Today’s recipe and guest post is from one of my favourite people on this planet, Liz of That Paleo Girl. Liz has appeared on Meg the RHN several times over the past couple years and, clearly, I just can’t get enough of her. She makes these amazing smoothie bowls boasting with nutrition and I wanted her to share her recipe here, so we could all enjoy it, too! Thanks for sharing with us, Liz!
I was never one to consciously demonize fat but I realize in hindsight that society did that for me. Before becoming more conscious of the food I eat and learning more about nutrition, I chose skim milk for my cereal, skipped the cheese on my salad, and avoided fatty cuts of meat without even really thinking about it. I didn’t think about which macronutrient I was clearly lacking (actually, I didn’t think about macronutrients at all) – I was just eating in a way that others deemed “healthy.”
I started to understand the power of eating real, whole foods when I was diagnosed with lupus and celiac disease and made the dramatic shift from eating a typical “healthy” diet to a real-food paleo-ish diet. Within weeks of changing my diet, I experienced massive gains in health, including more energy, less joint pain, dramatically decreased levels of inflammation, and more…but I still had a long journey ahead of me to get back to normal, which would take a much greater focus on which real foods I needed to truly nourish my body.
As I said before, I never feared fat or consciously avoided it, but I also had no idea how little fat I was eating previously and no concept of how much fat I needed to eat to restore my health. It turns out that when you cut out processed foods and make a conscious effort to avoid junky oils, you pretty dramatically cut all the typical sources of fat in your diet. Though I was doing myself a great favor by avoiding refined oils that wreaked havoc on my body, I was doing myself an equally great disservice by eating loads of plain steamed veggies and dry salads.
It wasn’t until my amazing team of health providers (including Meg, who changed my life) helped me realize how little fat I was eating that I was able to change my bad low-fat habits and give my body the energy it was craving. It took a while for me to understand that I needed to POUR extra virgin olive oil on my salads or that it was okay to eat a full avocado as a snack, but over time these behaviors that once felt weird became second-nature to me. Eating a diet that is rich in healthy fats has become an essential part of my health journey.
Regardless of the amount of carbs or protein I eat in a day, I always make a conscious effort to incorporate more healthy fats into my diet because of the AMAZING ways in which fat has impacted my life. Though this list is certainly not exhaustive, there are three main benefits of fat that I have seen in my own life:
Energy – I can very quickly tell when I haven’t eaten enough fat by around lunchtime because I feel like I need to curl up in a ball for a cat nap. I used to think that was normal or I was “just tired,” but adding more fat to my diet helped me realize that I was just exhausted because I was under-nourished and having blood sugar swings. Fat provides a strong, steady source of energy that now powers me through my days!
Digestion – Fat satiates, meaning that you don’t have to eat gallons of ghee to feel full. This stands in stark contrast to veggies, which I could eat to no end without feeling satisfied. Before I experimented with adding more fat to my diet, I was eating huge quantities of food and never felt full, which was very difficult for my stomach to handle. I felt bloated all the time and my bowel movements were never normal (sorry, TMI). Adding more fat to my diet helped me to feel full and satisfied without devouring refrigerator draws full of vegetables, plus it helps me smoothly and easily digest the food I do eat.
Mind – Though improved energy and digestion are great benefits, I truly love fat because it nourishes my mind. After legitimately starving for years (click here to read more about my health journey), I had a rocky relationship with food. It started when I was extremely underweight but had no desire to eat. I was miserable, and I knew it was partly because I wasn’t eating enough, but I could not convince myself that eating was going to bring me any healing or peace.
When I finally did start to eat again and began gaining weight, I was absolutely ravenous and ALWAYS thinking about food. Even when my appetite started to normalize, I was constantly wondering if I was eating too much or too little, worrying if I would have enough food to get me through a long day on campus as a student, or eating little snacks to keep my hunger at bay between meals. I had no problem eating and never worried about gaining weight, but I was sick of having food on my mind all. the. time.
It wasn’t until I significantly increased the fats in my diet that I found peace. Because I was nourishing my body with healthy fats, I was giving my mind the energy it needed to think about other important, beautiful, and interesting things! Today if I find my mind wandering to the snacks in my desk or thinking about my next meal, I know that I simply have not eaten enough fat so far in the day. As long as I make a conscious effort to include plenty of healthy fats with each of my meals, I find that I feel happy, energized, comfortable, and at peace.
So am I keto? No. I don’t feel the need to put a label on the way that I eat (even though my Instagram name is @that.paleo.girl – hypocritical, I know) and I personally like including more vegetable sources of carbohydrate in my diet. But eating carbs never causes me to decrease my fat – in fact, nothing does. I include ample amounts of fat in my diet because I have seen the power fat has on my own mind and boy, and I never want to go back to the way I felt without it!
If you’re looking for a delicious way to increase the fats in your own diet, try this Sugar-Free Chocolate & Greens Smoothie Bowl (also known as green mush). I make it every morning and truly love the way it makes me feel!
How has fat impacted your life? Is your experience similar to mine? Please comment and let me know – I would love to hear your story, and I know Meg would too!
- ½ avocado
- 1 cup frozen chopped kale
- ½ cup frozen cauliflower or zucchini
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (or more, to taste)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 scoops collagen peptides (optional)
- 5 drops stevia
- dash of cinnamon
- dash of sea salt
- 1 cup almond milk (more or less depending on desired thickness)
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs
- 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
- Add all ingredients (except toppings) to a blender and blend on high for at least a minute. You may want to start with ½ cup of almond milk and slowly continue to add more until the ingredients blend and reach your desired consistency.
- When the ingredients are smooth, pour into a bowl and top with cacao nibs and hemp hearts. Enjoy!