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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