The quick answer: Essential omega-3 fats are vital to your health but just remember you need both short chain (from plants) and long-chain (from fish and animals that eat those plants).
Thanks for Your Comments
There were four thoughtful comments to last weeks post—three shared information about legumes and one made a plea: “L” said, “Where have you been? You used to write at least once a week . . . I miss your wisdom, please post as often as you used to . . .”
Well, it’s true that I’ve posted less often of late but I’ll make a promise: If readers will comment more (sharing healthy eating ideas), I’ll write more too. That’s my promise—it’s a win-win. It’s interesting that while comments have declined, readership continues to grow. So thanks, everyone, for making this the premier Word of Wisdom site. Please note that it’s also non-commercial—no ads.
Meat and Fat
Meat and healthy fats are separate themes in our 52 Healthy Changes, but there is an intersection—modern meat contains significant fat. So if you eat meat “sparingly,” you’ll likely consume less fat. There are lots of reasons to eat meat sparingly—some sources say that over 90% of the pollutants in our diet come from meat! So “sparingly” is good, but choose meat from healthy—meaning "pastured"—animals. Pastured meat has a lower fat content but more long-chain omega-3 fats as well as more vitamins.
In the last generation official sources made war on fat—fat came to be bad, a cause of heart disease. That was a big mistake--dietary fat doesn't cause heart disease. We need fat, in moderation. Fat is critical to our bodies; 60% of your brain is fat and ¼ of it is long-chain omega-3. So brain health depends on eating longer omega-3 fats.
It’s confusing, long-chain and short-chain, but here’s the thing to remember:
- Short-chain omega-3 fats: Plants, especially the green plants that cover the earth, produce these fats. Green organisms in our oceans are another big source.
- Long-chain omega-3 fats: Animals (and fish) eat those plants and convert the short-chain omega-3 fats to the long chain form. The two most critical are known by initials—EPA and DHA.
To promote intake of healthy fats, Healthy Change #35 says: “Include long-chain omega-3 in your meals most days.” So besides eating meat sparingly, it’s critical to eat the right meat products. In the picture above sources of long-chain omega-3 fats are included:
- Cold-water fish (shrimp, but add salmon, sardines, and trout also),
- Eggs (especially from pastured chickens that get lots of sunshine, greens, and bugs to eat) were discussed here.
We should also add pastured meats as a 3rd source. I say “pastured” because when an animal is on the high grain diet used in feedlots, their omega-3 fat content steadily decreases and omega-6 increases. We need both but the ratio in pastured animals is healthier than in feedlot meat. That’s one reason to include lamb and buffalo meat on your menu—these are generally pastured and not taken to feed lots.
Please comment: How do you include the long chain omega-3 fats in your diet? Have a recipe to share? Later we’ll post the recipe for Skip’s Blackened Salmon.