Most of us use either coconut, almond or olive oil for cooking our Paleo meals with. Yet these aren’t the only ones you can use. There are some other Paleo friendly fats you can use. The ones we are talking about here are the animal fat kind.
Over the years such fat has been garnering a bad reputation. Yet like anything else, this isn’t at all deserved.
So Why Should You Use More Animal Fat When Cooking Paleo Meals?
Most people opt for olive, almond or coconut oil as these are available everywhere. Yet even though you may not find getting tallow or lard easily doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it.
There are several good reasons for using it if you can get it.
1. It Is Cheaper
A lot of farmers give such a way as most people don’t want it. As it still carries the stigma of being unhealthy so this fat gets thrown out. So you often find you can get it from free or for a small cost.
2. It Tastes Delicious
You’ll find that using these types of fats when preparing Paleo meals will make a big difference. You’ll find that they add an extra dimension to the way the food tastes. I love using some lard to roast carrots and other veggies in. It adds a little more sweetness to them. As well as making the exterior much more crispy.
3. Comes With Some Great Health Benefits
If you can use pasture raised fat, you’ll find it proves beneficial. This is because it contains conjugated linoleic acid. An acid that your body finds useful in helping it to absorb Vitamin A more easily.
In one study carried out on alcoholic rats, they found it helped to reduce damage to their livers. This wasn’t the case when they were given corn oil.
But Why Should You Eat More Fat In Your Paleo Meals?
There are several reasons why you need to make sure you are eating enough fat when making your Paleo meals. Some of which we discuss below.
1. Helps Digestion
It doesn’t become soluble in your blood. To help emulsify it our livers produce more bile acids from the cholesterol in it. As it takes several processes for our body to break down the fat, it remains in the body for longer. You’ll find that you remain satiated for longer.
2. Helps Transport Nutrients
Every cell membrane in your body contains fat. Without it, our bodies wouldn’t be able to transport those all-important nutrients around it. Plus, it helps to metabolize across the membranes of the cells.
3. Body Converts It To Help It Function Better
Once converted your body will use it in a variety of different ways. It will use fat to help activate certain hormones in the body. It will also help to strengthen your body’s immune system.
4. Provides Your Body With Energy
When glucose isn’t available or between meals, you’ll find that fat helps. The triglycerides in it get broken down and then get turned into energy. Not only helping your body to function but also helps the brain’s neurons to function well.
5. Protects The Body’s Nervous System
Within your body is the Axon, that is part of its nervous system. It is this that helps signals get transmitted around your body. Ensuring that it functions and it can. This neuron has a protective coating known as the myelin sheath. They make 80% of this from fats (lipids). These it can only get through your diet.
Have I Now Convinced You To Give Animal Fat A Try?
Here are a few tips, you may find useful when it comes to buying and cooking with this fat.
Before you use such fat, it needs to be rendered down first. You have two choices here.
1) You can either buy raw animal fat and then render it down yourself. To do this, the fat needs to be heated until it melts. This will then lead to any impurities in it rising to the top. These you then need to remove. This type you find your local farmer or butcher may have.
2) The other choice you have is to buy it already rendered. If you cannot see it in the meat section, then take a look in the freezer section instead.
The kinds of animal fats you can cook with as part of your Paleo lifestyle include the following:
This comes from pigs and whether raw or rendered it is known as lard.
There are a couple of differences between raw and rendered. Raw lard is often white or pale pink. Plus, we may still connect scraps of meat, skin or connective tissue to it. Whereas the rendered kind is pale warm cream or pure white color. It remains solid at room temperature, and similar in consistency to butter.
You can melt it in a pan, but I prefer to use it in the oven for roasting with.
Tallow or Suet
This comes from the fat of a cow. Suet is the raw form of this fat, whilst Tallow is the rendered kind.
Suet is white or pale yellow and has a crumbly texture. As for tallow, this is white or cream colored. As it contains a lot of saturated fat, you’ll find it is hard and brittle at room temperature. To cut tallow up requires a sharp knife. But a good trick is to melt the tallow down then pour into ice cube molds. Once done you can then take them out one at a time to then cook with.
As tallow is one of the most stable animal fats, it is ideal for cooking with. This type is ideal when you need to cook food at high temperatures. Know that it has a mild beef flavor.
Whether in the raw or rendered form it is always known as “duck fat”. But you’ll often find it is easy to get hold of in its rendered form.
The raw form of this fat is white, pale yellow or pink. Normally you’ll find it is still attached to the duck meat. When you touch it, it feels slightly greasy and soft.
Whereas the rendered form of this fat will be solid but become softer at room temperature. It will be a creamy white color.
This is great for roasting or confiting vegetables. Makes any Paleo diet meal feel more decadent.
Chicken Fat (Schmaltz)
Unless you are willing to render the fat from a chicken down yourself, you will never find this one in its raw form. When rendered down chicken fat turns pale to medium yellow color.
As it contains a lot more polyunsaturated fat, it won’t remain solid at room temperature. In fact, as soon as it heats it up it will turn to liquid.
It has a much lighter flavor compared to duck fat. You’ll find it is great for frying onions and roasting vegetables. Also, why not add it into some chicken soup next time? This is because it will intensify the flavor of the soup even further.
As well as being healthy, you’ll find that when you use animal fat to cook Paleo meals, it makes them taste even more delicious. Plus, as already mentioned above these types of fat are cheaper to buy. I promise you once you’ve tried any of these fats you may wonder why you didn’t use them sooner.