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The Butter Battle


First- Thank you all so much for your amazing comments on my "I'd Rather Be Chubby Post" from yesterday. I never expected such an outpouring of honesty and support. Really means so much to me and if you haven't read it yet- here it is.

Now on to the Butter Battle. If you don't have time to read the whole post I will summarize it for you in one sentence. Butter is good and margarine is poison.

My dad has a couple key stories he likes to tell about me to new friends, boyfriends, bosses etc. It involves me being about a year and a half old, sitting in my high chair  rubbing a giant handful of butter through my hair. I imagine it was very funny at the time, given that I was a gigantically pudgy baby and all... but how many times does the story have to be told?

I grew up in a butter family. My mom hated margarine from the start while my grandma Fritzi insists on using it in everything. Margarine just has this weird faux-sweet taste to it that always made my cringe the same way chewing on a balloon does (try it- you'll know what I mean).

Margarine is simply not food. (And did you know companies pay to have those little heart healthy check marks on their food's packaging- it doesn't really mean anything in terms of health food). Butter is not bad for us, and in fact, has many healing and healthy properties to it. Even people who can't tolerate most dairy products can manage butter as it does not contain many of the allergens found in other milk products such as the milk protein (casein) or milk sugar (lactose)- the two highly allergenic components of some dairy products.

The battle: Margarine vs. Butter

What is Margarine?
Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they came up with the brilliant idea of feeding it to the more resilient species known as people. The first step was to add in some colourants to make it look more like butter as who would want to spread this unappetizing gray/black rubbery stuff on their toast. Almost all margarine begins as chemically-extracted, refined vegetable oil  extracted at high temperature, causing the oil to become toxic.  This high heat also destroys the vitamin E in the oil, an important nutrient in hormonal balance  and needed to preserve the naturally occurring essential fatty acids.

To make margarine, the oil must be hardened.  This is done by hydrogenation or bubbling hydrogen through the vegetable oil at high temperature- a process that causes it to be solid at room temperature. When the carbon bonds are saturated with hydrogen, the product is called a saturated fat or a hydrogenated oil.

We've all seen the declaration on margarine tubs that it contains 'polyunsaturated oil'.  However, the processing or hydrogenation removes the flexibility of these oils- hence the solid at room temperature feature. Margarine usually contains some trans-fatty acids, no matter what the label says.  These are man-made fatty acids.  that can worsen inflammatory conditions. The final margarine product also contains nickel, cadmium and often other very toxic heavy metals.

Effects of Margarine on Health

  • Margarine triples the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Margarine increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol).
  • Margarine Increases the risk of cancers up to five fold.
  • Lowers quality of breast milk.
  • Decreases immune response.
  • Decreases insulin response.
  • Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC.

What is Butter?
Butter is made by churning the cream that rises to the top of milk.  The churning of this cream catalyzes a chemical reaction that causes the cream to harden slightly, giving it the buttery consistency. Butter is a good fat that contains a number of natural fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K.  These are not found to any degree in margarine (unless synthetic versions are added). Unlike margarine, butter does not contain trans-fatty acids or toxic metals

Dr. Weston Price identified a factor in butter that is essential for proper growth and development of the bone structure.  He called it 'activator X' or ‘factor X’.  Dr. Price was able to reverse severe tooth decay in children by feeding them one meal containing quality butter.

Butter and Cholesterol
Butter's effect on cholesterol was a smart little maneuver of propaganda by the margarine peeps. Only about 15% of our cholesterol level is affected directly by diet (a discussion for another time). The observations of many natural health practitioners indicate that a balanced body chemistry is the key to normalizing cholesterol. Most cholesterol is manufactured within the body as it is the raw material for the adrenal stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) and the sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen and progesterone). The body often reacts to stress by producing more cholesterol in order to make more stress-fighting hormones.

An Experiment
An email went around a while back outlining this little experiment-  leave a tub of margarine in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note that no flies or animals will go near it, it does not rot or smell differently and because it has no nutritional value, nothing will grow on it.

Might as well skip the margarine all together and just melt the tub it came in onto your toast. Same same... plastic is plastic.

For more information on the health benefits of butter, please visit the Weston A. Price Foundation

So do you butter your bread butter side up?


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