Tag Archives: omega-3

Fat Lessons

creamToday I’m going to start a little series.  I don’t know how many posts it will be.  As many as it takes.  And I’m going to keep them short.  They’ll be mini-bite lessons on fats.  (Oils are fats too.)  The kinds of fats you eat can make or break you.  Because sorting out fat terminology drove me crazy, I’ll start there.  Everybody throws these terms around:  saturated, unsaturated, MUFAs, PUFAs, omega-3s, omega-6s, linolenic acid, linoleic acid, MCT, and SCFA.  If my eyes glaze over reading posts and comment threads about fats, I’ll bet many of you out there have the same problem.  Let’s remedy that in little bits.

First off, fats are made of fatty acids, three of them in fact, bonded to a backbone called a glycerol.  Thus you get “TRIGLYCERIDES.”  Fats.

Mostly what health writers are talking about when they talk about “fats,” is the kind of fatty acids that make up the package called the triglyceride.  What kind of fatty acids are involved.  Fatty acids can be saturated.  Or unsaturated.  Or MUFAs.  Or PUFAs, omega-3s.  And so on.

THERE ARE TWO MAIN WAYS TO CATEGORIZE FATS, BY HOW SATURATED THEIR FATTY ACIDS ARE OR HOW LONG THEIR FATTY ACIDS ARE.  This is why it gets so confusing to read health articles on fats.  That and the fact that foods, oils, and fats are made up of many types of those terms I listed up there.  For example, olive oil is a mixture of several different types of fat.  So it gets confusing.

Today we’ll outline the saturation/unsaturation terms.  Later we’ll outline them (rather easily) by length.

Here is the outline for your head.  Don’t think about foods for now.  Foods, natural fats, and natural oils are a mix of all these terms you and I have spinning around our heads.  Today, just think of terminology.  Later we’ll apply it to food.

NAMES OF FATS BASED ON HOW SATURATED THEIR FATTY ACIDS ARE

     I.  Saturated fats:  All carbons are full-up.  No double bonds.  Not much room for chemical reactions to take place.  Stable.  Solid.

     II.  Unsaturated fats:  Some carbons are double bonded, leaving room for chemical reactions to take place.  Liquid.

          1.  Monounsaturated fats  (MUFAs):  Only one double bond so less reactive than PUFAs.  More stable.

          2.  Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs):  More than one double bond.  This makes them more reactive and less stable than saturated fats and MUFAs.

               a.  Omega-3

               b.  Omega-6

               c.  Omega-9

That’s it.

What do I want you to notice?  I want you to notice that omega-3s are PUFAs.   I want you to notice that saturated fats are the most chemically stable.  Then monounsaturated fats (MUFAs).  Then polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs).

That wasn’t too taxing, was it?  Do your eyes glaze over when you read those fat articles?  Do you wish somebody would figure out fats and stick to their story?  Do you worry about fat?  Do you try to stay low-fat or avoid certain fats?  I’d love to know.  And know why.

Have a good weekend.  It’s Labor Day weekend here, and we have company coming for a real good time!  My children are a little worried, “Mom, I don’t think they’re going to like our food…”  My poor kids.  Traumatized.

Terri

Salmon OCD Dip

 

Today’s recipe is my take on a delightful appetizer made by a mysterious, black-haired, smokey eyed, Romanian gypsy who weaves her Eastern Romanian fare with Italian and Camaroonian accents.  With her help, I have learned to appreciate wpid-IMAG1331.jpgtraditional foods full of nutritional goodness.  I could sit all day and listen to her stories of growing up in a Communist state.

She made this appetizer for a get-together and served it with Belgian endive leaves.  I told her I think she is a great cook.  She attributes it to the fact that, because she has been many places besides the United States, she has no preconceived idea of what she “needs” to make to please people.  So she is free to “just make.”

I think this would be a great dip to take to a Super Bowl party.  It is called Salmon OCD Dip to help you remember why it is so good for you.  Omega-3.  Calcium.  Vitamin D.

Salmon OCD Dip

1 can of salmon, 14.75 ounces (I use wild-caught, intact salmon, meaning the bones and skin included.)
1/2 tin of sardines
10 capers or more
1/2 of a small onion, chopped
1/4 cup of softened palm shortening or leftover bacon drippings
Juice of one lemon
1/2-1 teaspoonful of salt
Optional:  2 small, thin anchovies

Put the salmon in a food processor, blender, or mini food processor.  Don’t look at the disgusting mixture.  Just think and repeat “omega-3, calcium, and vitamin D.”  Process well.

Add the sardines, capers, onion, palm shortening or bacon drippings, salt and lemon juice.  (And the anchovies if desired.)    Process well.

Transfer to serving bowl.  I prefer to serve this with fresh carrots and sliced apples.  My friend served it with Belgian endive which she had separated into “boats” and arrayed on the serving platter.  Lovely.

Family “gustar” report:  My kids won’t try it.  If your kids love seafood a lot, it may go.  If they don’t, probably won’t.  My husband and I both think it’s great.

I wish you health and hope that you will consider what intensive nutrition could do to help you attain it, even if it seems like a problem that would have NO nutritional connection.  You may be very surprised.  I was.

Terri