I have a few pieces of fantastic news for you today.
1) I am going to tell you (if you’re a woman) about a book that explains why you need to eat more fat and why the fat you have is a healthy thing.
2) I have an awesome chocolate mousse recipe made with healthy fats adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride that would be just perfect for Valentine’s Day or, like, Monday.
3) It’s totally deck weather.
But you don’t really care about my chilly kids after my first claim, do you?
Now you just want to know why you need fat, preferably lower body, healthy fat.
Well, according to authors Lassek and Gaulin, it will make your babies smarter! That’s probably why mine can already sing their ABC’s in 3 languages and count to a million.
But seriously, I found this book really interesting. The back flap of the book informs me that the authors “initially teamed up…to research attractiveness in women”, making my first thought negative. Do we have here two guys in a bar deciding to take advantage of women by telling them they are part of a very important experiment requiring them to eat butter and chocolate and feel good about it? Hmm.
It seems, however, that this is a legitimate claim! To summarize briefly, the book lays out the changes in American eating habits over the last 50 or so years, and makes some really good points about fat and the power of marketing. As we know, there are significantly more overweight and obese women now than in the past, and obesity rates in the States are much higher than other countries where people have similarly abundant access to food. The main cause, they claim, is the introduction of vegetable oils, such as soybean oil and corn oil. These oils are chemically processed to the point of being stripped of any nutritional benefit, but are used because they are cheap, accessible, and highly shelf-stable. If we can return to a more natural diet, they suggest, we will also return to our natural weight, without dieting.
There is a lot in this book I really agree with, especially the main claim that a natural diet with limited or no processed foods allows you to eat and be satisfied without becoming overweight, and diets really just confuse your body and don’t work in the long term.
What I found most interesting is the discussion of the title question, why women need fat. According to their research, Omega-3 fats (which we hear so much about these days) are just as good as we thought, and are stored by women starting at a very young age. These stores, in a woman’s hips, thighs, and bum, attract men thanks to their strategic placement, and are activated when she becomes pregnant and are crucial in aiding the development of a baby’s brain. Women without a healthy diet do not take in as many Omega-3′s, so their body tells them to eat more so it can store more to increase the level of Omega-3 stores available. Vegetable oils are a big culprit here in that they are artificially high in Omega-6 fats, which make it even more difficult for our bodies to absorb Omega-3′s it does take in, making our brain urge our bodies to continue eating until enough Omega-3′s can be found.
As these stores get used up, and we reach the end of our childbearing years, we notice a gradual shift of our weight…our middles get bigger the more kids we have and our bums seem to disappear into flatness. This is why you want to get married young when you’re all curvy and supah-hot and then by the time he notices the migration of the goods it will be tooooo late. (Ok, the book doesn’t say that, but I do :) It’s written by two men, they couldn’t say something like that without getting blasted and discrediting all their good points.)
What’s really interesting (and kinda scary) is that the Food Pyramid we’ve all seen as a Guide to Healthy Eating was developed in 1977 with NO SCIENTIFIC BACKING for its claims. Now, here we are in 2012, and we have NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that eating in accordance with it will make you healthier and longer of life. It basically had the right backers and right money behind it and voila, a Food Pyramid gets developed, and its still used to determine the nutritional values we see on every food label of everything we buy. I feel duped. Sugar is not the culprit it’s made out to be.
I took issue with some parts of this book, though. Probably because I am that “average” they say no longer exists, of about 5’4″ and about 120 pounds. I am sooo 50 years ago, apparently. Also, they go on at length about weight gain post-children while, for me, children have been a weight loss program. My babies are total parasites – I’m lighter now than I was in highschool. It makes me love them extra.
Overall, I would recommend reading the book – while it is sometimes dry and often repetitive, and kind of assumes you’re a little fat, it presents some really interesting research and ideas, and encourages the confident eating of butter, dark chocolate, full fat yogurt, and so many other delicious things.
(For a full discussion on the book, check out the BlogHer Book Club page here!)
Which brings me to the mousse.
You may have noticed the cover of the book sports something delicious looking, and I was thrilled when they mentioned that is was dark chocolate mousse, and told me it is about as healthy as taking fish oil pills, something they highly recommend! Now, to make it healthy, you need to use Omega-3-enriched eggs and good, dark chocolate, neither of which I had any problem with.
This is like no mousse you’ve ever tasted, unless you’ve had rich, dark, dense, thick, almost pudding-like mousse, in which case, you know exactly how delicious it is!
I highly recommend enjoying a bowl of this with someone special, since it’s too rich to eat all by yourself, and you’ll want someone else to “oooh” and “aaaah” and “mmmmm” with. And save the egg whites for some Chocolate Meringue Cookies or some macarons, which I hope to be attempting soon…
- 4 large egg yolks
- 4 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp espresso/strong coffee OR vanilla
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
- 2 oz dark chocolate (70% or more), finely chopped
- ¾ cup heavy (whipping) cream, chilled
- Set a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, not touching the water. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, salt and espresso (or vanilla) until the mixture is very warm and the sugar is completely dissolved (rub a bit between your fingers to make sure there is no grittiness).
- Add cocoa and chocolate and whisk until almost melted.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk until completely melted. Let cool to room temperature/slightly warm.
- Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add HALF the whipped cream to the bowl of chocolate and fold gently with a rubber spatula until mostly combined.
- Divide mousse into 2 dessert dishes, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours (or up to 1 day) before serving. Remove from the fridge 15 minutes before serving for best texture and flavor.
- Garnish with remaining whipped cream, and/or berries, chocolate shavings, mint leaves…whatever strikes your fancy :)
Disclaimer: Book provided by publisher and compensation provided for this post – but all opinions are entirely my own.