Phat

That there are good fats as well as bad fats should surprise no one.

Indeed, experts say, 60% of the brain is made up of fat, 25% of which is DHA. This hardworking omega-3 fatty acid is also essential in maintaining vision by protecting the retina.

Low levels of DHA have been linked with visual disorders as well as other mental conditions, including dementia and depression.

We have heard about bad fats ad nauseum: the dull thickness under the skin and around the heart, byproduct of a hopeless but understandable effort to fend off life’s blows. But we must speak, too, about this other kind – part fish, part cream, part olive oil – that makes the skin glow and the eyes shine, as Psalm 104:15 says. In our modern, reductionist way we are accustomed to thinking about food as fuel, composed of units of heat. But there’s a kind of divine symmetry in the fact that the same fats necessary for vision and clear thinking also give the best light. Think of the five foolish virgins whom the bridegroom refused because they took no oil, “but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps” (Matthew 25:1-13).

Losing fat not only won’t get you a ticket to the Kingdom of Heaven; it may even be hazardous to your health. According to a new study, “the physiological and metabolic stresses associated with weight loss could be so great as to outweigh the benefits of being thinner.”

A woman with the right kind of fat is a joy to others and a joy to herself. Her body is pure lubricity, able to move in several directions at once: go watch a belly dancer if you don’t believe me. One night with such a woman, my friend, & no skinny woman will ever again be able to entrance you with her momentary cry & one-dimensional hunger. The exclamation point soon loses its power to astonish, but the round curves of a question mark? Ah, there’s something to ponder! A thousand queries flood my tongue with the tang of olives.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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