Eat Like Your Grandma

Why (High Quality) Fats and Oils Are Important

My Grandma always kept a can of “drippings” by the stovetop. She would collect the leftover oil, as well as the grease that would drip off the meat, all in one big old can. She’d ladle the stuff onto her cast iron skillet to cook pancakes and hash browns; and then use the oil again a few times over to cook chicken, okra, fish…you get the idea. This was how people who survived America’s great depression managed to eat well (i.e. meat, protein), eat delicious (fat carries the flavor), while on a strict budget (reusing oil, collecting new oil from meat).

My mom, a 60’s era hippy, would roll her eyes in utter disgust of my Grandma’s sticky oil can. Between fried chicken, cucumber “salad” made with heavy cream, or her “sinful” cinnamon buns that came fresh out of the oven, mom had a deep concern about just about everything that came out of my grandma’s kitchen.

My mom had been taught by the health-food industry and the American government’s programs to try and get American’s to eat in a way that would not clog their arteries that deep-fried foods are evil, fat is evil, too many carbs are evil, and sugar is very very evil.

Through industrialization and the militarization of the post WWII food industry we went through a change where foods became more processed, and instead of using lard (fat from animals) and drippings, we began to use low quality oils to cook our food, pointing to the lower fat content as justification.

What no one told us was that these oils are toxic, industrially manufactured — usually from genetically modified crops — using high heat and toxic solvents to extract the oil from the seeds. They also have a low burn point when burned, and burned (oxidized) oil is extremely toxic.

One day while 4 months pregnant I was talking with our naturopathic guru about his views of ultrasounds, vaccinations, and the other possible factors related to autism. I asked what he felt was the guilty suspect of the steady rise of autism in America over the last 30 years. He replied, “The brain is 60% fat. When the child’s brain is developing in the womb and the woman is only eating low-quality bad fats such as canola or sunflower oils, the brain’s development is impaired. It’s like the brain is reaching out for fat to grow, and all that it has to work with are these genetically-modified toxic oils that the mother is eating. If you want to increase the mental well-being of yourself and your children, even in the womb, eat high quality fats like olive and coconut oil. I recommend every pregnant woman take 1 spoon full of coconut oil every day — preferably warm in oatmeal or tea so that it is easier for the body to absorb. Always cook with coconut oil. Always dress your salad with uncooked olive oil.”

In Ayurdvera, you cook with “clarified butter” or ghee. Pregnant and nursing women are instructed to heap pure ghee on their rice, because they know that high quality fats are absolutely essential as the child’s brain, muscles, and tissues are forming, and good fat is an essential building block in the process.

Omega-3 that comes from salmon, walnuts and flaxseed is essential not only in the child’s development in the womb, but is also related to our own mental well being.

Is it any reason why there are higher rates of mental depression, stress, or instability in communities — or a whole agitated American wasteland — that is feasting on fast foods or even processed foods that are advertised as being “healthy”?

It’s a form of malnourishment.

PMSing women gravitate towards fatty foods — their minds are searching for needed nutrients that actually can be found in dark chocolate and real ice cream. But then we try and fix the craving with french fries, milk chocolate or fat-free milk, we are eating either toxic oils that don’t benefit the brain, or a “healthy” flavored-non-fat-replacement that isn’t giving our body what it needs.

So how do you eat like your grandma? Go back to butter, whole milk, and cooking stuff in high-quality oils like ghee and coconut oil. Make your own chicken stock from real chicken. Even if your grandma didn’t cook things in ghee or coconut oil, your neighbor’s Indian, Pilipino or Latino grandma did.

Know that fatty foods taste great because fats carry the flavor. Know that you’re doing your body and brain a favor when you’re reaching for the nuts, avocados, whole milk, and olives. Know that you’re doing your baby a favor as you eat what you’re craving. Examine your cravings, let’s say, potato chip, and try and determine what your body is actually looking for. Real fat. Real salt. Real carbs. Real food. Like your grandma ate; before our food was hijacked by the money hungry morally depraved food industry.

Learn more about the science behind good and bad fats here: