At a recent presentation, I made my audience gasp when I suggested they stop peeling the skin off chicken. And for heavens sake, stop paying top dollar for boneless, skinless breasts.
After all…chicken is a whole food. Until you start taking things away.
Ever really think about that?
When we talk about whole foods, we mean food that is minimally processed. A product of nature – in its natural form. Eating a whole food means eating all the edible parts. For instance, the fat found naturally in milk. The stem on kale. The skin on apples and potatoes and…yes, chicken.
But we’ve been told that chicken skin is terrible for us. Unlike beef, which is marbled with fat, the fat on chicken lies just below the skin. We strip it away and breed our chickens to be less and less fatty.
This quest for a low fat diet…ummm…it hasn’t exactly worked. Just look around.
So let me suggest that we stop manipulating food and allow our complex bodies, with systems scientists can barely wrap their heads around, eat food as nature provides it. We are not smarter than nature.
If this theory of whole food eating is still sinking in, here are 6 straightforward reasons why eating chicken skin is actually good for you.
I definitely recommend eating the highest quality animal products you can get your hands on. That means being picky about your source. If you don’t live near a trusted farm, you can order free-range poultry here.
1. Let’s talk about the kind of fat you’ll find in chicken skin. It’s mainly monounsaturated, in the form of oleic acid. Oleic acid, also found in olive oil, is known for beneficial effects on cholesterol.
2. Of course there are also saturated fats in chicken skin. This is no accident. Nature provides what the body needs. The body does not need soda. The body does not need cotton candy. Or Gatorade. The body does, in fact, need some saturated fat. So eat it.
3. If you’re in the calorie-counting camp, there’s roughly a 50 calorie difference between chicken with or without skin. Seems a small price to pay for a huge increase in flavor and satisfaction.
4. Did I mention flavor and satisfaction? When your food satisfies your taste buds and body’s cravings, you don’t need to eat as much or as often. Sugar cravings subside and you can go back to loving food instead of fearing it. That’s huge, people.
5. Fat doesn’t make you fat. If it did, the lowfat/nonfat craze would have given us a country of slender people. Instead, we have an obesity epidemic. It just doesn’t add up. Here’s a thought. Eat the skin that occurs naturally on chicken. Don’t eat I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Power Bars, Eggo Waffles or other foodstuffs made in lab. See what happens.
6. Forget marinades, seasonings and complicated recipes! Naturally occurring fats make chicken delicious, as-is. Cooking is easy.
Go forth and actually enjoy your food.