So I purchased THREE GALLONS of coconut oil the other day. Okay, to be honest only one of those gallons is for me and the other two are for friends. But the point is, I bought a ton of fat. Why? Well, we’ve got to replace some of those calories from carbohydrates we’re no longer eating with something, don’t we? Fat is it! If you don’t know why you should be eating fat as your main fuel source, you need to read this. A decent overview of a variety of fats can be found here with an emphasis on pastured butter (see #4 below).
I prefer the following four fats for cooking. One of the biggest advantages of these is that they can all be used at a wide range of temperatures without the oil taking a lot of damage. The first three are easy on the wallet, as well. I personally consume #1 and #2 the most.
1) Coconut oil – There are countless reasons to consume this stuff on a regular basis, especially if you’re looking to stay in shape or lose weight, which is most of us. I like Dr. Mercola’s write-up on the subject. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a decent supplier of reasonably-priced, high quality coconut oil in Japan. Luckily, the folks at Tropical Traditions provide a superior product that ships from the U.S. to Japan at a surprisingly reasonable price. Get the non-certified expeller-pressed stuff (product link) for the best cost performance. A big advantage of the expeller-pressed stuff is it doesn’t have the strong coconut flavor of the higher priced virgin coconut oil, so it won’t affect the final taste of your dishes as much and can be used more flexibly. Look for recipes that include coconut oil in a future post. UPDATE: Great supplier of cold-pressed organic coconut oil found on Amazon selling at a reasonable price. 2800 yen gets you 454g of it delivered to your door!
2) Lard (from pigs) – You can get this locally at your supermarket (ask for ラード) in a convenient resealable tube (which unfortunately includes preservatives), order it in bulk online (２ｋｇ or 8kg) or make it yourself for CRAZY cheap and without any preservatives or additives. The former costs roughly 80 yen/100 grams at Hanamasa, whereas the latter only costs 20 yen / 100 grams. Needless to say, if you’re going to be using this stuff often with your cooking, the latter is the way to go. The stuff they sell at Hanamasa that requires rendering is back fat. Here’s how to render it yourself. What’s left after the rendering is pure liquid pork lard and delicious, crispy bits of skin, which you can use by itself with seasoning as a snack or as a topping on your salads. I’ve got a simple, delicious recipe I often make and I’ll post soon that will have you reaching for the lard more often.
3) Beef tallow – Unfortunately, I haven’t found a supplier that sells beef lard in large quantities yet. However, people who shop at Hanamasa can get it in single serving sized packages for free. And it’s from Wagyuu (Japanese high quality beef) no less! I like to use a packet or two when I fry up my grass-fed sliced beef in the ol’ frying pan. Dip it in soy sauce with wasabi and there’s nothing better!
4) Ghee made from grass-fed milk – Ghee is great, because it’s butter with much smaller amounts of the common casein and lactose allergens. And if it’s organic ghee from grass-fed cows (product link), it’ll have an impressive amount of CLA (might have anticancer properties and help promote weight loss) and the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2. This stuff doesn’t run cheap, though, so I buy it infrequently in large amounts and use it sparingly, often taking it with fermented cod liver oil or when cooking with liver. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, vitamin D tends to negate the toxicity of vitamin A when taken by itself in large quantities. In addition, vitamin K2, in the presence of the other two vitamins, is apparently really effective in promoting good overall health. UPDATE: If you’re trying ghee for the first time this organic ghee be ordered off of Amazon Japan in a smallish 250g size. I’m not sure if it’s from grass-fed cow milk, though.
Really, these are all excellent choices that support an active, healthy lifestyle. So what are you waiting for? Go get you some fat!