14 Jan 2013
I’m known as a bit of a health nut around these parts. Sure, I work at a healthy food company which has an effect. But even in spite of a company of 9 folks, all of whom eat pretty healthily, I stand out as the most extreme. My kale salads, vegetable concoctions, multiple servings of fruit, unsweetened organic yogurt, and steamed quinoa get the occasional glance and snicker. But there’s one not so secret to my healthy food routine. I love butter.
Butter gets a bit of a bad rap in the nutrition world. Sure it’s not a shining example of a health food. But butter isn’t all bad. For one, it tastes really great. Objectively, everything tastes better with butter. Secondly, butter can be a healthy substitute to an alternative fat, that might not be so clean. For example, butter was substituted with hydrogenated margarine for many years, under the assumption that they were healthier. Lo and behold, it was discovered that such margarine was loaded with trans fat (of which butter has only a small amount). The food scientists in the margarine world quickly reformulated margarine to have no trans fat in their products. Interestingly, you can say 0g of trans fat even if you have 0.49g in the product. The other issue I have with margarine is that the ingredient list is anything but simple – violating pretty much all of Michael Pollan’s wisdom.
It’s difficult to eat food without consuming any fat. Since fat is a reality of the food world, choosing healthy fats becomes my priority. My default is olive oil, but when I need that extra bit of richness and wonder, I turn to butter. I’m happy to eat broccoli steamed without salt. But I’m practically giddy to eat it with a small dollop of butter on top. They say a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. That’s probably true of butter too. I’m not one to condone eating sticks of butter, but butter isn’t bad. In fact, a little butter can be good. It’s simple, easy to understand, consumed in cultures (I’m looking at you, France) that have historically healthy societies, and makes food worth eating.
While I encourage everyone to eat more kale, quinoa and whole organic fruit – I also think it’s worth putting a little extra butter in that food.
Photo by Ulterior Epicure.
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