Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How I Get My Fat


The toughest part of transitioning to a high fat diet has been finding a way to eat enough fat. I eat something like 3000 Kcals per day when I am training hard and I have a rough goal of about 60% of my calories from fat. That means that I need to eat 1800 Kcals (or 200g) of fat per day. People just assume that you eat the common sources of fat that are promoted as "healthy fats", things like eggs, avocados, and almonds. Those products will help, for example:

Almonds have 45g of fat per cup
An egg has about 5g of fat
A medium avocado has about 21g of fat

The trouble is that each of the above also has significant sources of carbs and protein, which makes the ratios necessary to achieve 60% (or more) from fat difficult. I would have to eat 40 eggs or 5 cups of almonds to get to 200g -- I am full just thinking about that! Before long, you realize that you have to go to the purest sources of fat possible. Through experimentation and talking with others, here are some tricks I've learned to getting my fat intake up:

- Oils.  Lots and lots of oils.  Sometimes I eat a spoonful of Udo's Oil (15g of fat) plain.  You get used to the taste.  I put lots of oils (olive oil or flax seed) on my salads as dressings.  Eat a nice lunch salad made with eggs and avocados with 2-3 tbsp of oil and you get at least 45-50g of fat.  I also make liberal use of coconut oil when cooking and making shakes. Oils are also great for greasing pans and the cooking process to boost fat intake.

- Fat Shakes. One of my favorite tricks is a shake made with coconut milk (unsweetened, about 5g of fat per cup) with a tbsp or two of coconut oil (14g of fat per tbsp) and maybe a splash of heavy whipping cream (6g per tbsp). There are tons of variations here. If I mix in a few strawberries and half a packet of Stevia, it tastes exactly like a milk shake. Your kids won't know the difference. A few unsweetened coconut flakes works well here too. Sometimes I go healthier and mix in some greens (Amazing Wheat Grass, Kale, Hemp Protein, etc...), chia seeds, oils, etc... These shakes don't taste as good, but they are power packed with micro nutrients. Fat shakes are easy to consume and usually contain about 50-75g of fat.

- Fatty Meats. Men will love this one -- red meat is king! Pork too! Put down that skinless chicken breast and get some bacon or salami instead. I often snack on salami as a meal in a pinch. A typical package contains 4 oz with about 8g of fat per serving. This works well when traveling or out and about with kids. Lamb is another super fatty meat that tastes fabulous and has a wide range of recipes to cook. The one caution with meat is that a good high fat diet should also be moderate in protein (20-25%), so eating these products in excess won't work well. And buy the 80% lean ground beef! Take the few bucks you save and put it toward and organic or grass fed meat, if possible. When making ground beef, don't drain the fat!

- Full Fat Dairy (and Greek Yogurt). I sometimes mix whole milk into my shakes from above. We only drink whole milk in my house. If I got to Starbucks, I get a full fat (unless they have heavy whipping cream) latte. Whole milk and whole cheeses usually have 8-9g of fat per serving. Be very careful to pick sources with highest fat content possible. Read the labels because they sometimes slip you a product that isn't listed as low-fat but still has only 5-6g of fat per serving. With my salami snacks, I usually add in a few slices of full fat cheese. Today I had 4 oz of salami (32g of fat) and 4 oz of cheese (36g of fat) for lunch -- 800 Kcals and 68g of fat! Greek Yogurt is a great source, but be VERY careful. They often slip a bunch of sugar into it, even the full-fat brands. Absolutely read the labels and try to get one with less than 10g of sugar per serving. I have only found one brand that contains a great fat to carb ratio (2 to 1). Most are closer to 1 to 1.

Coffee. Coffee is a great way to get fat. I really like cream with my coffee. A tbsp of heavy whipping cream has 6g of fat. Applying the heavy whipping cream liberally to 2-3 cups of coffee per day can add 15-30g of fat to your diet without much effort. You can go the distance and make bullet proof coffee. I have made a substitute with a few tbsp of heaving whipping cream and coconut oil for a total of about 30g of fat in one cup of coffee! Blend that up for about 5 seconds and Yum!!!

Give it a shot! With a little practice and a week or two of tracking things, you'll get it figured out. Eat loads of fat. Eat only to hunger (no need to force food in, your body will tell you!). Be careful with anything that has more than 10g of sugar per serving (eat sparingly). Be careful not to eat too much protein (like not more than 6-8 oz in any serving). Read labels obsessively so you know what you are eating. Like anything, once you have a good rhythm, it is really pretty easy.

One last word of caution: the one type of fat to avoid is the cheap fats high in polyunsaturated fat: safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils are example. These are typically the oils used in fast food chains and cheap restaurants and are typically processing by products of other foods. These are the one type of fat that you want to minimize. Polyunsaturated fat is contained in many healthy products like fish, but the concentrations of it in these products is unhealthy.


  1. I may be behind on some of your blog posts but my question is -- did you loose an interesting amount of weight when switching to this? I stall out all the time at the same weight every training season but I know I have more fat to melt away.

    1. Brandon - that is difficult to say. I have been experimenting with Atkins and Paleo the 5-10 few years. I definitely bounced up a few pounds when I was training hard for LT100, higher then when I had run SR the year before. I was eating lots of "healthy carbs" like whole wheat, quinoa, and Steele cut oats. And, I was training with lots of dense sugar products like GU Roctane. With this diet, I have dropped an additional 6-7 lbs this year and really kind of stabilized at my high school weight. My weight doesn't fluctuate as much as long as I eat only to hunger and don't stray too far -- except the occasional cheat day.

  2. Thanks for the great posts on lchf AJ. Being new to this transition I find myself struggling, but reading up on our blog is extremely helpful.


    1. Keep at it Mike! In some ways, the more you struggle early, the more you need the transition. It will pay dividends in your life and your running.

    2. Thanks. I definitely need it as I've never been concerned with my diet and have always taken in a bunch of junk and processed carbs without much thought. Meh, I'd just outrun them so-to-speak.

      I won't lie, I'm really missing my beer, chips, and pizza. Also early on I'm finding it hard to wake up in the morning and get out of bed, but I'm committed to sticking to this for awhile to see how it goes. I do like the heavy whipping cream in my coffee. :)