Cooking Fats: Which to Avoid and Which to Enjoy  

I LOVE mayonnaise, but I HATE making my own. Well, maybe I wouldn’t hate making my own so much if I was good at it. I was only successful once and it was a glorious day. All the other times I tried it was a major fail. I’m just not patient enough to slowly add the oil to allow for the proper emulsion to occur. Failing at making homemade mayo is not only sad because you don’t have mayo, but pouring the soupy concoction of incorrectly combined oils and ingredients in the garbage is like pouring $20 in the garbage. 💸💸💸💸😱  SO, I placed an order for all natural, organic, non GMO avocado oil mayo from The Primal Kitchen ! Super excited to have mayo back in my life.  Conventional mayos, such as Hellmans, generally contain highly processed seed oils such as canola oil, vegetable oil, and soybean oil.  I try my best to steer clear of those.  


I personally feel that using high quality fats and oils for cooking and eating is pretty important. When I went paleo over a year ago, highly processed cooking oils were the first thing I swapped out.  I used to use canola oil, vegetable oil, and country crock – thinking as most people do, that these were healthy, low fat, cholesterol lowering options as the companies who profit from these products would have us all believe.  THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE.  

While the following is no where near an exhaustive list of all the dangers of highly processed oils, the problems listed below are my main reasons for choosing high quality, saturated or monounsaturated, minimally processed cooking fats:

“Vegetable” oils are highly processed and aren’t even made from vegetables. They are made using seeds that are processed under high heat, extreme pressure, and toxic chemical solvents. So, not only is there the potential for toxic residues, but any nutritional value that the original seed may have contained is mostly if not completely stripped away.  

These oils are very unstable. Because they are polyunsaturated ( meaning they have multiple bonds in their chemical makeup that are not fully satisfied) they are more likely to react with oxygen and spoil or to become damaged when put in a hot pan for cooking.  Our body uses the fat we consume to repair and build new cells.  Cell membranes are made of phospholipids…aka…FATS!!  So, by consuming imperfect fats we are repairing and building cells with imperfections. Not only does cooking with easily damaged fats cause problems at a cellular level, but it also can create harmful compounds that vaporize while cooking and become inhaled, potentially causing damage to the lungs. 

Seed oils are also highly inflammatory. They have a very poor omega 6/omega 3 ratio. While we do need both of those in our diet they have to be in proper balance, and the high levels of omega 6 found in these oils contributes to systemic inflammation, which brings with it its own host of problems. 

The polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils, due to their unstable nature, are also contributing to the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDLs). These damaged lipoproteins are the type that build up in arteries and cause blockages. These oils are marketed, based on outdated and flawed research,  to “reduce” the instances of heart disease; in reality they are quite possibly helping to cause it. 

TRANS FATS.  These dangerous fats are created when man made liquid oils have a hydrogen atom forced into their chemical structure using a chemical catalyst.  This creates solid fats such as margarine, country crock, and crisco. And don’t be fooled by the label “trans fat free” or “no trans fats”. Industry standards allow these labels to be used when the product contains less than 0.5g Trans fat PER SERVING. So in reality, that tub of man made gunk is swimming with transfats, even after their dangers have been revealed. How deceiving is that???  The unnatural movement of hydrogen atoms that occurs from the process of partial hydrogenation creates a substance that the human body is not equipped to use and disrupts thousands of necessary chemical reactions with in the body.  Not only does our body use fats to build and repair, fat is also a source of energy.  If we are consuming the “frankenfats” our body isn’t recognizing them as usuable sources of energy. Liz Wolfe has a really great section in her book Eat the Yolks that discusses transfats, their creation, and dangers. 

Other articles on seed oils you may want to check out:

Eat Local Grown – 11 serious concerns about vegetable oils 

Diane Sanfilippo – Fats: Which to Eat & Which to Ditch 

My go to fats for cooking:

Sustainably sourced unrefined coconut oil, avocado oil, grassfed butter and/or ghee, organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, bacon fat from pastured pigs, lard or tallow from pastured animals.  These fats and oils are considered “saturated”, meaning they are much more stable.   The above article by Diane Sanfilippo gives a great little explanation of why “saturated fats” aren’t actually completley saturated, as their name suggests. (and it also links to her downloadable pdf visual guide of which fats to eat and which to ditch.) If they were they would be hard, waxy, and completely indigestible. They are actually a combination of saturated and monounsaturated, which makes them more stable than ployunsaturated fats, but still digestible.  They are so stable that many of them don’t even need to be refrigerated. I keep my coconut oil and ghee right on my counter in mason jars for easy access.  

When cooking with animal fats (butter, ghee, lard, tallow, etc) it is important to make sure they are from pasture raised organic sources. When toxins are consumed (by animal or people) they are stored in the fat.  So, in using fat from conventionally raised animals, you would be consuming the part of the animal containing the highest concentrations of toxins.  Fat from well raised animals who are healthy and fed their natural diet of grass and forage, contains many important micronutrients such as CLA (which is only found naturally in animal products), A, D, E, and K2. 

So, there you have it. There is no good reason (besides an honest medical condition that may prohibit you from properly digesting fats) that well sourced, high quality saturated fats should be avoided. Many of them contain important micro nutrients, and when consumed in proper ratio, for your build and activity level, with a paleo/primal diet they help to fuel your body and keep energy high throughout the day.  Eat fat to burn fat!!!!  



Who has time for paleo!?


I was recently asked “how do you find time to do this?” I’ve also seen this used as an excuse for not eating healthy in general. “I don’t have time to cook meals”. “Fast food/frozen food/junk food is so much easier”. I suppose it’s true. It certainly is much quicker to swing through McDonalds and order a Big Mac and a couple of happy meals for the kids, and eat them on the way home, than to go home and cook a meal. What it comes down to is priorities. Like the quote above says! I feel that feeding my family the way I do promotes optimal health for us, which in turn enables us to live life to the fullest. For me, this is a priority.
Did this change, and my ability to find time to do all of this, happen overnight? NO! Of course not, and actually it’s still developing and evolving as I learn more and more.
Here are some tips for those of you who are interested in paleo but not sure where to start or are hesitant to start and worried about time constraints:

1. Educate yourself. I started my “paleo journey” by reading EVERYTHING I could get my hands on. Books, blogs, websites, medical journals….you name it, I read it! For me, nothing empowers me more to make a change than knowledge. If I’m going to do something I need to know, understand, and agree with everything it’s about. Paleo resonated with me, it just made sense. (Book and blog recommendations at the bottom)

2. So, you’ve done all sorts of reading and you think paleo sounds awesome! 👍. But where do you start? Should you throw away everything in your pantry that contains grains, legumes, seed oils, dairy, GMOs, MSG, and sugar? Well, you may want to and that’s totally cool. But I would think thats not terribly practical for most people. Especially if you also have kids. Throwing away everything they’ve known and loved to eat and snack on for however many years could be a little traumatic. What I did, was start slowly. I took the knowledge I gained from reading all those books and blogs and I decided what I wanted to change first. I felt it was most important to improve our cooking oils first. From there I removed grains. And so on.

3. You don’t know how to cook? Ha! Neither do I, and I’m still no expert. Creating meals from scratch is not my fortay, but I can follow a recipe like nobodies business!! There are so many excellent paleo cookbooks out there, and there are even more FREE recipes on paleo blogs all over the Internet! For those of you like myself, who work full time, cooking full on home made meals may not be practical each and every night. Trust me! I do not cook big fancy meals each night. On my days off I play around with either a new meal or a tried and true favorite, maybe some new snack recipes. On days that I work I throw protein and nutrient dense carbs (veggies) cooked in healthy fat on our plates and call it a night. And never underestimate the friend you will find in your crockpot! We are totally besties 😉

4. Planning ahead is essential when it comes to paleo. Especially in the beginning. Meal planning, grocery shopping, food prepping, batch cooking. Making sure you have the week planned out and healthy whole food snacks on hand is key and will keep you from reaching for readily available processed garbage when hunger strikes. Many people use Sunday as their food prep day, but if you work Sunday pick another day. Use that day to pre cook meals that can be pre cooked. You can batch cook things like casseroles for work lunches and breakfast muffins to grab on the go on busy mornings. You can portion out snacks like home made nut mixes, granolas, beef jerky, and ingredients for smoothies.

5. The way you eat now is a no brainier because you’ve been doing it your whole life, you have your grocery shopping routines, standard meals on weekly rotation, and your cabinets filled with your favorite snacks. Eating healthy nutrient dense whole food can be the same way! In the beginning it took me slightly more time, effort, and thought to make sure I had everything I needed for meals and snacks. Now, it’s habit! That extra effort paid off. I know what to keep on hand to throw together meals, what kind of snacks I like to have around, and I have a new set of meals on weekly rotation. I try something new each week and if it’s a win then we add it in to rotation for a while to keep things interesting. Practice makes perfect 🙂

6. Probably the most important – your mindset. “Paleo” is NOT a quick fix diet plan. It’s a lifestyle. It’s about changing your eating habits for the better by feeding your body the nutrient dense whole foods it needs to function at full potential. I feel like the fact that it’s out there in the media lately labeled as “the paleo diet” gives people the wrong impression. We’ve been conditioned all our lives to associate the word “diet” with calorie counting, food restrictions, low fat/highcarb…that is not what paleo is about. While there’s probably a good chance that you will lose some weight on paleo as your body begins to function optimally without all the hormone confusing, nutrient poor, chemical laden processed foods in it, the real reward is in how good you will feel. But, checking the years of diet dogma at the door when starting a whole foods journey, is a must.

So, does eating paleo take a lot of time? In the beginning, sure. But the same applies to any change you decide to put in place in your life. A new workout routine, a new job, a new hobby, a new relationship. All changes require a little more effort at first as you learn and feel things out, and then, they become routine.

Recommended reading:

My 3 very favorite books in the order you should read them –

Practical Paleo-by Diane Sanfilippo (pretty much the paleo bible). Excellent breakdown and use of easy to understand analogies for the science of processed food vs. real foods and the effects in the body. Also accompanied by many excellent recipes and a meal plan.

It Starts With Food-by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. Again a great breakdown of the science of food in your body accompanied by their tough love humor. What I really love about this book is the fantastic way they breakdown how much you should be eating of protein, carb, and healthy fat.

Eat the Yolks-by Liz Wolfe. Once you really have a grasp on the science behind the paleo diet, this book is super funny yet very informative with many paleo tidbits beyond just the food aspect of the lifestyle.

My go to websites for FREE recipes:

Primally Inspired
Nom Nom Paleo

Those are just my top 3….there are SO many that I use and love!!


21 Day Sugar Detox – Day 21!!! (And Making Ghee)

I did it! 21DSD round 2 is over, and I can honestly say, I don’t have any cravings for carbs, sugar, or crap in general. We are about to get at least a foot of snow dumped on us! 😱. So, I did pick up some honey and maple syrup last night for a nice snow day breakfast for tomorrow morning, but truly I’m thinking about making the pancakes and waffles for the kids and hubby, and making something else for myself. In a way I feel like the fact that I “can’t” have sweet things on a sugar detox makes me want them that much more. Now that it’s over I’m like “ehhh.” Thank you all for following along with me though, because I may have caved and had something off limits had I not had this blog to hold me accountable. Every time I got a strong craving I thought about how I would have to tell you all about my moment of weakness and I thought, no!! I can do this. 👍👍.

So, for my last detox day I ate:

A MASSIVE BREAKFAST!! I had 1/2 a sweet potato, a whole green pepper, onion, and a handful of baby Bella’s sautéed in bacon fat along with three scrambled eggs. Apparently I didn’t take a picture of it, but trust me it was huge! And filling. We ate a somewhat late breakfast, probably eating sometime between 9 and 10. I made lunch around 1 because I didn’t want to be hungry at work, but I just wasn’t hungry. I put what I made in a container in the fridge and I suppose I’ll eat it today. I headed out to work around 3 and wasn’t hungry until about 5:30. It wasn’t even an omg I need to eat right now hungry – just a mild hungry – so I ate the last of my lamb shoulder chops, cauli mash and green beans. And that’s it! I had the last of my gingeraid kombucha when I got home from work and then I went to sleep :). A fine and nutritionally satisfying end to my 21 Day Sugar Detox!

Now, I did also promise you GHEE! In between breakfast and when I left for work I commenced my first attempt at making ghee using 4 bricks of Kerrygold unsalted grassfed butter. Ghee is butter that has had all the dairy proteins cooked out of it, leaving behind the pure butter oil. So, for someone like myself, who finds that they are sensitive to dairy, ghee is a great way to still enjoy the health benefits of good quality grassfed butter without the irritation.

– contains all the nutritional benefits of grassfed butter….vitamins A, D, E, K2, and CLA.
– rich in medium chain fatty acids…which means it’s used immediately as energy and not easily stored as fat
– has a much higher smoke point than butter (485 degrees vs 350 degrees). This makes it an especially good choice for high heat frying and cooking, as heating oils over their smoke point causes damage to the oil and the release of harmful free radicals.

Now, how did I make it?? It was actually pretty easy. I took my 4 bricks of Kerrygold and put them in a big pot over low heat and waited….
It was slightly time consuming as it took probably close to an hour, so patience is necessary, but well worth it. While waiting for it to melt down I actually whipped up some almond milk and dried the pulp in the oven. (170 degrees for about 3 hours). Once the butter totally melted I kept a closer eye on it as it started to simmer. I watched as it got white and foamy on the top. At that point I could have skimmed off the foam and filtered out the milk solids and would have had clarified butter. I let it continue for probably about an hour until the milk solids browned and fell to the bottom of the pot. (That browning is what gives ghee its deep almost nutty flavor.) I skimmed off the last of the foam and then strained the ghee through tripled cheesecloth into a heatproof glass bowl. I let it cool and then stored it in mason jars. It looks like liquid gold!





And there you have it! I actually used some ghee in my morning coffee today and it was great!

My goal, now that my detox is over, is to do a blog post once per week, probably on Fridays. I have blog ideas lined up, of course, but please let me know if there is anything specific you want me to cover, and I’ll get right on it!! Comment below, or email me at


21 Day Sugar Detox – Day 20

20 days down, 1 to go!!

It snowed here overnight last night, so I got up super early today to enjoy my coffee before getting ready for work. After my coffee I prepped a whole ton of food because I was worried that everyone would call out and I would be stuck at work all day.


Well, luckily it stopped snowing and the roads were clear for my closers to come in so I didn’t have to stay all day! Yay!! I did however eat almost off of the food :).

For breakfast I packed three eggs scrambled in with a chopped green pepper, some onion, and a handful of baby portobello mushrooms sautéed in bacon fat. Snack was a Granny Smith Apple and some almond butter. For lunch I had three applegate organic grass fed hot dogs and my home made sauerkraut. Late afternoon I made a cup of herbal tea. The only thing I didn’t eat from the above picture was the plate of leftover lamb shoulder chops. I’ll save that for tomorrow’s work dinner. I sipped on a gingeraid Kombucha and got some almonds soaking for more almond milk while I cooked a fresh dinner at home. London broil, a sweet potato, and steamed broccoli.


I think I may end the night with a glass of peppermint hot chocolate….it is a snow day after all ;).

21 Day Sugar Detox – Day 19

Two more days left! Just one more weekend. Saturday and Sunday and my 21 days are up. It’s gone fast and I’m so happy with my results. I was able to take the kids to the candy shop in town today and hardly had a twinge of desire for candy!!

I had an early day at work today, so I had my coffee while I got the kids ready for school and I packed my breakfast so I could eat when I got hungry. I packed three scrambled eggs, a sliced green apple, and an adorable little mason jar of almond butter.


I packed leftover lamb chops, green beans, and cauli mash for lunch.

For dinner we went to Taco Hombre. Burritos, quesadillas, and corn chips for everyone but me. I had a salad with carnitas, tomato, onions, olives, and guacamole. After dinner we took the kids to the candy store across the street. I had a tiny twinge of desire for candy, but nothing I couldn’t ignore.

I had some kombucha when we got home….finished off the bottle I had started last night. Really good stuff and full of healthy probiotics.
Feeling great!!

Happy detoxing

21 Day Sugar Detox – Day 18

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how I’m going to eat after the detox is over, and I think I’ve come to a decision. It’s very clear to me that dairy is out. I was already eating fairly dairy free before starting the detox. I would have raw organic cheddar occasionally on my taco salads, and then half and half in my coffees daily. I notice a huge difference in how I feel after eliminating the daily dose of dairy in my coffee. I’m actually going to start clarifying my butter before using it as well to eliminate the last of the dairy proteins from my diet.
I do also want to cut back on sweet treats and sweeteners that I use in cooking. I know myself and I know I can, and most likely will, over do it on sweet treats if they are around. Then I end up with a stomach ache and/or a headache from the sugar. I’ve decided that if I do decide to make a sweet treat it will be using only the highest quality sweetening agents possible. (Organic maple syrup/maple sugar, raw honey, organic coconut sugar) Including the chocolate. (Organic 80% chocolate or higher sweetened only with high quality sweetener). I was using enjoy life chocolate chips for my treat baking…ingredients: evaporated cane juice, natural chocolate liquor, non dairy cocoa butter. They are good, but I find that the extreme sweetness they come with triggers sugar cravings for me. I’ve actually ordered some Eating Evolved 85% essentially dark chocolate bars (ingredients – organic cacao and organic maple sugar) to make two post detox treats that I’ve been dreaming of.
1. Peanut butter cups are a weakness of mine and I really love to have some of Paleomg’s easy chocolate almond butter cups in my freezer as an evening treat. Her recipe calls for enjoy life chips, but I will be using my Eating Evolved dark chocolate bar.
2. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have never attempted to make paleo brownies. So, I’ll be trying Paleomg’s sweet potato brownies using some of the chocolate I ordered.
I feel like using higher quality ingredients will make me think twice about whipping up sweet treats every other day. Ordering them and having them shipped will take time, plus the cost factor will reign me in a bit. (Or at least my husband hopes 😉

Here’s a link to Diane Sanfilippo’s guide to post detox eating.

For breakfast this morning I had pretty much the same thing as yesterday, minus the green pepper. Scrambled eggs, sweet potato, and home made sauerkraut.


I had a green tipped banana for snack, and then, later on, the last two Cracklin chicken thighs for lunch.

I went grocery shopping in the afternoon and found MaraNatha all natural almond butter, which is their sugar free one. Score! Nothing added, strictly almonds :). I can make my own, but it’s rough on the blender motor and since they don’t have coconut butter at shoprite I’ll save the blender abuse for turning those coconut flakes into yummy butter. I also grabbed two raw kombuchas, which are allowed on the 21DSD as a limit drink. I’ve been meaning to pick them up to try, but keep forgetting. That’ll be my treat tonight.


For dinner I made italian braised lamb shoulder chops, which is a sneak peak recipe from The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook by Diana Rogers of I served those bad boys up with cauli mash and green beans. All I can say is AH-Mazing! So easy and really good! My kids gobbled them up.


That’s about it for day 18! I’ll be sipping on some kombucha after the kids are in bed 🙂

Happy detoxing

21 Day Sugar Detox – Day 17

Things I’ve learned/habits I’ve broken during the 21DSD:

1. No more dairy or sugar in my coffee. I can drink it black, I can drink it with coconut milk, I can drink it bulletproof and I love making my own flavored creamers. But, I no longer feel bloated from dairy and sugared up from sugar after drinking my morning cup.
2. I now only have a morning cup! No mid morning cup, no mid afternoon cup, I actually don’t even NEED my morning cup. I have it because I enjoy it.
3. I sleep better and am energized and focused throughout the day.
4. I’ve given up gum since its a no while on the detox. (Artificial sweeteners galore). I’ve done some reading about potential digestive damage that gum chewing can cause….there will be a blog post about that eventually once I’ve done some more reading.
5. I’ve come to know my happy balance of starchy carbs such as the limit foods and the energy modification foods – sweet potato, plantains, acorn squash, butternut squash, etc. having unintentionally lost too much weight the first time around by too strictly limiting them, I was able to include them in this second detox at a balanced rate to maintain my weight.
6. I’ve started drinking herbal teas, traditional medicinal brand mostly, and I’m really enjoying them as a sweet treat replacement. They are a great caffeine free replacement for the urge to have a warm cup of something in my hands, which was part of my coffee addiction, and they are also great to wind down with at the end of a busy day.
7. Green bananas and Granny Smith apples are really very sweet when your taste buds aren’t confused from all the artificial flavors/natural sweeteners that are so often used in cooking and processed foods.

I had a huge breakfast today! 2/3 of a sweet potato with onion and a whole green pepper sautéed in lard. Along with some of my home made sauerkraut and 3 scrambled eggs. Yes! I was so hungry I ate it ALL!!!


Actually, I was so hungry this morning that about two hours after breakfast I needed more 😱. So I whipped up a quick cinnamon coconut flour waffle and spread some butter on it hoping that would keep me full for a while.

It did until lunch which was leftover sausage zoodle sauce from last night. It’s Wednesday, our late activity night, so I prepped some chicken thighs for Cracklin chicken for after ballet. We got home after ballet and I cut an acorn squash in half and tossed it in a 400 degree oven to cook while I fried up some Cracklin chicken thighs with Flavorgod spicy everything seasoning and Redmonds Real Salt. I spiralized the rest of my zucchini and tossed that quickly in a pan with some butter until it was warmed. I put some butter and cinnamon on the acorn squash….mm mm mmmm


I whipped up another chocolate mug cake after I put the kiddies to bed. And I’ll finish the night off with some herbal tea 🙂

Happy detoxing