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The Skinny on Trans-Fat

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As Benjamin Franklin said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” So, another small change to make on the road to health and wellness is the elimination of transfats. Fats and oils are made up of fatty acids. Fatty acids are made up of chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms. What differentiates all the fatty acids is how these carbon and hydrogen atoms are configured. Some fats are saturated—meaning that they are full of hydrogen atoms—and some are polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature while polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Our bodies need all of these fats in varying degrees because fats are important for providing energy; insulating our bodies from extreme temperatures; protecting our vital internal organs; and helping us absorb vitamins A,D, E and K.

In nature, double bonds between fatty acids are cis which means that the hydrogen next to the double bonds are on the same side of the carbon chain. One can also have trans bonds, where the hydrogen atoms next to the double bonds are on opposite sides of the carbon chain.

Naturally occurring trans-fatty acids are very healthy for the body. These fatty acids are found in grass-fed beef and milk. On the other hand, trans-fatty acids (transfats) that result from hydrogenation or partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils are not healthy. These behave like saturated fatty acids in the body and have been show to cause cancer, heart disease, and other inflammatory conditions. Therefore, it is important to eliminate transfats from your diet. On labels, transfats read as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils or vegetable shortening.

For More Information, check out:
What to Eat by Marion Nestle, PhD
Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck
The Queen of Fats: Why Omega 3s Were Removed from the Western
Diet and What We Can do to Repace Them
by Susan Allport

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids

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Increasing research is showing that the cause of many inflammatory diseases (diabetes, heart disease, stroke, among others) is the imbalance between Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids—both of which are polyunsaturated fats—and we are not getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are incorporated into cells, making their membranes more fluid so they can communicate with one another; they help in developing the brain; they are anti-inflammatory and support blood circulation. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in: fish, flax seeds, walnuts and leafy green vegetables.

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Quote of the Month

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“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”

—Oscar Wilde

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I am the mother of four daughters and a Certified Health Counselor, as well as a passionate advocate of organic and local food and a healthy lifestyle. I decided to become a health counselor to fulfill my passion of working with children and parents to improve their health and family life. Learn more about me at

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In this issue:


Baked Fish with
Basil-Shallot Butter

  • 2 lbs firm white fish fillets, such as halibut
  • 1 ½ cups basil
  • 2 shallots
  • 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 350 Fº
  2. Chop basil and shallot in mini food processor. Add butter, 2 Tbsp at a time. Process until blended. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in lemon zest and add 1 tsp salt.
  3. Spread 2 Tbsp of basil-shallot butter on the bottom of a baking dish, place fish fillets on baking dish, season with salt and pepper and rub 1 tsp of butter into fish.
  4. Bake in oven until fully cooked through, approximately 10 minutes.

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