Saturday, March 7, 2009

chewing the fat

a couple of weeks ago i was speaking to a friend of mine that is a fellow birth junkie. she was telling me about a conversation that she had with her midwife. the midwife was saying that over the past few months she had a rash of pre-term (3-5 weeks early) deliveries. the one common factor between all moms was that they were eating vegetarian/vegan or generally low-fat/low protein diets. this got my mind working and i began to wonder if my own problems with fertility could be because i eat a diet that is rich in veggies and fruit but low in fats and protein. i had my protein levels checked about one month ago and it confirmed that my body was low in protein. then i began craving fats like a crazy lady! knowing my body, and my dietary limits (little to no processed foods, cook from scratch, eat locally, high volume of raw veg and fruit, etc.) i decided to increase my whole milk yogurt intake as well as my raw whole milk intake. i've also increased my meat consumption (i was only eating chicken about once a week). i've been doing this just over the past week, and i feel great! i have higher energy levels, i'm sleeping better at night, i don't get the weak/shaky feelings that i was getting over the past year. i'm going to keep it up and see where it leads me.
i've been doing lots of reading this week over healthy fats. it is really interesting to read the history of fat in our nation. how it has been just over the course of the past few generations that our view of fat has been greatly shifted. the bottom line is that WE NEED FAT! whether we are trying to conceive or not, we need fat. alright, don't get excited and bust out your krispy kreme donut membership card. that's not the kinds of fat i'm talking about. what i'm talking about is fat from animals, tropical oils and fruit oils (think olive or grape seed). it is important that each of these is consumed in the purest form available: animals that are pasture raised only (some creepy stuff happens to the composition of the meat when it comes from an animal that is grain fed- or fed m&m's), virgin, unrefined coconut oil is the best form you can consume, and cold pressed olive oil and grapeseed oil. i'm going to blog more specifically over oils in the coming days.
if you would like to research this topic some really great information can be found in the good fat cookbook by fran mccullough, eat fat lose fat and nourishing traditions both by sally fallon, and the maker's diet by jordan rubin.

here are some things to think about. fran mccullough states in the good fat cookbook that "your hormones, which control every cell in your body, don't work properly without adequate fat". in eat fat, lose fat sally fallon notes "your body needs cholesterol to make all the sex hormones, including androgen, testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and dhea". healthy fat? healthy cholesterol? aren't these the two evils that have led to so much sickness? there is so much research that presents otherwise. and it seems confusing, but really, it's not. there is nothing confusing about this: YOU SHOULD ONLY EAT REAL FOOD!!! if you can't pronounce the ingredients, don't buy it. better yet, if you want a 'processed' food, make it yourself! if you want to eat meat, make sure it's pasture raised. if you want eggs, find someone who raises chickens near you (even in the city!). if you consume dairy, make sure it's raw and comes from a trusted source. and always eat animal products closest to what nature intended. what i mean by that is in its full fat form. when you want a snack, choose some raw fruit or veg. if you cook your veggies, steam them or cook them in coconut oil, grapeseed oil or butter.

i know this post is all over the place! there's a lot of info in my head waiting to pop out! i'm going to post in smaller increments coming up, but this is the nutshell version- research from cultures world wide and on my previous post show that fat is essential to reproduction.

(btw: it is possible to thrive as a vegan, you just have to be sure to eat LOTS of coconut to get the good saturated fat needed to process and use your essential fatty acids).

9 comments:

Ivy Mae said...

Really interesting post. I didn't know that we needed fat to produce hormones, though it makes sense when you think about it. I read somewhere in the 90s that American girls start menstruating a lot earlier than those in other nations because we tend to have a higher percentage of body fat. Of course, all that research was done before the whole no-fat, low-fat craze hit in the mid 90s. Thanks for posting.

The Kramer Family said...

Love this post!

Just like you said, "fat" tends to be a negative word when talking about our diets, but its possible to consume fats that are soooo good for you! The ones you mentioned are great! Until recently, I didn't realize that you can actually lose weight drinking raw milk which blows a lot of people's theories out of the water.

Thanks for taking us on the journey with you!

Lyns

jumbleberryjam said...

I was vegan throughout my pregnancy and DS was a wee bit early (2 1/2 weeks). I had never thought that it could have been my diet. Will have to monitor closely for #2 for sure. Thanks for the educational post! :0)

Crunchy Christian Mom said...

I know a vegan who carried twins to term, and gave birth to 15 pounds worth of baby -- at home, unassisted (the midwife was late)! She ate a lot of almonds and olives, and was very careful to eat enough protein.

Personally, I love organic butter, and the eggs from my own chickens. :)

mandi said...

crunchy christian mom- thanks for your input! wow-that's awesome! that is a great example of how we need to listen to our own bodies. even if research and science points to one direction in an overwhelming majority, at the end of the day each of us has to do what is best for our own bodies. thanks for also pointing out the healthy fats she included in her diet.

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Brandi said...

mandi, i think you're right on track. all your medical data is spot on, and i don't even feel the need to add a qualifier to represent "mainstream medicine." ; )

for the majority of americans, trying to cut back on fat translates as cutting back on mcdonalds, so it's not such a bad idea. but at an extreme end it can be very unhealthy.

it is hard, hard, hard to get enough fat on a vegan diet. i've tried short-term vegan fasts before, and i always end up gorging on avocados and practically drinking olive oil. a little more dairy, even without meat, can be a huge help.

Mandy said...

You're awesome! Can you post about the safety of raw milk? I have a phobia and just can't make myself do it - even if it was from my own animals.

mandi said...

brandi- i know what you mean about cutting fat out of the SAD (standard american diet)diet. and i wholeheartedly say "YES- stop eating that nasty ol' fast food". we are skewed on what good fat really is. the funny thing is that i thought i was being mindful of my fat consumption. because, i was never interested in eating low fat, i just wanted to eat the freshest diet abvailable to me. interesting...
mandy- yes! i will pull some stuff together on raw milk. here is one thing to think about. all of the widespread illness from milk in modern times has been caused by pasteurized milk- not raw...