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.
I made this for a gathering of 6. I doubled the recipe and it made the perfect amount for 6 small dessert dishes. It was absolutely delicious! It had exactly the effect I go for in a dessert…complete silence except for the occasional mmmm. I served it with a bowl of fresh strawberries and raspberries on the table and when one person decided to try a scoop on a strawberry, everybody was digging in and adding it to the fruit. Just like that wise mouse on Ratatouille, “separate they’re good but together…!!!”
Heather@Creative Family Moments says
I should’ve read all your comments… I doubled the posted recipe and man! we had a lot of mousse! But it was so good… the moment I tasted it I knew that THIS….THIS was how chocolate was to be enjoyed. The whole family loved it!
Carrie @ poet in the pantry says
I love how you drive your point home with a delicious recipe to go with it! :)
Great and informative post….of course I’d think that for any post with chocolate..just kidding ;)
Beth Michelle says
That book sounds super interesting. And, this mousse looks incredible! So decadent and delicious.
really interestin informartion now I can go ahead and make this delicious looking mousse
Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner says
That looks SO good! :)
I agree: fat is essential. I feel that we should just focus on the healthier fats.
I’ve ordered this book from the library, and I’m looking forward to reading it. It makes sense to me that God who designed the human body would design the proper food. Humans shouldn’t mess with it.
I’m going to try out this mousse. Looks amazing!
All things in moderation…that’s my motto. I love the Looneyspoons collection cookbook for some good, sensible eating/cooking advice too. Once they got through their ‘no fat’ to ‘good fat’ stages they were even including bacon and butter in the low fat recipes: same reasons. They have a blog too. Maybe now you should send Carl in hunter gatherer style to go bag a moose. That would be natural (depending on where he is eating) and would be a lovely complement to mousse.
Having stored a great deal of fat in my thighs and bottom over the years, I can now confidently say that it was me who was responsible for the intellectual brilliance of all of my 5 daughters! That thought will console me every time I catch a glimpse of my hard to miss saddle bags in the reflection of all things that reflect. Unfortunately, Anna, my children never had the same effect on me as they did on you by lowering my weight. That did not come from my side…although my mother had 7 children and weighed under 100 lbs for a very long time…so maybe it did and it skipped a generation. (made you smarter…made you smarter…positive thoughts) As for the mousse, I was just checking the ingredients for my hazelnut mousse but now I will make yours instead…although mine with the same amount of whipping cream serves 4 so I may make my portions smaller…sorry guests.
Ok, I did double the recipe that was supposed to serve 2 and still said it serves 2…it would definitely serve 4, as long as Carl and I were not 2 of your guests ;) It’s so rich you really just need a few delicious bites to be satisfied!
I just realized: I should have said “industry interests”, not “agricultural interests”… same idea, but different.
So interesting. I’ll definitely have to check out that book… and try out the mousse. Mmmm…
I’ve heard the same thing about the old healthy eating pyramid, and how it’s been affected largely by agricultural interests and lobbying rather than being completely scientifically objective. Harvard also agreed and put together their own “Healthy Eating Plate” as an alternative. It’s a really interesting debate: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid/
A book I recently read along the same lines, and very much enjoyed, is Food Matters by Mark Bittman (The Minimalist of New York Times fame). It’s a little more general than what you’ve described, and he writes for both genders, but he essentially argues the same thing: Forget crazy diets, just eat fresh, clean, high quality, unprocessed food, being sure to consume a large amount of plants. Like his How To Cook Everything, it’s a fantastic resource for learning how to eat well.
Lastly: It is NOT deck weather in Ottawa. Freezing rain and I think three different weather warnings have cancelled my plans for the afternoon. Booooo.
Thanks for the link, I love that healthy, natural eating is becoming “trendy” and is totally being pushed, I hope it never goes away again. I’m definitely going to be doing more reading on the subject, thanks for the recommendation!
Heidi Blanken says
I totally agree with this. Kind of ironic that I read this post b/c this morning I was talking with Derek and he was giving me the gears about drinking my coffee with that french vanilla crap. Saying how bad it was for me. So I finally read the ingredients on the back and then dump the contents of the container down the drain. Now as we speak I am drinking my coffee with raw milk in it. (and it not bad I must admit.) But I do think there is something to be said about all the crap there is in food now adays. Which I why I never buy store bought cookies or crackers. So much proccessed stuff in them. And I don’t feel guilty about giving my kids “The best berry Muffins” for breakfast!!! They love them and I know exactly every ingredient in them. :)
Haha, I’m glad you threw it down the sink :) According to the book, whipping cream would be a much healthier substitute too! And I agree about the muffins, and all homemade goods, even sweets – if I know everything that’s in them and know it’s made from scratch, eating them and feeding them to my kids doesn’t bother me at all!
Heather@Creative Family Moments says
I’m so glad you posted a recipe on the mousse… that was my to-do list today! Now on to the yummyness!
This is fascinating, but once you think about it, it’s perfectly logical.
Natural foods are so much more satisfying, which in turn, makes us eat less of them. (I would be happy with a small portion of that gorgeous chocolate mousse, whereas it would probably take an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s to get the same kind of fulfillment.) :D
This is great news! As someone who struggled with an eating disorder, I love to hear about books and studies that tell us how delicious food is actually nourishing, instead of vilifying everything we love (something I did for many years). Thanks for the information! And the recipe!
Your children are adorable, btw! :D
Any excuse is a good one for me. This looks amazing! I love dark chocolate.