You didn’t just magically appear.
Atoms don’t just magically appear.
Mass can neither be created nor destroyed. Your matter—heart, blood, brain, butt—is composed of atoms that have always existed… Recycled atoms from Michael Jackson, Shamu, or who knows, maybe even Mark Twain. How they’re recycled? You got it—food. You are a collection of the food you eat.
That’s probably why fat’s got a bad rap. People think: I eat fat, therefore I am. Which has some truth. But let me build an honest case for why YOU NEED FAT.
Fat keeps you alive. Your body has nearly 100 trillion cells. And each of those intricately organized 100 trillion cells is housed in a membrane. Every membrane has a screen-like phospholipid bilayer—a fancy name for fat. The fatty phospholipid bilayer plays a role in just about every biological process in your body. It’s what makes your trillions of cells work together to form you. Without them, you’d die.
In large, the type of fat you consume determines the composition, function and integrity of your membranes. You eat chorizo, you are chorizo. The same goes for mayonnaise. You get the picture—and it’s not a pretty one.
The good: Good fats make you (your membranes) happier, healthier and smarter. The right kinds of fat actually help you lose fat.
The bad: Bad fats increase your risk for lifestyle diseases—cancer, diabetes, heart disease and more.
The ugly: Over consumption of both will make you fat.
Organically speaking, fats are primarily carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. So what delineates good from bad (digestivally speaking)?
… The Bad
You know saturated fats are bad. It’s time you know why. In the world of organic chemistry, “saturated” means the carbon atoms aren’t committed enough to each other to form multiple bonds, so instead they match up with a bunch of single hydrogens (2 at a time, sometimes 3!). Sounds harmless when we’re talking about imaginary infidel polka-dot particles, but this chemical combo has nasty characteristics. These extra hydrogens get hostile.
Saturation leads to straight chain fat formation. This allows these crowded molecules to pack tightly and create cement-like cellular barriers. This is the reason saturated fats (think butter) are solid at room temperature—they are miserably smooshed together.
This density explains why cell membranes populated with a bad neighborhood of hood fat are much less fluid and friendly than they’re supposed to be (you’d be bummed, too).
The resulting saturated fortress makes it hard for your cells to work together—respond to hormones, share vital nutrients, communicate… Corrupted cell membranes also affect the cell’s ability to hold water and electrolytes, resulting in extinguished energy.
According to Dr. Michael Murray of Encyclopedia of Healing Foods “an alteration in cell membrane function is the central factor in the development of virtually every disease.”
Back to the understanding that every single cell in our body needs fat to exist, let’s start by picturing what our cells would feel like without rock-solid barriers. Free, fluid and able to swim around. Just like fish.
Though trim and lean, fish have fat too. But not the solid saturated fats found in our farm friends. If they did, they wouldn’t be able to float and flex because their fat would solidify and stiffen when exposed to cold water environments. Instead, fish have fats that keeps them limber.
Unsaturated fats—monounsaturated and medium chain fatty acids—take on a different carbon-hydrogen form because the carbons like each other more and choose to fully commit. They double bond with each other and kick clingy hydrogens to the curb. This double bond action gets kinky—it creates a kink in the carbon chain. The result? More privacy.
The carbon-carbon curvature prevents neighboring carbons from getting too close. This free space explains why omega-3s are softer, and why fish is good for you. This also explains my diet. Rich in fish. I am what I eat and I sure do love the ocean.
The quickest (10 minutes) and most delicious way to get your omegas:
Huckleberry Thinn’s Pistachio Crusted Salmon
1 pound salmon
1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
1 handful fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon mustard
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees > Take 1 pound of good salmon and rest ‘er in a baking dish skin down > Sprinkle with salt and pepper > Mix together 1 tablespoon of your favorite mustard and 1 tablespoon of honey and use it to generously dress your salmon > Finely chop or process 1 cup shelled pistachios with a hefty handful of fresh cilantro until you have a moldable mossy crumble > Layer on your pistachio crumble thick and create a foil barrier to reinforce the sides if needed > Bake for 30-40 minutes or until you can flake the thickest part of the fillet.
Fresh is best. Salmon should be bright and firm. Good salmon shouldn’t smell fishy. For the best fat, grab a belly fillet with thick fat lines. This will give you less surface area for drying out and thickness that cuts like butter. And like everything else Huckleberry tells you to do, go wild.
There’s a reason why salmon is called brain food. It’s an incredibly strong species—physically and nutritionally. A freshwater fish by origin, salmon spend much of their lives sailing the big ocean, only to swim back hundreds of miles to spawn in their freshwater birthplace. When considering the power needed to endure back-to-back-to-back iron man length swims and battle big blue barbarians, it’s no wonder this fish has superhero nutrition powers. In fact, salmon is one of the most highly valued fish because of its mighty levels of omega-3s.
Blessed with lively pigments, these shelled jewels are actually seeds of a tree. Not only does their brightness—a sign of thriving chlorophyll—exude heart health attraction, pistachios also really shine in the good fat, mineral, protein and vitamin departments. Oh, and they are the richest source of potassium of all the nuts.
….Much much much more on fats to come.