Why I Eat Butter

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I often tell people I am not afraid of butter, that it's a "good fat." Sometimes I get laughed at; I guess they think I'm joking. Even my husband, who has been on this real food journey right along side me, will sometimes say, "Are you sure it's ok to eat that much butter?"

Yes, I'm sure.

We in America have some serious misconceptions about fat. I don't want to go into too many details. It will just make me angry, and this blog is about the joy of real food, not the anger and sadness of industrial food.

My Butter Story

So I'll start here. I love butter.  My history with butter goes like this:

When I was little, my favorite snack was bread and butter. Not even toasted. I remember my grandma giving this to me quite often when I was at her house and suddenly needed a snack.

My mother instilled in me a pretty strong anti-margarine sentiment, for which I am grateful. Right on the money, mom! It tastes fake, it looks fake, it is fake, and whether it's made with hydrogenated oils or "heart healthy" vegetable oils, it's been processed into oblivion, is rancid (toxic!) and more closely resembles plastic than food.

Sorry, I got distracted. I am passionately opposed to margarine.

Fast forward to late high-school and much of college. I, like most other people, thought that butter was bad for me. As a dancer who spent much of life in a leotard in front of a mirror, I was very body-conscious and thought (so mistakenly!) that my worth had something to do with my weight and pants size. So I stopped eating butter. I taught myself to eat bread plain. No more bread and butter. Sad day for me!

Imagine my delight a few years ago when I started reading about how our bodies need fat, good, traditional fat, to function, to thrive! Since then I've been eating as much butter on my bread as I want.

And you know what? I haven't gotten fatter. In fact, I weigh less now (16 months after the birth of my son) than I did pre-pregnancy. All I've done is breastfeed him and eat butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and bacon grease with my food. (Ok I've exercised a little. But really, only a little.)

Butter: the Real Deal

And this is why I am not afraid of those fats: people have been eating them for a long, long time. Heart disease, cancer and diabetes were virtually unknown...until the last century or so.

When we started eating Crisco and margarine and soybean, canola, and cottonseed oils, we got sick. Of course other things about our diet were going down the tube then, too. But here's the deal - hydrogenated vegetable oil is heated to insanely high temps, deodorized to disguise its rancidity, and then boiled for many hours with hydrogen to turn it into a solid and extend its shelf life. The result is a highly processed food that we were never meant to eat.

Butter comes from cream. Which comes from a cow. All you need is a blender and some cream, and you can make your own butter in your own kitchen. You can leave it out of the fridge for quite a while (provided all the buttermilk has been removed) without it going bad. It remains solid at room temperature naturally. I don't know about you, but I feel a lot better about putting that time tested, delicious food into my body and my children's bodies than the alternative.

But how could this be?! Have we been lied to? Sadly, yes. 

Data has been skewed or ignored to "prove" that traditional saturated fats cause heart disease (the "lipid hypothesis"). I'm not going to list all the reasons butter is good for you here, because someone has already said it better than I could. Go read this article to learn more!

After you read it, go into your kitchen and toast yourself a piece of whole grain bread. Spread it heavily with butter. Then eat it, one drippy melty crunchy bite at a time. And try to tell yourself that it's good for you, because it is.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.


  1. Love this and although I knew butter was better than margarine, this definitely makes me want to make my own butter :) good article Joanna!

  2. Yes! It is so fun to make your own butter. We will be getting raw milk again soon, I hope, and I plan to resume butter making ASAP. Nothing better than raw, grass-fed, homemade butter!

  3. I can totally relate! When I was in college, I stopped eating butter (along with pretty much every other fat) because I thought it would make me gain weight. I started learning about traditional foods and healthy fats when I was pregnant with my son and I began to eat butter and lots of other good, real food. Now, less than one year postpartum, I also weigh less than I did before I got pregnant, without "dieting". Isn't it amazing how our bodies thank us when we eat whole, unprocessed, good food!

  4. Thanks for commenting, LeAnne! It's great to hear from other people who have had similar experiences. I just checked out your blog - looks great!

  5. I also love butter! And cooking (vegetarian because I don't know anything else...), from scratch. That makes your blog very enjoyable for me :) I've thought about a food blog myself b/c there aren't many things in my life that interest me that would also interest others enough to bother to read it. But who doesn't love food??? Everyone can relate to that!

    So keep it up girl! Let me know if you have any vegetarian recipes that you love & I'm sure I have plenty in my back pocket for you as well.

  6. Yes!! Thank you! I LOVE BUTTER. My mom had us eating margarine for a long time before I left home and it just never sat right with me, and it wasn't until I started the real food journey that I finally put my finger on it that it tasted FAKE! Now I am much more confident about trusting my body's signals and instincts when it comes to food. If something doesn't taste right to me there is probably a reason! Go butter! :D

  7. mmmmm deodorized rancidity....

    Butter = awesome.

  8. It's official. I love reading YOUR blog! How did I not know about this site until now?!...!?

    I've been a believer in "real" butter since I started researching the link between nutrition and our natural family planning efforts. My diet could always use work (McNuggets and I are extra special friends), but simple changes like this around the house have made a noticeable difference in how effectively we can apply the 'rules' of NFP (i.e. my body functions more "normally" when we're eating "real" food.)

    A Newly Devoted Fan,


  9. Joanna,

    I just watched a documentary about food and was feeling that I wanted to start eating real food and locally grown food. Then, I stumbled upon your blog! I think I'll be checking this out to help me get some ideas about how I can start transitioning my kitchen. Thanks!

    Jamie Gerbers (Klein)

  10. i love butter. i finish a block by myself in less than a week, much to the alarm of my roomate. butter's not only healthy, it makes the food taste so good! it's the secret to french food ;)