Parents always have fun stories to tell about their kids, and my parents are no exception. In their favorite story about me as a baby, I’m a little Houdini. At not even two-years old, I’d already mastered the art of escaping from my crib at night, no matter what my parents did to keep me in. Being the little daredevil I was, when they would hide goodies on top of the fridge, I would open the drawers, use them as stairs to get to the counter, then climb atop the fridge to the snacks. My parents soon got savvy enough to hide snacks in places I could never get to, but the freezer treats remained unhidden. After all, they could only go in one place: the freezer.
We had one of those old-school fridges with the freezer on the bottom. My parents woke up more than once to find the freezer open, ice cream melting on the floor, and me a sticky mess back in my crib. But their favorite freezer escapade is when they came into the kitchen one day to find me chomping on a big ole’ stick of butter! The smooth, rich taste of the cold butter was the perfect combination for me.
Though this story gives everyone a good laugh, it got me thinking. Is there a reason why a baby would be drawn to butter? And if my little body craved it, perhaps butter isn’t quite the taboo food that I’ve been led to believe?
I went on a quest for answers and learned that us humans are genetically programmed to seek out butter! Butter is inherently very tasty, and it’s high in fat. Before you let the F word scare you, check out these great blog posts here and here to learn the truth about fat and why our bodies need it.
Fatty foods—that is, healthy fatty foods—give our bodies energy. Humans are hard-wired to seek out high-energy foods, which is why we desire butter. Ah ha, just as I predicted! Baby me knew what my body needed.
Unfortunately, there comes a time when many of us start listening to outside forces and stop listening to our bodies. Before I became an adult, I never worried about eating butter. It wasn’t until I got older that I’d feel guilty every time I spread this golden gem on my toast, all the while thinking I was making myself fat. I still ate it, of course. To be honest, I just didn’t have the self-control to give it up entirely. But I was careful with how often and how much I ate. And all because the “experts” had society, the media, and the public at large convinced that butter was fat, and fat is bad!
As William Cole explains in his blog post “Butter Really Is a Health Food”:
“For decades, saturated fat and cholesterol have been demonized in our diets. Since the latter part of the 20th century, we’ve been told these nutrients would clog our arteries, give us heart attacks, and cause us to gain weight, so we did our best to avoid them…In truth, consuming cholesterol and healthy fat is critical to the health and function of the brain and hormones, but for years we’ve been starving them from their favorite food.”
When I did a quick Google search to find out if butter is healthy, I found a vast array of information. Thankfully, many sites are starting to report on the growing body of research about the health benefits of butter. However, we’re still told to eat it in moderation, or sparingly, or only a few times a week. Then there are the annoying headlines: “You Won’t Believe This New Fact About Butter! “This New Information About Butter Will Shock You!” The recent research about butter, coupled with the media’s sensationalist reporting, give the impression that they’ve discovered some unknown fact, and we should all praise them for it.
This, however is not the case. These so-called “new facts” about butter aren’t new at all! As Dr. Royal Lee explains in “Butter, Vitamin E, and the ‘X’ Factor of Dr. Price”:
“Yet not only did researchers in the mid-twentieth century show butter helps counter disorders associated with menopause, but the now maligned food was once regarded as a powerful healer in general, with physicians prescribing it for everything from psoriasis to tuberculosis. The reason for butter’s formerly stellar reputation is simple…Butter is loaded with bioactive fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, and E, and as Dr. Weston Price observed in his classic book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, these nutrients are so critical to good health that human populations have historically placed a special emphasis on foods containing them.”
Ah ha! It seems that these modern articles, like the public at large, have been caught in a web of misinformation! They may think they’re reporting exciting new facts to the world—but this is decades’ old information that’s been forgotten, distorted, and shunned for modern food fads. After rising rates of chronic disease began plaguing our country since at least early in the twentieth century, modern research is finally discovering the truth again—but without citing the original sources.
Sadly, this information is still not widespread. Many of us hold to these false ideas, thinking we’re being healthy. I’m fortunate enough to have found Selene River Press and learn the shocking (well, shocking to me) truth about fat and butter. But we need to spread the word far and wide! Eat your fat, feed your brain, slab that butter on anything you want, and be healthy for life!
Side note, just as with any other food out there, the quality of your butter matters. A lot. Find organic butter from grass-fed cows raised on pasture. If you can’t get it from a local farmer or health food store, check out farmers’ markets and CSAs in your area.
For even more information on the immense health benefits of butter, read “You Better Believe I Believe in Butter,” by Paula Widish. You’ll also find tons of articles on healthy fats, including butter, at the Selene River Press Historical Archives.
Okay, now you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing you and your kids can smear that butter on your morning toast completely guilt free!
Image from iStock/MediaProduction.