ELI5 – Fat – Hazardous Snack or Healthy Energy?

Fat. Everyone seems to want to lose it, and yet it’s truly essential to our well-being. Healthy fat and dietary oil protects your organs, produces important hormones, supports cell growth, and provides your body with energy. So what exactly is it? We’ve heavily researched the topic and will attempt to ELI5 (explain like I’m 5 years old).

Fat is a molecule, like carbohydrate or protein. But unlike those other two macronutrients, fat has no taste or texture. Fatty acids are the smallest building blocks of fat. They’re made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms that form chains of various lengths. Scientists have determined there are “essential fatty acids” (EFAs). Unlike essential oils, which are the “essence of” a particular plant, EFAs are truly essential.

Let’s break down healthy and harmful fats so we can determine what to leave on the market shelf.

Monounsaturated fats contain omega-9 essential fatty acids (EFAs)

The healthiest of fats come from eating whole foods like avocados, nuts and seeds, and olives. These foods are high in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), like oleic acid, which help lower cholesterol levels. While our bodies can create these from other fats, dietary monounsaturated fats play a role in reducing inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk factors like high blood pressure.

There are plenty foods to get your daily dose of healthy fat. Here are a few:



-Tahini (toasted sesame butter)

-Seeds (flax, chia, hemp)


-Nuts (macadamia, almonds, walnuts)

-Bottled oils (…but which ones?)

Polyunsaturated fats contain omega-6 and omega-3 EFA

An ideal diet includes dietary fat of equal parts omega-6 and omega-3. This is largely unachievable for most people’s preferences, which all but requires us to avoid oils altogether, so many doctors reduce that target to 2:1 or 3:1. Instead of focusing on eliminating omega-6 by avoiding affordable oils, you can up your omega-3s through flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. (These have been shown to boost mental health and contribute to healthy weight loss.)

DHA and EPA are important omega-3 fatty acids for brain health. These are found abundantly in the marine plant, algae, and less concentrated in some seeds and fish. It is a widely debated topic for how much our bodies can convert other fats to DHA/EPA and just how healthy (or unhealthy) they are, so if you want to go down that rabbit-hole, all the power to you! However, Pub Med, a widely respected source on health, concludes “the overall effect on blood lipids for marine omega-3 EPA and DHA seems to be protective due to overall improvements in LDL particle size and density”. So, if nothing else, supplementing with algae oil is good for cardiovascular health.

Cold-pressed canola oil—free of hexane—is another great way to get healthy fats into your diet. It contains vitamin E, which helps protect against damage from free radicals; it also helps regulate your metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day! Canola oil has a 2:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, and a cold pressed version does not use the harmful solvent hexane to separate oil out of the seed.

Saturated fats are not created equally

Maybe you’ve heard that saturated fat is the worst kind of fat.

But here’s the thing: it’s not as simple as that. Fat is something we all need to stay healthy. It helps us absorb vitamins and minerals and keeps us satiated. Unfortunately, fat has gotten a bad rap over the years for the types of saturated fat in animal products. But there are many types of healthy saturated fats you can enjoy without guilt!

Virgin and refined coconut oils contain the highest amount of saturated fats of common oils, which is why they are solid at room temperature, but cholesterol levels tell the whole story. Healthline offers a great breakdown of how normal amounts of coconut oil consumption do not correlate with increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol. While they admit more human research is needed, a negative effect to LDL is apparent from consuming animal fats. The point is, saturated fats are complex and our bodies treat them differently depending on the source.

The American Heart Association recommends getting just 5-6 percent of daily calories from saturated fats; too many and the level of “bad” cholesterol in your blood will skyrocket. They don’t, however, separate the forms of saturated fats. Still, you can easily keep within this range by avoiding dairy products and instead consuming normal amounts of coconut oils.

Trans fat is not a healthy fat

Trans fats, which are prevalent in processed foods like meat, dairy, and hydrogenated vegetables oils, can contribute to a number of significant health problems including stroke and heart disease. The best way to avoid trans fats is to follow a plant-based diet free of hydrogenated oils. This will also lower your risk of developing diabetes and cancer.

Most countries have banned the production of artificial trans fats. In 2022, these would be hard to find available on their own. Prior, they were common in margarine and vegetable shortening. Trans fats are not, however, gone. They are prevalent in animal fats such as meat and dairy and in processed foods such as KRAFT Peanut Butter. If you’re already in the habit of reading nutrition labels and ingredients, be sure to look for “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” and steer clear!

Some individuals have deduced that our bodies can fight these trans fats in small amounts, so all is well. Even if that were true, the limit to what our bodies can fight is undetermined and a health-focused diet avoids harmful food whenever possible.

The eli5 healthy fat is actually quite simple

A healthy fat is one that is found naturally in whole food sources. This means that it is not chemically altered, and it’s not something you can find in a lab. For oils, the less processing the better. A cold pressed or extra virgin option means less processing.

If you still aren’t sure which oils are good for you, choose unsaturated:

1) Monounsaturated fats: found in olive oil, avocado oil, cold-pressed canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, algae oil, and nut butters (like peanut butter). These fats can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.

2) Polyunsaturated fats: found in flax oil or walnuts (both of which are high in omega-3 fatty acids). These fats have been shown to reduce inflammation throughout your body, which helps decrease pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

When it comes to choosing your fats, eat them! Opt for those that come from whole food sources rather than oil. Our bodies prefer fats from whole foods. For nuts and seeds, the body uses what is needed and does not store the extra fat!

Meal Prep Calgary: Chef Prepared Meals That Improve Your Life!

Chefs will prep your meals right here in Calgary.

Eating is not only a necessity for living, but it can also be a source of joy and pleasure. I know that statement may seem strange to people who love food, but there are many others out there who have lost their passion for the kitchen and struggle with eating fast food or processed foods without giving much thought to what they’re consuming. There’s nothing more frustrating than eating poorly because there’s no time and energy left for grocery shopping and preparing dinner on top of everything else going on. Introducing you to meal prep, Calgary: chef-prepared healthy meals, delivered right to your door!

Mediterranean Bowls inspired by Greece. In Convenient (individual) and Communal (family) sizes.

What are some benefits of using meal prep in Calgary?

Cut out the extra time it takes to shop.

  • Save time by not having to drive around our sprawled city for special ingredients.
  • Save time by not having to cook a few days a week.
  • Save time by not having to clean up the mess you make when cooking.
  • And use that time to enjoy life with the people who love you.

Start to enjoy eating again.

  • Eat at home instead of out.
  • Or have grab and go lunches packed for work.
  • Use your time to relax and enjoy your food without having to decide what to order.
  • Set up automated ordering once, and enjoy the benefits every week.

Live together.

Food is a social experience, and experiencing food together can be one of the best ways for people to bond. It does not have to be expensive, but it does have to involve the people closest to you. You will discover that having them over for a chef prepared meal can renew your relationships with a healthy foundation! If this sounds great, our Communal (family sized) meals are right for you.

Eat clean – ditch the junk and eat whole foods that haven’t been processed.

Eating whole foods is one of the simplest ways to improve your diet. Whole foods are unprocessed, and they’re more nutritious than their processed counterparts. Whole foods are generally more filling, easier to digest and have fewer additives or preservatives (or are free from them altogether). Eating whole foods can help you control your weight because they contain fewer calories per serving and contain diverse fibre! We recently switched all our grains to whole-grains for this very reason. We also shared the healthiest way to cook brown rice using an ancient fermentation process.

Pad Thai with Peanut Marinated Tofu
YYC Pad Thai from Menu Mandala

Create a healthy relationship with food by using meal prep in Calgary.

You can take the guesswork out of meal planning and make it easier to stick to your healthy eating plan. If you’re looking for ways to create a healthy relationship with food and make it part of your life instead of something that restricts you, finding the right meal prep service a great way to start. Here are some tips:

  • There’s nothing wrong with enjoying food! Food is a source of pleasure and joy in our lives—it isn’t just about nourishment for our bodies; it’s also about connecting with others through shared meals, sharing traditions and rituals around food, and celebrating special occasions by eating something delicious together.
  • You deserve balance in all areas of your life—including eating well! If you want to improve your health but haven’t found success yet because traditional strategies don’t work for you (or simply seem too hard), then try this: eat one carefully planned out and nutritionally balanced meals each day. This will transition your gut and pallet to start to prefer healthy food and identify the lousy feelings from eating processed junk.

Weekly menu helps diversify ingredients for your gut health.

You might be surprised to learn that a rotating weekly menu can help diversify your gut health. You know your body needs a variety of nutrients to thrive, but your gut also wants at least 30 different plants each week. There are billions of different fibres out there (countless) and our gut microbiota love to munch on new fibre.

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables (the color of each indicates its antioxidant content), whole grains and legumes, nuts and seeds (chia seeds are great for gut health and brain function). This is what we mean by Feel Good Food! (That’s our slogan by the way.) We meal prep Calgary by rotating our menu every week for this very reason.

The problem with eating this way is the learning curve—who really has time to read every nutrition label at the grocery store and shop around for unknown ingredients in your new recipe book. While plant-based is significantly cheaper than meat-based diets, produce is still expensive when not purchased in bulk. That’s where meal prep comes in: these services purchase in bulk, and with Menu Mandala, most of these ingredients are sourced directly from Alberta farms! It’s one of the best ways to save big while supporting local.

A rainbow of fresh fruits and veggies in our signature Tu-nah Zushi Bowl. Every sauce is our own recipe, made in house!

Most affordable chef created meals, delivered free over $60.

If you’re looking for a meal delivery service that is affordable, look no further than Menu Mandala. We offer as low as $11 per meal, making us the most affordable meal delivery service in Calgary. With our free over $60 promotion and no hidden fees/taxes, we go above and beyond to help you save money. We rely on customer referrals rather than paid advertisements to grow our customer base. This keeps our costs down but requires a great service and excellent meals week-over-week!


I hope this article has given you some ideas on how to improve your life with the help of chef prepared meals. If you’re already sold on trying them out, go ahead and click on one of the links we’ve provided above. We have a variety of options available for every budget and taste, so there’s no excuse not to give it a shot! If there’s anything else I can do for you please don’t hesitate to reach out through our contact form or email our team at info@menumandala.ca. Thanks again for taking time out of your day to read this article!

Key insights from T. Colin Campbell’s ‘Whole’


The China Study was a groundbreaking work by T. Colin Campbell, one of the world’s most renowned biochemists. In it, he describes how the diets of people in rural China led to better health and longer lives than those of their counterparts in America, who ate mostly animal products. This finding has been confirmed by other researchers around the world—and there are many reasons why people should ditch meat and dairy in favor of plant foods. Here are just a few:

The health-care system is broken.

If you’ve ever been to a hospital, you know that it’s a government run business. The health-care system is costly and broken, but there are ways to fix it.

Health care needs to be focused on prevention, not just treatment. It needs to focus less on life-care and more on health. The right diet can help prevent disease and promote long life in people of all ages.

There’s a health crisis.

The first major takeaway is that there’s a health crisis. Campbell says the current health care system is broken, and many others agree with him. The health care system in Alberta is focused on treating disease instead of preventing it. It relies on medication and surgery as its primary means of treatment, which doesn’t work for everyone. We need to focus more on prevention and less on treatment—and we need to improve access to information about what works best for people based on their individual needs.

Plant-based nutrition promotes good health.

The plant-based diet is a healthy way to lose weight and lower cholesterol. It can also help prevent, treat and even reverse chronic diseases.

  • Cardiovascular disease: A plant-based diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent.
  • Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes has been linked to meat consumption; it may also be prevented by avoiding animal products in your diet.
  • Cancer: The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that processed meats are carcinogenic, which means they cause cancer in humans. Reducing or eliminating meat from your diet lowers your risk of developing cancer or dying from it if you already have certain types of tumors or cancers!

The science on protein is complex.

Protein is not the same as meat. Meat is a high-protein food, but it also contains saturated and trans fat, cholesterol, and other harmful substances that may increase the risk of disease. Plant foods contain protein—and lots of it! But plant proteins are also packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help prevent disease.

To make matters more confusing: Not all animal products are equally healthy (or unhealthy). For example, some fish such as salmon are low in bad fat and high in omega 3 fatty acids (which can help lower cholesterol levels). Other fish like swordfish or tuna have higher levels of mercury than other fish which could pose a health risk for those who eat them regularly. The issue is the pollution in water – a significant portion of which is caused itself by deep sea fishing – getting into the fish and into those who eat them. Nearly 100% of fish today contain micro-plastics in their flesh, along with heavy metals and location specific pollutants. Mediterranean diets that relied on fatty fish are becoming far less desirable to locals due to pollution and over-fishing.

Animal protein causes oxidation and harm in your body.

Animal protein has a harmful side beyond the animals themselves. Animal proteins in your diet cause oxidation, which damages your cells and leads to aging.

Oxidation is a process that takes place when the body uses oxygen. During this process, free radicals are formed by unstable molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS).

The more ROS you have in your body, the faster you age.

The world would be better off if we all ate more plants.

It’s no secret that animal agriculture is a huge contributor to climate change, pollution, deforestation and habitat destruction. But did you know it’s also one of the biggest causes of species extinction? In fact, approximately 60% of all wildlife is directly threatened by the livestock industry. As Campbell writes: “The only way we can save nature is by eating plants instead of animals…You can choose to eat in a way that’s compatible with our planet or choose not to.”

There are several reasons why people should ditch meat and dairy in favor of plant foods.

There are several reasons why people should ditch meat and dairy in favor of plant foods. One reason is that animal protein is bad for you. Another reason is that a plant-based diet is better than an animal protein diet because it causes less oxidation, which means that your body will be healthier in the long run. If everyone ate plants instead of animals, then the world would be a much better place to live!


I believe that it’s time to ditch the animal products and embrace a plant-based diet. I hope you will take the time to check out his amazing book “Whole: Rethinking The Science Of Nutrition”, where he goes into detail about all of this.