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Book Review: Smart Fat

 

Taking the latest science in food and giving it a local twist

America, we're screwed up. We've ruined our food supply and taken it out to the rest of the world for the same results. More than 11% of our population has diabetes and there's another 30% waiting in the wings with pre-diabetic symptoms. Take a moment and consider a country 10 years from where 40% of its population has diabetes. It's a harsh thought, it's expensive and it's our country. Among the lower class, many of these people say they can't afford health insurance. OK, who is going to pay them to be diabetic the rest of their lives?

Here's five reasons why this came to be:

1. Goodbye Omega 3 - Cattle aren't interested in eating corn husks. About the time of the industrial revolution, we figured out we could grow cattle faster, cheaper and fatter with corn than grass. Since the corn husk is where the healthy Omega 3 lies that our bodies need to function correctly, out went the Omega 3 and in came the Omega 6. When it works alone all kinds of bad can occur. Yes, you can buy grass fed beef, but if it says 'grass fed-grain finished' forget it. The grain finished process typically last 60-85 days, enough time for the animal to rid itself of any Omega 3 you need.

2. Processed grains - When you take a whole grain and mill it down to nil, it gets burned quickly in your system, which causes your insulin levels to spike, puts a load on the pancreas and eventually causes it to fail.

3. The fiber fallacy - You need about 10 servings of fiber a day. That's like 20-30 grams. If you get them all though whole grains, you'll once again put a load on the pancreas. The correct way to do it is to eat more fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts, not grains. If you want to eat a lot and lose weight at the same time drop grains entirely from your diet and watch what happens.

4. Processed sugar - But you'll need to drop processed sugar as well, which isn't all that hard. Ever since the dawn of Space Food Sticks, we've been pouring gobs of high-speed-to-process sugar into all our favorite snack foods, wholesome cereals, breads, cookies, chips and on and on. And it doesn't hurt to know all the names it masquerades as either (fruit concentrate, dextrose, corn syrup is just the beginning of a list of names that includes more than 55 factions).

5. Government dependency - Up until now, most Americans have been dependent on the US government to feed them dietary guidelines. Changing dietary guidelines takes a lot of time and you can imagine the big food companies lobbying against those changes and how much red tape gets created along the way. We need to take a personal interest in learning how to eat better, do it and not wait for big brother to tell us how.

Why wait to find out the latest from the US government when you could learn faster by immersing your head into a good book annually that has all the latest in science discovery. No need to wait for the government to catch up on your food label.

The new book, Smart Fat (Masley/Bowden, Harper One publishing) is one such book I burrowed my head into recently. It's loaded with a lot of the latest findings, explains well what's going on in our bodies, and is an eye-opener to how we got here and how we can bail ourselves out.

The initial chapters are pure education, the rest of the book revolves around a 30-day meal plan they've created that you can work with and suggestions how to go forward after that.

Masley is both an M.D. as well as a trained chef. His use of spices, herbs, and other flavors through the recipes surely makes the food much more consumable than other diet books I've seen that often verge on hospital fare.

By knocking out refined sugar and most grains entirely, the pair create high fat, high fiber meal ideas that won't in any way leave you hungry, as other diets have.

The protein they say you need to incorporate has to be clean (grass fed, free range, wild seafoods, plant proteins), or at least lean (whole cuts of beef, nothing processed) and not mean (cured, ground).

Bottom line in all this - science now shows the body processes high speed carbs and stores them as fat. If we eliminate them, we're on the road to recovery and some weight loss. Good fat does not get stored as fat, so you can eat a lot of it together with fresh fruits and vegetables, be satiated and know you may wake up the next day a pound lighter.

Well, I like to play with my food. The book inspired me to mix and match a few things and concoct my own flavor satisfiers.

1. I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and you probably remember the old commercials where the chocolate and peanut butter get merged. My Smart Fat translation turns out to be an ounce of 70% cocoa Theo's Chocolate, and 2 tablespoons of freshly-ground peanuts from Central Market. An awesome snack that won't tank your pancreas.

2. You like apple pie? In the Smart Fat book pie crust does not exist. Instead I sliced an apple, drenched it with Cara Cara infused balsamic vinegar from the Queen Anne Olive Oil Company and then sprinkled it with cinnamon. It would be hard NOT to eat an apple a day knowing this little trick. And mixing and matching spices with infused balsamics means there are endless flavors available with nothing but healthy side effects.

plain3. The authors of Smart Fat love to make smoothies/shakes. And they'd like to sell you their protein powder while they're at it. Not a bad idea in all, because it's not easy to locate - whey, from a grass fed animal. But you can add some Greek Gods Greek yogurt to a smoothie and come up with more variations on your own. To get closer to their fat goal, consume a few slices of Applegate organic bacon. Shake'n Bacon anyone?

As said earlier, consider reading a book on diet at least annually and start reshaping your food habits under your own power. Don't wait for the next administration to tell you how to do it. If you asked me for a good one to read in 2016, I'd tell you, Smart Fat.

Tom Mehren/April 2016


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