Challenge #1 – What to use for cooking?
When it comes to cooking, there are absolutely no challenges to this hack. You simply throw out the bad oils and replace with several healthy options:
- Coconut Oil
- Butter and/or Ghee
- Cold Pressed (extra virgin) Olive Oil
Challenge #2 – Hidden refined oils
Unfortunately, most processed foods contain refined oils (and not just crisps and other junk - even the health-food options like protein bars and mayo), so you need to check the labels on all your boxed and bottled foods in the pantry. If you can’t find alternatives using healthy, unprocessed fats, you may need to try making them yourself or gradually reduce your intake of those products.
Challenge #3 – Eating Out
This hack is more about what you do at home if you only eat out occasionally. But if you eat out regularly, then you'll need to pay a little more attention to what you order..
Unfortunately, it’s not just your local fish and chip shop that uses copious amounts of vegetable and seed oils - even the healthiest restaurants tend to cook predominantly with refined vegetable oils and margarine, making it next to impossible to completely eliminate damaged fats from your diet if you eat out regularly.
Avoid deep-fried food and other oil-intensive dishes and if you regularly pick up lunch, eat out regularly or enjoy takeaways, then consider gradually moving to a more homecooked style of eating (even if you outsource the cooking or use meal kits where you simply add the cooking oil of your choice). You could also call around to local restaurants to find out what they use for cooking or if they are willing to cook your food using butter or coconut oil instead of seed oils.
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My take on the
(if you’re all about “But why…?”)
Fat isn’t inherently bad. It has been the primary fuel source for humans since they first evovled and facilitated the development of the complex human brain.
When it comes to nourishing the cells in your body, fat is important… like REALLY important. In fact, you ARE fat (and no I'm not talking about those extra bits you might be carrying around). Every living cell in your body has a membrane responsible for allowing compounds to move in and out of the cell so that it can function properly. These membranes are primarily formed from the quantity, and more importantly, quality, of fats that you get from your diet.
So, if your diet is high in damaged fatty acids, then those damaged fats get incorporated into the building blocks of your cell membranes (including neuron cells) and you literally become what you eat – crappy, damaged fatty acids. Unlike sugar, which is broken down through metabolism into glucose, which is not inherently damaging in small amounts, your body literally assimilates these damaged fats into the very fabric of your body
This is particularly true in the brain where there are copious amounts of fat in neuronal membranes – in fact 60% of your brain, by weight, is fat! These fats insulate your brain, protect it from shock and help your nervous system to maintain a healthy temperature. The transmission of electrical signals across neuron synapses also depends on fatty acids, as do neurotransmitter levels2.
This huge impact that damaged fats have on brain health, including both cognitive function and mental health issues, is particularly concerning, especially if you are starting to experience forgetfulness, brain fog or difficulty focusing.
So please, for the love of all that is good in your life, throw away that margarine and toss your bottles of vegetable and seed oils and ANYTHING in your pantry containing these damaged fats.
Start switching to healthy options. They may have a slightly unfamiliar tang, but very soon you'll be preferring them to your old versions, which will seem very unappetising.
Instead whizz up some delicious home-baked butter cookies, cook a curry with butter or ghee, throw together some poached eggs and avocado - or drizzle healthy oils over a fresh salad - all simple and tasty options - no extra work and no deprivation necessary!
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- Primal Health Coach Certification course (Mark Sisson), Modules 3, 4 and 6 (See https://www.marksdailyapple.com/ for more from Mark Sissons)
- The end of Mental Illness, Daniel G Amen , Chapter 18
- The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, Precision Nutrition, Berardi et al , Chap 6
- The Case for Keto, The Truth about Low-Carb High Fat Eating, Gary Taubes 
- Why oil is bad for you - https://drhyman.com/blog/2016/01/29/why-oil-is-bad-for-you/
- For a deeper dive: Dave Asprey Podcast with Cate Shanahan regarding oils https://daveasprey.com/cate-shanahan-713/
- More about processed Vegetable Oils https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/10/31/vegetable-oil-omega-6.aspx
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids and their effects on cardiovascular disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2719153/
- What the Evidence Really Says About PUFAs https://www.medpagetoday.com/primarycare/dietnutrition/50978
- For more information, this comprehensive article will help - https://chriskresser.com/how-industrial-seed-oils-are-making-us-sick/
- World Health Organisation stance on trans fats https://www.who.int/teams/nutrition-and-food-safety/replace-trans-fat