Do you need me to convince you to eat butter?
Chances are, you might.
Let me pose a question:
Why do we attribute high butter consumption to specific groups of people? The French, Southern cooks, Paula Deen?
If someone uses lots of butter, it’s either because of their culture (the French), because they can (Southern comfort food chefs), or because they’re practically synonymous with it (Paula Deen).
In her cookbooks, Ree Drummond says things like, “I apologize to all mankind!” or “Add a stick of butter. Feel really guilty.”¹
Step back a second. Why is butter guilty?
Will you do some soul searching with me, for a second?
Evaluate how you feel about fats. How did you get that opinion?
I’ll leave the polemics to other food writers who do a much better job at getting fired up on the soap box.
For now, I will just tell you about how I rediscovered traditional, natural fats.
Butter is one of those God-given whole foods that humans thrive on.
Let’s delve into why.
First off, butter is a saturated fat.
Are you still there? I promise it’s okay.
God made our bodies to need saturated fats.
Saturated fats are nutrient packed.
Lard, tallow and butter have high doses of fat-soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K.
In fact, your body absorbs and stores these vitamins from animal fat FAR better than it does from vegetable sources. For instance, some people’s bodies are unable to complete the process that it takes to transform the pre-vitamin A found in carrots into usable vitamin A in their body.
One food author claims, “Butter is America’s best source of these important nutrients.”²
Getting easily absorbed vitamins from grass-fed butter is one of your best bets for fending off illness and maintaining vibrant health.
Saturated fats help your hormones.
This means your whole HPA axis: the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and your adrenal glands. This system regulates your energy levels, your stress levels, your thyroid, and your reproductive health, and it needs fat soluble vitamins to thrive.
10-15% of American couples can look forward to infertility struggles. If you or anyone you know is trying to conceive, you should know that traditional cultures’ pre-conception diets always included a natural source of healthy, saturated fat. Please read Nourishing Traditions or visit Chris Kresser’s amazing website to hear more about pregnancy nutrition.
Saturated fats help our babies.
Did you know that babies and toddlers need fat for their developing brains? In fact part of our brain is made of fat: the myelin coating that sheaths neurons and speeds up inter-neural connections!
Read this post from Kristin Marr, a mom who realized that her son’s speech delay was the result of his body’s hunger for real food.
Unfortunately, vegetable oils made in factories create free radicals in the body that can harm the brain, long term. Stay with natural fats that were designed with our bodies in mind: butter, lard, coconut oil, tallow.
Saturated fat keeps our bodies slim and our metabolisms high.
Butter is made up of short and medium-chain fatty acids.
These fats don’t require much from your body in order to be assimilated and used as instant energy.
Daniel and I eat a LOT of carefully purchased and often homemade saturated fats. We have never been slimmer, or healthier.
A favorite food writer said of her time spent on the GAPS diet:
“When I remember my days of fat-free eating, I can’t believe I ever even thought that was normal, let alone healthy. Now if someone tells me that fat makes you fat, I tell them about my husband, who dropped thirty pounds in about thirty days while drinking coconut oil in his tea and putting a tablespoon of (home-rendered) lard in his soup three times a day.”³
I have become convinced that white flour, white sugar, and vegetable oils like sunflower or canola have a lot more to do with heart disease than the natural, saturated fats that God intended for us to consume.
For this rosy picture I’m painting of saturated fats to work, you have to be willing to make changes to your entire diet.
For my friends and family that I love, I would encourage a first step of changing out all of your vegetable oils for natural saturated fats.
This means you will throw out or use as furniture polish (I’m not kidding),the following oils:
Canola, corn, grapeseed, cottonseed, sunflower, peanut, vegetable, hydrogenated coconut oil, hydrogenated store-bought lard, margarine, and vegetable oil spreads (like Country Crock)
You will then incorporate the following fats into your diet:
Grass-fed butter (like Kerrygold), organic butter (I like Trader Joes’ brand), ghee, virgin coconut oil, Nutiva refined coconut oil, tallow rendered from beef fat (buy at a farmer’s market), lard rendered from pastured pork (buy at a farmer’s market), chicken fat from the top of your homemade broth, goose fat, duck fat, and a verified pure extra virgin olive oil.
³Boynton, Hilary, and Mary G. Brackett. The Heal Your Gut Cookbook: Nutrient-dense Recipes for Intestinal Health Using the GAPS Diet. White River Junction: Chelsea Green, 2014. Print.
I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or health professional of any kind. This blog and this blog post is not meant to diagnose, treat, or recommend treatment for medical conditions of any kind. Please ask a doctor or a professional before making lifestyle or diet changes.
Copyright 2016 by Celeste Lightsey