I’ve got a lot of strong opinions on nutrition (you should have heard the gasps when I told a group of moms that cereal and skim milk was not my idea of a good breakfast!). Needless to say I’m often asked about what I eat and feed my family. A few weeks ago I announced I would be doing just that with occasional blog posts to this site. I’m calling the series, “What’s in Dr. Tiffany’s Shopping Cart”. You can learn more about why this is such an important topic to me here.
One word of caution…you’re going to find that often my opinions about healthy eating don’t fit with the mainstream, but so be it!
Today I’m going to shock you with a staple from my family’s fridge. It’s gotten a bad rap by the medical community and media, but my family couldn’t live without. Yes, many people are surprised to see butter in my shopping cart. As a health practitioner, how can I possibly allow butter in my house? Butter makes us fat, right?
Let me first start off with a short history lesson. In the last 30-40 years public health agencies and dieticians have led us to believe that fat is bad. Low-fat and fat-free products have become the trend, and while you would think that would make everyone slim and thin, just take a look around. As you can see, it’s done the opposite and our country is fatter than ever!
Turns out it wasn’t the amount of fat we were consuming that was making us unhealthy all those years ago, but the kind of fat we were consuming. The advice to cut our fats was not only misleading, but also dangerous. As people began eliminating fat, they often switched from healthier (saturated) fats to unhealthier (hydrogenated and trans fats) ones (i.e. from butter to margarine), and increased their simple carb and sugar intake. As a result, today we’re facing a wide variety of health issues, from diabetes to Alzheimer’s, heart disease to cancer.
Since the early 70’s, Americans’ average saturated fat intake continues to drop, yet rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease have surged. I believe the reduced amount of healthy dietary fat has contributed to a serious decline in our well-being. That’s why I’ve decided to take my family back to the basics and go simple and natural. You’ll find organic butter from grass-fed cows in my fridge (and other healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil and flax seed oil, in my cupboard).
Butter is filled with essential vitamins and antioxidants in their most natural and absorbable state. It contains significant amounts of vitamins A, E, D, K2 and selenium. More importantly, butter is comprised of mostly short and medium chain fatty acids. Long chain fatty acids found in polyunsaturated oils, butter substitutes, and hydrogenated fats, are immunosuppressive.
Short and medium chain fatty acids are antifungal and have been shown to protect against cancer and boost immunity. They are also more easily absorbed, digested, and utilized as energy than the long chain fatty acids, which means that it is less likely that the fat you consume from butter will be stored in the body.
I know it can be difficult to break bad habits, especially when butter has been so badly battered in the health community and media. However, I recommend that you go through your refrigerator and cupboards and pitch the margarines, spreads and vegetable oils and replace them with butter from grass fed cows, coconut oil, flax seed oil, and olive oil. Not only will you enjoy their full, rich flavors, your body and health with benefit, too.