Babies and children have a critical need for high quality fats for the development of their brain and nervous systems. It is most unfortunate when parents do not feed their children fat, for fear the children will become overweight. It is also unfortunate when children are fed poor quality, pasteurized dairy products and overcooked fried oils, and other inferior fats and oils.

Even worse, instead of giving their children quality meats, eggs, yogurt and other fat-containing foods, some parents substitute soymilk, grains, fruit juice and sugar-laden soda pop. These contain much more sugars, which tend to make children overweight and ill.

Another horror is most commercial baby formula that contains cheap soymilk or soy oil, when babies desperately need all the essential fatty acids for their brain development. Babies who cannot drink mother’s milk, which is over 50% fat, often do well on raw cow or goat milk. If not, one can create a baby formula based on other fats or oils. An excellent book that offers several excellent baby formulas one can make easily at home is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary Enig.

After they are weaned, children need eggs, butter, meats, poultry, oily fish such as sardines, and perhaps a little nut butter and fish oil. These will provide high-quality oils and fats. Grass-fed meats are better, including lamb and dark meat chicken, turkey, natural beef in moderation, and preferably goat milk and cheese or organic milk products.

Fats to avoid for everyone, particularly children, are French fries fried in vegetable oil, fast-food milk shakes, which are mostly chemicals, and restaurant fried fish or other fried foods. Dairy products should be raw, not pasteurized and not cooked. So please avoid grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese dips, and processed cheeses used in pizza and other dishes. These fats and oils are usually old, overheated and quite unhealthful.

I cannot emphasize enough that babies and children must have high-quality fats and oils every day to nourish their brains and avoid many kinds of developmental and behavioral problems.

Food sources of high quality fats:

Meats are excellent sources of quality fats and oils include hormone-free and preferably grass-fed meats, especially lamb, and healthful poultry such as dark meat free-range chicken and turkey. Animal fats are quite yang and of good quality if the animals are raised in a healthful manner.

Fish. Oily fish such as sardines contain a lot of the omega-3 fatty acids. These are needed by almost everyone today. Salmon and tuna also have them, but contain too much mercury, even if they are wild-caught. For this reason, avoid eating most salmon and all tunafish. This is very important. Salmon should be eaten at most once a week and absolutely no more. Sardines are fine 3-4 cans per week, any brand.

Dairy sources. These include whole milk fat, fat in cheeses, butter, and cream. Eggs are discussed separately below. Dairy fats are excellent if they are raw, and not pasteurized or homogenized. This is important because pasteurization and homogenization damage the fat and other components of dairy products so they become much less healthful.

I somewhat prefer goat dairy because most cows today are hybrids and their products are not as healthful as in years past. Goats may be less hybridized, although all animals are hybrids today. Many people are sensitive to cows milk, although they may not be aware of it. Some, however, do fine on raw cow’s milk.

If one cannot find raw milk products, the next best appears to be organic dairy products. Regular commercial pasteurized commercial dairy products are not nearly as good.

Egg yolks. Eggs provide a wonderful, very yang and high-quality fat. This is especially true if the chickens are allowed to graze freely, and they are fed and housed properly. The egg yolk is one of the richest foods for everyone. Much could be written about the wonderful benefits of egg yolks, such as their high content of lecithin, vitamin A, vitamin C, and many other necessary nutrients.

Eggs should not be cooked until they are hard. The best way to prepare eggs is soft-boiling for only 3-4 minutes, so the yolk is still runny and even cool. Steaming an egg until it is soft boiled is also okay. It will be safe to eat even if the yolk is runny. Poaching or even frying the egg, making sure the yolk is still runny, is okay, too. When the yolk turns hard and the white turns rubbery, the egg is much less digestible, so it loses a lot of its nutritional benefits, although it is still a good food.

While they should be lightly cooked, completely raw eggs may not be safe to eat due to bacterial contamination. They are also more yin, which is not as helpful.

Other good ways to prepare eggs are poaching, or even soft scrambled, soft omelets and even soft and runny yolks with fried eggs if they are not overcooked, which is difficult to do consistently.

Grains and bean oils. These include corn oil, wheat germ oil, rice germ oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, and others. Soy oil, in particular, is very hybridized and genetically modified today. I would avoid all soy oil, if at all possible, and all soy products as they are less healthful.

Nut and seed oils. Nuts such as walnuts, pecans, almonds and brazil nuts contain good quality oils. However, nut and seed oils are far more yin, so they are not as highly recommended. They are okay once or twice weekly, but not every day. The animal quality oils and fats are better, though the nut and seed oils contain some excellent fatty acids in some cases.

The best vegetable oils today are olive, flaxseed and hempseed oils. The latter two are excellent sources of omega-3 oils. However, they go rancid very fast and must be refrigerated. Olive, coconut and palm oils are somewhat saturated, so they stay fresh longer.

Coconut oil and palm oil are best avoided because they are much more yin in Chinese terminology. I know that some health authorities highly recommend coconut oil. However, I find that it is far too yin and slightly toxic to the liver, as well.

Canola oil is refined and is slightly toxic. It used to be called rapeseed oil and was genetically altered to remove most of a toxic substance it contains. It is okay for most people in small quantities, but some cannot tolerate it.

Primrose and borage oils are other fairly good oils. They contain a fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid, which cam reduce inflammatory conditions such as premenstrual syndrome. However, they are not best for general usage. Avoid cottonseed oil, which is often contaminated with pesticides, even if labeled organic.



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