Vegan Fats of Life - Part 1

Jun 12 05:31 2007 Sassy Knutson Print This Article

Although oftentimes overlooked, Essential Fatty Acids play a vital role in our good health. Let's discuss the importance of these essential fats in the vegan diet.

Fats. They're so misunderstood. We shun them! We avoid them! We do everything in our power to keep them at a distance. We buy reduced-fat,Guest Posting low-fat and no-fat products to keep that fat as far away as possible.

Fats be gone!!

But then, without warning, we find ourselves reaching for fatty foods...chips, French fries, candy, ice cream. Ack! It's like something inside takes over and we are helpless to stop ourselves.  Guess what?  It's not your fault. There's a very good reason for this.

In The Beginning…

Let's think back to our ancestors, those strong, silent types. Back then, they instinctively went in search of foods that could supply them with the greatest amounts of energy. Mother Nature helped out by making foods that supplied the greatest amounts of energy taste good so we would be more inclined to eat them.  Oh, those Moms -- always taking care of us. 

Which foods provided the highest amounts of energy?  Sugars and fats from whole food sources. Fruits and veggies gave our ancestors sugar. Nuts, seeds and fish gave them fats.

Fast-forward to present. Natural sugars and fats, the kind found in whole foods, continue to provide the highest amounts of energy for your body. BUT (and that's a big but!), now you are receiving your sugars and fats from a different source entirely.

An Uphill Battle

You see, the companies that manufacture our foods met the demand of consumers by creating affordable food that would last longer on the shelves and be safe from contamination by microorganisms. Most of these processed and refined foods, however, were high in calories and missing the necessary nutrients we require, like proteins, vitamins and minerals.

And these processed foods tasted terrible!  These companies can't turn a good profit if the food doesn't taste good, right? So guess what they did to solve this problem? They said "let's find a way to isolate these great tasting sugars and fats and stuff those into these nutrient-devoid foods!" And that's exactly what they did. These nutrient-devoid, high sugar and high fat packaged and processed foods line your grocery shelves. No wonder keeping your weight under control is such an uphill battle. You are biologically programmed to reach for these foods.  Oy!

The Skinny On Fats

There is a big difference between the fats our ancestors enjoyed and those we reach for today. For one thing, the fats our ancestors enjoyed were part of a complete package...the whole food. 

These whole foods were filled with Essential Fatty Acids.

Surely you've heard of them, but if you're like most people, you don't have any idea what they are or how important they are for you to know about.

Do you suffer from:

  • Dry hair and skin?
  • Unhealthy nails which are prone to breakage?
  • Dandruff? Hair loss?
  • High cholesterol?
  • High blood pressure?
  • PMS or breast pain?
  • Water retention?
  • Weight gain?
  • Memory and learning difficulties?
  • Lack of coordination or impaired vision?

These are just a few of the signs of a possible Essential Fatty Acid deficiency.

Essential Fatty Acids nourish your skin, hair and nails, help to strengthen the immune system, and bring your body to its natural weight, along with a host of other wonderful benefits.

Fatty acids fall into the category of essential or non-essential.

Non-essential means it is "not essential" (not required) that you figure out a way to get them into your body. Your body will create these Non-Essential Fatty Acids for you.

There, wasn't that easy?

The Essential Fatty Acids are something different entirely. They are called essential because you MUST get them from your diet. It is "essential" (required) that you find a way to get these into your body. Essential Fatty Acids are vital components that your body needs for many functions. Vegans can find them most readily in the seeds of plants.

Next, in Vegan Fats of Life, Parts 2 and 3, we’ll discuss how fats act when they enter your body.  Then, we’ll round it all out with an EASY way to add these important fats to your diet, along with a word about Trans Fats (eek!!!). Please visit to read these two very important articles.

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About Article Author

Sassy Knutson
Sassy Knutson

Sassy is a Vegan Chef and Nutritional Consultant.  Her website was created to marry these two loves, along with over a decade of vegan experience, by teaching her fellow Vegans the secret to balanced vegan nutrition and easy vegan cooking without recipes.

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