Taking the Fear out of Fat: Why High-Fat Mexican Cuisine May Actually Be Good for You

Last Update: May 16, 2023

Torie Borrelli is an Integrative Holistic Nutritionist (NC), trained chef specializing in healing foods that decrease inflammation, and creator of The Vida Well. Her newest cookbook, The Mexican Keto Cookbook, offer more than 100 low-carb, high-fat, anti-inflammatory grounded in Mexican tradition. Today, she writes about the ins and outs of a Mexican Keto diet.

Eating healthy fats is an immensely powerful way to hack your cravings, support your brain, maintain a healthy weight, and balance your hormones. Fat isn’t just good for you—it’s essential. And that is exactly why I was inspired to write “The Mexican Keto Cookbook,” which is filled with high-fat, traditional, and delicious recipes. It also contains tons of great tips to help you feel your best.

How did we end up with so much misinformation about fat?

The fear about fat primarily came from the food pyramid (now MyPlate), which said that the foundation of our diets should be carbohydrates and sugar. Fats were at the very top of the diagram, and we were told to consume them sparingly. However, flipping the fat and carb categories may be a better starting point for some of us.

Why do you promote high-fat Mexican cuisine?

Mexico has always been a second home to me, and I have a strong connection to the traditions and people there. Over the years, I’ve watched traditional foods get replaced with convenience foods that are low in fiber, high in carbs, and packed with GMOs and sugars. These empty calories have become central to the Standard American Diet, and have also spilled across the border into Mexico. Today, Mexicans are the largest consumer of carbonated drinks on the planet, as well as the largest consumer of processed foods in Latin America. Chronic illnesses like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are all growing at record rates. Our bodies have learned to rely on sugar, not fat.

Why do we need fat?

Every cell in our body is surrounded by a layer of fat, making it the primary source of energy. We cannot survive without fat. It slows the release of sugar into the blood and helps us use minerals, vitamins, and protein in the body. Did you know our brains are composed of 60 percent fat? It’s no wonder fat leads to optimal brain health!

The main role of fat is to provide energy. Fat helps with the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients and vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. It also helps regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Nutrient-dense fats play a huge role in balancing hormones, which, when imbalanced, contribute to low energy, weight challenges, fertility issues, brain fog, and decreased metabolism.

But my favorite thing about fat is that it keeps me feeling full and satisfied—thanks to our amigo leptin, a hormone directly connected to body fat and obesity.

I’m on a mission to help people redefine their relationship with fat and remove fear from the equation. Below is my go-to list of healthy fats that offer lots of great benefits.

Sources of good fats:

Organic, grass-fed, or pasture-raised beef, pork, poultry, and lamb
Wild-caught seafood
Eggs (organic and pasture-raised)
Grass-fed butter, ghee, tallow, and lard
Dairy milk products (organic, raw, whole, and full-fat)
Nuts (all except peanuts)
Flax, hemp, pumpkin, sesame, and chia seeds
Olive oil (cold-pressed, extra-virgin)
Avocados and avocado oil
Sesame oil
Coconut products, including MCT oil, butter, oil, flakes, and cream
Algae oil

I love fats, but not all are created equally. Some are detrimental to our long-term health, depending on several factors, including the type, how it was processed and whether it’s been exposed to heat and light.

Sources of unhealthy fats:

Commercially prepared baked goods, processed foods, and fast foods
Conventional meats
Conventional dairy
All packaged foods containing hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils or the word “shortening”
Industrially processed liquid oils such as soy, corn, safflower, cottonseed and canola
Fats and oils heated to very high temperatures (from cooking or processing)
Trans fats

For an easy way to incorporate healthy fat into your diet, check out my High-Fat Tea recipe from “The Mexican Keto Cookbook” below. This breakfast alternative is perfect for balancing your blood sugar after sleeping all night and is packed with brain-boosting fats that can help kick that sluggish feeling.

High Fat Tea

Yield: 2 servings
Total Time: 10 Minutes

4 bergamot tea bags
2 tablespoons MCT oil
2 tablespoons Kerrygold
grass-fed butter, ghee (use ghee if you have any dairy issues), coconut mana, or cacao butter
1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
2 tablespoons pastureraised collagen protein (optional)
1 teaspoon liquid stevia or monk fruit sweetener (optional)


  1. In a kettle or medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Pour the hot water into a heatproof glass or mason jar or just add the tea bags to the saucepan. Let the tea steep for at least 4 minutes, but ideally 10 minutes, and then remove and discard the tea bags.
  2. Pour the brewed tea into a blender. Add the MCT oil, butter, and cinnamon and blend on low speed for 10 to 15 seconds. Stir in the collagen (if using) and add the sweetener to taste. Serve immediately

Recipe reprinted from The Mexican Keto Cookbook. Copyright © 2019 by Torie Borrelli. Photographs copyright © 2019 by Eric Wolfinger. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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Lily Comba

Lily Comba has never met a baked good she didn't like. When she's not baking, you'll find her writing, taking a Pilates class, or collaborating with the editorial and social team as a Senior Content Writer at Thrive Market.

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