Monday, April 10, 2017

Journey: Essential Fats

Hey everyone! Hope you had a good weekend. It was especially beautiful here in SC. The sun is shining, things are blooming and the birds are singing. And.....I'm going to plant my summer vegetables on Good Friday. I am so excited about that. My earlier plantings have emerged and are growing strong. I'll be picking lettuce and maybe radishes next week. Holler! 😀

I want to thank everyone for your comments and questions on my last few blogs about my newfound way of life. What a way to start a conversation about health, right?  I would like to reiterate, though, that this journey to health is my chosen plan. It's what I've chosen, after many months of research. I'm not trying to talk anyone into anything they don't want to do or feel conversely about. I realize everyone and every body is different and that what may work for me may not appeal to you.....although, I believe that eating a low-fat plant based diet really will work for everyone. I'm so sorry, but I really do.  I'm trying to solve medical issues that are unique to me. I just wanted to share what I've been learning and if I can be an encouragement to someone who might be interested in this way of life, then heck yeah, I'm glad to do it. 😀😀 For real!

Although I didn't know my cholesterol and blood sugar levels before February, I have known, for some time, that I needed to lose weight to be healthy and feel healthy. I've tried so many ways to lose weight and nothing has ever clicked with me the way this low-fat plant based way of eating has. I'm finally able to lose weight and I know that for me, the change that I made in eliminating added fats and oils has made the difference. I've lost a solid 15 lbs., so far. Holler, again! 😁

Today, I would like to share with you where I get my daily requirements of essential fatty acids. Originally, I was going to include protein and calcium sources, but these posts have been long, so to keep them shorter and avoid reader overload, I'm just talking about fats, today.

Again, I urge you to do your own research. Do what feels right for you. That's what I'm doing. I welcome your comments and questions. They challenge me to look deeper or they may bring something to light that I haven't thought of or read before. Or, if you are interested in a low-fat plant based way of life, I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have or direct you to the expert's material where I've done my research. Isn't our bodies amazing? It is mind boggling how all of our systems work together and how just one deviation can change our whole make-up.

After my last post, some questions came up that made me look deeper into fats. Here's what I found.....

Some fats are necessary in the human diet, however, not all fat is created equal. There are two types of fat that our bodies actually need. They are alpha-linolenic acid and linolenic acid. We only need a small amount of them. Our body really only needs 2 to 3 percent of our daily calorie intake of these essential fats. We can find  these fats in plants. Plant foods are naturally low in fat, but the traces they do contain are "good" fats.....the alpha-linolenic acid. This is the basic omega-3 fat that our body uses to produce other good fats.

Fish oil is a source that some people take for their omega-3's. However, fish oil also contains saturated fat and sat fats are something I'm trying to avoid. Sat fats cause plaque-promoting inflammation in your arteries, which leads to heart disease, and also encourages insulin resistance in your muscle cells, which leads to diabetes. Sat fats are also associated with cognitive decline. There are healthier options.

Plant based omega-3 and omega-6 fats are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and colon cancer among many other chronic diseases. If you don't have any medical issues and feel comfortable increasing your oil intake, other healthful sources of omega-3's include walnuts, soy products, flax seeds (need to be ground) and chia seeds, which unlike flax, don't need to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body.

In addition to my vegetables, fruits and beans, I eat 2 tsp. of chia seeds in my oatmeal every morning and I'm trying to work up to more than that.  Ultimately, I would like to include 2 tablespoons a day into my diet. But, 2 tablespoons is a lot for my morning bowl of oatmeal. I also add it to my salads, sometimes. It has a nutty texture, but not much taste. Chia seeds are also a good source of fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, niacin, zinc and more.

Today's take-away: Plant-based fats are the healthiest choices. They contain no sat fats and are a great source for omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. 

Take care, talk soon!

Today's book recommendation: 

The Engine Seven-Day Rescue Diet 
Eat Plants, Lose Weight, Save Your Health
by: Rip Esselstyn


  1. What some people don't realize is that we NEED some fat in our diet in order for our systems to function properly. But, as you say, it has to be the right kind of fat.

    We've just recently (for about a couple of months) been including chia seeds in our diet. I've been putting them in everything I can think of -- in our oatmeal, in pancakes, in homemade bread, on salads. Another way we get about a teaspoonful each day is that we have just about half a juice glass of tomato juice every morning with the chia seeds mixed in. You can practically chug it all down in one swallow. It all goes down very easily.

    I love avocados (hubby not so much, but he eats them for the omega-3's) because they're so high in linolenic acid. I just read that consuming linolenic acid is extremely helpful for folks who have MS.

    This journey of yours is so interesting and contains a lot of good information, Laurie. I'm enjoying reading it.

    1. Thank you, Judy! I'm glad you mentioned the chia seed in tomato juice. I've never thought of that. It sounds good. I've also not heard about linolenic acid for MS, but I did listen to a woman who had MS and started eating a plant based diet, concentrating heavily on carbs and her MS improved greatly. So there you go, it must be something to it. Very interesting. I am learning something new every day. Thanks again, for following!

  2. Hi, I am wondering what healthier option you use for fish oil? Do I have to grind chia seeds? I am not concerned about weight as am not overweight. Nancy

    1. Hi Nancy, The plain and simple truth is that by eating a plant-strong diet, you get all the essentials fats you need. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains like oatmeal, if you don't mind the little bit of oil in them, walnuts are a good source. And then, chia seeds are great, too. And no, you don't have to grind chia seeds to get the benefit. On the other hand, if you choose to use flax seeds as your essential oil choice, you do need to grind them and the meal has to be refrigerated. Not so of chia seeds. Hope this helped! Good for you in maintaining a healthy weight!

  3. Congrats on the 15 lbs loss! I have chia seeds but never knew the health benifits. I saw the calories in them and left them alone. Maybe I should use them.

    1. Thank you, Lisa! The weight loss has amazed me. It has been effortless. One of the beauties of a plant-based diet is that you don't have to count calories. Chia seeds are jammed packed with goodness for you. Another little tidbit about chia seeds....the Tara Humara (may have spelled that wrong) of Mexico use chia seeds as an energy source for all that running they do. If you want to dip your toe in trying them, 1 tsp. has about 20 calories. Add to your oatmeal or sprinkle on your salad.

  4. I'm still going strong on my no flour/no processed sugar regimen and feeling great.

    Thanks for the info.

    1. Way to go, Carol!! It's amazing how just tweaking your diet can have such an awesome effect. Keep going!