I have to say, my friends look horrified when they learn I spread genuine butter on my vegetables, my toast, my potatoes and even - dare I say - my grass-fed steak. Yes, I love real butter. It's one of my favorite foods.
"But aren't you worried?" they say. "About your heart? Your cholesterol must be through the roof!"
I just smile. I'm not worried in the least. And here's why:
#1 - No hydrogenated or vegetable oil!
I'm surprised they still make margarine with hydrogenated oil considering the (well-deserved) bad press trans fat has received. But even the "buttery" spreads made without hydrogenated oils are not healthy! They are filled with vegetable oils which can cause loads of free-radical damage in the body. (Have you read "The Oiling of America?").
#2 - Plenty of saturated fats.
Wait. Aren't those bad? Actually, no. In fact, the fats in butter are some of the most life-giving fats on the planet. Butter is comprised mostly of short- and medium-chain fatty acids. These protect against cancer and boost immunity. They're also antifungal. Short and medium chain fatty acids are also more easily broken down for energy, which means its actually less likely that the fat in butter will be stored in the body (good news for dieters).
So, no, butter doesn't make you fat. And it won't give you a heart attack, either. For instance, did you know that heart disease has increased as our butter consumption has decreased? Zip over to read "The Skinny on Fats" for some really good commentary on why saturated fat is our friend.
#3 - Fat-soluble vitamins.
Need I say more? Our modern diet is seriously lacking in these important nutrients. Butter is filled with essential vitamins and antioxidants in their most natural and absorbable state. Butter is actually a better source of vitamin A than carrots, especially for people who have trouble converting the beta-carotene in carrots into vitamin A (many, many people can't make this conversion easily).
You can also find vitamin E and selenium in butter. These along with vitamin A actually protect the heart from free-radical damage, which is a factor in weakened arteries. On the other hand, fabricated spreads filled with rancid and refined vegetables oils can cause free-radical damage. Are you starting to see why butter makes me smile?
#4 - Butter tastes GREAT.
This may not sound like a health benefit at first, but I can't remember the last time healthy food tasted so intoxicating. Have trouble getting the kids to eat their veggies? Try adding a generous pat of butter and watch those greens disappear. And scrambled eggs just don't taste the same to me if they aren't fried in butter. It's just plain easy to eat butter.
So, what's the best butter to buy? Here's an idea:
- Grass-fed, organic butter made from raw, cultured cream (you'll probably have to make this one at home).
- Grass-fed, organic butter made from raw cream (depending on where you live, you might have to make this at home, too).
- Grass-fed, organic butter made from pasteurized cream (available in some stores and online).
- Regular, storebought organic butter (can be found almost everywhere).
- Regular, storebought non-organic butter.
Keep in mind ALL of the above choices are much, much better than the fake margarine spreads on the shelves. Just switching to plain old supermarket butter is still a better alternative to vegetable oil spreads. But if you can spring for organic and especially grass-fed butter, then that's even better!
This was one of the easiest changes for me to make on my journey to a nourished life. Switch over to butter today for better health and a better life!