Monday, November 16, 2009

Benefits of Grassfed Butter

After reading about the Lipid Hypothesis, the research that challenges it and getting grossed out about how they make margarine.  Another early step we took was to switch from margarine to butter.   At first it was hard because chilled butter was hard to spread.  Then I read that salted butter keeps just fine at room temperature in a covered dish.  So we use that for spreading and unsalted butter for baking, etc.  I'll tell what kinds are best at the bottom of the post.

The Lipid Hypothesis

The theory-called the lipid hypothesis-that there is a direct relationship between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and the incidence of coronary heart disease was proposed by a researcher named Ancel Keys in the late 1950's. Numerous subsequent studies have questioned his data and conclusions. Nevertheless, Keys' articles received far more publicity than those presenting alternate views. The vegetable oil and food processing industries, the main beneficiaries of any research that found fault with competing traditional foods, began promoting and funding further research designed to support the lipid hypothesis.

The "Evidence" Supporting the Lipid Hypothesis

These "experts" assure us that the lipid hypothesis is backed by incontrovertible scientific proof. Most people would be surprised to learn that there is, in fact, very little evidence to support the contention that a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat actually reduces death from heart disease or in any way increases one's life span. Consider the following:

Before 1920 coronary heart disease was rare in America. During the next forty years, however, the incidence of coronary heart disease rose dramatically, so much so that by the mid fifties heart disease was the leading cause of death among Americans. Today heart disease causes at least 40% of all US deaths. If, as we have been told, heart disease results from the consumption of saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase in animal fat in the American diet. Actually, the reverse is true. During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83% to 62%, and butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four. During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only 1%. During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%.

Studies that Challenge the Lipid Hypothesis
There have been many different studies that challenged the Lipid Hypothesis, you can read about it at this link.

Read here about why butter is better, it tells how butter plays a role in heart disease, cancer, the immune system, arthritis, osteoporosis, the thyroid gland, gastrointestinal health, weight, and growth & development.


This is the process that turns polyunsaturates, normally liquid at room temperature, into fats that are solid at room temperature - margarine and shortening. To produce them, manufacturers begin with the cheapest oils - soy, corn, cottonseed or canola, already rancid from the extraction process - and mix them with tiny metal particles - usually nickel oxide. The oil with its nickel catalyst is then subjected to hydrogen gas in a high-pressure, high-temperature reactor. Next, soap-like emulsifiers and starch are squeezed into the mixture to give it a bettter consistency; the oil is yet again subjected to high temperature. This removes its unpleasant odor. margarine's natural color, an unappetizing grey, is removed by bleach. Dyes and strong flavors must be added to make it resemble butter. finally, the mixture is compressed and packaged in blocks or tubs and sold as a health food.
-- Nourishing Traditions

All this makes me realize that our Heavenly Father made butter the way our bodies needed it to be, otherwise we would have gotten margarine from Him.  Men don't know what's best for us, He does.
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).
Some examples are: KerryGold Butter or Organic Valley Pasture butter

- 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.

If you can spring for organic and especially grass-fed butter, do it! But keep in mind ALL of the above choices are much, much better than the fake margarine spreads .

I buy our butter in bulk (at Real Foods Market) and freeze them so that we always have them in stock. 

If you have dairy intolerances a good choice would be Green Pastures or Radiant Life's Butter oil.  This product is casein and lactose free.

If you're allergic to dairy: ghee (which is much lower in lactose and casein) is something that most people are able to tolerate.

If you want to do a more deep reading on the Lipid Hypothesis and the struggle Mary Enig and her colleaques had in getting the truth out about trans fats, etc. Read "The Oiling of America" here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Real Salt

One of the first easiest steps I made was to use "Real Salt" instead of regular iodized salt so we can get the trace minerals.  It's easy to find at grocery stores.  I get them in bulk at the Real Foods Market in Orem.

Sally Fallon in NT (Nourishing Traditions) says this of salt:
"Salt provides not only sodium but also chloride, needed for the manufacture of hydrochloric acid, proper functioning of the brain and nervous system and for many other processes.  The chloride component of salt also activates amylases, needed for the digestion of carbohydrate foods."

"Few people realize that our salt - like our sugar, flour and vegetable oils - is highly refined; it is the product of a chemical and high-temperature industrial process that removes all the valuable magnesium salts as well as trace minerals naturally occuring in the sea.  To keep salt dry, salt refiners adulterate this 'pure' product with several harmful additives, including aluminum compounds.  To replace the natural iodine salts that are removed during processing, potassium iodie is added in amounts that can be toxic.  To stabilize the volatile iodide compound, processors add dextrose which turns the iodized salt a purplish color.  A bleaching agent is then necessary to restore whiteness to the salt."

"Both surfeit and deficiency of iodine can lead to problems with the thyroid gland, including goiter, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism."

I have hypothyroidism so this is one of the reasons why I switched to Real Salt.