What impact has low-fat eating had on women's health?
How many of you were a kid in the late 70's/1980's and grew up eating low fat everything? Low fat milk, cheese, yoghurt, no avocados, no chicken skin, no eggs..... does this sound familiar to anyone else? Fat is a macronutrient essential for human development since our first walking day on Earth. Why after 2.3 million years would we all of a sudden remove it from our diet? That answer lies unfortunately in the "science" and reporting in the 1960's. The more important question to ask however is what has this done to our health and how can we turn this around?
Removing dietary fat has been described as possibly the worst nutritional advice in human history by physicians and researchers. Not only was it recommended to permanently live low fat/high carb, but the case of trying to lose a few kilos, fat was almost TOTALLY restricted. Yet looking physiologically and biochemically; fat is not making us fat.....
Dietary fat is super important for brain function, creating and maintaining almost every cell in our body, storage of vitamins, energy and it is ESSENTIAL to make our steroidal hormones.
Steroidal hormones are made in "steroid glands" such as the adrenal glands, ovaries, testes and the placenta in pregnancy.
Hormones produced include testosterone, oestrogen, progesterone and cortisol. We need them to maintain pregnancy, control our response to stress, regulate our salt and water excretion by kidneys, regulate our sexual function and they influence our response to inflammation.
How could this look today for a woman who has grown up low fat:
* hormonal issues of any type - changes in testosterone, progesterone and oestrogen
* difficulty conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy
* reduction in tolerance to stress - high likelihood of "burnout" or adrenal fatigue - exhaustion
* increase in inflammation in gut, vessels and organs
* changes in microflora of the gut - can lead to inflammation of gut, leaky gut, food intolerances, autoimmunity, allergies, sensitivities, ezcema
* secondary hypothyrodism to adrenal insufficiency (can lead to elevated LDL, anemia,
* mood disorders including anxiety, depression, teariness, anger
Then we go and build a baby......... a baby who has a brain which is composed of almost 60% fat, a baby who is built from the dietary fats of the mother. It stands to reason to ask what effect has low fat for a generation in women had on their children? Especially in brain health, inflammation, behavioural issues, developmental issues, gut health and hormonal health.
What can we do for our health and the health of our children?
Eat fats and oils sourced from nature - include with most meals fat/oil of some description such as:
* flaxseed oil
* nuts - walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, macadamias, pecans, cashews
* seeds - sunflower, sesame, pumpkin
* coconut products
* wild caught fish
* organic, free range, grassfed animals (conscious that there will still be the presence of the animals hormones especially if trying to minimise excess oestrogen).
Fats/Oils to avoid (man-made and highly processed sources):
* farmed fish (hormones, antibiotics added)
* yellow polyunsaturated oils in a clear plastic container including canola oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, rice-bran oil, sesame oil - this is the GMO processed form(cold pressed used on salads is great), rapeseed oil, sunflower oil (again cold pressed in dark glass can be used on salads)
* margarine and fake butters.
The great thing about adding these beautiful fats and oils from nature is they go a long way in satiating us so you may find you are full sooner and have less time between pantry trawls.
I wish to study parenting. Can you please search for a reputable Bachelor of Parenting program? It must also have the option for further post-graduate study; I love research.
You see, I am going to be a mother and I need to learn everything I can.
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Radiations)
Graduate Diploma Human Nutrition
Graduate Diploma Psychological Science (incomplete)
Master of Medical Ultrasound (incomplete)
(aka Professional Student)
In the absence of any formal study available, I instead purchased every book I could lay my hands on to study how to best rear the little precious being growing inside.
A birth plan was written, amended, re-written, typed, packed and reviewed. Little did I know it wouldn’t make it out of the excessively stocked suitcase that followed me to hospital. Despite wanting to control everything, the Universe had other plans; and so did my daughter! This was the first symbolic lesson in discovering that this parenting gig was going to challenge my level of expectation. It was the first of many…..
Three years after the birth of our third and youngest child, I was still unable to match our life and circumstances to any textbook. I searched scientific, medical and parenting literature to answer all my questions. I listened to the advice of everyone around me who all seemed to know what my children needed more than I did.
With nowhere left to search I was filled with self-doubt, self-pity and little desire to do anything anymore. If I couldn’t find our answers in literature or case studies or from the mouths of professionals then how would I ever understand what is happening to our family as illness mounted in myself and my children.
Through sheer exhaustion I surrendered.
It was in the silence of surrender, I came to discover something called intuition. For the first time I didn’t suppress the thoughts, the coincidences occurring and the feelings of knowing what was right for us. Intuition led us down the path less travelled into a dense forest of questioning and knowing (rather than structured learning!).
Magical people came into my life in the forest; whether for a day, a week or they still walk beside me. As a family we waved goodbye to the huge fog that lifted when we introduced a way of eating that is all food from nature free of “humanising”.
A further 4 years after this first discovery of intuition I learnt the time had arrived to really break away from my lifetime safety net of strict science and leave the herd to discover pearls of wisdom which have changed the way I approach day to day life and it has freed our whole family.
As I stood back and quietly observed life through my children, I was shocked. I noticed that our current way of life is supressing our children. We all enter this realm perfect, inspired, individual spirits however the moment we arrive, we are channelled into one universal mould and essentially into one uniform being. Once moulded, we are expected to behave in a particular way, learn a particular way and if we don’t conform in this particular way then we are often labelled and singled out; hence being completely negated. Then decades go by where we simply exist. Work, pay bills, come home watch the news, holiday occasionally repeat. This is how it should be isn’t it? Seems a little harsh I know but I can recall the exact moment I watched the spark in my kids eyes dim. Their wings were clipped as they conformed to society’s expectations and through the sheer fact they were going through the motions of our modern day to day life, they were unable to do less of what they enjoyed and more of what was expected.
But no more.
Amazing how it can take just one question from the mouth of an innocent child to prompt you to question everything. “Mummy what do you love to do?” A simple enough question, yet one that I really struggled to answer. I couldn’t come up with one thing that would make me bounce out of bed in the morning. The realisation that everything I did was based on expectation, obligation, fear or even guilt. BIG A-ha moment!
So there began the journey of self-discovery; finding that spark inside. As a family we were listening, looking and feeling for our brilliance; it is in all of us.
I choose to bounce out of bed each day with a heart filled with gratitude and love for everyone and everything and there is a BURNING desire to help women all around me.. How blessed I am to have smashed my mould which means I am here doing exactly what I WANT to be doing.
My hope for my children is that they travel through life in pursuit of fulfilling their dharma (life purpose) and living their dreams. What more can any parent wish for?