Whenever someone discovers that I don’t eat animal flesh, the next question is where do you get your protein? I’ve never had anyone ask me, where I get my fat?
Believe it our not our bodies need fat too. Fats are good sources of energy that will take you through the long haul.
This doesn’t mean that your diet should be high in fat; it just means that you shouldn’t shy away from whole foods that are good sources of fat.
The amount of fat a raw food vegan eats is a hot topic and gets debated quite often. Some recommend 10%, while others recommend 10-20%.
Who knows how much fat one truly needs? Everyone has different nutritional needs and one diet doesn’t fit all.
Today we will look at the fats that provide the greatest health advantages for those who eat a raw vegan diet.
The information source used in this post is from Becoming Raw. I will provide my final thoughts on Becoming Raw later this week.
The avocado is a raw vegan’s best friend and you can almost always find them in any raw vegan’s kitchen.
Avocados are rich in:
- protective monounsaturated fats and have high levels of phytochemicals
- high in folate and potassium per ounce than any other fruit (60 percent more than bananas)
- good sources of vitamins C and E
- glutathione, a powerful antioxidant
- fiber (13.5g) (Page 135)
Some raw vegans eat very little nuts and seeds because they don’t want to eat too much fat, but eating nuts and seeds in moderation is a good thing.
Nuts are loaded with protective dietary components. They include the following:
- Antioxidants, including selenium and vitamin E, plant protein, and fiber
- Arginine, an amino acid that preserves the elasticity and flexibility of our blood vessels, helping to improve blood flow
- Copper and magnesium, both shown to protect against heart disease
- Ellagic acid, lignans, phytoserols, and other phytochemicals shown to have anticarcinogenic potential
Nuts are warehouses of healthful fats, mainly monounsaturated fat. They are low in saturated fat and free of trans-fatty acids and cholesterol. (Page 136)
Olives are my favorite and in Eating for Beauty, David Wolfe includes olives as one of the beautifying foods.
Olives contain many protective dietary components including:
- Phytosterols (plant sterols) and polyphenolic compounds
- Oleuropein is the major polyphenol in olives, is a potent free radical scavenger, inhibiting oxidative damage and protecting heart tissue (Page 136)
Seeds are the life-giving part of a plant, responsible for the survival of their species. These concentrated foods are our most plentiful sources of essential fatty acids.
- Hempseeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds are all rich in linoleic acid (omega-6).
- Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hempseeds are all rich in alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). (Page 137)
Most raw vegans use coconut oil, some more than others. I am one who doesn’t use it that much. I like to eat the actual coconut meat and drink the water. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but one that is neither a menace nor a miracle food. Coconut should be treated in much the same way as other high-fat plant foods-enjoyed primarily as a whole food.
Coconuts are loaded with:
- vitamin E
- healthful phytochemicals
- powerful antimicrobial properties (Page 138)
Moderate amounts of higher-fat whole plant foods make the foods you eat more pleasurable and increase the nutritional quality of your diet. Minimize your use of concentrated oils.
If you use oils, stick mainly to those that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Concentrated oils contain few nutrients besides fat, so when too many calories in the diet come from oil, the amount of vitamins and minerals you eat may fall below desirable levels. (Page 140)
The information shared in this post is can be found in Becoming Raw: Chapter 7 – Fat: Friends and Foes, by Brenda Davis, Vesanto Melina with Rynn Berry.