Fatty February

As I mentioned yesterday, it is one of my goals for this month to get more fat in my diet. You would think that the amount of nut butter I eat would be enough. But it’s not. In fact, some days, I get around only 20g, which in my opinion is too low.

Part of this is because I buy a lot of low-calorie foods, which in turn are low-fat. Dairy and lean meats are good examples of this. Another reason is that I just gravitate towards foods that aren’t fatty. Lunch everyday for me is typically a tuna or turkey pita with a side of raw veggies or fruit. It’s what I usually crave, and the thought of a high-fat meals don’t really appeal to me.

Most importantly though, the number one reason why I don’t eat a lot of fat is because I have a digestive intolerance to it. Foods like avocadoes, olive oil and butter make my stomach literally churn. Guacamole will have me keeled over for hours in pain. The idea of an oil fondue is like pure torture to me.

As a result of this, my skin, fingernails and hair are in awful shape. My nails are brittle, grow slowly, and often chip and peel apart. My skin is actually cause for concern. It is not only dry and flaky, but my shins and forearms now have rashes and scabs from scratching it unconsciously. It’s gotten to the point where I’m embarrassed to wear shorts to the gym, and will probably have to see a dermatologist.

As we all know by now, fat is actually good for you. Studies are now showing that even the uproar over saturated fat may have been a bit premature. Trans fat is really the only thing I do not eat. Ever. There’s also monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and the coveted omega 3’s, with the frowned upon omega 6’s. At this point, I don’t really care what monopolyomega fat it is, I just need any fat I can get!

When I started increasing my protein intake waybackwhen, I did it by making sure I got a protein in every single meal and snack. If I missed one, then I would make sure I made up for it the next time I ate. This frame of thinking got me from eating 70g of protein a day to 130g of protein a day, and now I don’t even have to think about it, it’s second nature. It’s this line of thinking that I’m going to apply to fats as well. With each meal and snack I’m going to ask myself “where is the fat in this meal?”

So, what will I be using as fats?


Oh, sorry, this is a food blog, right.

Better? :P I love salmon, why I don’t eat more of it, I don’t know.

In the same vein, I’ll also be eating more sardines.

Bonus: the bones have lots of calcium!


I’ll admit, I grease my pans with Pam. While butter does give me tummy pains, a light coating when I cook up protein pancakes should be fine. And um, make them more delicious!

Cooking Oils.

This is the one that scares me the most as my tummy pains are often directly linked to olive oil. But like butter, I’m going to experiment with using just small amounts of olive oil, as well as sesame oil, canola oil, safflower oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, etc. Well, okay, maybe just one or two of those. Cooking oils are expensive!!

Flax seeds.

I can pretty much throw a tablespoon of flax in anything and not even know it’s there! Helloooo omega 3.


I’m a volume eater, so a small handful of nuts never sounds as good as a big bag of fresh veggies to me. But, while dense, nuts are also incredibly filling and an easy grab-and-go snack for work. I’d also like to include more nuts in my dishes, like adding some roasted pecans to my veggies, or topping salads with sliced almonds.

Nut butter.

This is the most obvious, and my current main source of fat. It’s that big dollop of nut butter on my oatmeal that keeps me going all morning!

Whole eggs.

Yolks are your friend :) Also, Vitamin D is very important this time of year!


Did you know tofu is high in fat? It’s a new discovery for me – and a good one! Bonus: this is high in calcium too ;)



Not that low-fat crap. But the real, full-flavoured good stuff. I’m licking my lips at the thought of the above brie.


Another ingredient that I can add to things to enhance flavour. I’m already sticking them in all my salads!


Maybe. This is another food that is directly linked to digestive issues for me. But I can eat the small amounts in sushi, so maybe a slice here and there won’t hurt.


So how did I do with my fat intake today??

Well first I had to work up the appetite! :P

Hit up the gym for a treadmill and weight lifting sesh.


Minutes Speed – MPH Incline
0-5 3.5 0.0
5-6 5.5 0.0
6-7 6.0 0.0
7-8 6.5 0.0
8-9 7.0 0.0
9-10 5.5 0.5
10-11 6.0 0.5
11-12 6.5 0.5
12-13 7.0 0.5
13-14 5.5 1.0
14-15 6.0 1.0
15-16 6.5 1.0
16-17 7.0 1.0
17-18 5.5 1.5
18-19 6.0 1.5
19-20 6.5 1.5
20-21 7.0 1.5
21-22 5.5 2.0
22-23 6.0 2.0
23-24 6.5 2.0
24-25 7.0 2.0


Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Romanian deadlift to row 50 lbs 8-12 3


Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Reverse lunge with forward reach 15 lbs ea 8-12 2
Dumbbell shoulder press  15 lbs ea 8-12 2


Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Incline pushup bw 8-12 3
Wide-grip lat pulldown  55 lbs 8-12 3


Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Bulgarian split squat 15 lbs 8-12 2
YTWL  7.5 lbs ea 5 ea letter 2


Exercise Weight Reps Sets
Barbell 21’s 20 lbs 21 3
Cable Pushdown 30 lbs 8-12 3


Another awesome weight workout! I kinda made this one up as I went along too. I gotta thank Janetha for the Barbell 21’s. It reminded me a lot of what we do in Body Pump. Curls kill my forearms and wrist though.

Then it was off to work where I enjoyed a fatty breakfast ;)


A big piece of April’s low carb sweet bread with some peanut butter and Crofter’s superfruit spread sandwiched in between. Mega tasty!  

My fatty lunch featured a smoked salmon sandwich.


With laughing cow, mustard, capers, sprouts and romaine. Baby carrots and sugar snap peas for extra munchables on the side.

Dinner came in two courses, because I was starving! While I waited for the main course to bake, I threw together a garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette.


Those are pickles on top btw ;) Normally I come home starving and that’s when a lot of the major munching damage is done. But having a small salad while dinner cooks curbs that immediate hunger and gets some veggies in me :)

Oooh, and the main course was worth waiting for!

Mollie Katzen’s Spinach Ricotta Pie from the Moosewood Cookbook. Except I skipped the crust and de-vegetarianized it by adding ham.

Yum! This will make for some excellent leftovers.

After dinner I did something I haven’t in a while – I went to yoga! Specifically, Body Flow at my gym. The times they offer it aren’t always the best for my sometimes wacky work schedule. But it was well worth the trip tonight. This release has some good tunes, and the twisting song is full of my favourite mix of warriors :)

After yoga, I decided to continue the relaxation with Deb’s hot chocolate smoothie.

This time I added 1/4 tsp each guar and xanthan gum as well a 1 1/2 cups hot water, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tbsp splenda. The extra gums made it so much thicker! Check out this consistency!


It was amazing.

Total fat for the day: 67g! Heck yes!


Now that we have the appetizing food out of the way, I’m going to share some “before” pics of my awful, awful skin. If anyone out there can diagnose it for me, please feel free! I’m prone to stress-induced eczema, so I’m hoping this is related to it and can easily be fixed. Here’s the worst part, my legs:


My forearms:


And my hands:


You can see my lifting calluses under my fingers! I forgot to take a picture of my nails, but they’re really embarrassing too. Being a guitar and piano player, I’ve always kept them short and ignored.

Hopefully increasing my fat intake will help some of my skin issues among many other things. Fat is also quite satiating for me, so I’m interested to see how it affects my hunger levels!


Question of the Day: Will you be participating in Fatty February with Emily and I? What are some of your favourite ways to incorporate fat into your diet?

Posted on February 2, 2010, in Challenges, Health, Workouts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.

  1. oooh! Me, me! I want to do it! Oh, wait! I AM!! Excellent-I forgot about eggs and flaxseeds. Good thing I have both of those at home. I think this is gong to be fun–and the most delicious challenge ever. Wait til you see the pics of my hands. You will shudder.

  2. i made a vow to start adding more fat to my diet too! i don’t consciously avoid it at all, but the foods i gravitate towards just aren’t great sources of it. so i’m making it an effort to eat more olive oil, nuts, avocado, etc. mmmm. no complaints.

  3. Do you take a fish oil supplement? I’ve noticed that my hair is in better shape since I’ve started taking one. They’re relatively inexpensive.

    I really love fatty bars. KIND bars, I think, are full of good fats from nuts, and so are Larabars and Bumble Bars. I also opt for higher fat dairy–we drink 1% milk and eat full-fat cheese.

  4. This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been tracking my food on SparkPeople and never reach their suggested fat goal of 72-130g.

    I too had thought my nuts and PB was enough but nope. Tonight I started adding EVOO to my smoothie again but you’ve given me some more ideas, thank you.

  5. I try to eat a lot of healthy fats because I have horribly dry eyes. The fats really help!

    I’ve never tried Body Flow. Where I live now, we have an imitation class called Group Centergy. I’d bet BF is 10 times better.

  6. I never realized that fat intake is that related to skin issues. I have such terrible dry skin – maybe increasing my fat intake could help. I also know that in recovery having a proper amount of fats is key to menstruation returning, so I’ve been trying to up my fat intake comfortably.

    I’m totally going to include more tofu (frying it in a pan with olive oil maybe?!), cheese, nuts, and eggs. I’ve been craving scrambled eggs for a while now! LOL

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I also want to thank you for addressing this topic on your blog. I feel like especially now, where everyone has their resolutions still in the forefront of their mind, fat gets a bad rep, but we truly need it in our diet – so long as its from healthy and wholesome sources. You really help me each day more than you could know – THANKS!

    Nicole G

  7. Let me know how fast your skin clears up-

    I should get on board, mine’s been trash lately and this may be the very reason- though I’m not touching sardines- I saw a man and women feed them to each other out of a can once and though I might vom– please don’t do this with your loved one

  8. I am so IN on this one! My hands look like yours…and I live in Southern California, not snowy Canada, you know? I don’t like cheese or olives, so I’m trying to do whole eggs, more oil when cooking (I’m the PAM girl all the way) and more avocado (especially while it’s still cheap. Oh I also keep canned salmon on hand, but I don’t think it has that much fat in it, boo.

    I am measuring my oil when cooking because I think it’s so easy to throw 3 tablespoons or whatever in there and I am trying to watch calories some. I think my hands are already thanking me. Oh, and i second the fish oil supplement.

  9. it would kill me if i couldn’t eat avocado. my heart goes out to you because they are one of my FAVE FOODS EVA! i love how you are incorporating more fat into your diet. i aim to get 20% of my calories from fat which works out to about 35-40 grams a day. love me some fat! i admit i tend to shy away from the fats in dairy like butter and full fat milks, but full fat cheese is one exception i make because, aside from laughing cow, i HATE low fat/fat free cheese. not worth it. oh i also eat low fat cottage cheese, i hate fat free cottage cheese!

    your workout today was EXCELLENT! the HIIT looked similar to mine yesterday~ isn’t it fun?! i love increasing the incline and speed. ALL of those moves belong on my :”favorites” list! :D can we please workout together?!

    dude. you should wear gloves when you lift. they have changed my life! as have the gums~ i love love them.

    thanks for the reminder to eat more fishy fish.

    i love you susan e!

  10. Well your legs may be a tiny bit spotty but they are shapely and fit :-D

    Sounds like a fun month- I will try to get some more fats in- funny you mention it- I actually had steak (grass fed- half price woot) for lunch and bought kippers and sardines. And I’m CRAVING salmon but gonna wait til I see the hubs at the weekend and make it for both of us.

    I have always had very dry skin and my nails? I could bend them backwards onto themselves. Luckily my hair doesn’t seem to damaged- and by the way your hair looks really healthy!

    Glad you had another hot choc smoothie- the great thing with the gums is that eventually you learn how much qqt is right. I can’t tell you how many portions have gone down the sink b/c they were too thick from adding too much gums…live and learn!

  11. I just posted about how I need to incorporate more fat in my diet! I will definitely be participating :)

  12. coconut milk in your tea/coffee, coconut butter on toast, tuna in olive oil. I am not totally focused on having some sort of fat in every meal.

  13. Great Challenge Susan! I definitely need to incorporate more fat in my diet – tofu and nut butters and a bit of EVOO are my only real sources. I cant tolerate fatty foods well either (partly why I became veg!) so this will be tricky for me too. Cant wait to see what you eat!

  14. I just wanted to say that the Spinach Ricotta Pie looks amazing! I am so trying that sometime this week or next week. Yummm …

    Haha, if you really want to increase your fat intake, a cheese burger always helps. All joking aside, my friend also had fat intake issues and stomach pains (she eventually had to get her gull bladder taken out), so hopefully your pains don’t continue down that road. I like to take 12 almonds to work to snack on throughout the day. They’re tasty and delicious!

  15. HOLY MOLY did that day of eats look divine. I may copy it gram for gram (of fat).

    I don’t know about restricting fat personally, I’m still trying to have a (semi-significant) weight loss, and I’ve found that fats tend to be my “trigger” foods (cheese = my handfuls of cereals!). I may try to keep within the recommended range, and see how that goes, maybe I’ll find myself more satisfied! I don’t have skin issues like yours, rather the opposite, I’ve always been kind of oily (thought that would stop after puberty gave up, but no!).

    Do you take very hot showers / baths every day? My mother sometimes gets like that, and I’ve read that the hot water and steam during cold weather can do that to your skin. Hopefully it clears up soon, itchy skin is the worst!

    • oh, and if you want instant fix for some of that, try burt’s bees Hand Salve. I worked with pretty harsh solvents when I was in art school (daily! yikes!), and my hands were a mess. Sometimes one application would fix me right up.

  16. Of course I’ll participate in fatty february! I get a lot of fat in my diet by eating nut butters and cheeses. I love peanut butter and almond butter, and I adore brie and bleu cheese!

  17. I do eat LOTS of fats in my diet YUM! I use flax oil alot because it’s easy. It’s not fun to eat like PB or salmon but it helps me get my fats in.

    I had eczema as a kid and still have some patches.


  18. I don’t crave fatty foods either so it’s always an issue for me to get it in too. Nuts, oils, nutbutters, and avocados are my friends. But I still have to remind myself.

  19. I am joining you for Fatty Feb- my intake is low for the same reasons. I naturally gravitate towards low fat/fat free foods (lean meats, tuna, Quark, fruit, veggies, etc) and focus more on protein. Hummus is a great source of fat here- for some reason it’s far higher in calories/fat than the ones I saw in the US. I think they use more oil or something? Also switching to real cheese (I have been eating extra light laughing cow- I didn’t even know it came in regular) and reintroducing nut butters and granola.

  20. My legs used to get rashes like that and they went away when I went gluten free. In fact that’s how I know when I eat something wrong…my legs break out!

    I think I probably eat too much fat because I add cheese to most everything, eat peanut butter every morning, and bake with butter a lot! :(

  21. Hi Susan! Yes, fat is a good thing, I sure hope things with your skin clear up, that sucks. ;(
    I also thought of something else you might want to try to sneak some fat in.
    Do you like hummus? If you do, I would suggest making a batch of that, which you can add olive oil to boost the fat content, and adding a half of an avocado makes the taste delicious and adds lots of yummy fat as well. Just something to try on your sandwiches or as a dip for your fresh veggies.
    Also, chia seeds, I know they are expensive, but fabulous in oats and chalk full of omega 6s and healthy fats. Good luck!

  22. Mmmmm Salmon! :D Do you remember when I had to do my “phat diet” and get 100g of fat for 5 days?!


    Salami, Salmon, Artichoke Dip, Coconut Milk, Soy Ice Cream, Edamame, Nuts, Cheese, Mexican Food, Eggs, Bacon, Ranch Dressing, Alfredo, Greek Yogurt, Chocolate!

  23. leangreenliving

    I know this will sound unrelated to healing your skin, but give MORE SLEEP a try. After struggling a long time myself with painful excema and seeing many doctors and naturpathic doctors I solved the mystery myself when I noticed that my skin was getting worse and worse on a European vacation. I wondered if I had a food allergy, but after a red-eye flight with lack of sleep, my skin was screaming even louder in pain. . . could it be?. . . lack of SLEEP? Once home, I became strict about going to bed early. Around 9:30 pm. Rapidly my skin healed. Now I can actually feel a flare-up coming on when I have had a few late nights. One of my doctors was open to the concept. She said our fluids are replaced in our cells during deep sleep.

  24. I do nut butters, nuts, oils, and egg yolks :)

  25. When I was overweight my idea of adding in fats would have been chocolate and chips. I think your way is much healthier!!

    Your food looks amazing.

  26. Avocados, eggs, tofu, nut butter, and nuts are my main sources of fats! Salmon and sardines make me cringe!!!

  27. All your food looks amazing! I’ve never tried using any of the gums to make things thicker-I’m not really sure what they are, but your hot coco looks awesome! I’m interested to see how your body reacts to the fat. I’ve heard it can really help!

  28. I’m in the same boat as you with not getting enough fat, cheese and nut butter are my main sources also. And greek yogurt.

    I was wondering if you count calories and how many calories you aimed for a day during weight loss?

  29. I keep seeing these gums ALL OVER the blogs and it makes everything look so thick and delicious – I should try these out, shouldn’t I?! Your smoothie looks divine!

    I really need to increase my fat consumption. I just don’t crave foods that have a lot of good fats in them. I may be in on the fatty February – thanks for all of the great info! I have to say I refuse to eat anything but 2% cottage cheese. Fat free is boring and 4% is way too thick!

  30. This is a fantastic idea Susan. I know I need to eat more fat – like you, most things I eat are pretty much naturally low/non-fat.

    And an excuse for more butter and real cheese really is The Dream. ;-)

  31. yay for fat! i hate when people are scared of it and buy all the fat-free stuff – so wrong! annnnddddd the ONLY cheese i eat is full fat. cheese is not meant to be eaten in skim versions. at all. i am totally onboard…i probs won’t chronicle it on the blog (because i am unorganized and will forget), but i will make a conscious effort to eat good fats! happy weekend with your mama :)

  32. I think i missed this post b/c you posted it on Skylar’s bday and i was a little MIA that day in the sphere but seriously girl, your skin…OMG yes, dermatologist for some cream. However, I use this one it’s called DML Forte and my derm sells it but it’s the best skin creme i have ever used for dry skin and my skin is naturally dry and also skin issues can be the result of food allergies/intolerances

  33. chocolate pickle

    I recently began adding more and more fats to my diet by eating egg yolks, 2% milk and greek yogurt, adding butter and olive oil to things, etc etc(check out my post from last week about it and why)…..fat really is our friend!:)

    On a friendly sidenote, I am not a doctor but my dad is a dermatologist and I just recall skin problems that look like yours (especially on the forearm) ever being related to fats….maybe that would be a good question for me to ask my dad….but I’d think you’d want to see a derm in case there is something else causing that that could be contagious!

    • I’m definitely with you on that one – I don’t think that particular skin issue is directly related to my fat intake. My mom is a microbiologist and keeps telling me to see a derm too. At first I was scared it was bed bugs or fleas, but it doesn’t match up with anything else I’ve seen. My mom thinks it could be something I caught at the gym or just dry skin that turned into an infected rash from scratching it too much. Thanks for the help!! :D

  34. Your legs look like the skin has bumps of harder skin usually caused by the scratching. The skin thickens with scratching. If you use creams like silcocks base and white petroleum it can help reduce itching. The drier your skin the more you itch. Drink water as often as possible.

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