While extreme fad diets may result in weight loss, they don’t promote a sustainable, healthy lifestyle change. The best way to get healthy is to incorporate unprocessed food to your diet.
A healthy lifestyle involves lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which is what Franklin Becker, chef and owner of The Little Beet and Cast Iron in New York City, preaches in his cookbook Good Fat Cooking. Becker believes that a diet rich in good fats is a great way to achieve a healthy lifestyle. After being diagnosed with diabetes at age 27, Becker traded in his unhealthy diet for one rich in unprocessed food and has never looked back.
Low-fat diets were promoted throughout the early ‘90s, and though most recognize now that “low-fat” doesn’t translate to “healthy,” there are some lingering bad feelings about fats as a description of food. Differentiating between types of fats is the first step to creating a healthy lifestyle.
Unhealthy fats, such as saturated fat and trans fat, increase bad cholesterol. It’s important to note that not all saturated fats are bad for you. Coconut oil is a naturally occurring saturated fat that can actually speed up metabolism.
Good fats can help control and prevent type-2 diabetes. These good fats include omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fats. A few good-fat foods include olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seafood.
Becker believes that if you’re going to follow any specific diet, it’s best to adopt the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes eating large portions of fresh vegetables, lots of seafood and olive oil, and cutting down portions of red meat.
The other stuff is good in moderation. It’s not sustainable to say that you’re never going to eat bread, cheese, or red meat again, but you should choose smaller portions of these foods. Choose grass-fed meat as much as you can because these animals produce meat higher in fatty acids than conventional meat. There are also some reports of animal fats not being as bad for us as we once thought.
Feel good about yourself and what you eat with a few of our favorite good fat recipes.
Acorn Squash Soup with Pistachios, Black Bread, and Apples
(Credit: Mark Jordan)
Garnish puréed roasted squash soup with crunchy pistachios, croutons, and apples for a perfect contrast of flavors and textures. Click here to see the recipe.
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
(Credit: Vita Coco)
Sauté chicken and vegetables like peppers and baby bok choy in coconut oil for this fun-to-eat lunch that requires no bread. Click here to see the recipe.
Julie Ruggirello is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @TDMRecipeEditor.