Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
30 Nov

How to Eat More Fat

The leaders of the dietary establishment either keeled over or started arming themselves with pitchforks as I wrote that title. (It’s a good day to enjoy the subversion, I think.) On a serious note, let me unpack this worthy question – one I tend to get often: how does one incorporate more fat into a day’s eating? This common inquiry usually comes from someone new to the Primal way of eating; someone that has just started ditching grains and sugars and is having a hard time replacing carbs with the fats they’ve always been told to avoid. And replace, at least in part, they must, or experience the inevitable crankiness and hunger (and possible failure) associated with not eating enough food.

Of all the things we do for our health, I think we all find this to be one of the more enjoyable efforts – at least once we get the hang of it. Go as clean as you can of course – pastured and organic or as close to it as you can obtain and afford. (It ensures better nutrition and fewer toxins.) But let’s not get caught up in details today. I’m ready to dig in. Are you?

Prep Foods Generously with Fat

Oh, those glorious pan drippings that get poured down sinks or thrown away in doubled up Dixie cups! It’s a disgrace really – not to mention a blow to your plumbing. Save the fats! Store them with pride. Put a set of beautiful glass jars on your Christmas list just for this purpose. (And let everyone know exactly how you’ll use them.)

Whether as hot drippings now or precious spoonfuls later, these fresh roasted fats are perfect for braising meats or sautéing stir fry. Alternatively, coat the skin of whatever fowl you’re cooking with a lavish dollop of duck fat, and you’ll have a bird so succulent and skin so crisp it’ll make you cry over your carving knife.

Pair veggies with fats. Sure, the clean and earthy tastes of vegetables stand on their own pretty darn well. (It’s one thing so many people appreciate in going Primal – that reclaimed ability to taste the subtlety of fresh food.) That said, there’s something so uniquely satisfying about vegetables treated to the richness of fats. Anyone who’s roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon grease or drizzled chicken or goose fat over mashed turnips knows what I mean here.

Stock Up on Dark and Organ Meats – and Fat for Fat’s Sake

Who are they calling cheap? The truth is, the anti-fat brigade doesn’t know what they’re missing. Let them pay extra for their boneless, skinless chicken breast. We’re “whole animal” folk here. Their loss is our gain. So, relish those fully skinned chicken thighs, fatty roasts, and offal parts – and the fact that you got a good deal on them. MDA’s got recipes galore to make sure you relish every frugal purchase. Although you’ll be able to build up your own fat stores from cooking alone, consider buying a variety – slabs or rendered fats. Again, even the pastured, organic stuff can be budget-friendly here. A local butcher or direct-sale farm can set you up with fat from beast or fowl.

Fat. Fish.

The fattier the fish, the more chock full it generally is of healthy omega-3s (particularly if it’s wild caught). Think smaller fish like herring, sardines, and anchovies, which are great whole as a snack or in salads. Larger fish like salmon, trout, and mackerel can be a first-rate main course but can also beef up a filling Primal salad.

Bacon. ‘Nuff said?

Add Eggs

The yolk is the star here fat-wise. Beyond the standard – but laudable – breakfast fare and hardboiled snack goodness, add chopped egg to (you guessed it) chopped salads. The uncooked (but heated if you prefer) yolk adds a richness to dressings and sauces.

Don’t Forget the Non-Animal Fats

There’s more to avocados than guacamole – although that alone is enough to love an avocado, isn’t it? Pair it with shrimp or crab in endive lettuce, or grace just about any salad with its creamy presence. (I love it with chicken personally.) Make generous use of coconut oil and palm oil in your recipes as well as olives, nuts, seeds, and coconut meat. We’ve got plenty of recipes for some fresh ideas.

Indulge in Full Fat, Pastured Dairy If You Can Tolerate It

A side note: if you haven’t been able to tolerate low fat milk in the past, don’t write off dairy just yet. Try the real stuff before you cross it off the list. How about melted butter over roasted nuts or some Greek yogurt with a bit of fruit? Or maybe you’re up for good cheese (raw is better if you can get your hands on some) and wine after dinner. Cream? What can’t you add cream to? I’m a sucker for a really good cream sauce over chicken or seafood, and don’t get me started on bisque soup.

“Finish” All Manner of Dishes with an Extra Dash of Fat

Here’s where Primal friendly oils come in especially handy. A really good olive oil will take fresh spinach or salad greens to a whole new level. Avocado oil and sea salt over fresh tomatoes is heaven if I ever tasted it. Whether it’s a splash of macadamia nut oil on a salad or a tablespoon of goose fat in a stew, fat can be a finishing touch like no other. I’m talking layers of flavor, people!

So, I hope I was able to offer a little inspiration for this strenuous endeavor. Now seriously, who’s up for lunch?

Thanks for reading today, everybody. Be sure to share your own ideas for savoring more fat in your Primal Blueprint diet.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I’ve posted a couple of times having taken up Primal after battling Lymphoma. I moved to FL a couple of weeks ago and my new oncologist suggested that I eat more “full fat” yogurt as it seems the chemo did a number on my gut bacteria. My wife loves the stuff and now I’m partaking about 3 times a week. It has helped tremendously. Don’t get too excited about the new Onc. He gave me the CW sigh when I told him I eat a high fat diet and take no meds. A total of 60# weight loss isn’t enough evidence that this works for me. He ordered a full blood panel which I look forward to reviewing with him. I want to see his face when he notes my historical fasting glucose hovered around 120 and is now regularly between 70-80. My BP used to hover in the 150/110 range and his reading was 114/72. I’m sure my blood lipid numbers will be high but I’ve been defending my choices for 2 yrs…ditch the grain and sugar and let your fat flag fly! EAT!

    PMoore wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • Just make sure that your omega 3 and 6 are balanced. High omega 6 is linked to metastasis of cancer.

      Deb Richardson wrote on December 1st, 2011
  2. So my bf went to a Mexican bakery and bought some sweet bread. Oh how I wanted to eat some too. But, I got a bright idea! Maybe the attached sandwich shop sells carnitas by the lb? They did. My bf munched on bread and I devoured a 1/2 lb of fatty, delicious carnitas. Cravings gone!

    Ande wrote on November 30th, 2011
  3. I roasted a duck in coconut oil once…the skin was so succulent and crispy i was in bliss…and the meat was moist and delicious…*drooool*

    Nion wrote on November 30th, 2011
  4. Hi Mark/All

    Is this recommended for loosing weight as well?


    Geoff wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • yes! Eat fat to lose fat. My weight loss always stalls if I’m not getting enough fat.

      Ashley wrote on November 30th, 2011
      • Interesting! Thanks for this!

        Geoff wrote on December 1st, 2011
  5. Great Post Mark! Very timely as I was just wondering today as I was warming up my lunch at work… how do I calculate the calories from fat used to cook meat and veggies?

    I mean, I know if I add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan and fry some asparagus (delicious), a good deal of that oil remains in the pan when finished.

    So as I am really trying to monitor my calorie intake, how do I account for the fats I used for cooking, calorie wise? Thoughts?

    Marlon wrote on November 30th, 2011
  6. Awesome burgers. We buy 100% grass fed ground beef from a local farmer (or grind your own)

    Cook 1 lb of bacon. Pour half the drippings into a second pan. In one pan fry hamburgers, in second pan fry mushrooms and garlic.

    Top cooked beef patty with stips of bacon, mushrooms and a bit of cheese. OMG – YUM!!!!!

    Heather wrote on November 30th, 2011
  7. Palm oil might be good for you, but it’s one of the worst possible oils to choose for the environment. It’s horrible… Causing deforestation, habitat destruction, reduction in biodiversity, etc. The effects of palm oil cultivation would have pissed off Grok.

    Phil wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • Totally agreed!

      It’s actually quite sad, really…

      I’ve seen palm oil used in many primal/paleo baked recipes & will not touch the stuff. I wouldn’t be able to stomach it after seeing all of the sad animals at the zoo whose habitats are being destroyed.

      (Not to say that palm oil is the only concern environmentally-speaking.)

      Sara wrote on November 30th, 2011
  8. I have a tub of lemon-oregano infused turkey drippings sitting in the fridge right now. That darned turkey was put to great use.

    Maoomba wrote on November 30th, 2011
  9. So, Mark, how’s all this dairy making the Primal cut? I knew you indulged occasionally in good cheese (understandable), but the extent of dairy recommendation in this article sounds decidedly un-Primal.

    Mike wrote on November 30th, 2011
  10. After making a batch of Bacon I’m roasting Brussel Sprouts in the left over Bacon Fat tonite! Yum!! Great Article :) THANK YOUU!

    Pandaglam wrote on November 30th, 2011
  11. Just curious what is everyone’s average fat percentage intake ? Mine hovers at around 52 %

    Steve wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • 60-70%

      Hopeless Dreamer wrote on November 30th, 2011
  12. I saw that someone asked this with no reply that I could find. How should you store bacon fat? Sealed jar? Glass or plastic? Refrigerate? How long will it last? Lol, wife and I pour out tons of bacon grease every week, never ever thought of saving it, this is gonna be huge for our household!

    Paul wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • We strain it and keep in glass jars, closed, in the refrigerator.
      Someone mentioned it keeps for a year, but for us it is gone in no time!

      mary b wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • I pour bacon fat into a coffee mug and keep it uncovered in the fridge. The one fat that I MUST freeze is poultry fat. That seems to go bad in a short time. It is easy to scoop out while frozen. I saute vegetables with it before pouring in the stock. Pastured lard seems to get rancid kind of quickly. I only keep a pint in the fridge and leave the rest in the freezer.
      I have found tallow to be too hard to use after it has cooled in a coffee mug. I melted it and poured it into an ice cube tray. This is for ice cubes that are long and thin for adding to a water bottle. Once the fat was solid, I stacked up the sticks into another container that I keep in the freezer. I have to use tallow to cook grassfed ground beef because it is so lean.

      ValerieH wrote on November 30th, 2011
  13. My favorite new fat to cook with now is duck fat. I use it for pork beef and chicken it is great and I found out about it here on mda

    Gayle wrote on November 30th, 2011
  14. I am proud to say I just rendered the venison fat from my husband’s deer – looks delicious, although I am still working through some other fat I also have in the fridge.

    My husband just looked at me and asked what I was going to do with it now that I had it…


    Kerstin wrote on November 30th, 2011
  15. So glad to see a post on this, Mark.

    One thing I find helps get the point across to people new to the PB is this: We need a limited number of grams of protein and carbs per day, and there are ways to figure out our individual needs. Once we know those two amounts, we can quickly see that they don’t amount to enough calories to get us through – and the balance needs to come from somewhere else, namely the third macronutrient – fat.

    So the questions become, how much fat, and from what sources?

    In other words, people who are afraid of fat trying to limit it are doing so by getting their calories from too many carbs, too much protein, or both.

    People need this simple fact pointed out to them, in order for the “ah ha!” moment to take place. They can’t really argue with sound metrics. Once they know there’s a way to figure out their individual macronutrient needs – they can focus more on that and less on conventional wisdom. Or so it seems to me.

    I’d love to see a greater focus on your blog about metrics and using them to figure out what our needs are. I’m not advocating a rigid Zone-type regime, but I would like to see more of an emphasis on how to balance macros without making ourselves crazy.

    I’ve talked to many Ivy-educated people who don’t even know what the 3 macronutrients are – much less how to balance them. All they think is that fat is bad. Once they exclude them, it gives them the green light, so they think, to eat carbs. They’ve heard there are “good fats,” but they often don’t know what they are off hand, much less how much to consume. Total vagueness.

    P.S. I love macadamia nuts drizzled with coconut oil. Yum. :-)

    Susan Alexander wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • I am struggling still with knowing the needs of myself and my family – husband and kids 1 and 3 years.
      How do you determine how much of each macronutrient?

      Jill wrote on November 30th, 2011
  16. Hi all! Nice discussion! WHEAT BELLY is one of the best books I have ever read in my life! And it’s been written by a cardiologist, which adds quite some weight to the issue. It makes me so very angry that this stuff about grains and hybrid wheat has been known for so long and NOTHING is done by the main governments to try and educate the population, putting financial gain over people’s health. I once heard that the drugs companies and arms dealers have a lot in common – add to that agrobusiness!

    Olivia wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • That would explain the Feds’ armed raids on Amish farmers and even organic food stores, as well as the onerous regulations placed on family farms. If you are a big Agro lobbyist, you can get your senator to bankrupt the local farms. Large dairy firms payed off a senator to get laws that prevent farms from selling raw dairy in a certain state. These laws keep animals in CAFOs suffering.

      I stopped using the canola and the soybean oils, now using olive oil, coconut oil and even macademia oil.

      Not sure how Grok would approve of raw goat milk, though.

      Dave W wrote on December 1st, 2011
  17. Try coconut milk ice cream. The recipe is on Whole foods web site. The recipe is chock full of fat sans the sugar and using full fat coconut milk will notch it up.

    Miguel wrote on November 30th, 2011
  18. My two fatty favorites are macadamia nuts (21 g fat per 1 oz serving) and homemade “coconut manna” (9g fat per tbsp).

    It couldn’t be easier or cheaper to make your own coconut “manna”. See my recipe at:

    Kate wrote on November 30th, 2011
  19. I love getting my fat fix through breves. basically a latte made with half-n-half

    Doug wrote on November 30th, 2011
  20. Bacon in Australia is lovely stuff….but for some reason the fat doesn’t render out like bacon in the States. So….no grease. Sadness!

    Shelli wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • Probably like British bacon. I love that stuff. If you can get the proper cut of hog(asian grocers sometimes have them) you can cure it yourself.

      Kenny wrote on December 1st, 2011
      • …….cure your own ‘american’ bacon

        Kenny wrote on December 1st, 2011
    • Can you send some American bacon fat so I can cook this Australian bacon. Sorry Aussies, you don’t have bacon!

      Tom wrote on December 1st, 2011
  21. …..I can eat bacon? And (organic) butter? OMG I feel like I’ve been deprived!

    JEN wrote on November 30th, 2011
  22. I wasn’t a fan of brussels sprouts until I tried Nick Massie’s Sprouts with bacon, onion and granny smith apples. WOW! I can’t get enough of them now.

    We made the recipe for Thanksgiving and our guests destroyed it.

    Check out the recipe on the CrossFit Journal.

    BobChase wrote on November 30th, 2011
  23. Bacon + cheese = heaven. So glad I don’t have to resist it any more.

    My family’s favourite meal is roasted sausages and vegetables – throw it all in one baking tray, drizzle on the oil and a sprinkling of herbs and 40 minutes later dinner is ready!

    pixiedon wrote on November 30th, 2011
  24. I just added more olive oil to my salad. That’s how you add more fat :-)

    Dave Rittel wrote on November 30th, 2011
  25. At the top of my list is brisket or cow belly. My morning meal(I don’t do lunch or breakfast) 4 mornings a week is brisket cut into small pieces and cooked in a frying pan. I would have it the other mornings but I’ve eaten it all.

    It gets top marks for adding fat, protein , bags of flavour. It’s close but I think it just beats bacon. And it is from really healthy (almost pet cows), well fed and very cheap from my local small scale meat supplier.

    Phil wrote on November 30th, 2011
  26. I’m new to PB and this blog came at a great time as I am having to re-train my mind not to be afraid of fat. So many years of conditioning to believe that fat and cholesterol are bad. I love to watch the Food Network and the Cooking Channel and the chef/cooks are always generous with fats — starting many dishes with bacon fat or drippings. I used to eliminate that step, but now incorporate it… and love it. And so does my family.

    Bethany wrote on November 30th, 2011
  27. Just got a little sick from downing 20 grams of Ghee with my dinner – I’m clearly on my way to MORE FAT :)

    ita wrote on November 30th, 2011
  28. I love to add fresh butter and/or organic coconut oil to the things that I cook – even after I steam them. Just discovered sunflower seed butter too which is a great snack on veggies.

    Shirley wrote on November 30th, 2011
  29. I was going to suggest strapping down Dr. Oz, shoving him full of a a glorious fatty mixture of bacon fat, ghee, coconut oil, lard, tallow and duck fat until he chokes, rubbing him with the remaining fat mixture, roasted him then chowing down. But then I remembered he’s all full of grain and probably wouldn’t taste very good.

    Kris wrote on November 30th, 2011
  30. Pesto made with olive or a nut oil plus fresh herbs and your favorite nut (soaked and dried!) all blended together makes for a delicious, easy, fatty topping for an endless variety of meals! I vary the combination of herbs and nuts depending on what I plan use the pesto for. Almond + cilantro, walnut + parsley, pecan or pine nuts + basil.

    kmonsterg wrote on November 30th, 2011
  31. Need more bacon!

    Mike wrote on November 30th, 2011
  32. 2 words…..pork belly…..

    Rio wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • Much more appealing than wheat belly.


      Lisa wrote on November 30th, 2011
      • Damn straight :)

        Rio wrote on December 1st, 2011
  33. I saved the fat from our Thanksgiving free-range turkey drippings and used it to fry eggs for everyone the next morning. Added some reheated leftover veggies and mushrooms for sides. Soooo good!

    Sue wrote on November 30th, 2011
  34. My arteries just clogged reading this post! Yuk!

    catherine p. wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • oh catherine, catherine…


      iCan wrote on November 30th, 2011
      • does she not get that CARBS clog our bodies,NOT FAT!?

        Hopeless Dreamer wrote on November 30th, 2011
        • Well the way I understand it is if we mix fat and carbs together then we get in trouble. I read the post on leptin and carb reset and I think the point is that low fat or low carbs seems to have the same effect as long as you don’t use both fats and carbs. I have to admit that I am borderline vegan (only eat fish once in a while) no dairy or eggs. I don’t stuff on wheat and refined products, nor sugary things. And I never felt better in my life. That being said I am always interested in every point of view (that’s why I read this blog from time to time. But so far the full fat no carb thing did not convince me at all.

          catherine wrote on December 2nd, 2011
        • Just read the article on cholesterol and atherosclerosis; here’s the core of your argument: ‘a diet high in simple carbs that most readily promotes the formation of these small LDL particles’ (the bad guys). I guess no matter your inclinaison (can I say that in English?)as long as you steer away from those you should be fine right?

          catherine wrote on December 2nd, 2011
  35. Yes, we love good fats and good fats love us back!

    I’ve been making a coconut milk cocoa, unsweetened. Just a can of coconut milk with about 1 T. of good quality cocoa powder, warmed gently. So good.

    Lauren wrote on November 30th, 2011
  36. Yup, ‘Soy Delicious’ is making coconut milk yogurt, and it’s okay…..but if you can tolerate dairy and you live in Canada – LIBERTE from Quebec….Best yogurt ever. Ever.

    Dorrie Williams wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • Agree! Depending where people are in the States, you can get it here as well. I discovered Liberte yogurt several months ago at our local Wegmans, and don’t eat any other yogurt now (unless they’re out, which happens occasionally).

      iCan wrote on November 30th, 2011
  37. Bacon and three or four eggs at least twice a week; greek yogurt and coconut oil for breakfast every day; lots of almonds; cook everything in butter, coconut oil or olive oil; homemade almond/coconut milk lattes; if I crave carbs during the day I will supplement with a tablespoon of coconut oil. And my omega 3 supplements.

    Mary wrote on November 30th, 2011
  38. Don’t know if anyone mentioned this, but cracklings with real salt are one of my favorite snacks. I think I’ll render some more lard soon just so I can have some! I store them in my freezer and then heat up a bit in the oven for a quick snack.

    julie wrote on November 30th, 2011
  39. I saw the title of this post and thought “yes, please!”

    Animal fat is one of the greatest things of this life :)

    Mauricio wrote on November 30th, 2011
  40. Having one clogged carotid and high cholesterol, all I can say in reponse is… this is irresponsible advisement, and nonsense. Speaking to GOOD fats, Omega 3s and 6s, yes… please do indulge, but cholesterol? Get ready for heart disease. Absolutely nuts. Nuts? Absolutely!

    5thfoot wrote on November 30th, 2011

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!