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. If I can’t get enough fat from my meal I have some dark chocolate. My favorite is Endangered Species 88%(black panther). Even if you ate half the bar there is a minimal insulin response(5g sugar) and anytime there is more fiber than sugar it’s a +

    Tyler wrote on December 1st, 2011
  2. Hi all.. does anyone drink heavy cream? I heard it’s pretty good fat. If so what brands would be good to try?

    Bryan wrote on December 1st, 2011
  3. My big issue is not liking to find globs of fat in my food, especially soups or stews. The way I was raised, I guess — my mom patted every piece of meat dry with a paper towel rather than have us eat any fat.

    My solution is to use the fat with something that absorbs it. Sauteing onions before adding them to anything lets them soak up a ton of fat. If you’re willing to use a little bit of starch, like arrowroot or tapioca, they are great for making roux, which will help disperse the fat through the soup. Or just drop in an egg yolk while the soup is cool, and bring up to egg-cooking temp once it’s blended in.

    Dairy fats are already in suspension when they’re in cream, milk, yogurt, and cheese, so they’re my favorite.

    Sheila wrote on December 1st, 2011
  4. I’m trying to figure out if non-organic butter is all that bad. And if non-organic bacon (no idea where to get organic) is too high in toxins and omega6’s no not be worth eating.

    Dave wrote on December 1st, 2011
  5. I LOVE bacon and so do my 4 kids. We make it in large quantities. It’s easiest to do it in the George Foreman, then collect the fat that runs out and let it separate. THEN pour it into ice cube trays and let it freeze. I keep the cubes in a big ziploc bag and throw in a cube (or 2 or 3) when I cook veggies, or soups or whatever. Much easier than scooping every time.

    Theresa wrote on December 1st, 2011
  6. What a great blog…and lots of informative ideas in the comments. I am reposting this post on my site…thanks Mark!

    Penny wrote on December 1st, 2011
  7. There’s more to avocados than guacamole – although that alone is enough to love an avocado, isn’t it?

    DEAR GOD. That sentence made me want avocados so bad.

    Pinay wrote on December 1st, 2011
  8. I’m glad you mentioned non animal fats too. Of that ilk my favorite is Artisana coconut butter. But even better than that is the raw butter from Organic Pastures, amazing product.

    My diet includes so much fat, your run of the mill nutritionist would freak! :)

    Justin wrote on December 1st, 2011
  9. A bone broth whether chicken, pork or beef made with neck bones and feet will render a broth so filling one bowl will do. Lots of fat!

    Lily Pink wrote on December 2nd, 2011
    • did you add a small splash of live vinegar to the mix before cooking? very important to bring out the nutrients from the bones.
      A friend brought me a whole lot of venison bones – does’t get much better that that! So lean I had to brown them in lard first, and by the way watch out you people for supermarket lard – it’s partly hydrogenated … yucky. Find a farmer, I always say.

      Patty wrote on December 3rd, 2011
  10. Recently, I started using organic coconut oil for all my sauteing needs, and found it has an additional benefit of not going rancid when heated at high temperatures. It also can be re-used almost endlessly for this purpose, and I keep the used oil to do exactly that. It will turn solid on a pantry shelf, but it still keeps its goodness. And even though the first jar is expensive, the re-usability will help save money over the long term.

    Kevin Beck wrote on December 2nd, 2011
    • Buying in bulk helps too.

      Abby C. wrote on December 2nd, 2011
  11. In my 45 years roaming this planet, I have NEVER put a stinkin Bressel Sprout in my mouth…until Thanksgiving! A friend cooked some in bacon/bacon drippings. Incredible!!!

    Johnny wrote on December 2nd, 2011
  12. Guess I’ve been slacking on the fat lately. Too much eating on the go — pretty hard to find healthy fats when you’re eating out.

    Josh Frey wrote on December 2nd, 2011
  13. Nuts should be soaked to eliminate phytic acid for 8 hours then dried in a 170 degree oven or dehydrator until they’re crunchy.
    Best butter in the world comes from an Amish farm – Indiana, Ohio, Illinois. dark yellow and amazing flavor – full of Omega 3. I love it! If you’re feeling hungry or sad, eat a chunk of butter!! all better…

    Patty wrote on December 2nd, 2011
  14. Has anyone noticed that finding full fat products in the grocery store is getting harder and harder? And the fat free half and half is a joke. Half and half is made up of half cream. How can cream be fat free? Cream IS fat.

    OK, having said that, I have found food grade beef tallow from soapmaker supply shops on ebay, and it comes to you ready to use. Be sure to ask if it is food grade.

    Jo Grove wrote on December 3rd, 2011
  15. Mark,

    I agree consuming fats is one of the more enjoyable aspects of healthy eating. Many of the foods with good fats that you mentioned taste great and help keep you full.


    Alykhan - Fitness Breakout wrote on December 3rd, 2011
  16. I find starting the day with a butter and bacon omelette with olive oil mixed in for good measure does the trick :-). Tasty, full of fat and also contains a fair bit of protein too.

    Tom Parker wrote on December 3rd, 2011
  17. There’s another reason to pair veggies with fats. You really can’t do anything with the fat-soluble nutrients in a vegetable if you don’t, y’know, dissolve them in fat. 😀 I have reason to believe our ability to convert carotenes into vitamin A is a tad overstated, especially for people struggling with hypothyroidism or type 2 diabetes, but the body finds other uses for them.

    Oh yeah, and another reason: The more fat you consume relative to your fiber intake, the better you absorb minerals, or at least calcium. Fiber is much-touted for speeding up bowel transit time, but that’s not what you want to be doing if you’re short on minerals. Even soluble fiber, which is known to feed friendly gut bacteria, can make it difficult to extract what you need from your food. So eat your critter fat and balance things out a bit.

    Dana wrote on December 3rd, 2011
  18. Im doing Atkins, and two weeks into induction I have started to get over the carb thing which I was so addicted to. I feel better, more energetic and less heavy and bloated. One thing I really miss is sweets. So, I took 2 cans of coconut cream and warmed it to blood temp in the microwave. In a 1 cup measuring jug I mixed 4 sachets of Areoplane(australian)Jelly Lite mango and passionfruit flavour(1 gram carbs and no sugar per 100 mils)I tablespoon of edible gelatine( made from Beef),1 teaspoon of natural xylitol and 1/2 teas stevia powder with 3/4s cup boiling water and mix to remove all of the lumps. then mix that into the coconut cream. put in fridge to set, I eat it with a small amount of Pauls double thick cream. It is wonderful, doesnt change my fat burning status at all and is very satisfying.Did I say it is delicious. I also used coconut cream again, warm up in the microwave to blood temp, in a 1 cup measuring jug mix 1/2 cup organic cocoa powder,xylitol to taste,(for 2x400gram cans coconut cream)and 6 x pro-biotic tablets, broken open and mixed in to coconut cream, mix in the cocoa and xylitol which you have mixed to a smooth consistincy with water to remove the lumps,put it into your yoghurt maker, the best low carb high fat yoghurt ever, and its chocolate.I enjoy yore site and get heaps of hints from all the comments, so thanks.

    christine wrote on December 3rd, 2011
  19. I am a big fan of fat too, but am a little confused – I have the Primal Blueprint book in which it outlines a typical day of eating for Mark – i.e. big ass salad and steak for dinner. However, it doesn’t seem like he eats a lot of fat – for instance he only puts 2 tbls of dressing on a huge salad. (I would put a lot more). I am trying to lose about 20 lbs (am currently 5ft 8 and 160 lbs and am wondering how much fat, in general, I should be eating in a day? I tend to eat too much as a rule so would love some feedback from others on how they handle this.

    Jenny T wrote on December 4th, 2011
  20. I have recently been making my own ghee with grassfed butter. Instead of straining the melted butter, I simmer until the solids have turned a deep rich brown and then I strain. The ghee has a beautiful browned-butter/caramel taste that I like almost better than regular butter. Before this, I much preferred butter to ghee. But I like to be dairy free so I stuck with the ghee. Now I LOVE the ghee :)

    jammies wrote on December 4th, 2011
  21. When I lived in France I ate Quark. It is 100% fat and the French put it on everything & we have all heard how much healthier the French are. It tastes like sour cream only thicker and creamier. I have never found it in America. Also, a 95 year old Chiropractor I used to go to told me to eat fresh berries or bananas with Devon cream from England. It’s thick cream with all the fat. You can find it in the imported section of good grocery stores. He said when the milk is homogenized and all the fat is removed- all the amino acids & protein goes with the fat along with all the nutrition. It’s the fat content that makes cows mild a complete protein. There is no value in our 1%, 2%, skim, or even whole homogenized milk. I use organic heavy whipping cream. If a recipe calls for milk I use part whipping cream and add some water to replace the liquid.

    Barb Ara wrote on December 4th, 2011
  22. OK chemists. Why did my bullet proof coffee blow up in my face, burning me? I started with a plastic insulated to go cup. put 2 tsp. ghee from refrigerator in. Then filled cup halfway with hot coffee. Mixture didn’t melt so I microwaved on high for 1 min. Put cup on counter and took teaspoon with a little bit of ghee on it and prepared to stir. When spoon hit mixture it exploded! What gives?

    lew sage wrote on December 5th, 2011
    • When water boils it starts to build bubbles around imperfections in the pans surface. A super smooth surface will actually allow a fluid to “superheat” until there is something for the bubbles to form on. The spoon acted as that imperfection and the fluid boiled explosively. Microwaves actually can make it worse by allowing different temps in different layers in the liquids.

      Morgan wrote on February 29th, 2012
  23. I am just starting to incorporate some of this after years of being into Weston Price. This blog post really helped inspire me today. I live in hawaii and today I cut up fresh pineapple and then swirled in the bacon drippings and popped it straight into my mouth. Before this blog post would have never thought or done that and it tasted great. Told me boyfriend what i was eating and he said “gross” and i said, ‘babe, you just don’t know what your missing” haahaha

    Anna wrote on December 5th, 2011
  24. strange

    i found eating fat (esp. SFA) quite easy.

    i’m not vegetarian. but i found myself more of a “fat eater”, than a “meat eater” i just don’t care for the taste of most meat (esp. most cuts of muscle meat taste bland + dry (too lean).

    A little (muscle) meat, like 1-2 oz goes a long way for me.


    PHK wrote on December 7th, 2011
  25. I am looking for information on how higher fat consumption, albeit even healthier Paleo approved fats, are on digestion…

    Ex: drenching vegetables with fats like olive oil dressing…

    Does this compromise the digestive process and how does high fat consumption in general affect the intestines, digestive process, etc.

    I can find no information on high fat intake in conjunction with high fiber intake, esp. at same meals, anywhere on the Net…

    THank you in advance.

    Chris wrote on December 11th, 2011
  26. hey, mark,
    sorry if you’ve already posted on this and i’ve missed it but, do you have an opinion on dave asprey’s bulletproof coffee recipe( i ran across it while getting into researching jack kruse and cold thermogenesis. dave is really big on the healthy fats and promotes a primal lifestyle, and i believe even references/links to your site as an example of how to eat and live for optimal health, but he tends to delve into the tim ferris direction of self experimentation/bio hacking but being as i hold your opinion (researching abilities) highly aove my own, i was wondering what your take is on him, and the “bulletproof coffee” recipe to increase fat intake?

    mark wrote on May 4th, 2012
  27. Mark or anyone,

    Where can I get bacon without sugar in any form added to it? I have a patient who cannot tolerate any sugar right now for a number of reasons.


    Larry Welsh M.Ac., M.A.

    Larry Welsh wrote on May 7th, 2012

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