Fat Bomb Jellies – by Fouad
Only a few years ago, it seemed like the entire world was certain that fat was going to kill us. From the perspective of a population that was suffering from extreme weight issues, soaring cholesterol levels and an epidemic of heart disease, cutting out fat seemed to be the logical thing to do. If ever there was a usual suspect, fat had to be it: it was energy dense (all those calories in a single tablespoon!), full of cholesterol (the stuff we see in clogged arteries), and it tasted really good (tasty things have to be bad for you)!
For most of my life – all the way up till I was 31, I’ve thought along these lines. The advice given to me personally by well-meaning, trained health professionals who were trying to help me control my obesity was that I had to eat less fat so as to lower my caloric intake.
I yoyo dieted for 18 years, starting when I was 13 years old. My weight would go out of control, then I’d starve myself and eat nothing but vegetables and low-fat stuff (I have no better word for things that should have fat in them but don’t) and I aggressively exercised a body that was too heavy and inflamed – a very unpleasant experience that I am still recovering from till this day. When I would inevitably return to my old eating habits (which were not terrible by any standard), the weight would come back with vengeance.
If you know my story, you know that I eventually changed my approach to health and weight loss and ended up effortlessly loosing the weight by starting to eat fat, and by dropping carbohydrates and sugar. Fat gave me much needed nutrition and building blocks and leveled out my blood sugar levels. I learned to love fat. In addition to the weight loss, chronic issues like eczema, acne and recurring ear infections disappeared too. (You can listen to my story in detail, here.)
I loved my new diet. It was full of delicious food and I never felt deprived. I ate tonnes of fat, which made all the veggies taste way better. The fat I ate, however, was no ordinary fat. It was mostly saturated animal fat – you know, the really scary stuff like butter, bacon, tallow, lard and egg yolks – the stuff we are told to stay away from. However, despite all the advice being given to the contrary, I thrived for the first time in my life.
People in the wholefood world, especially those who view their diet with an ancestral lens, know the value of good quality, saturated animal fat. Our ancestors loved fat, just like we do, and they highly prized it, throwing lean meats to their dogs and devouring the fattier organs and cuts. There was no hesitation to eat fat when it was around, and when I followed that approach, my body healed.
When I went on the GAPS diet to address lingering health issues, I needed to further increase my fats. Animal fat is one of the 6 most healing foods on the GAPS diet. The idea behind GAPS is that you mega-dose on the most healing, nutritionally packed foods, while giving your gut a break by eating easy to digest foods. Early stages of GAPS are quite limited in variety, and that forced me to improvise this recipe, which I call Fat Bomb Jellies. It’s a great snack, even if you’re not on GAPS as it combines loads of nut butter and ghee (or regular butter) with honey and gelatine to produce a delicious, fudge-like jelly that is packed with good fat. Beetroot is one of the root vegetables that are GAPS approved, and it lends its colour to the jellies, which turn a beautiful pink hue.
Before we get into the recipe, it’s worth mentioning that I believe that whole foods, prepared and eaten in an ancestral way, are what makes up a good diet. If all of us ate this way from the get-go, diet-related diseases would be unheard of. We start where we can, though, and if our body and biology are damaged from our history and our environment, then we have to tweak a whole food diet to allow for maximum healing.
That’s why I love Paleo as a diet, but prefer GAPS for when deeper healing is needed. These two diets both recommend high quality whole food fats, which means that if they come from animals, the animals need to be healthy and living a natural life – wild or on pasture, and eating their traditional foods. If the fat comes from vegetables, then it needs to be a traditional fat that has been in use for a long part of our history as humans. These fats/oils include extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil but exclude hexane-extracted fats such as canola, soybean, rice bran, corn and the generic “vegetable oil”. All oils and fats you consume need to be fresh and stored well, away from sunlight, and in cool environments. That keeps them from becoming rancid and oxidising, which contributes. And so, for this recipe, use a good, grass-fed butter or ghee, and high-quality nuts.