The Skinny on Fat

What better time to talk about fat than the lead-in to the holidays and the prospect of all the deliciously rich food on offer.

In exploring the beautiful reflection you see in your meals through the Magic Looking Glass for Eating Right, you are also learning to reflect a deeper care of yourself. This is self-love in action. Eating a balance of nourishing food you enjoy is one of the concrete ways you express self-love – it’s a form of radical self-care. Each of the nutrients in the looking glass framework offer you an important angle for eating right AND show you how you can nourish your best self.

Let’s first clear the air by saying that fat isn’t bad for you. It’s absolutely necessary to your health. Eating fat doesn’t cause you to put on fat…unless you eat it in poor qualities and excess quantities.

Why You Need Fat

Your brain is made of 60% fat, and your nerves are coated in the stuff. Without that insulation, all those electrical signals flying around at light speed would go haywire.

Your cells are surrounded in fat, keeping their functional molecules contained away from the watery medium of your body.

Your sex hormones are made from fat (cholesterol, to be precise), and your body fat is necessary to certain stages of their production & metabolism. I’m talking estrogen, progesterone, testosterone: your ability to reproduce. Not to mention all the fun & games to get you there!

Cholesterol is also the base for vitamin D (for your bones and immune system), and for bile, so that you can digest, you got it…fats.

You know all the hype about getting enough essential fatty acids, vitamins A and E? Unless you eat a variety of fat, you’re not getting these goodies.

The fat under your skin insulates you from temperature changes. Boring? That fat also keeps your skin soft & silky.

I know you’d like some of that padding to go away, but it’s actually a protective layer for your vital organs.

Fat & oil in food, when heated, carries the aroma of a meal. It’s why your food smells so delicious: Nature’s way of stimulating your appetite.

When you eat a bit of fat in a meal, it actually slows the digestive process, so you’re satisfied sooner and feel full longer. (Yes, fat, just like fibre, helps you eat less!)

Now tell me, how is any of that bad for you?

“But it’s so high in calories!”

True. A gram of fat has 9 calories, where protein and carbohydrates have 4. There’s a reason for that.

Fat is a storage molecule.

(Technically, we refer to these molecules as lipids: oils in plants, fat in animals/humans.)

The sun’s heat gets trapped when a plant makes sugar (carbs) – we release that energy when we eat the plant (or eat an animal who’s eaten the plant). The plant concentrates that heat into the seed as oil, ensuring it has what’s needed to endure the winter and sprout again come spring.

Animal or human, the fat stores on the body ensure we’ve got the energy to make it until the next meal. (Don’t forget, we’ve evolved through eras of feast or famine.) Like the plant, or the squirrel in your backyard, you have the capacity to store up for a long cold winter.

As a keeper of calories, lipids hold your heat.

Let’s look at what that means at a deeper level.

During the height of summer, a plant’s oils evaporate & disperse into the atmosphere as its perfume. Its essence. It’s how the flower expresses itself, declares its presence to the world, attracts the bees & butterflies that ensure its reproduction. It’s part of what we love about flowers.

Could we say that our essence also manifests through our lipids?

The thoughts, memories, emotions sparking around your brain; the decisions you make and your ability to carry them out, via nerves, to your motor activities…they’re all facilitated and made efficient because of fat.

Your femininity – your curves, your ability to nurture, be receptive and creative, your ability to attract a mate and have a baby – all of it flourishes because of your fat.

Every cell in your body, the houses of your DNA, the machinery that builds and rebuilds the physical aspects of your being, would fall into chaotic disarray without the lipid membrane that keeps it whole.

You solidify the boundary of who you are and you glow with inner light because of the fat in your skin (like an oil lamp).

Just as the flower attracts others with its scent, your own essence – the heat you give off to the world by being fully present in your life – sparks connection with others. In love, in friendship, in work, in community.


To ensure that you’re glowing to your fullest potential, there are, of course, a few guidelines. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of this already, but it bears repeating.

Fat Quality

You need to eat a balance of 3 types of lipids for your body to work at its best.


These fats are easily recognized because they’re more solid at room temperature. Mainly from animal sources (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, butter & cream), they’re also found it coconut and palm oils.

The plant form of saturated fat are very easy to digest and actually help burn other types of fat because they’re made of shorter chains. That is, they provide easily accessible energy.

Egg yolk also contains a fatty compound known as lecithin, which eases your body’s ability to get the fat where it needs to go without damaging any arteries along the way.


Found in poultry fat, which is why it’s more viscous than lard from beef or pork.

The best (and yummiest!) sources are avocado, olives and olive oil.


We know these as the essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6.

Omega-6 are in animal meats, poultry, nuts & seeds and plant oils (corn, safflower, sunflower, etc.), i.e. in fried foods.

Omega-3, the mood-calming, anti-inflammatory fat, comes in leafy greens, fish, grass-fed animal food, seeds such as flax, chia, hemp; nuts like walnut.

We need both types in proper proportion, but our over-use of the one kind has displaced the other and increased our need for it, hence the view that one is better than the other.

Fats and oils are “bad” when they’re out of proportion or no longer in their natural state.

Overheated, these lipids are damaged and lose their nourishing effect beyond the calories they add. (Different oils can withstand different temperatures.)

Processed – hydrogenated, heat extracted, bleached, deodorized – they are stripped of their natural properties, stripped of their essence, their subtle energy.

Which means that your body won’t necessarily recognize them as usable material.

These altered molecules (such as trans fats), when not assimilated effectively into your body, create more work for your liver. Plus, they hang around as free radicals – the scavenger molecules that wreak havoc, leading to inflammation, cardiovascular disease and cancer (among others).

Quantity of Dietary Fat

You need 20-30% (some even say up to 40%) of your calories from fat. If you’re that average person who eats 2000 calories a day, that translates into 44-66 g (88 g) of fat each day.

To give you a practical idea, you need 3-5 servings a day…not a lot:

2 tsp of butter, oil, nut butter = 10 g
2 egg yolks = 9 g
½ avocado = 15 g

You need 1/3 of each type; saturated, mono & polyunsaturated (in equal proportions of omega-6 and omega-3).

As you indulge this holiday season, you’re storing up some extra heat for the winter.

Remember that, as you curl in with more quiet, indoor activity through the cold months, you give your soul a chance to feed its essence for your re-emergence next spring.

No matter what you do eat (or skip) this holiday season, make sure you’re doing so from a place of joy and celebration. (If you missed it, you can still listen to last year’s webinar to help with this.)

In the comments, I’d like to hear how you struggle with the idea of fat or the enjoyment of fatty-rich food. When you share your thoughts, you open the possibilities for others.

Share this wisdom with your friends by clicking on any (or all!) of the pretty green buttons:

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12 Habits for Walkin’ the Self-Love Talk

Seems everywhere I’ve looked this February, there have been blaring neon signs directing me to appreciate self-love as the secret to all my desires. Ok, I posted some of that stuff right here on my own blog: Opening your heart to let love more deeply into your life, and loving yourself as the key to a lasting relationship.

Now that you’ve got the theory down, it’s time to put legs to the ideas and start walkin’ the self-love talk.

Sure, you can put on a fancy dress and treat yourself to a candlelit dinner at your favourite resto. I’m not talking about a rare occasion here, Sweetheart. I’m talking about regular relationship-building at its finest.

How do you practice self-love in a concrete, daily way?

Self-care. Plain & simple.

And what better place to start than with the food you eat and how you eat it.

The quality and energy of the food you put in your mouth is incredibly important. Light years ahead of the number of calories or grams of protein.

Food holds the nourishment for your body.

Notice I didn’t say nutrients.

Nourishment is the act of promoting growth, to “sustain life”. (Webster’s) The word actually comes from the Latin “to suckle”, and the Greek “to flow”.

Nourishment holds the warmth of a mother’s embrace. It flows life back in, as I give out to the world.

You see: change a word in your vocabulary, and the collection of ingredients on your plate transforms alchemically into a source of Love to be taken directly into your body, into your cells.

So now, here’s a list of habits and attitudes to integrate into the way you eat. Ways to raise the vibration of the food you feed yourself and your family. Ways to show yourself just a little more Love every day.

Like a new exercise routine, some parts will hurt more than others, but if you keep your eye on the prize of how it makes you feel: lower weight, better energy, smoother digestion, painless periods, or even a healthier planet,…then it’s a piece of cake!

When it comes to eating (or any) habits, try one new thing a week. Pick whichever one appeals to you the most, and DO it!

  1. Opt for locally grown food; ideally seasonal produce; ideally organic. Other than reducing your carbon & chemical footprint, you’re eating food that’s energetically better suited to your health. (Get a list of the Dirty Dozen – highly sprayed produce you want to make sure to buy organic.)
  2. Eat when hungry. Stop when you’re sated. Even if you think about food as fuel: without the gas, your car won’t run. Overfill the oil pump, and the excess can clog the valves and mess up the spark plugs. Marc David at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating calls this “eating to energy”. Eat until you feel the energy kick in/ stop before you hit the point of feeling dopey.
  3. No multi-tasking: when you eat, sit down and eat. Nothing else, with the exception of an uplifting conversation with someone you love and/or respect.
  4. Chew your food. Chew your food. Chew. Your. Food.
  5. Stick to regularly spaced meals. There’s a reason it’s called “regularity”. If you’ve ever been in NYC during a garbage strike, you know how important getting rid of the waste is.
  6. If it’s not delicious, don’t eat it. If you’re cringing as you put something in your mouth, no matter how “healthy” it is, that’s exactly what your digestive system and cells are doing at their end.
  7. When you eat the same number of calories as your BFF, they cancel each other out. OK, I’ll admit it, my friend & I made this up when were, like, 14. Not scientifically proven or anything, but I do know that, to this day, neither of us has ever had an issue with sitting down and fully enjoying truly yummy food. Especially with friends.
  8. Drink clean, fresh water. Add a squeeze of lemon or a dash of true apple cider vinegar as an apéritif or a digestif. Life doesn’t happen without it. Period.
  9. Eat protein with your breakfast to avoid the mid-morning slump and sweet craving.
  10. Eat a rainbow. As I tell kindergarten students, “Think of how you feel when you see a rainbow. That’s how your cells feel when they receive all those beautiful colours: green, yellow, orange, red, purple, blue” (At least 6 cups of veggies per day, or at least half your plate at each meal.)
  11. Eat whole food: Stay away from anything white: flour products, refined grains, sugar, salt. Stay away from ingredients a 6-year-old can’t pronounce. The more vitality in your meal, the more vitality in your life.
  12. Give your digestive system a regular break. This could mean avoiding a few choice items (sugar, alcohol, fried foods), or a full-on cleanse. You could do this weekly, monthly, seasonally: find a way to give your organs time to rest & regenerate, so they can work to your best advantage.

Don’t forget to pop into the comments below and tell me how you show yourself some love at meal time. When you share your thoughts, you open the possibilities for others.