Everyone has been told at some point, “butter is bad, it will make you fat and clog your arteries” and so we avoid it like the plague, and any animal fat for that matter. We have been taught that these “bad” fats can only harm you and has no benefit to your health. We have accepted this and followed this advise without ever questioning this “fact”.
Little do we know that Butter is an ancient super food. Throughout the world, people and our ancestors have valued butter for its life sustaining properties. When Dr. Weston A. Price studied native diets in the 1930′s he found that butter was a staple in the diets of many supremely healthy peoples.1
Butter, nor saturated fats, are not the cause of disease, refined vegetable oils (including canola, cottonseed, soybean…) and trans fats are hugely to blame for the rising rates of the two top killers in America: heart disease and cancer. This is not the only factor but a huge contribution. I know there is a huge misunderstanding about these fats and cholesterol, so if you are interested in knowing how this myth came to be, please read, The Oiling of America.
When purchasing vegetable oils, like olive, sunflower, safflower, avocado, sesame, and any kind of nut or seed oil, look for these words to make sure you are getting the highest quality and health promoting oils:
• Labeled unrefined, cold- pressed, unfiltered and preferably organic and local!
• Look for them in dark glass bottles since these fats go rancid when exposed to light
• Buy small bottles at a time so that they keep fresh and keep them in a cool dark place
Oils like sunflower and safflower oils are very delicate primarily polyunsaturated fats that are not intended for cooking as heat changes their composition and makes them rancid, mimicking a trans fat. Nearly all plastic bottles containing vegetable oils sold at most big supermarket chains are rancid and are health damaging containing no nutritive value and are extremely toxic to your whole body. Stay away from them at all costs. The expensive you save on buying cheap oils will be used in the future dealing with health problems.
Margarine is NOT an appropriate substitute for butter and should never be consumed! Margarine is a trans fat. Unnatural fats, like margarine, shortenings and spreads are formed during the process of partial hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oil into a solid fat. This is just a few ingredients found in margarine: free radicles, synthetic vitamins (detrimental and ineffective), emulsifiers/ preservatives, hexane and other solvents, bleach, artificial flavors and colors, mono and di-glycerides, soy protein isolate, and sterols!²
Recently a US government panel of scientists determined that man-made trans fats are unsafe at any level. Trans fats contribute to every health issue, from heart disease, cancer, bone problems, hormonal imbalances, skin disease, infertility, disabilities in children, problems with pregnancy and lactation, low birth rate and growth problems in babies!² This is not an issue to take lightly. Throwing out these oils and swapping them for healthier varieties is a simple and wonderful preventative measure for you and your family’s health!
It is important to know that these oils are almost always used in EVERY restaurant! If you eat out, make sure and ask what kind of oil is being used and if butter can be substituted. Saturated fats are the only appropriate fats to use for heating and cooking.
However, butter does contain a small amount of whey, which some individuals may have a sensitivity to. Whey also is what makes butter burn at high temperatures. Although still safe to consume, this alters the taste and can be messy. For these two issues, I recommend trying Ghee. Ghee is traditionally and famous for its use in Indian dishes but also as a highly prized oil for all its health giving properties in India. When I discovered ghee, it was my new found love! Ghee is simply clarified butter without the whey. It also has a sweeter taste and the color is a clear yellow (whey is white, which makes butter lighter in color than ghee). I like to describe the taste as a butterscotch candy! I tend to snack on this throughout the day to keep my energy balanced as well as a great substitute for a sweet tooth. Try it and you’ll be hooked!
You can buy ghee in the store, but I have found that it is more cost effective and also tastes much better by making your own. It’s a very simple procedure:
Depending on how much ghee you would like to make at one time, place a stick to several sticks of butter in a glass oven safe dish. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and place the glass dish inside. After 10 minutes check on your butter and make sure the whey is not burned (although this is what you will throw out anyways). You should start to see the whey separate from the rest of the liquid. The whey is the white film that usually sets on top and the clear yellow liquid is the ghee. Keep an eye on it for the next 20 minutes or less. By this time, the mixture should be fully separated and you can now strain it to separate the two parts. You can also do this procedure on the stove top, but I prefer the oven. You can see here How to Make Ghee on the Stove.
How to purchase Butter:
There are different grades of butter on the market, although none of them are off limits, some butters, like raw butter have more nutritional value to them. The color of the butter will also give you a good insight into how rich in nutrients it is. Look for deep yellow colored butters, usually these are grass fed (pasture fed) and contain omega 3 and 6!
Best: Raw butter from grass fed cows. Raw butter from grass fed cows is the only butter that contains the Wulzen factor, a hormone like substance that prevents arthritis and joint stiffness, ensuring that calcium in the body is used appropriately.
Good: Pasteurized butter from grass-fed cows
Still Good: Regular pasteurized butter from supermarkets- much healthier than margarine!
A Note on Children
We live in a fat phobic society where everything has been made into low fat and fat free varieties. Low fat diets have been linked to failure to thrive in children, yet low fat diets are often recommended for youngsters! Children who drink low fat milks have higher rates of diarrhea than those who drink whole milk.²
Butter is essential to give to growing children for proper brain development and is also essential for fertility and reproduction!² With higher and higher rates of infertility and couples who are not able to conceive, maybe its time to look at our diet and how it is effecting our physiology.
So for the best possible start at life, throw out the processed crackers and give your little ones (and yourself) a pad of butter to snack on! Try to incorporate it into more meals and dishes (this should not be hard giving our natural affinity for its taste). Butter is wonderful on any vegetable and will help you absorb the fat soluble vitamins found in many veggies, try it melted on fish, fry your eggs with it, make organic popcorn on the stove and pour melted better on top with a little bit of sea salt…delicious! Or just snack on it raw! Whatever way you want to consume it, understand that guilt and butter are opposites. You will feel much more satisfied when eating a meal high in natural healthy fats like butter. Say goodbye to cravings and welcome butter into your life, your body will thank you for it!
For more information about butter and its health giving properties, please refer to “Why Butter is Better” at westonaprice.org
1. Price, Weston, DDS Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 1945, Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, Inc., La Mesa, California
2. The Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food Farming and the Healing Arts, 2010. Butter is Better [Brochure].2 comments
This can be a very confusing question with all the information out there, accurate or not. What does a properly prepared whole foods diet consist of? How is this different from how the government and “food experts” tell us to eat?
The more I talk to people the more I realize what a great need for nutrition and health education there is. The majority just don’t know what they are eating and why. Most eat out of pleasure, not health, and there is nothing wrong to eat out of pleasure, don’t get me wrong, that’s a huge part of life. The difference is when you do this every day, all day, with all the wrong food. It is possible to eat healthy and also love the food you’re eating! I don’t know why people think that just because someone chooses to eat a clean nourishing diet, that they automatically assume they eat bland, gross food. The exact opposite is true. If my taste buds could talk, they would tell you how satisfied they are If you have ever been to one of my cooking classes you would know none of this food is the least bit bland and if people don’t necessarily love it at first, it is probably do to the American taste buds not being able to appreciate anything but salt, fat and sugar. This is very common among most. The taste of REAL FOOD is something that most have not experienced. Processed food is altered by chemicals, pesticides, additives, toxins, MSG, GMO’s (check out my blog, “Its Our Right to Know” to find out more about the dangerous of GMO) adulterated and refined oils…and then slathered in another chemical made sauce, frosting, glaze, wax, sugar….it keeps going until the final product is so far from food that your own body doesn’t recognize it and tries to get rid of it as fast as it can. Though because most of us eat these types of foods every day, our poor bodies cannot keep up with the accumulation of toxins from this food, and we end up sick.
Which leads to the next question I get asked, “Is it possible to change my taste buds”? Of course! But this takes some time. Your buds have been exposed to these tastes probably since you were born when your first food was introduced to you. Remember what that was? Cereal, juice, rice…aka SUGAR! We grew up with this. That is why it’s comforting to us and we feel the need to eat something starchy with every meal, be it pasta, rice, bread…. We live in a nation addicted to sugar! Very much like a drug. Ever try to stay away from starchy/ sugary food and experience headaches, dizziness, strong cravings? These are withdrawal symptoms, just like a drug addict needs their fix, most Americans “need” their fix of starch, something sweet or both. I worked in the restaurant business for years through college and it is always disturbing not just the amount of food people can pack away, but all the different food eaten together. A chocolate cake after finishing a steak dinner is probably not the smartest decision to combine, or even those potatoes that break down to sugar combined with animal protein. There’s a reason people normally don’t feel good when eating like this. It’s more than just the amount of food, it’s the wrong macro nutrient combinations, food combining is important!
Nutrition education and government guidelines are extremely outdated and if you look closely, do not even have the research or science to back up their recommendations. This is not something to take lightly seeing that this is what ultimately determines our health and quality of life.
So what exactly should we be focusing on? Here are 5 simple rules to follow to get more out of your food and money!
1. Fresh, Local, Seasonal food!
That means that apples are not available all year around. There are people who would argue this, seeing that they are in our grocery stores all year around. That is because we import this food from all over the world. It travels thousands of miles and in the process uses more fossil fuel, energy, causes more pollution and by the time it reaches the stores, our kitchen and our mouth, it practically has no nutrition left in it. Fresh produce starts to lose its nutrients almost immediately once picked. If eaten after 4 days of storing, it will have already lost 50% of its nutrients, after 2 weeks 95% is lost! Many people take this long to finish their produce…don’t waste your money or these precious nutrients.
2. Organic and Raised with Care!
Organic is a word being thrown all over the place nowadays. You can even find organic cake mix, cookies, donuts…you name it. This is just silly to me. Unfortunately, companies have jumped on the bandwagon and are slapping this label on everything knowing that consumers are paying attention to this standard. Though just because its organic, does not mean it’s a health food, good for you or was made sustainably. Be choosy when buying organic food. Spend your money wisely and on foods that will nourish your body. When I say organic, I am talking about food that has been grown without pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and especially without GMO seeds. And don’t think farmers markets are safe. Make sure and ask your farmer how they grow their produce. Many of them spray! Although it’s always best to get your food from local sources, always ask questions! Ask if you can take a tour of the farm to see the condition of the crops or animals and see for yourself where your food is coming from. This will not only ensure you are getting the highest quality product, but are also educating yourself and gaining a better appreciation for the food you put into your body.
3. Whole, Unrefined Food!
The moment food is adulterated and modified, the moment its nutritional value is compromised. Focus on buying and preparing food from its natural state. This includes whole fat foods! Skip the low fat nonsense, these foods have had to go through an extra step or more in the process and have additional ingredients added to them that are not necessary. Get the real thing, your body will thank you for it. Get creative and learn how to make simple sauces and condiments. Find new dishes that challenge and wow your taste buds. Experiment with preserving your food by fermenting and culturing different foods and vegetables to always have on hand (See “What are cultured foods” and “Health benefits to cultured foods”). This is the easiest way of knowing you will always have healthy food on hand and will last almost indefinitely.
4. Properly Prepared!
I say this a lot because this is VERY important, but almost always overlooked, even by other health practitioners . Food can be very hard for us to digest and even contain certain components that are not for our benefit. For example, all legumes, grains and nuts must be soaked overnight to release the phytates that they contain. Phytates will bind to minerals in our body and take them with them on their way out, leaving us more deficient in minerals than most of us already are. Some foods can cause digestive distress and literally rot inside of us because it cannot be broken down causing all sorts of problems and imbalances if care is not taken to prepare it right. When food is prepared properly, its nutrients become available and sometimes even enhanced.
This should go without saying, but when food is made at home (using the rules above), there is a 100% chance that it will always come out much more nourishing and always prepared properly (if you know how of course). You are in control of your food and what goes in it, the quality that was used to prepare it and of course where it came from!
This may seem a little intimidating or overwhelming for most who do not live this way, but once you start to implement these rules and really live by them and feel and see the difference in your health and attitude, it will be worth it. Real food not only nourishes your body, it nourishes your soul. There is an emotional component to food and meal time. If we continue to eat dead food, this has just as great of an effect on our attitude and outlook on life as it has on our physical being. When we consume life giving food, our mental state shifts to create clarity. This is because real food creates life and is more fulfilling simply just because it tastes better!
When you are properly nourished, you crave less, and therefore you eat less and spend less! The body knows when it is satisfied and needs no more.
If you have other ideas or rules of your own you live by, feel free to share and post!no comments