Butter and Better

Back in the 1970s, America went on a kick-the-fat binge. Industrial food shills in concert with the medical mafia vilified fat. But they went too far. They targeted all fat as bad. Thankfully, the obsession has waned. One reason is that we are learning to eat more holistically. That means people are remembering that food exists on this planet in ways that provide us with whole, synergistic nutrition. The more we try to redesign food, the more we screw it up.

By the end of the 1970s, foods had become so processed that they hardly resembled anything found in nature. Milk is a perfect example that persists today. With modern milk, industrial dairies collect the effluent from thousands of different cow udders from dozens of different industrial dairies. They transport then mix that liquid in giant vats at processing plants. The milk is deconstructed into its various components, extracting the milk fat, solids, water and then processed with heat and centrifugal force. The components are then reassembled to formulate liquids with varying levels of fat. By doing away with fat, we were led to believe that humans were creating a healthier food. Nice try.

Certainly some fats are not so good for human consumption. But those are the ones concocted by humans. For almost one hundred years, trans fatty acids, aka “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” fats, were the darling of the food industry. Invented in the 1890s, what a boon they seemed to be. First marketed as “Crisco,” this type of fat was created by the unnatural marriage of hydrogen and liquid fat. Scientists found that hydrogenating fat allowed higher cooking temperatures, longer shelf life and that fats would remain solid at room temperature. The invention spawned new versions of foods impossible without hydrogenated oils, among them the donut, the French fry and oleomargarine.

Crisco Kid was a friend of mine Dietary trans fats were virtually unknown before the 1900s. When food industrialists realized that cheap, abundant corn oil and byproduct vegetable fats could be treated with metals and hydrogen to preserve shelf life and elevate cooking temperatures, they recognized the boon immediately. They modified the artificially concocted paste into oleomargarine.

In many of her published papers, Dr. Mary Enig questioned the propaganda campaign the trans fat and vegetable oil industry waged against animal fats beginning in the early twentieth century. One of Dr. Enig’s early reports used data mined from a Congressional report. She found that heart attacks caused by arterial blockage were relatively rare in the early 1900s though Americans consumed copious amounts of animal fat. Most of the fat consumed then was naturally occurring animal fat.

Then, between 1909 and 1972, consumption of animal fats decreased dramatically while consumption of vegetable fats nearly tripled. By 1972, despite less animal fat consumption, heart disease had become the leading cause of death. Animal fats are not the villains we’ve been led to believe.

Fats domino effect The late Vince Gironda trained scores of celebrities at his North Hollywood gym from the 1940s to the 1990s. Acknowledged as one of the first to recognize the value of proper nutrition in bodybuilding, Gironda’s expertise led people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, Clint Eastwood and a multitude of others to seek him out.

Gironda preached that in order to properly digest protein, we need the fat that goes along with it in nature. Lean organ meat was fine but a cut of naturally raised beef has the perfect balance of protein-to-fat ratio for balanced digestion. What became a problem was when humans interfered with this balance by by feeding cattle fat-promoting foods like corn, grains and artificial growth hormones, thus artificially inducing more fat than nature would. But animals that have been raised on healthy diets and in healthy circumstances produce fats that are actually good for us when part of a balanced diet.

Life in the fats lane Followers of the ancient Indian medical system known as ayurveda are familiar with ghee, pronounced with the hard “g” sound as in “geezer.” Ghee has been used for thousands of years and is produced by gently heating butter churned from cow’s milk. The uninitiated sometimes refer to ghee as clarified butter. Calling ghee “clarified butter” is as inaccurate as calling yogurt “spoiled milk.”

Preparation of ghee takes longer than simply melting butter because the transformation involves boiling off the water in butter and cooking off the milk fat solids. What is left is a very pure form of fat that will last for years on the shelf and is void of most of the fat solids. It’s been used for millennia with beneficial results. Higher cooking temperatures, longer shelf life and allowed fat to remain solid at room temperature — sound familiar?

Ghee is believed to have medicinal properties that help remove toxins from the body. When infused with medicinal herbs, it enhances their beneficial effects.

Better with Butter. Ask Brando. Humans have been eating butter for thousands of years. It looks like we’re eating more real butter than ever. Reports confirm that butter sales in 2020 were up 20% for some leading producers. Good butter has good fats. My research says the best butter is raw (unpasteurized) from grass fed cows. Milk from cows raised fully on pasture is higher in many nutrients, including vitamin E, beta-carotene and the healthy fats omega-3 and CLA. Got that? Get fat.

Be well,
Michael Braunstein

Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.


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