My Favorite Butter Sources

I have mentioned, in passing, that grass fed dairy is far superior to to industrial dairy. While all parts of the milk from grass fed dairy are rich with nutrients, many of the most important nutrients are in the cream.

I find it very interesting that in many of L.M. Montgomery books (author of the Anne of Green Gables series and many other books) cream, instead of the health breaking substance we think of it today, was actually considered the best part of the milk. It gives us a little idea of what they seemed to intuitively know. “Aunt Janet” gave “Cecily” cream, instead of whole milk, because she was the weak child of her family. Cream wasn’t taken away for good health, it was given straight! Several times during the Anne series, a character will remark on a “mean” character in the village who gives her family skim milk (milk without the cream), so that she can make money by selling the cream. Her children were undernourished because of it. Interesting, isn’t it?

So what’s so wonderful about cream (and butter, since butter is made out of cream). Butter from grass fed cows is a wonderful source for CLA, for one. What’s CLA? Read this quote from Nina Planck, from her great book, Real Food.

“Compared to industrial milk, dairy foods from grass fed cows contain more omega 3 fats and more vitamin A and more beta-carotene and other antioxidants. Butter and cream from grass fed cows are a rare source of the unique and beneficial fat CLA. According to the Journal of Dairy Science, the CLA in grass fed butterfat is 500 percent greater than the butterfat of cows eating a typical dairy ration, which usually contains grain, corn silage, and soybeans. CLA is a polyunsaturated omega 6 fat [which is not the same at other omega 6 fats, and acts more like an omega 3], CLA prevents heart disease (probably by reducing atherosclerosis), fights cancer, and builds lean muscle. CLA aids weight loss in several ways: by decreasing the amount of fat stores after eating, increasing the rate by which fat cells are broken down, and reducing the number of fat cells. Most studies of CLA and cancer have been conducted on animals, and more research is needed, but findings are encouraging. CLA Inhibits growth of human breast cancer cells in vitro. A Finnish team round that a women eating dairy from pastured animals had a lower risk of breast cancer than those eating industrial dairy.”

And I will just briefly mention one other plus for grass fed butter. Weston Price found that cod liver oil and butter oil would work wonders together. He found that cod liver oil would not restore health as well without the butter oil. You may have heard of the the “x” factor with butter. It’s only found in grass fed butter, and seems to really be helpful in rebuilding health.

You get what you pay for

I have personally found that while it can be hard, at times, to find a good source of pastured milk, getting the butter, with some of the best parts of the milk, is much easier. You will pay for what you get, and good butter will cost more. But because it will be so much better for you, I consider it well worth it.

In L. M. Montgomery books, thrifty housewives would sell the cream from the milk to make an extra buck, but their children would suffer from it. In the same way, sometimes we buy a lesser product to same a buck, but our family’s can also suffer from that choice as well. I found that I would rather buy less butter, and have it be a good product, than having a lot of butter that wasn’t very good for you.

How does grass fed butter compare to “Organic” butter?

Consider that most of the organic butters (including the one Costco sells, by the way), are still not grazing on lush green grass (from which all of those wonderful nutrients come from). Instead they are often confined cows eating a pretty typical diet of soybeans and grain that are organic. Perhaps a bit better than non-organic, but you aren’t going to get that many health benefits from it.

Now on to the products of my choice!

Product number one is widely available now. You can find it at many supermarkets, Trader Joes, and other specialty stores. It has a rich yellow color, and incredible flavor, and makes whatever you serve it with taste incredible. It is a mostly grass fed butter and so will contain that CLA, and high Vitamin A and other nutrients. Once you start eating a butter like this, you will never be able to go back to normal butter. It’s that much better.

It’s Kerrygold Butter.

UPDATE:It’s actually completely grassfed! Yeah!

Product number two is a more local source and perhaps even a better choice. Organic Valley’s Pasture butter, Limited Edition. This butter rocks. It’s made only from cream from cows grass grazing when the grass is the most nutrient dense. This is a seriously good for you butter. It is also cultured which often makes it more easily digestible. It has an incredible taste, and has a higher ratio of fat. This butter, like the Kerrygold, is more expensive, but it’s worth it’s weight in gold-nutritionally speaking.

Product number Three is Green Pastures, Butter oil. This product is casein and lactose free, so many people with dairy intolerances, can take it. This oil is made from butter that was also was just fed the best of the best grass during the right season. It’s very nutrient dense. You can read more about the importance of it here.

Another wonderful source for a raw butter oil is radiant life’s butter oil.

I think these products are wonderful, but the price is high. I prefer to buy the high quality butter and eat it, instead of supplement with it. But the butter oil is a wonderful choice if you either can’t find that type of butter in your area, or can’t tolerate butter products, but can tolerate the oil. It is also very helpful if you need to get high amounts of it in. A friend healed a cavity by taking large amount of butter and cod liver oil…but that’s another story.

What if I am allergic to dairy?

While I am not allergic to dairy, I have been tested and shown to have a genetic disposition to not digest dairy well. I have recently tried making my own ghee, from Organic Valley’s cultured and pastured butter, and have found, to my excitement, that I seem to be tolerating it just fine. People seem to have different levels of tolerances. Some people who can’t drink even raw, cultured milk, seem to do okay with butter. Other’s have to make it into ghee (which is much lower in lactose and casein). Other’s, more sensitive, may have to buy the expensive lactose and casein free butter oil. And some may have to do without. I would try to know your own body and test yourself to seem that works for you.
This post is part of Kitchen Tip Tuesday!

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

Comments

  1. Donielle says

    I love butter! I used to eat all that gross margarine stuff, but last year made the switch to butter only. I’ll even make my own from the raw milk we get from a local dairy when I know I’ll use it within a week or so. Thanks for the tips on the brands, I’ll have to check out our local health food store for them! (I’d been buying organic butter – but never thought about the grass fed thing affecting it like it does the actual beef)

  2. lindsay edmonds says

    Thanks Kimi for doing all the research on butter for us! Very interesting…I have been using the costco organic, but have been re-evaluating it, so your research is helpful. We don’t eat alot of butter anyway, so it is definitely a supplement at our place. I love it but my husband can easily do without it! Funny!

  3. Andrea says

    This is so interesting!!
    I usually buy organic butter.
    For awhile i got raw milk grass fed butter from an Amish farmer, but it never had a great taste. My kids did not like it.
    I did not realize Organic Valley had a grass fed butter and Kerrygold is a brand found at Trader Joe’s that does….yay!!
    Thanks for all the info.

  4. Molly O'Loughlin says

    We are so delighted that to hear that you enjoy Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter! We thought we should just add a few bits of additional information for you that you may find useful.

    Kerrygold dairy products are made from the freshest milk of grass fed cows. While others are now rediscovering the benefits of grass feeding cows, the Irish have never wavered, recognizing that cows are natural ruminants and grass is their natural diet.
    Today, most of the milk from Ireland’s small dairy farms go to local co-ops, where milk is collected, then sent on to be made into butter and cheeses.

    Milk is entirely from grass-fed cows (from Ireland’s green lush pastures) and only summer milk is used to produce Kerrygold butter.

    Kerrygold produces two different types of butter for the US: a salted sweeet cream butter (gold foil) and unsalted lactic/cultured butter (sliver foil).

    In addition, we have developed a webiste specifically for the US consumer. The link is http://www.kerrygold.com/usa if you would like to use that instead.

    Many thanks for the information!

  5. Sharon says

    I am trying to find a healthy soft butter to feed my husband. I was buying the big tubs of margarine, but have started on the path of healthier eating and need to find him a substitute. Is there anything that you could suggest?
    Thanks,

  6. Kimi Harris says

    Sharon,

    I haven’t done it yet myself, but I know that some people will whip butter with their choice of oil to make a spreadable butter. Maybe that would work for you. :-)

  7. Rose says

    Yay, I found the Organic Valley butter at Kroger! It made my day. Now I’m afraid to use though, since it was expensive…. :)

    I’m trying to convince my mom butter is better than the margarine she uses. She claims to hate butter though— maybe the high fat content and superior taste of this one will change her mind.

  8. charleen says

    I am American living in Ireland (where my husband is from ) and discovered upon moving here just how exsquisite butter can be! I never remember loving butter, but I cant get enough of it these days, and my three year old son eats it by the spoonful! He also loves it on our homemade sourdough spelt bread! On one visit home to Virginia to see my family, I noticed that the butter my parents use is practically colorless! I couldnt believe it, and thought it might even be bleached, lol. I guess Im just used to the KerryGold!

  9. Daisy says

    I know that this is an older post, but you mentioned here that a friend had healed a cavity with large amounts of butter oil and cod liver oil. I’d love to read a post more about this. As a family member of mine is doing the same thing right now, I would LOVE to hear a “real person” success story (complete with details such as how much they took for how long, how big the cavity was, etc).

    Love, love, love your blog!

  10. Crissy says

    We just started using Kerry Gold Butter for it’s health benefits. I purchased the book “Cure Tooth Decay” by Ramiel Nagel. It is a book about healing cavities with nutrition. Very interesting. Kerry Gold is highly recommended in this book and that is why we started to use it. Not to mention it tastes WONDERFUL!!! Anyone else using Kerry Gold for health benefits and to heal cavities???

  11. Rachel says

    This was really great! I was just told by a dentist that I need a root canal. :( My tooth really doesn’t hurt except the cavity. So I have been looking all over for a good price on the high vitamin butter oil, but its like $40 to $60 everywhere I have looked. I am excited to hear that your friend used butter instead. I hope to find the Kerry Gold and see if it will help my teeth along with the fish oil. Please post more about your friend’s sucess story! Thanks!!! This was a great post!

    • Lynda says

      Being an old post, you may never read this, but it may help other people… Brushing your teeth with toothsoap (instead of regular toothpaste or even Toms of Maine) *with a proper diet* will allow your teeth to “heal” themselves. I had a cavity and a sizable chip shared between two teeth. The cavity went away and the chip completely regrew itself after 3 or 4 months of using toothsoap, and I’ve never had a cavity since. (been using several years now) I never new about grass fed butter and cod liver oil then, so hadn’t been doing it. However, I plan to start for all the other health benefits. There’s a few different toothsoap companies out there. I bought from toothsoap.com for a few years but have found I prefer the toothsoap from roseofsharonacres.com

    • Lynda says

      Being an old post, you may never read this, but it may help other people… Brushing your teeth with toothsoap (instead of regular toothpaste or even Toms of Maine) *with a proper diet* will allow your teeth to “heal” themselves. I had a cavity and a sizable chip shared between two teeth. The cavity went away and the chip completely regrew itself after 3 or 4 months of using toothsoap, and I’ve never had a cavity since. (been using several years now) I never knew about grass fed butter and cod liver oil then, so hadn’t been doing it. However, I plan to start for all the other health benefits. There’s a few different toothsoap companies out there. I bought from toothsoap.com for a few years but have found I prefer the toothsoap from roseofsharonacres.com

  12. Daryl says

    I just got this butter this weekend to try out. I’m new to Traditional eating and have been using raw butter for a month, but hated how it tasted (and it smelled a little funky too). This is the best butter I’ve ever had. I also like how well it spreads on toast. I used it straight from the fridge and it spread really well.
    I bought the salted but am wondering if it’s healthier to get the unsalted? Is the unsalted just as good?

  13. says

    Hi Kimi! I’m starting a series in the next couple weeks on making baby steps toward real food. My first post is going to be on butter. Mind if I link to this post?

  14. IW says

    MMM… Irish Butter. I am a butter fiend and I think the Irish stuff might be my favorite. I ran into a Kerrygold rep at a grocery store once who informed me that all their products are made from 100% grass fed milk. Yay! Even the cheeses, which I’ve seen at Costco. Ireland apparently has one of the longest grass growing seasons in the world. I like their herb butter too, when I am too lazy to make my own or in the dead of winter when i have no herbs.

    As far as grass fed goes, the one thing i find disappointing is meat that is grass fed but then finished on grain. The health benefits of grass feeding really are undermined by grain finishing. In fact, it’d almost be better to grain feed and grass finish as far as healthy meat goes. I wish labeling would be clearer on these matters. Great website, can’t wait to explore more.

  15. says

    Rachel

    Seems like what you need is the vitamin K part of dairy fat. The specific form to enhance bone/tooth formation is MK4. Our gut bacteria make vitamin K2 and it is found in a good diet high in dark greens. Supplementation of MK4 is the most proven form in terms of reversing osteoporosis so we know it increases bone density. Thorne Research sells it in a 1 once dropper.

    Robert

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