As a resident of the south I am often torn between what is healthy and what is not. I have literally grown to love sweet tea, anything battered and deep fried, Lord knows anything smothered in decadent sauces or gravies, and a plethora of other diabetes inducing delicacies. On the other hand having spent almost a decade living on the West Coast I have come to think that any food with more flavor than tofu has to be evil. As a mother I feel that it is my responsibility to ensure that my family is offered well balanced healthy meals that also happen to taste good. While I admit that I hate bean sprouts and the whole thought of a "vegan" diet repulses me, I know that a diet consisting solely of "McAnything" isn't the right path either. In my ever so humble opinion it all boils down to understanding food and how your body processes it. Once you understand you can then make informed choices. It's not enough to think of some foods as bad and others as good. It's not that cut and dry.
Because of my genetic history there are many factors to consider when preparing to feed my clan. My hostess instincts lean toward comfort foods, but my gut reminds me there must be a balance. I have a passion for cooking. Though I have not received any formal training, I love reading cook books and experimenting with new recipes. While I know a lot about food I realize I do not have nearly enough knowledge about nutrition.
So here I am in the middle of a Human Nutrition course at the local college. I am learning so many fascinating things. The one thing that my teacher keeps reiterating is the fact that most claims on packages are misleading(to put it nicely.) The Food Industry finds out when you're on to them so then they change their strategy to keep you buying. We all know that saturated fats( i.e. lard, butter, fat on meat etc...) are bad. The reason they are bad is because your body has a very hard time breaking them up. Because they don't break down easily the food industry loves saturated fats. They have a longer shelf life. Thus allowing them to have less loss which equates to more income.
We weren't fooled. We cried out against the evils of saturated fats. We demanded more plant based oils. The industry responded with buttery spreads that were engineered twins of the evil saturated fats(literally they infused vegetable oils with more hydrogen creating bad oils out of good oils.) Once again we were on to them. We cried out, "No Trans, hydrogenated, or otherwise mutated foods." The industry responded by switching back to regular saturated fats and labeling them with slogans like, "No Trans Fats." They just put a new paint job on our old car and sold it back to us!
I already knew a little bit about all of this , but my most recent discovery brought sadness to my heart. It turns out that one of my favorite natural foods is living a double life." Who is this seemingly innocent culprit?" you might ask. It's the coconut my friends. WAAHHHHH! I love coconut candy, coconut milk, coconut cream pie, coconut curry dishes and on and on. You might be yawning at this point if coconut isn't your thing, but I challenge you to look on labels when you're at the grocery store and see how many items have coconut oil or palm oil as an ingredient.
It seems that for some unknown reason these two plant based oils have the same type of molecular structure that animal fats do. That's right! Not only do they have fats, they have saturated artery clogging fats. In fact coconut oils have more saturated fats/ gram than lard does. Think about that the next time you are piously sipping a coconut smoothie! With that in mind I think I'll grab a spicy McChicken sandwich, small fries, & a cup of water. :-) LOL