A while back, I wrote a blog post titled “Hard Times Are a Comin” about the importance of being somewhat prepared in the event of a short term local or national disaster. It received a good deal of attention, which signaled to me that this is a subject very much on people’s minds.
I specifically wrote it as a short term disaster plan (meaning a few weeks or so) because I doubt most of us could prepare for long-term survival lasting months or even years—at least not without substantial and serious consequences to our lifestyle. A short-term plan, on the other hand, can teach us many lessons that we’d find useful in any case.
Have you put off doing even basic preparations? Maybe you’re waiting till you have enough money to do it right. Possibly, like many others, you’re looking to move to some safer place, wherever that is! Or perhaps you’re like some people I’ve met who think they’ll find their own little Shangri-La!
Whatever your reasons, I invite you to read my blog post Hard Times Are a Comin at your earliest convenience. It may offer you some interesting ideas that require nothing more than changing how you think about short-term preparedness.
One young couple told me that after they started to put some of my ideas into effect, their fear began to dissipate. And now, after six months, they’re well on their way to meeting their short-term preparedness goals. Now, onto to my latest discovery!
As a dedicated traditional cook, I’m invested in finding and eating the highest nutrient dense foods I can afford. Not only am I on the lookout for foods that I can use in my day-to-day diet, but I’m also on the lookout for any food that would make a meaningful contribution to the worthy goal of disaster planning.
My most recent find is a fantastic food that could be useful in various ways:
- Keep it at home
- Take it traveling or camping
- Add it to your stock of survival foods
What is it? If you guessed canned butter from grass-fed cows, you’re right! It wasn’t an easy find, but I did find it—and now it’s listed in the Weston A. Price Foundation Shopping Guide (also available as the Find Real Food app).
Personal note: When it comes to butter, the epitome of healthy eating would be to make your own homemade raw butter or purchase it from a local farmer (expensive as that is). However, for the reasons I cite above, canned grass-fed butter is a welcome find for me, and, hopefully, for many of my readers.
In the excerpt below, I’ve replaced the word “antioxidant” with what I believe are more useful, accurate terms, which you’ll find in brackets below. I’ve done this in order to be more accurate. Antioxidants have been discredited and are no longer relevant in discussing health issues. I’ll discuss more about this topic at another time. But until then, see Mark R. Anderson’s “We Interrupt Your Day—Antioxidant News” and “Is a Vitamin an Antioxidant?” to learn more. Thanks for your understanding. Now let’s talk a little about the importance of butter in our diet!
Why Butter Is Better
“Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.
“Butter also contains a number of [vitamins and minerals] that protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens the arteries. Vitamin A and vitamin E found in butter both play a [strong role in superior health]. Butter is a very rich source of selenium, a vital [mineral] containing more per gram than herring or wheat germ.
“Butter is also a good dietary source of cholesterol. What?? Cholesterol [is health giving]?? Yes indeed, cholesterol is a potent [substance] that is flooded into the blood when we take in too many harmful free-radicals—usually from damaged and rancid fats in margarine and highly processed vegetable oils. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine.”
—From “Why Butter Is Better” by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig
- Butter and cancer
- Butter and the immune system
- Butter and arthritis
- Butter and osteoporosis
- Butter and the thyroid gland
- Butter and weight gain
- Butter and gastrointestinal health
Butter, Cholesterol, and Bile
The importance of cholesterol in the formation of bile cannot be underestimated. I recently learned about this critical component of good gastrointestinal health when I inadvertently went on a coconut oil spree without eating any (or extremely little) saturated fat. I did this thinking it would maximize my metabolism and help me lose a few unwanted pounds. After a little more than a month of this insanity, I began to experience serious gallbladder pain, which I discuss in my blog posts “Gallbladder Attack!” and “A Nutty Discussion.” I invite you to read them both.
In my blog posts, I make it clear that in order to digest food properly and avoid many gastrointestinal problems, including constipation, it’s essential for the liver to produce bile. Bile is the detergent-like substance that we need to digest fat and break down gallstones into smaller particles. (Yes, we all have gallstones, but most of us are never bothered by them.) Once our gallstones are mostly broken down, the pancreas delivers lipids (an enzyme) that further breaks down the stones and fat for easy elimination (as bile also lubricates the colon). However, it takes cholesterol, which is found in animal fats like eggs, butter, lard, tallow, and other cholesterol-based foods, to produce bile.
This is why it’s so important to remember that coconut oil, healthy as it is, does not contain cholesterol! Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this when I went on my coconut oil spree. Make sure to consume coconut oil in combination with other good cholesterol-containing fats, as recommended by Dr. Bruce Fife, ND, the author of many great books about coconuts, which encourage the consumption of all good animal fats. I apparently skipped that part of his recommendations! (Sigh)
How we find things is sometimes a mystery to me! As I was looking for a good recipe that contained lots of butter, I came across a product on Amazon called Red Feather Pure Creamery Butter.
Turns out that Ballantyne Dairy Innovation, located in New Zealand, is (as the gentleman I’ve been communicating with tells me), the largest producer of canned butter in the world. All of their butter is from grass-fed cows, and it’s packed in their factory in New Zealand. This product blew me away, and I immediately knew that I had to include it in my list of survival foods.
Red Feather has been on Amazon and in select camping stores in the United States for ten years. More recently, Red Feather is now available at Bristol Farms in California, and they’re expecting further retailers in California will carry their butter in the coming years.
They generously sent me a few samples of their creamy canned butter, and I was gratified to see the deep yellow color. To boot, the inside of the can is totally enameled, which means the butter never comes in contact with metal.
What Canned Butter Means to Your Disaster Plans
In my “Hard Times Are a Comin” blog post, I only listed coconut oil in terms of fats. At the time, I thought it was the only fat that wouldn’t go rancid and could survive in a glass container whether the temperatures were hot or cold. However, now that I know coconut oil is absent cholesterol, and we must have cholesterol, I was at somewhat of a loss after my gallbladder experience. Read about my experience here.
Because I am now acutely aware that saturated fat is crucial to have on a daily basis to maintain our bile production, which cholesterol fats help produce, I thought to include the premium saturated fat in pemmican, which is made with tallow, another great nutrient dense, saturated fat. However, this means you’d need to be willing to learn how to make both tallow and pemmican.
Canned butter now changes the equation. Together, canned butter and/or pemmican, and coconut oil make up a good twosome for a survival stash that would supply the awesome benefits of both.
The Stress Equation During a Disaster
Also, let’s keep in mind that we experience heightened stress in disaster situations. And when we’re under stress, our immune system suffers. That’s why nutrient dense foods are essential, and why recovering from disaster-related stress requires, first and foremost, truly nutrient dense foods.
X-Factor™ Gold Concentrated Butter Oil
With high nutrient dense foods in mind, and since we are discussing butter and other good fats, I’d like to include X-Factor™ Gold Concentrated Butter Oil, a product made by Green Pasture.
According to their website, this is very nutrient dense pure oil from cows grazing on 100% rapidly growing green grass extracted and concentrated through centrifugation. The speed of the grass growth, timing of the grazing of this grass, species of grass, climate and extraction method are all important factors in making real X-Factor™ Gold Concentrated Butter Oil.
Personal Note: You can read more about X-Factor™ here.
Two Easy Butter Recipes
These recipes are easy to make. You could grab them if you needed to leave your home quickly. You can also take a look at the recipes at Ballantyne.com, but keep in mind that you’d need to adjust the metric measurements. And if you follow Nourishing Traditions principles, you’d need to adjust some ingredients as well.
Butter Roasted Chickpeas
Adapted with permission from Go Bold with Butter.
24 ounces of soaked organic chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
Note: Soaking process shown at Delicious Obsessions
2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, melted
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
2 tablespoons Rapadura
2 teaspoons organic five spice powder
2 tablespoons raw organic honey
- Soak chickpeas overnight according to soaking instructions at Delicious Obsessions
- Next day rinse and towel dry to remove excess water and stray bean skins
- Gently mix chickpeas with melted butter, salt, sugar and five spice powder.
- Spread chickpeas evenly in a stoneware cookie sheet or shallow glass baking pan.
- Roast for approximately 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven
- While chickpeas are hot, coat evenly with honey and allow them to dry
- Can be eaten fresh or just freeze by using a BPA free container
Trail Mix Popcorn Balls
Adapted with permission from Go Bold with Butter
10 cups organic popped popcorn
2 cups crispy almonds slightly crushed
Note: See crispy almond recipe at Nourishing Cook
1 cup crispy peanuts slightly crushed (Follow same instructions as with crispy almonds)
1 cup organic raisins
1 cup organic dried cranberries
1/2 cup organic whole butter
1/2 – ¾ cup organic honey or organic barley malt (sweeten to taste)
1 teaspoon organic vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
- Soak organic almonds and organic peanuts overnight as indicated in the recipe link above. I highly recommend that a larger quantity of almonds and peanuts be made into crispy nuts and frozen for this and other recipes that call for any type of crispy nuts. See Nourishing Traditions pages 513-516 for making various types of crispy nuts.
- Blend popcorn, crispy almonds, crispy peanuts, raisins and cranberries in a deep large glass dish – A large punch bowl is ideal.
- Combine butter, raw honey or barley malt in a small saucepan and gently heat until melted together.
- Pour over the popcorn mixture. Using rubber gloves, or a wooden spoon stir to combine thoroughly and bake for 15 minutes in a 250 degree oven. Remove and form into balls. Set on parchment paper to cool. Makes approx 18 balls and can be frozen for later use.
Note from Maria: I am a Certified Natural Health Professional, CNHP, not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any human diseases. Please see your medical doctor prior to following any recommendations I make in my blogs or on my website.