!
Lunch: Large salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and carrots. Top with fresh wild salmon and lots of olive oil and lemon.
Snack: A handful of macadamia nuts or almonds.
Dinner: A grass-fed burger topped with avocado, grilled onions, tomatoes and organic ketchup. Add a side of roasted sweet potatoes and a salad.