Fat might be the scariest word in our vocabulary, at least it used to be for me. My generation has been lead to believe that fat is a killer, (I am talking about dietary fat). When I was a teen living in NYC, having just made the film Manhattan, I started eating very specifically. I was an actress and occasional model and my appearance was everything to me. I became vegan and quit eating fat altogether. I associated eating fat with becoming fat. It was the 80’s and the craze was “no fat this and that” and I took it to an extreme. I thought I was being such a hero for putting no fat into my body and that habit lasted 20 years. I ate bowls of dry salads, huge portions of air popped popcorn and if I ate anything with a little weight to it like a potato, of course, it was dry as a bone. I also resorted to eating pancakes or boxes of cereal and pouring apple juice on them instead of butter, syrup or milk. I figured anything as long as it was fat free was good for me and because fat satiates more than carbohydrates, veggies or fruit, I was hungry all the time. I also believe my lack of fat initiated an eating disorder. I thought about food all the time because frankly, I was hungry. What I didn’t realize I was doing was hindering the health of my skin, my hormones, my metabolism and my brain.
Here’s the thing, dietary fat or healthy fats (i.e. cold pressed organic oils, raw pasture-raised butter, avocados, all raw nuts and seeds, coconut oil, etc.) does NOT create body fat, which I simply did not know, nor could I believe it. Consequently my period was erratic, my skin was extremely dry and broken out, and my moods were always in flux as fat (especially raw butter and Cream) helps with depression.
If you can learn from my experience please understand the importance of eating good fat and how it helps all functions of your body and brain. After I began eating healthy fat it was not long before my skin was clear and moisturized. My hormones and moods were better and I wasn’t hungry all the time. I am not claiming that fat cures disease but I can tell you personally it became a hidden gift to my well being. My fat intake satiates me and when I eat, I enjoy my food and when I am done eating, I am content.
Fat began being vilified in America as far back as post World War II. In the 60’s the American Heart Association attributed heart disease to saturated fats like red meat and eggs. In the 70’s the government began a campaign on the war on fat! By the mid 80’s the High carb, low fat diet became the norm.
I personally had a 10-year stretch on the low fat, fat–free, good-for-me diet. I wrestled at the 92’ Olympic trials; my body fat was nil. Wrestlers are notorious for dropping the most weight possible in the least amount of time. My record was 11½ lbs. in 1 hour. It was not a healthy choice. At the time I was also doing commercials for SOLOFLEX, CYBEX, Nike, Reebok and posing on covers of magazines like Men’s Health, Men’s Journal and Men’s Fitness. I walked around, or I should say ran around, with virtually 0% body fat. Had to be ripped for work, right? It kicked my ass!
I ended up with chronic fatigue syndrome and a virus. My life came to a screeching halt! The low-fat, fat-free, good-for-me diet ended. I began to study what the best choices for me were when it came to my diet. The #1 question was, “What if it’s all been a Big Fat Lie?” Based on my experience it was. I eat more healthy fat today than anyone I know. It has made me stronger, younger, happier and healthier. These are some of the fats I personally eat.