Most of us just don’t know how to eat fat anymore because we don’t practice it. Eating fat is a basic human act that makes a human healthy. It is satiating and nourishing. It gives energy to act. It replenishes building blocks of the body’s cells. It encourages the body to use fat as energy. This includes the brain.
When you eat fat, there is a feeling of satisfaction, pleasure, and rightness that is different from eating carbohydrates or dry protein. Protein is dry when there isn’t much fat on it. Fat triggers something different in the body, a feeling of abundance and satiety that puts a man at ease. And then, unlike the effect of swallowing a large amount of simpler carbohydrates, the general good feeling is sustained. Energy remains high. The mind is still clear.
Eating fat, though, can be difficult to figure out if you have been avoiding it according to conventional (last fifty or so years) dietary guidelines. This is most notably the food pyramid endorsed by our U.S. government. Fat is the very tip top of that pyramid, a hilariously small corner shared with sugar. When I followed that pyramid, I ate the equivalent of half a loaf of whole wheat bread, two skinless chicken breasts, two salads, and a bowl of whole wheat pasta per day. Because I would still be hungry at night, I usually also had two or three bowls of ice cream, pie, or other dessert after dinner.
I loved to cook, so don’t get me wrong, I would fix up some gourmet meals with these basic “macros” (I cringe at this word). What is the hunger though that persists after all this food? It’s probably a deficit in nutrition. What could I be missing? Well, what did I lunge for but sweet, fatty foods like ice cream? I was craving fat, and when you buy fatty desserts at a store, they’re usually saturated with sugar.
Fat has more calories by mass than other foods. So you’ll see that adding some butter to your rice or stew or veggies will make you fuller. Eating good quality meat with all of the fat will bring you more satiety than will chopping off and discarding the fat. So the amount of food, the actual bulk, that you eat may be reduced eventually. Don’t worry that you aren’t getting enough food to fuel the demands of your exercise, work, and other duties. Go by feel. Don’t waste food. Start small, adding fat like coconut oil, avocados, grass fed butter, and beef, pork, and fish fat to your usual meals. Or go big and learn the hard way like I did, that I no longer needed as much food when more of it was fat.
You can eat at more convenient times of the day, too, with more fat in your diet. After a time of eating breakfasts with more fat and less carbohydrates, you might find that you have better focus and more energy. The morning is a great time to have fat blended in coffee or tea, as fat does not trigger a large insulin response like carbs and protein do. The insulin response is what causes fuzziness. Eating fat in the morning is a great way to have food without breaking energy.
Eventually, you might feel fine without a solid breakfast, or any food for that matter. Just as mornings are quiet in nature, your belly and digestive system can also be quiet. Just hold off on eating for a few hours, maybe until lunch, and you’ll see that avoiding the sugar, carbs, low quality protein, and the vegetable oils in most “break-fast” items will open up a wellspring of energy in the morning. Work hard if you do find the focus, and eat when you need to eat. This is the true breaking of the fast.
Recognize the body’s need for fat. There’s a reason it tastes so good, feels so awesome, and makes you healthier. We came into existence as a species with fat as a food. Our giant brains are made mostly of fat. When you’re hungry, tired, achy, dry, grouchy, moody, and in a slump, stop from eating candy, snacks, and desserts. Hit up that grass fed butter. Eat real food and let good fat be a substantial portion of it. If you finish dinner and are still looking for snacks, think about how much fat was in that dinner. Find more.