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. Yeah, I did forget to mention the stroke. in my forties, and not overweight when that happened. 6′, 153.

    5thfoot wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • Cholesterol is just the band-aid that repairs your damaged artery, leaving the scar. The inflammatory damage from eating grains and sugar, omega-6 oils, or excessive stress is to blame – not the band-aid that stopped you from bleeding to death. Even notice how people with cuts are wearing band-aids? Direct correlation! Band-aids must cause cuts! And there you go. You’re welcome.

      knifegill wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • >the stroke. in my forties, and not overweight when that happened. 6′, 153.

      Sounds more like a genetic problem than a dietary problem then, doesn’t it.

      Ladarzak wrote on January 14th, 2012
  2. I just started an IV drip of bacon grease.

    Fat Bastard wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • LOL!

      Christine wrote on November 30th, 2011
  3. Sometimes, I like to eat dairy like it’s going out of style. Delicious.

    Meagan wrote on November 30th, 2011
  4. Wait a minute! I’m confused. I’m on a low carb diet trying to loose weight but what about my cholesterol? I’m already on medication. Won’t this wonderful fat filled diet cause me more problems?

    Paula wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • No, low cholesterol IS a problem. The higher your cholesterol, the longer you will live.

      knifegill wrote on November 30th, 2011
  5. I have been cooking everything in duck fat since Thanksgiving! It is the best! Do I need to keep it in the fridge???

    lanz wrote on November 30th, 2011
  6. What a turn on….

    Christine wrote on November 30th, 2011
  7. Greek yogurt with pumpkin, sunflower and almonds with a touch of honey… loove it

    mick wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • sunflower and pumpkin seeds that is

      mick wrote on November 30th, 2011
  8. Thanks for this post! Going to share it on our site tomo.

    Anna wrote on November 30th, 2011
  9. Mark, is it worth making a distinction between raw and cooked fats. Does fat that has been ‘cooked’ provide the same benefits as fat in its raw uncooked form? Does the high temperatures from cooking not change the chemical structure of fat, at least to some degree, therefore making the fat something potentially unhealthy?

    Are raw egg yolks not better than scrambled eggs? Is raw extra virgin olive oil not better than fried extra virgin olive oil? Are the omega 3’s in fish oil not denatured by heat? etc.

    These are arguments ive heard from the raw food community which the paleo community dont seem to consider much.

    Dave wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • Tapeworms must love you.

      knifegill wrote on November 30th, 2011
  10. I rendered a LOT of really pure, gorgeous beef fat from some bones my husband got cheap…I ended up with delicious bone broth and about 2 cups of fat, which I use to saute’ onions, sweet potatoes, whatever. Gives a subtle beefy flavor I love, AND it’s frugal.

    Kate (Cathy Johnson) wrote on November 30th, 2011
  11. If bacon is considered good, and we are to eat plenty of it, what is considered unhealthy fat? I have been cutting the starchy carbs and sugars, adding in lots of veggies, meat and fat, and recently had blood work done. My numbers were worse than before starting the change in diet. On another note, I do have more energy, so I do believe this way of eating is positive to me. Just curious about how much fat is too much? And what is considered “bad fat” here?

    andrew wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • Bad fats are industrial oils like soybean, corn, and rapeseed. These are heavily oxidized and damage cells. Synthetic trans-fats are another devil we don’t touch. As for naturally occurring omega-6 fatty acids, they are part of a balanced diet. Eat enough fish to even out the omega 3:6 ratio so it’s between 1:4 and 1:1, and keep total intake of PUFAs low, even the omega 3’s should only make up a small part of your fat intake. Most fat should come from healthy, grass-fed animals in the form of saturated fat, but coconut oil and coconut milk are also considered to be healthy fats.

      knifegill wrote on November 30th, 2011
      • Thanks, I forgot about those evil oils! I guess my question now is, can there be too much fat? My blood lipids were really bad after switching to this diet, so makes me think I went overboard on these fats. I do eat grass fed, wild caught. No feedlot products

        andrew wrote on November 30th, 2011
      • What about when you heat these ‘healthy’ fats e.g. fry with them or put them in an oven for an hour or two, does that not do any damage to them, potentially making them unhealthy? At a certain temperature the chemical structure of fats will permanently change.

        Why is it often recomended that if you are going to fry foods you use a more heat stable oil such as coconut oil?

        There are lots of fats you can eat in their raw state eg olive oil, avacodos, coconut oil, sushi, raw butter, raw cream, eggs, meat cooked rare.

        High quality fish oils produced by the likes of Nordic Naturals use minimal heat in their processing for a reason ie to retain as much as possible the integrity of the oil.

        Im clueless on this topic but in the meantime I will stick to consuming the majority of my fats and oils in their raw state until more research is available on the effects of high tempertaures (via cooking) on fats and oils in relation to health.

        Dave wrote on December 1st, 2011
  12. I-Would-insist-that-you-post-coconut-yogurt-recipe-
    haha…I have been trying and trying to start this, and fail as soon as I get a headache,weak trembly thing from the sugar/carb withdrawal…That IS what it is, right???

    I’m a many times over mom and cook for a cast of …
    you get the picture.
    will try again tomorrow.

    laurie wrote on November 30th, 2011
  13. Hollandaise sauce (butter AND egg yolks) is delicious on lots of foods….salmon, for one. Bernaise sauce on beef! I’ve got easy, no fail recipes for both. Also, how about chicken liver pâté? Organ meat, butter, eggs! Ecstasy.

    Donna wrote on November 30th, 2011
  14. I would also like to see a post on how to determine how much fat you should consume for your body type. I have RA and some saturated fat, eggs,dairy and among other things can trigger flares. I consume coconut oil in the morning and coconut milk. Frankly I don’t think I am consuming enough fats for all the carbs I don’t eat.

    Marybeth wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • It is really hard to over eat on the good fats.

      Ever try to eat a pound of butter? If you eat too much Mother Nature will send it back up on the same path it went down.

      J-Alta-K wrote on December 1st, 2011
  15. Hi Mark – I posted this recipe on Nikoley’s site, and I thought you might enjoy this as a way to get additional fat down your gullet. My wife & I sometimes eat 1-2 of these a couple hours after dinner, especially if we’re feeling a hunger pang. They taste good and certainly do the trick. Coconut oil balls: 1 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup organic powdered cacao, 1-2 tbsp maple syrup, 1/2 cup coconut shreds, mix it with hands to form balls, roll the balls in small bowl
    of more shredded coconut. Freeze. Each ball contains approx. 1 1/2-2 tbsp of coconut oil.

    Ron wrote on November 30th, 2011
  16. Mmmm… Love me some fat! The more the better, makes everything much more tastier!

    Erik wrote on November 30th, 2011
  17. Fat is good! Especially bacon fat! mmmmm

    EZ wrote on November 30th, 2011
  18. I have to laugh because this is one dietary thing I’ve NEVER needed help with (she says recalling the spoonfuls of coconut oil topped with pecans and cinnamon that she had for “dessert”).

    Tina wrote on November 30th, 2011
  19. I’ve been getting Mark’s Daily Apple for some time now. I have been FAT Phobic in big Does. Such as 1T is Plenty for me. Also looking for the Lean Chicken Breasts, Cuts of meats, 2% Dairy, etc. It is amazing, how Fat has really been the Key to Loosing weight. I had done Atkins years ago, not to loose weight, but due to Gluten, Carb Issues. I felt better and I actually never Craved Sugar or carbs like now. I realize the more Fats I eat the less I crave. Any Suggestions On How to Slowly Let go of the 2-4 Carb servings I eat in the Form of Cookies and bagel. I am underweight and have High Cholesterol.

    I actually Need to gain about 7 pounds. I dont want to gain Fat Weight though. Would Love your thoughts on how to gain Healthy weight eating all the fat. Not Fat weight. Thanks

    tam wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • mark did a post called “how to gain muscle and weight” or something – look in the archives…

      Hopeless Dreamer wrote on December 1st, 2011
  20. Eggs are delicious fried slowly in butter with an extra dollop on top!

    NorfolkAndy wrote on November 30th, 2011
  21. Growing up with parents that were from the south, everything was cooked with bacon grease in it. Then when I had kids and the body got fat, the doctors said eat low fat, restrict calories, etc. Been fat all these years, now losing weight eating bacon fat and other great food and loving it! Not even missing the grain really, but only 2 month into primal so keeping my fingers crossed!

    Beverly wrote on November 30th, 2011
  22. I had trouble adding in fats beyond olive oil but began using bacon/meat fat and eating a couple avacodoes a week and watched my blood pressure (which was already good) drop – the new, lower numbers are so making my dad (runner-man) envious.

    I make a beef roast that comes out with a thick-ish layer of olive oil and meat bits flavoured w/ all the spices used that I save and use as a spread for everything else!

    Fat is Fabulous, people.

    Melinda wrote on November 30th, 2011
  23. this morning, I made eggs over mashed cauliflower…. I added a great big heaping spoonful of leftover bacon/mushroom dip (from the 30 minute primal cookbook) to the cauliflower… and omg….

    I plan on having a container of that dip in my fridge at all times now…. it’s an amazing finish for just about anything… add some extra cream and it becomes a sauce… spread it on chicken breasts with a slice of avocado… or mix it with some good olive oil and it becomes an incredible salad dressing.

    Pookie wrote on November 30th, 2011
  24. Laurie, the sugar withdrawal headache lasted two days for me. A couple Advil helped me get through it. You can do it!

    Albertasara wrote on November 30th, 2011
  25. I just finished rendering about five quarts of lard from a wild hog. There was a bumper crop of acorns and the swamp was dry this year. The belly fat on the sow was about two inches thick. The oil was clear and golden before it thickened. I plan to give some of it as Christmas gifts this year.
    I smoked the ribs on a grill earlier tonight and they were succulent. One thing you notice about this wild meat is how satisfying it is. Instead of plowing through rib after rib, we were sated rather quickly.
    I can’t wait to get at the cracklin’s but I’m actually still cooking it down. If you’ve never had the meat of a wild pig you don’t know what you’re missing.

    Bill wrote on November 30th, 2011
    • That sounds amazing. This city girl is envious!

      Amanda wrote on December 1st, 2011
  26. save the fat from roasting a duck in a drip tray below the oven rack, use this fat to roast your winter veggies in….delish!

    rob wrote on November 30th, 2011
  27. I’m fairly new to this site and way of eating. This was a great post! I love that I can have bacon and eggs for breakfast again! I’ve been off grains and bad carbs almost two months now and never crave them anymore. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing the weight I need to lose coming off. That’s a bummer all by itself, but the other thing that concerns me and that I never see mentioned here is sodium. Bacon is loaded with it and I find myself thirsty all day after eating it. As a baby boomer I’m wondering if all the salt/sodium consumed from eating primally is okay? Any thoughts on this?

    Debbie wrote on December 1st, 2011
    • There are a couple of things that could be going on. Are you eating too low carb (<50 g per day)? Because that could cause your cortisol levels to increase and prevent you from losing weight. Check out Mark's 'carb curve'. Also, are you eating a lot of fruits? Because replacing grains and bad carbs with lots of fruit could prevent weight loss because they have a lot of sugar. The sugar could also cause increased thirst. I really doubt it's the salt.

      Elisa wrote on December 1st, 2011
  28. I have hypoglycemia, so I need to eat a lot of fat in order to prevent anxiety. I’ve been doing research in Chile for a few months, where many of the meats are really lean and sometimes it’s not clear whether they’re pastured. Plus, one of my staples in the US was full fat Fage greek yogurt, but most yogurts here are ‘diet’ or full of sugar and I haven’t found an equivalent to the stuff back home. So it was difficult to adjust at first. But I was super excited when I found bacon (!). Now I use the bacon fat to cook other things too. And many of their other pork products, like chuletas (pork chops) and costillas (ribs) are super tasty. Now I’m settled in :)

    Elisa wrote on December 1st, 2011
  29. I’m about ten days into primal eating. I’m down about 8 pounds. Our indoctrination against healthy fats is so thorough, even I have a moment’s pause before eating some delicious bacon. I’ve always loved the crisp skin of a roasted chicken or turkey; now I understand that I crave it because it’s good for me.

    Paul Weber wrote on December 1st, 2011
  30. Wouldn’t the fats on grain fed animals be too full of omega 6 and should stick to lean meats unless you can afford grass fed?

    Jon slaughter wrote on December 1st, 2011
  31. I find being primal I missed egg sandwiches, but realized it wasn’t the bread I missed, but the mayo. I put a tbsp of mayo on my plate and just eat the fried eggs that way. Ta da. :)

    I think that counts in the “upping the fats” department. I also find that the more good fats I eat, the less I eat/the hungry I am generally. I fast often not to intentially do it, but just because I’m not hungry at all. It’s the miracle of mayo. :)Since I find making homemade to be a pain, I’m glad to finally find a non-soy/non hydrogenated real mayo at the health food store. Yay.

    Michelle Fire Eater wrote on December 1st, 2011
    • What mayo are you using? I love mayo too and hate making my own, but I haven’t found any in our local markets (health food or otherwise) that aren’t made with the unhealthy seed oils. I’d love a brand name to look for. Thanks!

      Debbie wrote on December 1st, 2011
      • but it’s so easy! bang 2 eggs in a food processor with garlic, lemon and salt, then whiz while you slowly add very light tasting olive oil….so good, i have it on my salad every day.

        Rio wrote on December 1st, 2011
  32. Find a grass fed beef or pastured pork farmer in your area. I made friends with mine and he GIVES me boxes of leaf lard to render at home. Not many people have caught on to that yet, so theres not much demand for it.

    tara wrote on December 1st, 2011
  33. How do you know when stored fat goes rancid? I know it is a silly question, as I assume it smells, but how long can you save fat?

    Vicki wrote on December 1st, 2011
  34. Had “Bullet Proof” Herbal tea this morning — Rooibos Chai flavor with about 2 tsp pastured butter, some coconut oil and a bit of cream for the color. Fabulous and filling. (I did have a slice of ham, as well.)

    Diane wrote on December 1st, 2011
  35. I definitely don’t need help eating fat these days but this would’ve been great for me when I first started out. Mmmm fat

    Dani wrote on December 1st, 2011

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