Why Healthy Fats Don’t Make You Fat

If you’re like me, you might have grown up with the repeated message that a key to health is to avoid or limit all fats. Based on that reasoning, I cooked for years with as little butter and oil as possible thinking I was preventing weight gain or heart disease. When I first met the Burgart family at Healthy Harvest, it took some convincing that healthy fats don’t make you fat.

I began to re-learn as much about food and nutrition as I possibly could, researching the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and soaking up knowledge. Here’s what I found out:

Fat is a necessary nutrient. 

According to The Westin A. Price Foundation, fats are a concentrated source of energy, and they provide the foundation for cell membranes and hormones. Additionally, when included in meals, fats slow down absorption so that we can go longer without feeling hungry. Finally, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K,as well as with mineral absorption and other processes.

The sugar industry fought for years to fund research that demonized fat as the cause of disease to displace blame from sugar. 

The documentary Sugar Coated by Michele Hozer (available on Netflix) details the sugar industry’s PR tactics to dispel years of research point to sugar as a cause of disease and obesity. With reputable Harvard professors on their payroll, The Sugar Association funded research that instead blamed fat, making the findings of both studies inconclusive.

Avoiding fat can lead to an intake of carbs and/or sugar.

For many dishes, fat is a huge source of flavor. Once you make the food low-fat, the flavor is often replaced with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Also, healthy fats like nuts, avocados, and olive oil keep you feeling fuller longer. Many sources suggest people tend to replace fats with carbs and sweets.

Large-scale, long-term studies actually linked a high-vegetable-fat Mediterranean diet to weight loss

A recent study published in the journal Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology reports that “a long-term intervention with an unrestricted-calorie, high-vegetable-fat Mediterranean diet was associated with decreases in bodyweight and less gain in central adiposity (circumference) compared with a control diet. These results lend support to advice not restricting intake of healthy fats for bodyweight maintenance.”

Since adding a significant amount of pure, extra virgin olive oil to my diet (I take a shot in the morning and use at least 1-2 tbsp in 2-3 meals a day), I have not noticed weight gain, but instead have observed better digestion, less inflammation, and less snacking. Tell us your experience at info@healthyharvests.com

Stay tuned for our next article explaining the high fat Ketogenic diet and why athletes are using it to see performance gains and quicker recovery.



Phenols in EVOO May Protect Bone Mass

A recent article based on review of 37 scientific studies reports that the phenols in extra virgin olive oil may prevent loss of bone mass.

Another study that evaluated three groups of elderly men over a two-year period. Only the group with extra intake of olive oil had increased levels of serum osteocalcin and procollagen I N-terminal propeptide procollagen, both of which are associated with a protective effect on bone health.

The article references other studies that link phenols to a reduced risk of osteoporosis including oleuropein, a key phenolic component of olive oil, may prevent bone loss, and luteolin, which may prevent bone loss in postmenopausal osteoporosis by reducing the action and function of osteoclasts, which are cells that break down bone tissue.

Read the article here. 

Apple Beet Carrot Slaw with Mint-Cumin Vinaigrette

IMG_1281 Sweet, spicy, cold, crunchy. What’s not to love about this summer salad-slaw hybrid that’s as beautiful to dish up as it is satisfying to eat?

I packed this for lunch on a day hike, and it totally hit the spot. It’s paradoxically light while keeping you full. While it easily held its own as a a main dish for lunch, I couldsee this pairing perfectly with some pulled pork as a unique twist on the classic barbecue side.

Use a mandolin (shown below) set to the smallest setting to slice the apples, beets, and carrots. Cut off the ends of the beets, but if you’re using pesticide-free product, do yourself a huge favor and skip peeling them first. Why waste the time when that’s where several nutrients are anyways!


Once you’ve sliced everything with the mandolin, use a knife to cut the slices into sticks.

(Note: you could always just use a grater, but taking the few extra seconds to create the fine sticks really goes a long way in presentation, and if you’re like me, you eat with your eyes first. And so do your guests if you’re bringing it to a get-together!)

Place the apples and carrots into a large bowl.  Rinse the beets several times under cold water before adding them to the bowl, so they don’t bleed and turn the whole dish purple. Again, you could skip this step, but I’d say if you’re sharing, it’s worth it!

Add the beets and mint to the carrots and apples. Mix up the vinaigrette in a small dish and taste first. (Always taste as you go. This is the number one tip to becoming a better cook, I promise!) Pour over salad, and toss to coat well.

This will keep for a couple days as long as you don’t care if the colors begin to bleed.

INGREDIENTS (serves 6-8)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large crisp apple
  • 2 medium beets
  • 1 cup mint, roughly chopped
For the salad dressing:
  1. Using a mandolin on the smallest setting, slice the carrots and apple, use a knife to cut into sticks, and place them in a large bowl. Shred the beets with the mandolin, cut into sticks, then rinse them under cold running water several times (until water runs clear).
  2. Add the beets and the mint to the bowl with the carrots and apple.
  3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour the over the salad, and toss to coat well.

This recipe was first seen on The Endless Meal

Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Fresh Guacamole

20160603_172613Do you ever have a craving for potato chips but want something a little bit healthier? Well, there are those root veggie chips in the store, but they are a bit expensive for my price range.

I love making my own baked sweet potato chips. While white potatoes are full of nutrients, sweet potatoes are lower in calories and carbs and also contain more Vitamin A and Vitamin C than white spuds. Plus, these are baked not fried, yet still deliciously crispy.

You’ll want to eat them fresh out of the oven to stay crispy though, so only make as many as you need at a time. But if you’re like me, you’ll have no problem scarfing down way too many to ensure there are none left.

First, you’ll need a mandolin. This magically useful kitchen tool (shown below) makes slicing vegetables consistently at any width a breeze. You could always slice by hand, but I personally find it hard to cut the slices thin enough to get crispy or all the same width so they cook evenly.


Slice 1 sweet potato for 2-4 servings, or 2 for more. The picture below is the result of one large sweet potato. No need to peel first! A bunch of nutrients hang out there. 🙂

Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with seasonings such as salt, garlic powder, or chili powder.

Bake at 400 for 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them. You can see below a couple of mine got too dark. (Oops!)

While the chips are baking, make your guac. Again, one avocado is plenty for 2 people, or scale to serve a larger crowd.

Mash one avocado with 1-3 cloves of garlic (depending on size), diced onion, and diced jalapeno. Season with salt, paprika, chili powder, and fresh lime juice.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Sweet Potato Chips

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1-2tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • seasonings to taste – salt, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder


  • two ripe avocados
  • half of red or white onion, diced
  • half jalapeno
  • 1 lime
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • seasonings to taste – salt, paprika, chili powder

Frying in Olive Oil: Healthy or Harmful?

Many of us have been led to believe that olive oil should be reserved for salad dressings or a finishing drizzle over meals. But did you know that not only is it safe to cook with olive oil, it is actually one of the most nutrient-dense, stable fats you can use?

This article from Authority Nutrition links to studies from several credible sources explaining why olive oil is a great choice for cooking, even with higher heat methods like frying.

The article demonstrates extra virgin olive oil

  • is high in monounsaturated fats, which remain stable when heated.
  • is full of antioxidants, which as the name suggests, prevents oxidative damage during cooking.
  • has a smoke point of 375-420 degrees, making it safe to sautee, fry, roast, and more

Read the full article here for a clear, thorough explanation.

Spicy Lentil Veggie Burger

healthy harvest olive oil golden colorado

I made this for a potluck last week and immediately friends and family were asking for the recipe, which has options to make it vegan and gluten free. Not a single one was left uneaten!

Vegetarians and carnivores alike will DEVOUR this amazingly flavorful and filling burger made with red lentils, lots of paprika, and fried in healthy olive oil. It is perfect for summertime!

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large egg (or use 4tbsp psyillium husks to make it vegan)
  • 4 Tbsps nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 bell pepper (I used red ), chopped
  • about ½ cup flour of choice (can use rice flour for GF)
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, depending on taste
  • 1 tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, for frying
  1. Add lentils in a pot and cover them with water. From the moment they start boiling, let them boil for about 15 minutes and then remove from heat.
  2. Strain the lentils very well and put them in a large bowl. Start mashing them using a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients, except oil. Don’t forget the S&P!
  3. Mix with your hands or a fork.  It has to be sticky and easy to shape. If it’s not it means that you didn’t strain the lentils very good and the composition is too wet. No problem, just add more flour until it has a dough-like consistency.
  4. Heat olive oil in pan on medium to medium-high heat. Form dough into burger sized patties and fry 4-5 minutes on each side or until crispy and browned.
  5. Optional: On last minute of cooking, melt cheese to burger. We used local Haystack Mountain Vaquero Jack.

Once the burgers are ready, toast up some buns if desired. Assemble the burgers with lettuce, tomato, sauteed portobello mushrooms, avocado, and a dash of hot sauce.

Be prepared for lots of compliments 😉

If you don’t make all the burgers at once, refrigerate for 3-4 days. You can make them snack sized, or try them topped with fried eggs for breakfast! Mmm…

Adapted from http://gourmandelle.com/spicy-vegan-lentil-cakes/

Greek Salad

What a quick, fresh way to enjoy your farmer’s market veggies!

Assemble your salad with greens, wedged tomatoes, sliced red onion, diced or sliced cucumber, green or black olives, and feta (We love locally made Haystack cheese!).

Drizzle with lemon brine, olive oil, and finish with freshly cracked black pepper and oregano.

Optional: Serve with crusty bread grilled in olive oil.

How easy is that?!

UC-Davis finds 86% of Olive Oil in U.S. doesn’t meet Extra Virgin standards

In 2010, the University of California-Davis found that most olive oil in the U.S., despite being labeled as extra virgin, did not meet U.S. or international standards.

Our chemical testing indicated that the samples failed extra virgin standards for reasons that include one or more of the following:

  • oxidation by exposure to elevated temperatures, light, and/or aging;
  • adulteration with cheaper refined olive oil;
  • poor quality oil made from damaged and overripe olives, processing flaws, and/or improper oil storage.

This study indicted brands consumers associate with trust and high quality standards, including Whole Foods and Newman’s Own.

healthy harvest olive oil golden
Anything in yellow did not meet the standards for Extra Virgin, even though it was labeled as such.

So people often ask us what brands they CAN trust. Our response? While we can’t attest to the purity of big brand olive oils, our takeaway from this study is that if 86% of corporate brands have misleading labels, perhaps, that’s not who we should getting our food, or at least olive oil, from.

Healthy Harvest’s olive oil is chemically tested in Greece and again in the U.S. to ensure it meets strict international standards and has never been adulterated. We have known the producers, a single family of fourth generation organic farmers in Sparta for nearly a decade. They still pick the olives by hand to ensure perfect ripeness and no bruising. The olives are then sent to press within one hour, using no heat or chemicals. The result is so pure, we guarantee the oil forever.

Read the original report here.