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, like this olive oil here
• 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.
Making Clarified Butter
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.
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.
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! 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].