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.
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?
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 diet.
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.