Nell’s Corner: Boring, Bland and Blah?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil | The Paleo DietThe easiest thing you can do to make food taste better? Add fat.


Don’t get me wrong; I actually love the taste of steamed broccoli, a plateful of arugula with lemon and pepper, or a platter of crudités… but none are exactly all that satiating on their own.

Plus, for someone who’s new to adding veggies to their meals, preparing them in a way that feels too plain could be the difference between developing a healthy new habit and reinforcing the idea that veggies are boring – indefinitely.

So what’s the answer?

Go to culinary school.

Just teasing.

Sure, that’s one answer but it’s not the only one. There’s an easier way and it comes down to adding one simple thing: fat.

Hopefully by now, after reading some of the articles I’ve been writing as well as many of the other contributions to The Paleo Diet blog, you’re at least getting a tad more comfortable with eating fat.

Good fat is good for us!

It helps us absorb micronutrients, supports brain function, and helps keep our joints and the rest of our body from developing painful inflammation.

And the best part?

It’s delicious!

Picture this: a freshly picked avocado with a drizzle of lime juice and chili powder; little gem lettuces and herbs, bathed in olive oil; or the decadent mouthfeel of biting into a juicy grass fed ribeye!

Just the thought makes me hungry; good thing it’s nearly time for dinner!

Below are my top five ways to up the fat, flavor, and fulfillment in your daily cooking and eating repertoire:

  1. Drizzle it on. The easiest thing of all to do: pour on the olive oil. Best used in its raw state, due to its low smoke point, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is the perfect way to add some flavorful fat to a salad, steamed chilled veggies, or a grilled piece of salmon.
  2. Cook it up. Using natural animal fats to cook with, such as lard from pasture-fed pigs, tallow from grass-fed cows, or rendered duck fat, “kicks it up a notch” to quote one of our most familiar faces in the cooking world, Emeril Lagasse!   Heat up a spoonful in your cast iron skillet, add some garlic and that’s all it takes.  Anything from artichoke to zucchini tastes great when prepared this way.
  3. Pick your Protein. By periodically choosing oilier wild fish, marbled grass fed meat, and dark pieces of pasture fed chicken you’re naturally getting a bigger dose of healthy. Choosing these fattier proteins can help to balance out the other meals for which you’re preparing their leaner counterparts.
  4. Eat a Fat Snack. Do as Tibetan monks do and have done for thousands of years: add fat to your tea.  While you may not have access to yak butter as they do, you can surely find coconut butter, coconut oil, MCT oil or, for those who opt to include dairy, raw grass fed butter.  Trust me, I was a skeptic for years, but having added “fat snacks” to my regime has made a world of difference in terms of allowing me to become even more lean in body and mentally focused in mind.
  5. Go nuts – but in moderation. If you’re not following an Autoimmune Protocol, having some nuts can be a way of periodically adding some fat. Keep them as the last option though, as all nuts tend to be high in Omega 6s and for many people, keeping a bag of nuts in the office ends with too many calories being eaten too often.  Go for raw, ideally sprouted, walnuts as your number one choice.


There’s one more thing.

And it’s big.

While you’re adding fat, be mindful of the importance of lowering the carbohydrate you’re consuming at the same time. Even carbohydrates from fruit. Calories do matter, and if we just add fat without adjusting the macronutrient balance, all we’re doing is adding more than we need.

Don’t worry, though.

Even if you’re a self-confessed sugar addict, ripping off the sugar band aid quickly may hurt for a few days, but once you begin to experience the benefits of relying on fat as your primary fuel source, don’t be surprised if you notice a feeling of being satiated, not stuffed, and the frequent hunger associated with that antiquated low-fat ideal of eating fades away into the ethers.


About Nell Stephenson, B.S.

Nell Stephenson, B.S.Nell Stephenson is a competitive Ironman athlete, personal trainer, and a health and nutrition consultant. She has an exercise science degree from the University of Southern California, a health/fitness instructor certification from the American College of Sports Medicine, and over a decade in the health, fitness and nutrition industry. To support her training for the Ironman Triathlon, Nell has tried many different nutritional plans and has found that the Paleo Diet is superior to all other ways of eating. She’s found that she’s leaner, faster, and fitter than ever before and uses her own experience to teach clients how to achieve optimal nutrition and health. Visit her website at Download meal plans tailored to you here.

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“1” Comments

  1. Awesome suggestions, I love coconut butter as a snack. I make homemade coconut butter out of dehydrated coconut, touch (about 1/2 tbsp.) of virgin coconut oil, and sprouted chia seeds. I add the chia because I read somewhere when omega 3s are combined with saturated fats the absorption rate of the omega 3s are higher.

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