I’ve been reading quite a few books helping me in my quest to find a perfect Eating Green model. So far, I’m finding that a little more difficult than I anticipated. My research and experience is showing there is no “perfect model”, but taking a little from each program and expert I discover.
It was hard to get past some of the information from the latest book I read, Eat Fat, Get Thin by Mark Hyman. For the past couple years, I have strived to maintain a healthy weight while not worrying about calories and fat content. I focused solely on eating organic, local, whole foods. I eliminated processed foods. I joined a farm share, planted a garden, and got eggs fresh out of chickens’ butts. And even though I worked out every day and ate good whole foods, I still gained weight.
Recently, I went back to counting my calories and making sure I don’t go over. I still ensure my food is whole and unprocessed, which, not going to lie, makes it more difficult to log, but I do it. And FINALLY, I am starting to see a slow shift in weight.
And now, I listen to yet another book telling me not to worry about calories. With EFGT, you don’t count calories. You cut out any processed food, even whole grain products, cut out all sugars (even honey, maple syrup, and stevia), and eat only whole fruits and veggies (going easy on the fruits), unprocessed meats, and healthy fats. And you will lose all the weight you desire. It’ll just fall right off your body effortlessly.
Eat Fat, Get Thin has lots of studies to show it will work better than low fat, restrictive calorie diets. I don’t really doubt the studies. I am thinking of the difference between 2014 when I first started ZooFit (which in its infancy wasn’t nearly as environmentally focused as it is now) and the ZooFit I practice today.
I made a list of foods I ate when I lost over 50 pounds in 5 months in 2014. It included Egg Beaters, non-fat cow’s milk, Tyson chicken, canola cooking spray, non-fat butter spray, non-fat yogurt, and lots of veggies. Some of the things that make nutritionists and especially environmentalists cringe.
I read labels, but the only thing I was focused on back in 2014 was palm oil. I gave up processed foods like donuts and cake, but still let myself eat processed meats like hotdogs and deli meat. I drank the hell out of Crystal Light, ate granola (totally not Paleo, gasp!) like candy on hikes and at work, and drank sugary protein shakes.
Today, in 2018, I eat a lot healthier, at least by most nutritionists’ standards. I also eat a helluva lot greener, that is, environmentally conscious. Instead of Egg Beaters, which are filled with ingredients I can’t even pronounce, I eat whole eggs. I drink coconut milk. Goat cheese has replaced most other dairy, and I don’t buy Tyson chicken anymore. I get free range, antibiotic-free, non-soy fed chicken. Honestly, if I could find a farmer who let me pick out the chicken I wanted to eat, I’d be down for that. I cut out all hydrogenated oils and stay with extra virgin olive oil. Crystal Light hasn’t been in our home for over 3 years. I drink water mostly, with tea in the mornings and in the evening. I use sparse amounts of honey to sweeten my plain Greek yogurt or my Yerba Mate tea. I choose the locally sourced raw honey.
I do all this, and my weight has steadily gone up over the last three years. It wasn’t until I started tracking my calories that I’ve noticed any change.
Eat Fat, Get Thin is far from the first diet to recommend not tracking calories. Whole30 doesn’t track them. They urge participants to not weigh themselves either. This month, by weighing myself every three days, I have found it helps me stay on track with my fitness. It reinforces my behavior when I see the number going down. Paleo doesn’t track calories, either. By their reasoning, if you are eating whole, healthy, primitive type foods, you shouldn’t have to worry about the scale or counting calories.
I trudged on with the book, 1) because I rarely leave a book unfinished (except for Outlander) and 2) because what Hyman was saying in his book made sense to a degree. It’s not the fat’s fault we gain weight, it’s sugar. And he was starting to speak my language when he got into his program and how to eat healthy on it.
I am beginning to appreciate many diet and nutrition books looking into more than just the latest fad for us to lose weight. More and more, I am hearing doctors and nutritionists, as well as fitness experts advocate eating whole foods, grown locally, sustainably, and ethically. Hyman was no different, but I was impressed with his level of knowledge concerning environmental impacts of the food he recommended.
The book does mention palm oil. And I know, unrefined palm oil has many health benefits. It’s one of the trickiest conundrums surrounding the product. It can be very good for us. However, Hyman does cover the dark side to palm oil. Not only does the industry clear cut (slash and burn) the forests, killing hundreds of native wildlife and leaving hundreds more without homes, but it contributes more to carbon emissions than all the transportation industry combined (planes, automobiles, and trains).
There are healthy ways to incorporate fat into our diet. And we should incorporate it into our diet. There’s a reason it’s a macronutrient. We NEED it to survive. Eating healthy fats and eliminating the high sugar, industrialized foods can help us with our nutrition goals, and possibly even save our lives.
My husband has been looking into Keto diet, which is basically what I feel the Eat Fat, Get Thin program is based off. So, this was an important book to pay attention to. The Eat Fat, Get Thin diet can help fight cancer, diabetes, and obesity. My research has shown a Keto diet is not recommended for those with high blood pressure, or with kidney disease (ding ding ding, warning bells), but the Eat Fat, Get Thin program has no such warnings. That’s because where Keto advocates eating ALL KINDS of fat, EFGT advocates HEALTHY fats, with a moderate amount of healthy, unprocessed, unrefined carbs. Get rid of the bread and go snack on some broccoli.
What I liked best about Eat Fat, Get Thin was Hyman’s philosophy on cooking. Oh, he was a genius on the topic of cooking.
From Eat Fat, Get Thin, “Our lack of knowledge holds us hostage. But we can cook our way out of healthcare, environmental, and financial crisis. Making your own food is essentially a political act that allows us to take back our power.”
Hyman says when we let others cook and process all our food for us, we lose our connection to our world and to ourselves. When we take the time to take care of ourselves, we see how intimate an experience enjoying our food can be.
This recipe is not from Hyman’s book, it is a modified recipe from a Keto Plan. I made this for my husband, who has chronic kidney disease. He does have to watch his protein intake carefully, so we modified the recipe to increase the fat and calories, HEALTHY fats and calories, and decrease the meat. I fix this casserole on Sunday night and he enjoys it every morning for breakfast Monday through Friday.
Since my husband isn’t concerned with calories, you may want to adjust the fats to bring down the count. If you are a stringent calorie counter, I do not recommend this recipe. I’m just sayin’.
Breakfast Casserole for Eat Fat, Get Thin
- 2 medium sized leeks, rinsed well
- 5 slices nitrite-free bacon
- 9 eggs
- 1 ½ cup canned coconut milk
- ¼ cup shredded cheese, such as Manchego
- ½ cup olive oil (this is highly increased from the 3 Tablespoons to give hubby more calories and healthy fat)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 10-15 spears of asparagus (or 3 cups broccoli or other preferred veggies)
- Oil a 9×13 baking pan well
- Cut leeks lengthwise in quarters. Chop and place into a bowl. Rinse very well (if you’ve gotten organic leeks, they will have more dirt under the surface of the first several layers). Place chopped leeks in the oiled baking pan.
- Fry bacon in medium sized skillet until just done. Leave bacon grease in pan. Chop or cut bacon into pieces and sprinkle them over the leeks.
- Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add coconut milk, shredded cheese, olive oil, spices, and cornstarch. Mix until well blended. Pour over leeks and bacon and stir to mix ingredients well.
- Heat skillet again and add asparagus or other veggies to pan. Saute for 5 minutes. Place on top of egg mixture.
- Set oven to 400 degrees F. Place baking pan in oven for 35 minutes. Turn off oven and let passively cook for another 10 minutes, or until done. Split casserole into five servings. Simply reheat in oven or microwave when ready to eat.(Photo not my own. My husband eats the casserole too quickly to get a decent picture- click on photo to take you to a different keto breakfast casserole recipe)
What ways can you incorporate healthy fats into your diet to eat well for you and the planet?