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Great Stuff!

There's loads of great stuff out there to enhance your physical and spiritual health. Every two weeks, All Spirit Fitness brings you something we've found useful. Sometimes it's a brand new fitness tool, sometimes it's an everyday item that you can find at the store. Whatever it is, rest assured that if it's on this page, we think it's great!


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Those of us who lean toward low-fat diets sometimes forget that not all fats are bad. Certainly there's never any reason to consume more than 30% of our calories in fat, but if we make good choices when it comes to what type of fat we eat, we could actually be improving our health and either staying thin or actually losing weight! "Good" fats - meaning essential fats such as monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 fats - aren't a miracle solution when it comes to nutrition (face it, nothing is), but they should be included in everyone's diet. These fats benefit your body by lowering heart-damaging cholesterol (LDL) while keeping up the healthy type of cholesterol (HDL). Good fats fight heart and cardiovascular disease and they can even help metabolize high-glycemic carbohydrates more effectively. The fats you should eat less of are saturated fats - the kind found in meat, dairy and animal products, cocoanut oil and palm kernel oil. These fats can raise your LDL cholesterol and risk of heart disease, so make sure they comprise less than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake. Fats you should avoid as much as possible include trans-fatty acids, polyunsaturated fats and hydrogenated fats. Unfortunately, you'll find these fats in loads of processed and convenience foods, and anywhere you find deep-fried fast food. These fats are nutritional disasters - they not only raise LDL cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease, they may damage our health in a number of additional ways, too. There could even be potential cancer links to some of these fats; studies have not yet been completed on the negative effects they may have.

But enough about the bad stuff - we're encouraging you to eat more of the good fats, after all. Where do you find good fats? Monounsaturated fat is as close as your bottle of olive oil, that luscious, ripe avocado beckoning to you in the produce section of your supermarket or a small snack of almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans or Brazil nuts. Omega-3 oils can be found in a thick salmon steak, tuna, sardines, mackerel, flax seed and flaxseed oil (this oil, incidentally, should always be served up cold and is delicious!).

Still worried about consuming too much fat, no matter how good it is for you? How's this for a deal - have a couple of thick slices of avocado in your salad for lunch, then eat a low-fat dinner. Or eat a low-fat lunch and afternoon snack, then have poached or grilled salmon for dinner. Or supplement a fairly low-fat day with a handful of nuts in the afternoon. In fact, the extra fat in that avocado, salmon or nut fest may be so satisfying that you'll just naturally eat less to compensate. Such is the magic of good fats - bon appetit!

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