Little Steps: Butter, Why it’s better and Better Butter Recipe!
*Note* I start off with lots of background information but I do share a recipe for “better butter” that is a blend of real butter and a good oil. Scroll down to find the recipe if you want to skip the *why* part.
Because of my husband’s cholesterol levels and his newly diagnosed heart disease oh and that pesky heart attack, we’re taking little steps to better health or baby steps to healthier eating. This post gives some background about where we’re starting from.
One of things the doctor recommends is a low-fat diet (not a NON-fat diet but a low fat diet). But not all fats are the same and not all fats are bad. Just because it is saturated, doesn’t mean it’s all bad either.
Eating a diet where 30-50% of your daily calories come from fat is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, if it is the right fats with the right ratios, it can be very healthy and beneficial for you. (I urge you to do your own research! Do not take my word for it and go to several different sources. There is lots of bias out there!)
I’m not going to focus on ALL fats or oils here I just want to talk about butter. Butter gets such a bad rap from doctors. (See note above about doing your research!).
Butter, as you know, is an animal by-product. That means it’s going to contain cholesterol. That’s not something I’m going to truly address here but for some people it is a concern. Butter is also a saturated fat. That’s the big thing I want to address here. So one sees “source of cholesterol” and “saturated fat” and the AMA says “butter is bad so you must avoid butter.” So they recommend a spread. Let me list the ingredients for the particular spread that the hospital serves on the “heart healthy” menu:
Oil Blend (soybean, palm fruit, canola, olive oils), water, contains less than 2% of whey (milk) salt, natural and artificial flavor, vegetable monoglycerides, soy lecithin, vitamin a palmitate, vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Lactic Acid, Beta-Carotene color and potassium sorbate and calcium disodium edta (to preserve freshness)
The label says 2.5g of saturated fat, 3 grams polyunsaturated fat and 3 grams monounsaturated fat. Please note that is says 0g of trans fat however monoglycerides fats (the type of fats in monoglycerides vary depending on source which can be animal or vegetable) including trans-fat are never included in the nutrition information labels. (I did not know this until I started researching). Also, it is important to note that foods can contain up to 0.49g of trans fat and still be labeled 0mg trans fat. It is very important to read the ingredient list and not just the nutrition information label.
Basically, I think putting chemicals on your toast is not healthier than butter. And despite what the label says it does not taste like butter at all.
Here’s what the label for butter says: 11g of total fat, 7g saturated fat, 0.4 polyunsaturated and 2.8g monounsaturated fat. That is a lot of saturated fat isn’t it. That’s a scary looking number. But the ingredients are just pasteurized cream (milk) and salt. This isn’t the best butter on the market (it’s Kirkland Signature) but it doesn’t have hormones added. Here’s an article I found helpful about why butter is better.
Natural, real, butter contains natural vitamins. It contains lots of other good for you stuff that gets lost in the production of fake spreads that attempt to artificially create a “healthy” fat. According to Dr. Mercola :
The BEST butter is raw butter from grass-fed cows, preferably organic. Next is pasteurized butter from grass-fed cows, followed by regular pasteurized butter from supermarkets. Even the latter two are still a much healthier choice than margarine or spreads.
So if butter is already better than margarine or fake “heart healthy” spreads why would I want to make it better? And how would I do that? Here’s some reasons for why I’ve gone back to making Better Butter:
- Butter needs to be refrigerated. It’s not spreadable when it’s cold. Mixing butter with oil makes it spreadable practically right out of the fridge. We take the container out when putting the bread in the toaster and when the toast is done the better butter is perfect spreading consistency.
- Butter is high in saturated fat. Saturated fat is necessary for optimum health but too much is not good especially if you already have heart disease which my husband does.
- Butter has cholesterol. The jury’s still out for me on whether or not the cholesterol in butter affects your own levels but why take a chance. By using Better Butter you reduce the cholesterol.
- “Everyone” seems to agree that Olive Oil is really really good for you. Better Butter is a tasty way to add more good fat, in the form of olive oil, to your diet.
Remember that the quality of your better butter depends on the quality of the butter and oil that you use. The type and quality of oil you choose will also affect the taste. The ratio of butter to oil will affect the consistency. I recommend working your way up to a 1:1 ratio by starting with a 2:1 ratio. I prefer to use Extra-Light Olive Oil but if you really like the flavor of a good extra virgin first cold pressing olive oil, feel free to try that. I just really like the taste of butter and by using the extra-light version, I get the butter taste without the olive oil taste. In the past I have also used Safflower Oil. Look for organic or cold pressed and look for it at a natural grocery store or whole foods section. If you have a good source for Canola oil, that would work as well. Hmm, I might have to do some research and write a Little Steps post about oils. <grin>
Butter, Oil of choice, a Blender (I love my Vitamix!) and a container to store your better butter.
The butter in the big block is slightly cheaper than the butter sticks and since I am just going to blend it all up, I buy the blocks for better butter. I purchased this bottle of Extra Light Olive Oil from Costco.
A month a go we started with a ratio of 2:1 2 parts butter to 1 part Olive Oil which translated to 1 block of butter (2 cups) to 1 cup of oil. With the batch that you see in this picture we have increased the oil. Now the ratio is 2:1.25 which translates to 2 cups butter and 1 1/4 cup oil. This was just a tiny increase and I didn’t notice the difference on my popcorn last night. In a few weeks we’ll add another 1/4 of oil and we’ll keep adding a 1/4 cup every 3-4 weeks until we’re at the 1:1 ration (which would mean 2cups [1 block] butter and 2 cups oil)
Linking this up to Try A New Recipe Tuesday over at Our 4 Kiddos