Why We Should Love The Wicked Witches of the West

 

Most of us are familiar with the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West from the Broadway show “Wicked.” It is a sad story of a heroine turned villain; a tragic tale about the misrepresented and the misunderstood. By the end, the audience is left wondering the original plot of the cult classic “The Wizard of Oz” and reconsidering their biases and preferences.

In the story, prejudice and misinformation leads to the creation of a widespread animosity of a tragically misunderstood character. Unfortunately, here are many Elphabas in the world of nutrition as well; foods that, due to either deliberate attempts at defamation or just plain misunderstanding, are vilified by many dieticians, fitness enthusiasts, blogs, and the like.

Now, I am not here to give you a history lesson on the food industry that led to the Elphaba-cation of these nutrients. One thing I want to share, however, is the cautionary tale of fats. A story of how misinformation and misrepresentation led to our fear of an essential nutrient and the creation of an industry that presented us with low-fat, pre-packaged versions of our favourite foods (a conveniently marketed, billion-dollar-industry, to be specific!)

The progression towards hatred of all fats can be traced back to the 1960s, when a war was waged against it. Being blamed for anything from the increasing size of our mid-sections to high cholesterol to heart disease, what we would have originally considered as a wholesome, home-cooked meal suddenly became the “snake in our bosom.” Gradually, we ditched butter for margarine, whole milk for skimmed, and started a low-fat food frenzy that still continues today.

The reality, however, is much more wholesome than what we are led to believe. For starters, there are two types of fat: good fats and bad fats. As you can tell, it is not too difficult to pick which ones you should choose to consume. Bad fats, otherwise known as trans fats, are “a byproduct of a process called hydrogenation that is used to turn healthy oils into solids and prevent them from becoming rancid.” Good fats help you digest more nutrients, build stronger cell membranes, heal your nerves, improve your muscle movement, and decrease inflammation (which is vital as you begin to age and face issues like arthritis or osteoporosis).

The solution is not to cut out fat from your diet completely. We suggest that you eat, in moderation, foods that are high in the healthy kind that also include lots of other nutrients. Also, of course, practice moderation. This lesson is something we wish you to carry with you both for the remainder of this article and in your fitness and nutrition journey. Be wary of the information out there. Always check your resources against reputable sources. Always check with your doctor or nutritionist before drastic changes to your diet. And finally, always practice moderation!

So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the other antagonists of our times:

 

 
 
 
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