The Weston A. Price Way

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eye-Opener Thursday: Butter Better for Your Health? -Youbetcha!

Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, it's TRUE! -Butter really is better for you! 
(...Let the drum rolls, somersaults, cymbal-sounding and dancing begin...)

Anyone who has ever watched the Paula Deen cooking show knows that butter's better...for taste. It's so funny, because it's always put forth as if the enjoyment of butter is a naughty-but-nice sin. But it's neither naughty nor sin. And it is especially nice in over ten ways, one of which many of you will be so very happy to know, deals with weight control. When I'm done sharing what I've learned about the goodness of butter, we'll discuss the 'naughties' of so-called 'healthy' margarines, shortenings and spreads.

If you haven't learned of these facts before, hang on to your hat. Next, forget the guilt trip. There are some really big wigs out there that benefit greatly from keeping us in the dark about these truths, and go to great lengths to put a favorable spin on their products. It's propaganda. It's lies. It's often, sadly, the corporate way. So, as they are unveiled, decide for yourself what you want to do about it for yourself and your family, if anything at all. But know this: This stuff is real.. But I won't leave you without ways to make changes if you choose to do so.

So, let's get started by talking about how butter battles disease and sickness. I will not give many references here due to space, but the following link will give you the location where all these facts may be verified via The Weston A. Price Foundation-which references everything:
  • Arthritis: Raw butter contains an "anti-stiffness" agent, referred to as "The Wulzen Factor", which works by ensuring that calcium goes into the bones, not joints and tissues. It is important to note that this is only found in raw cream and butter, and is killed in pasteurization. Grass-fed butter contains K2, formerly called the "X Factor", which protects against "joint calcification, hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland". An interesting note: Calves fed pasteurized milk or skim milk suffer from stiffness and failure to thrive. 
  • Asthma: Butter has saturated fats. You know-Those fats the 'diet dictocrats' tell us are so very bad for us, (but aren't really). The saturated fat in butter is crucial for the health of lungs and protects against asthma. 
  • Cancer: Butter is made up of both short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which fight tumors. Butter from grass-fed cows contains "conjugated linoleic acid", (CLA), which protects against cancer. 
  • Digestion: Here's a long word for us; "Glycospingolipids". Anyway, they are in butterfat and protect us from intestinal sickness. This is especially true in young children and the elderly. (An important note: Children on lowfat milk diets suffer more from diarrhea than those drinking whole milk.)
  • Fertility: WAPF tells us that many of the nutrients found in butter are necessary for "fertility and normal reproduction."
  • Growth/Development: Butter contains iodine! (The answer for those of us leaving processed salts behind. See more here.) It also contains, in natural form, vitamins A, D, and K2. While low fat diets are so often recommended for children, the truth is, it's the massive amounts of highly processed foods containing refined sugars and refined, nutrient-vacant carbohydrates and trans-fats that are causing epidemic obesity among our nation's children. Fats from plants and animals that God gave man to eat* are not the culprit. (Think about it, would He offer us something bad? According to Scripture the answer to that is a resounding, "No"**.) It is interesting to note that low-fat diets are so often the regular diet of children failing to thrive. Feed your kids butter, people. A little goes a long way in both taste and nutrition. Children with milk allergies can have clarified butter...easily made at home if you don't want to deal with the cost.
  • In alphabetical order, heart disease should be next, but since we're on a roll with the fat/obesity, I want to touch on the subject of 'Overweight' first: The short and skinny of it is that the CLA already spoken of and the short- and medium-chain fatty acids, also already mentioned, both work to help control weight gain. CLA  also helps our bodies to build muscle rather than store fat...and that's always good news.
  • Heart Disease: Vitamins A, D, K2, and E, as well as lecithin, iodine and selenium, are all contained in butter and are all nutrients that protect the heart against disease. According to Nutrition Week (3/22/91), a medical research council survey showed that men who ate margarine had twice the risk of developing heart disease as men consuming butter. There is more evidence about this point at the WAPF site.
  • Osteoporosis: Once again, butter's vitamins to the rescue as A, D and K2 are all critical factors in the absorption of calcium as well as phosphorus. Calcium and phosphorus are both needed to build and maintain strong bones.
  • Thyroid Health: (A 'biggie' for yours truly since I made the unwise, uneducated decision when my children were very young to allow my hyperthyroid condition to be treated with radioactive iodine, leaving me in the end, with a shriveled, under-active thyroid.) The fact is, thyroid difficulties or not, we all need iodine to maintain thyroid health. Iodine in butter is easily absorbed by the body, and vitamin A in butter is necessary for the thyroid to function properly. 
 Looking a little more deeply...
  • Concerning Cholesterol: Oh, the big, bad cholesterol! There is so much misinformation out there about cholesterol and there is no way to tackle it all here, but the truth is that we need cholesterol. It maintains intestinal health, (and if you remember from one of my earliest articles, as much as 85% of human sickness is believed to originate in the intestines), and is also an absolute necessity for infant and children's brain and nervous system development.
  • We have spoken at length about the vitamins contained in butter, but it also contains important trace minerals: Don't allow yourself to be fooled, just because they're called 'trace' doesn't mean they are inferior! When we're talking minerals, a little can go a long way. (Think, salt.) We have already discussed iodine in butter, but there is also manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium, which is a strong antioxidant found in higher concentrations in butter than in other sources such as wheat germ and herring. 
  • Fatty-Acids: You've heard of them, and maybe even heard they're actually good for you...but if you're like I was, you may not know why. As mentioned in a few places above, butter is made of both short- and medium-chain fatty acids. This may seem trivial, but the truth is, where fats are concerned, the length of the chain is important to our health. Short- and medium-chain fatty acids support immune function by fighting against pathogenic microorganisms in the digestive tract. (Wonderfully, they actually boost metabolism!) There is an important balance between omega-3's and -6's that many are unaware of. We often hear, via those selling their food wares, that omega-3 is good and important, and "Bless God, our food's got that!"...but what we don't hear is that it needs to be in balance with omega-6. In butter, this perfect balance is naturally present. One of the longer-named fatty-acids in butter...(Okay, okay: "Arachdonic acid"...See, the spell-checker doesn't even recognize it!)...aids in brain function, skin health and prostaglandin balance...and we're just not going into that latter one today, but Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig have co-written about prostaglandins in the following article, "Tripping Lightly Down the Prostaglandin Pathway".
In a nutshell:
TRANS-FATS: By now everyone knows they're bad. They are unnatural fats formed during modern, industrialized processing. Basically what it does is turn liquid vegetable oil into a solid fat. This type of fat contributes to all sorts of illness and disease: heart disease, cancer, bone problems, hormonal imbalances, skin disease, infertility, problems in pregnancy and lactation, low birth weight, growth problems, and learning disabilities in children. Finally, a US government panel of scientists, declared that these synthetic fats are not safe in any way, shape or form. You may have heard that butter contains trans-fats as well, but these are natural fats and are NOT harmful.
HEARD OF FREE RADICALS, anyone? These contribute to heart disease and cancer and are the products of  high temp processing of vegetable oils used in today's typical industrial plants.
SYNTHETIC VITAMINS: Margarine and spreads have no natural vitamin A or other vitamins, so they are added, in synthetic form to this 'fake butter'. Sounds good on the label, yes? However, these man-made additives can have the opposite effect of natural vitamins. Crazy, I know. I'm sorry folks, but I just have to put in here that this all comes from man thinking he can create something from nothing better than God can. We. Can. Not. Rather than enhancing our health, as we are so often led to believe, these spreads and margarines subtract from it.
EMULSIFIERS & PRESERVATIVES: BHT is usually added to vegetable shortening as a synthetic preservative. There are a number of other questionable additives added to margarines and spreads...
HEXANE/SOLVENTS: Extraction plays a huge part in the processing of industrialized foods. In the process of fake fat/oil/butter making, strong chemicals can result in toxic effects. Granted, the everyday 'Joe' isn't going to notice toxic build-up because, well, it's build-up and takes time to manifest symptoms. 
So...when was the last time you BLEACHed your food? Well, if you've had margarine, a spread or shortening lately, you've had your quota of bleach as well. The color of these partially hydrogenated vegetable oils is...drum roll...Grey. Everyone agrees that grey is not appealing as a food. So, to make us want it and think that it's something good, it's bleached to make it white. The next step for margarines and spreads is to add yellow food coloring. (NOW, it looks right, right?)
ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS: Um, truth be told, these partially hydrogenated oils can I say it without  offense?...Heck, can't be done...They taste bad. But the manufacturers fixed that little problem, too. Just throw in some artificial butter flavoring. Problem 'solved'. 
MONO-/DIGLYCERIDES: Yep, these are in there, too. These add trans fats in disguise. Why? Because the manufacturer is only required to say on the label that there are mono- and diglycerides-they don't have to tell you what that really means. The saddest part about this is that the packaging is allowed to claim the product is "low-trans".  
SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE: This is a powder that manufacturers add to their spreads and margarines to give them more body. Because it's soy, it can cause problems with the thyroid, digestion and several other areas. (See more about problems due to soy here.)
STEROLS: These are compounds of estrogen that contribute to endocrine problems. In animals, sterols have been shown to contribute to 'sexual inversion', a term used to mean "taking on the gender role of the opposite sex".

Wondering Where to Get Your BUTTER, Yet?

Just as all cod-liver oils are not the same, (See yesterday's article), so it is with butter. The best is raw that comes from grass-fed cows. This can be difficult or easy, depending on your state of residence. In Virginia, where I live, it cannot be purchased in the stores. However, consumers can buy into a 'cow share' from a reputable farmer, (actually, you can buy a share from any farmer who's willing, but you WANT them to be reputable, right?). Learn more about cow shares here. It is VERY easy to make butter from fresh raw, (sweet cream butter), or raw cultured cream,(even better for you)...and if you own a food processor, it takes little time. One good point in this is that you are 'spreading the wealth' as you now have yet another great way to use your raw milk...but be careful. You do not want to remove all the cream from your milk as the fats within are what helps the milk do its job! Hmmm-perhaps I just stumbled upon next Monday's post.

Many high-end and health-food stores now carry pasteurized butter from grass-fed cows. You won't get all the beneficial enzymes or good gut bacteria that comes with raw, but this is still a very good choice.

If this is an impossibility, even pasteurized butter from the store is better than margarine or spreads.

~We do what we can, right?


*Genesis 9:2-3: "All the wild animals, large and small, and all the birds and fish...I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grains and vegetables."
**Matthew 7:9-11:  "You parents-if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him."

~God's Food is Good Food!

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