Anthia Koullouros comes to Soul Sessions to debunk the myths around fat and tell us why many of us, quite possibly, need to be eating a whole lot more of it! Anthia began consulting as a Naturopath, Herbalist, Homoeopath and Organic Health, Food & Lifestyle Educator in 1994. Her very first Paddington clinic – Out of the Earth Health & Beauty Clinic – was named one of Sydney’s best de-stress clinics by Sydney Morning Herald. In 2004, Anthia opened OVViO – The Organic Lifestyle Store & Naturopathic Clinic – and began offering organic, natural products which have expanded to now include her OVViO Organic Teas, Herbs & Spices and beauty products. Learn more about fat right now.
So I’m talking about fat and it’s a big big topic. It’s a topic I do love. It’s a confusing topic and I just want you to think about what fat means to you in just whatever comes up for you. Likely, like, we hear everything negative about fat. I know that these are some other things that you’ve just been thinking about; that fat makes us fat, saturated fats are bad, unsaturated fats are good, fat causes heart disease, fat will kill us, low fat foods are healthy and generally fat is bad. Look at this, there’s so much from that we can make about this. My low-fat diet really works! The fat hangs lower every day. And then I look at something like this and I think boring like I don’t know what I would choose, I mean, I like them both but why do we have to choose? With a picture like that it just depends and I’m gonna teach you about why it depends and likely, this is on everything on every pack of food. This is another common thing, it’s the same with Eloise’s and Charlie to have such a thing as low calorie caramel coffee creams so it’s like forgetting, it’s like we just learned, we’ve learnt to know about our food just to whether it’s fat, low-fat, cholesterol-free, diet and it’s very very confusing. This is just a general overall understanding of fats and I want you to really think about fats as heart of whole foods. I don’t really like talking about, truly don’t like talking about fats by themselves. I just like talking about food but I understand, for the purposes of debunking all the negative information we have about fats, I need to pull it out, educate and will put it back into whole foods at the end.
Fat on its own is good for healthy skin, nails, and hair and I think it’s particularly saturated fats are extremely anti-aging. I just think I’m gonna look like this forever if I keep eating my saturated fats. I notice the women that are really really dry and look older or they’ve got more fine lines, they’re not eating the fats and the ones that do eat the saturated fats look very different. It’s good insulation and good padding so it keeps us warm but the padding is to cushion the organs and muscular-skeletal system. It promotes healthy cell function — the cell membrane…the membrane of all of our cells is fat. It serves as an energy store, it’s a good buffer against disease because it’s so rich in valuable nutrients such as: vitamin A, D, E, K2, all these fats, Omega 3 it keeps us… our appetite satisfied. I don’t know if you’ve noticed when you eat a fat meal you don’t feel hungry after a fat meal but when you carbs you just want to keep eating and keep eating and keep eating, I’ll talk to you more about satisfying appetite. And our brain is fat, I don’t know if anyone’s ever eaten lamb’s brain… it’s pretty much fat and the nervous system it conducts nerve impulses through fat which is the myelin sheath. Now this is the key, this is the answer, there is nothing more and I wish I could walk off the stage after this but I’m going to explain this one. It’s really simple, the fat became a problem because source and processing changed and if you just remember those two words and I’ll explain what each one means. Source is where food comes from so something’s changed along the way. So fat we find naturally in, as an animal fat, in dairy and eggs and that’s a beautiful piece of grass-fed steak from Feather and Bone, I don’t know if anyone knows Feather and Bone, and this is a whole food source of saturated fats. And then we also get fats from plants, that is some butter there at the back, there’s coconut oil and olive oil there and this is a nice whole food food source of unsaturated fats. Having said that though, both are a combination of both saturated and unsaturated, it’s just that we put them in these classes because they contain more… the plant ones contain more unsaturated, the animal ones generally contain more saturated except for the coconut oil which is a saturated fat. So what has affected our source is our population. So our population has changed, I’ve just pulled this off Wikipedia, like now we’ve reached this amount of people (six billion people) and you can see along the lines how where we’ve introduced what has affected our source of fats within our foodies.
Agriculture, so this is it here, so this is how we started to change our quality of fats and why fat became a problem. When we industrialized in that era we then developed chemicals, those chemicals we started to use as fertilizers and pesticides and it meant we could grow our food at a much larger volume. We also discovered vitamins and so those pesticides and vitamins went into a type of farming method that allowed us to grow lots of corn, lots of wheat, lots of soybean, which is what we make that out of lots of cottonseed, that’s what makes up our vegetable oil fats and we also were able to give that feed to animals and bring animals together and quite intensively farm animals and animal fat is dairy, eggs, meat,beef. We then took some of those fats and we made them more stable for shelf life so hydrogenation and interesterification is what gives our oils shelf life and stability. Throw in some some modern medicine and lots of dollar bills and good clever marketing, we end up with this, we end up with people who is sick because this system gives us food most specifically fat that we’re not designed to eat so there is good and bad fats and it’s just not saturated fats are bad and unsaturated fats are good, they can both be good and they can both be bad for us but they’re both essential. Does everyone get that? It’s the same with Omega 3 can be good and bad depending on the source the same with Vitamin A,D, E good and bad so that’s really an important point, they’re both good and they can both be bad.
So this is what I mean by monocropping, we just grew wheat so we created unhealthy plants, now it’s the unhealthy plants that give us the oils. Now, these plants are grown in an unnatural way. These sources of fat do not exist in abundance in nature as they are so we have…the majority of the population knows that we gotta have lots of unsaturated fats so what are they? They’re vegetable oils, olive oil those kind of plant fat, nuts and seeds and avocados. The problem is particularly the vegetable oils, they’re grown artificially, there’s no such thing as a healthy vegetable oil on the market full stop. I can, we can, exclude coconut oil and olive oil because they generally, they’re called pristine, they’re extra virgin. We did this with our cows so we fed that feed to the cows and we’re told to avoid saturated fats and maybe there’s a reason to in this case. And we’ve done this to our chicken, chickens give us eggs and we get meat of chickens and again, unhealthy sources of beef, lamb, poultry, eggs and pork are fed grains, seeds and beans that are mono cropped, genetically modified, pesticides, fertilizers and again these type of fats do not exist in great abundance naturally nature. And then we’ve done this with seafood so when you think seafood, think fish oil Omega 3. Now, there’s been a bit of a backlash against fish, most people are now eating grass-fed beef and lamb which I’ll talk about in eating less fish. I’ve purposely put fish on the cover of my recipe book because you can eat healthy fish, you just gotta learn how to and what to eat. This is farmed salmon, does anyone know much about farmed salmon? So what I say generally to all clients is avoid all salmon in Australia whether its Atlantic or Tasmanian salmon, best to be avoided because it’s not really a fantastic source of Omega3 and you’ll be shocked as to why and it’s cruel, it’s a pretty cruel game. And I know that’s why people are turning off fish because of farming but again unhealthy source of fish including fish oils and seafood are fed grains that are monocrop, genetically modified, pesticides, fertilisers.
So this is about farmed fish and this is really about any animals, if you enclose animals you create an environment that is really not healthy. It’s like having a bunch of office workers working in a really close-knit environment, one person gets sick everyone, gets sick. It’s not a natural environment so they all start taking antibiotics, we feed salmon particularly, antibiotics. So a lot of people on their second, third, fourth course of antibiotics their microorganisms have become resistant to them because we’re eating antibiotics in our food all the time, particularly in farm salmon. They’re fed chemicals — the chemicals are there to clean the water, they’re fed colours to make their face look a particular color and they’re fed wheat and soy ,again cruel, because what the fish eat is microalgae that’s where they get their Omega 3 from and they eat little fish; same with cows, cows eat grass. Cow’s fat which is in the form of their beef fat or beef or dairy are very dense in Omega 3 as well but they don’t have that because if they’re grain-fed they’ve got more Omega 6 so Omega 6 is the one that is the opposite of Omega 3, Omega 3 is very anti-inflammatory that’s what why people take fish oil capsules and Omega 6 is more pro-inflammatory. But this is the the thing that really stumped me the most that fifty percent of fish oil capsules that we consume as humans, 50 percent of that production goes to feeding farmed salmon…because they don’t make any more Omega 3. So you can see where…this is where it becomes complicated. We kind of mess it up a bit until we get some clarity around it. It really depends on the source of your food; if it comes from good source then not only are your fats healthy so are your proteins and so are your carbs. So with regards to source this is this one little diagram I’ve been using it since 2007, Gus can vouch for this since he’s seen this diagram a thousand times. This is all encompassing, this is what we call the snake devour; the word means Ouroboros in Greek, it’s life eats life. If we farm well and we look after our soil then the nutrition is within our soil that we grow our plants. Our plants if they’re growing in good soil and nutrient-dense and if they’re farmed well through organic or permaculture, polyculture biodynamic farming methods then we give good feed to our animals. If animals were fed on that good nutrition rather than in a feedlot, rather than the grains and then put into a feedlot and then we eat them and also not to forget our oceans so this is the cycle of life eats life so it’s really about the soil at the end of the day. So that’s about source.
Now, remember I said it’s about source and processing of fats. So with regards to processing of fats so we always ate animal fats and we ate plant fats but we discovered means of extracting oils from nuts, seeds grains and beans the plant so before we used to just eat them in their whole state so fat was part of that but then we extracted the oils out of nuts, seeds, grains and beans and we use this kind of machinery which is just two stones which would crush and we would get what we call cold press extraction. This is a real photo that I just pulled off of Google, people that killed some animals and they’re just rendering down the fat so they made use of the whole animal and they’re responsible for the whole animal. This is what we do now: we chemically extract so all vegetable oils are pretty much chemically extracted unless they state otherwise and they’re really cold pressed, they’re usually expeller pressed and then they made the given stability and shelf life through this machine which hydrogenates and another method called interesterification. It’s kind of a bit nuts, isn’t it? We’ve taken something in its whole state and created brand new products that are part of everyday eating but these are brand new products, this is not what we’re designed to eat. There’s so much involved in this type of chemical processing, there’s lots of steaming, dry cleaning, deodorizing, filtering, more chemicals added in. Now just remember the fat, the ingredients of ingredients that need to be listed on a packet so always get kinds to do a stop, or look at their ingredients of what’s in their food packets. Whenever you see vegetable oil you don’t see what is in vegetable oil but vegetable oil, whatever the source is, has plenty of ingredients in it. So this is what that machinery on that right hand side is what we use to stabilize fats like vegetables oils, liquid oils and it converts a liquid oil into something which what we call partial hydrogenation into something called a trans fat but never in those trans fats are no good. Does anyone know why they’re not good? We hear lots about trans fats. Anyone wanna give that answer? Basically they’re just chemically denatured so the two hydrogen sit together trans fat have just fit the hydrogens on the other side, it’s to give stability and shelf-life because they’re not natural products, they don’t exist in nature that would be rancid and would go off. Now, heat is applied here, heats is applied at the chemical extraction, this heat applied everywhere. What happens when you add heat to oil? It oxidizes and becomes rancid so that’s something else to consider with oils that people are eating, deep frying, cooking, stir frying at home, at the restaurant and in every single food product you will find these oils. So people are still telling us eat plenty of unsaturated fats, this is the fat they’re telling us to eat. But we kind of, you know, we know about trans fats now, which by the way, I call synthetic saturated fats. The same people that tell us to avoid saturated fats are telling us to “eat our version, eat my synthetic saturated fat” because essentially that’s what they’re chemically doing is making it more saturated. That’s kind of nonsense to me. That’s like you’re saying saturated fat is bad but eat my version of it. Interesterification is a kind of not a new method, it’s probably I don’t know how many years old but I’m just gonna take a guess between four and eight years old. It’s kind of been… come about because of the backlash against trans fats but it’s no different, it’s just again taking a fat and making it more stable but again it’s chemically created that way. It has the same number of problems and issues associated with the trans fats in that they’ve proven that these fats are not healthy even though we’re generally told to eat more unsaturated fats but they do contribute to all the diseases that we know of: heart disease, cancer etc. So if you were thinking why did we change our processing methods well, the obvious reason is we industrialize, we had lots of chemicals, we had lots of new machinery, our population grew and we were money-making, we wanted to create product after product.
Some other guys were involved in the whole modernization of fat processing. Everyone must know Procter & Gamble, they’re in modern times a drug company in the nineteenth century so in the late eighteen hundreds one was a candle maker and another was a soap maker, they married two sisters, since they became brother-in-laws the father-in-law said “you don’t need to compete”. They were making soaps and candles out of pork fat. That’s what was available at that time. That’s what we made our soap and candles out of and they used a local packing district. I’ve been finding all these old photos, this is the pieces that they’ve actually used so they made use of the whole animal. But what happened at that time and the father-in-law suggested that electricity was becoming more fashionable, candles weren’t of great use, they thought “What else could we do?”. There was already a patent on hydrogenation that we just talked about and they basically acquired that patent from this man called Wilhelm so they put up some cotton seed oil. So what hydrogenation basically does is give something of an oil liquid consistency more shelf life and stability but it also makes it more harder in a sense. So they brought up lots of cottonseed oil and they made something that resembled pork fat or lard and it was a vegetable shortening made out of cotton seed oil and it was named Crisco, Crisco shortening. And they started to market these as an alternative to pork fat and here it says “This is cleaner and better than your butter and lard. It’s safer, it’s more consistent, it has a longer shelf life. Choose our new Crisco shortening” so this had nothing to do with health, this is pure business here but this is the factors that have influenced us eating processed fats versus animal fats because before then people were using pork fat to make their soaps and candles but also to cook with.