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Evan, the Vegan Wonder

Right now I'm sitting on my couch enjoying the aroma of onions and garlic cooking in olive oil. On another burner is a giant pot full of vegetables. Next to it is a skillet with roasting eggplants. To the side of the stove is a cutting board with even more chopped vegetables. What's going on?

Preparation.

On Friday I'm heading up to Massachusetts to be with my family for Christmas. I go every six months and see my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. The one problem is that it's very difficult to eat healthy while traveling, especially during the season of many fine home cooked meals. My family is Italian, and thus most meals are a healthy salad coupled with an unhealthy pasta dish.

FAT: A Brief Introduction

On Natural Health Hack

The idea that saturated fat is the primary cause of obesity and heart disease is finally changing course in the medical and health community. Gary Taubes, an American science writer in his book “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It” hypothesizes that Carbohydrates generate insulin, which causes the body to store fat. It’s been a long road from when Proctor & Gamble’s Crisco was invented in the early 1900’s and soon became a household name. It was the first time Hydrogenated oils were used and because they were plant based, were thought to be a better cooking oil than it’s immediate predecessor: Lard. Entire industries and new food-like products sprang up as a result of this newly found, supposedly “heart healthy” oil product that was cheap, easy to make and very shelf stable.

[above] Spoonful of Coconut goodness - it is liquid above 76 degrees. Solid, like in this image below 76.

Unfortunately, the data didn’t ever support this, then or now, and it’s pretty clear that diets with less saturated fat generally have a higher rate of heart disease. That’s one of the reasons Coconut oil is “all the rage” now, and seen on every aisle and every health blog out there. Back in the 80’s, the American Soybean Association went on a PR blitz trying to obliterate all other tropical oils to make way for their vegetable oils. Well, it worked. To this day, the myth of coconut oil in particular being unhealthy still lingers, because unlike most vegetable oils, it is indeed high in saturated fat…and considered downright evil.

Keep in mind that Coconut Oil has been a staple in the diets (and for endless topical uses as well) of most of the world’s tropical populations without any history of heart disease. What the food-oil industry PR campaigns missed was that while Coconut oil is indeed saturated, there are many varying types of fats. Coconut Oil consists mainly of medium chain fatty acids. In laymen’s terms, this means that this kind of fat is burned immediately, as a source of energy, and not stored as fat OR converted to cholesterol (thus also punching holes in the theory that Cholesterol is fat’s evil partner as another key contributor to heart disease). None of this news on saturated fats is to say that all saturated fats are good in endless amounts, so don't go thinking tons of fast food burgers are suddenly okay.

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