Is Butter Good For You? You May Be Surprised!

In my last post, I went over all the little details about eating and choosing the best dairy products.

As we discussed in that article, most of the problem with dairy products and acne comes from:

  • The extra hormones contained in conventional dairy products
  • The proteins which can be allergenic, particularly in pasteurized dairy
  • The milk sugar lactose, which requires an enzyme called lactase to break it down, and most adults do not produce lactase in sufficient quantities

Today we’re going to expand on the topic of butter, because it is essentially a dairy product. However, it’s a bit special – which is a good thing because it’s just so darn delicious!

Why is it special? Because it is mostly just the milk fat, with only trace amounts of lactose and protein, meaning it doesn’t cause problems for most people. 

And if you are skeptical and don’t trust me, you can always buy something called ghee, which is a clarified butter popular in Indian cooking. By clarified, I mean that the protein and lactose have been cooked off, leaving true, pure butter fat.

You can also make ghee at home by clarifying your own butter! Click here for instructions.

But anyway… lactose and protein aside, there are still problems with conventional butter because animals concentrate toxins in their fat, which means you are still getting those pesky added hormones. So at the very least, you want to be eating organic butter.

But organic isn’t going to cut it if you want to eat butter for its health benefits – yes, that’s right – butter has some amazing health benefits (hallelujah). If that is the case, you need to get grass fed.

It’s like what I was talking about last post with the fermented dairy – if you are looking to eat milk kefir only because you want an amazing health tonic, it’s best you seek out raw milk to make it. However, if you just want to know what’s going to harm you the least because you don’t want to give up your yogurt, then organic pasteurized will probably do you fine.

In other words, if you just want to eat butter because it tastes like heaven, then organic is okay. If you want something that tastes like heaven AND is a health food, you need to find grass fed butter.

Is Butter Actually Healthy?

As much as butter is sort of renowned as one of those foods that you make jokes about because everyone “knows” it’s unhealthy, it’s actually not. It’s nutritious.

Butter is good for you. Seriously.

Why?

If the cow was fed healthy green grass like it was supposed to, the butter has a ton of nutrients in it. It contains:

  • CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)- a fatty acid primarily found in beef and dairy products, which is linked to heart health, effective weight management, cancer suppression, and a host of other things.
  • Vitamin K2 – something they refer to as “Activator X”, which promotes healthy bones and teeth, a properly functioning nervous system, and robust cardiovascular health.
  • An array of vitamins and minerals – grass fed butter is bright yellow, unlike grain fed butter which is pale and white. Generally the more colourful a food, the more nutrients it contains.
  • A super Omega 3 to 6 ratio – keeping your Omega 3 to 6 ratios in line is important for reducing inflammation and acne

But…. isn’t it just pure saturated fat?

Contrary to popular belief, saturated fat from a clean source is not bad for you. It’s a good, stable fat that is worlds ahead of damaged vegetable oils like canola, soybean, etc, in terms of health. It’s never really been proven that saturated fat is harmful, and many of the studies that suggested it have been discredited. But it’s hard to get people to really believe it since its “badness” has been so firmly entrenched in the imaginations of the public over the last however many years.

Go and throw your hydrogenated chemical cesspool that is margarine away and go get yourself some butter.

Where Do I Get Grassfed Butter?

Well, first you get your bucket, and you go out and milk your cow. Then you put it in your butter churn…

Just kidding, you just go to Trader Joe’s. There is an awesome brand of grass fed butter available there called Kerry Gold (it’s from Ireland!). Or you can just get on Amazon and order some.

Seriously, you guys in the States don’t know how good you have it with being able to order anything you fancy on Amazon.com…  and also Trader Joe’s… I’m completely jealous! For the life of me, I cannot find grass fed butter in Canada, and have to settle for only organic. I once had Kerry Gold when I was actually in Ireland, but I was not such a butter connoisseur at the time, I didn’t quite appreciate it!

photo by csuspect

Comments

  1. Josee says

    Hello Tracy,

    Actually, there is grass fed butter in Canada. The Fromagerie L’Ancetre (http://www.fromagerieancetre.com) is doing some in Becancourt, Quebec. There are some distributors in western canada (Pro Organics, PSC Natural Foods et Horizon Distributors). Very interesting post. I’m glad to hear that butter is good for health :) Thank you !

    • Tracy says

      Hi Josee,
      I don’t think L’Ancetre butter is grass fed… I didn’t find anything on the site (or the rest of the internet) that indicates that it is grass fed? I know I’ve seen that brand at Whole Foods and didn’t get it because it didn’t appear to be grass fed. Either way, I can’t find anything to indicate grass fed butter is available in Canada (and i know if there were, paleo folks would be talking about it). Apparently Canada has a thing against importing dairy products, that’s why we can’t get Kerry Gold here. I think it’s only a matter of time though before something turns up… someone will fill the niche I hope!

      • Josee says

        Hello Tracy,

        If you go to the FAQ section (http://www.fromagerieancetre.com/fr/cows.html), you can read that cows are grass fed when it’s possible. Unfortunalety, they can’t be grass fed during the winter because of the snow. In Quebec, grass is available from may to october, which means 50 % of the time so I guess it’s not that bad :)

        • Tracy says

          Oh okay, I just didn’t look hard enough, clearly! Well I guess that’s good then… I do realize it’s a lot harder for Canada to get good grass fed products because of our winters! It’s too bad. Darn snow.

  2. Steve says

    Hey Tracy!

    I’ve been following your regime for about a week now, and I love it so far! I’ve made a few of your recipes, too. My favorites are the Vegan Chickpea Salad and Turkey Blueberry Salad. Very tasty! I have a few questions about soaking nuts. When I soaked my almonds, I poured the whole bag in the water, added sea salt, waited 8 hours or so, drained them, and then (to avoid mold) put them in the oven at 170 degrees for 5 hours with the oven door slightly open. I’m storing them in the refrigerator. Is it okay to soak all of them at once like that, or should I just soak the portion I need to use the very next day? Do you dry them in the oven like that or just let them air dry? And do you need to soak sesame seeds? Sorry about all the questions, haha. Maybe you could just do an article on soaking nuts/grains!

    • Tracy says

      Yes, that’s what I do… soak them all at once and dry them out (I actually have a dehydrator, but I’ve done it in the oven too) and then keep them in the fridge. You can also just soak them, throw out the soak water and rinse them, and then keep them in some water in the fridge and eat them soaked whenever you want… however you do need to make sure you change the soak water every day.

      I don’t know about sesame seeds… I never did because they seemed difficult, but I just heard somewhere that you do….

      Anyway. You’re right, I need to do a video about this.

  3. jess says

    Tracy,

    I went out and bought some Terry Gold and oh my gosh is it delicious! Now my eggs in the morning taste even better! Best thing is it doesn’t upset my stomach like other butters do, yippie!

    • Luc Chene says

      Where did you buy this butter ?
      For Canadians, it is legal to bring back 20$ worth of dairy products (or 20 pounds which ever is lowest). I could not locate kerrygold butter at any store near the border.

      • Tracy says

        Apparently it’s only at Trader Joe’s… as far as I know. I tried to coerce my mom into going there when she was over the border in Seattle to smuggle me back a ton of it, but apparently Trader Joe’s was too out of her way so she bought me some fairly un-special non grassfed butter from Costco, that wasn’t quite consolation. Nice try mom :)

    • Tracy says

      Butter is great to cook with health wise because, like coconut oil, it’s a stable saturated fat that won’t go bad with heat. However, butter does burn at higher heats due to the little bit of milk solids in it… it’s usually fine for baking, but not for frying. Ghee, or clarified butter, is good for anything, as it’s pure fat.

  4. says

    Hi Tracy! Love this post. I’m a ghee eater myself. I’m very glad to hear you’re not against saturated fats etc., since I’m a big coconut oil, butter and meat eater! On a sidenote, I’d like to add that, for everyone with digestion issues, gelatin is awesome (not only for the skin, also for the digestion :) ). It’s cheap, I like the taste, and it really helps. You could also make bone broth from cheap (or free) bones from the butcher…

    • Tracy says

      Yes, it’s fine. It is better to get butter that’s unsalted so you can add your own quality salt, but it doesn’t really matter that much…. the health benefits of kerry gold outweigh the bit of bad salt in it! (if it is bad salt, I don’t even know)

  5. Gabby says

    Hello from Australia!
    Thanks so much for all your articles Tracy!
    I followed your advice for a few months at the end of last year with great results! Face acne cleared up and back acne improved, lost 6 kilos and felt fantastic. Unfortunately I slipped back into my old eating habits too much after Christmas and starting a new job but acne hasn’t come back as bad as before, thankfully :) I’m getting back into developing good eating habits again and love that I keep learning from you!
    I’m excited to learn that I can eat butter and salt and make delicious salad dressings! When people tell me that they hate salad I tell them they just haven’t eaten a real salad before! My fav in a hurry is just fresh lime juice and olive oil – so refreshing! Yum! And I can’t wait to have a bit of butter or ghee on my vegies :) Growing up my mum wanted to be healthy and I found that meant no taste! It was plain steamed vegies, salad with no dressing, no salt or pepper or butter or anything!
    I’m like you and am pretty simple with my meals but when I have guests or want to be a bit fancy we have a show here called ‘Good Chef, Bad Chef’ http://www.goodchefbadchef.com.au/recipe_categories/10/recipes
    Janella is a Naturopath, herbalist and nutritonist and shows how easy it is to make delicious healthy recipes!
    Thanks again Tracy, I’m looking forward to starting the Candida cleanse – I’ve always thought about giving it a go but you’ve made it so straight forward and easy! :)
    Happy Valentines Day! xo

    • Tracy says

      Hi Gabby!

      Thanks for the note :) Which part of Australia are you in? I’ve been living in Australia for the last six months in Newcastle, but we’re heading back to Canada next month. I haven’t seen Good Chef, Bad Chef though!

      Anyway… yeah…. I agree, it kinda sucks that people think that healthy eating means bland and boring! I always want to tell people that it can be fatty and delicious, but people just don’t believe it because it’s been too drummed into everyone’s head that saturated fats are bad and fat will make you fat etc.

      Anyway!!! Lots of love, see you on the candida cleanse
      Tracy x

      • Gabby says

        Hi Tracy,
        I live up in sunny Queensland – near Brisbane (This summer has been wetter than most! Although how green it has made everything makes it so worth it!) I hope you’ve been enjoying your time here – I visited Canada 2 years ago while travelling and loved it!
        Yes your information on good fats has opened up my eyes and my skin is definately benefiting from it. :)
        A friend of mine has always grown up with knowledge about holistic health and is glad that we can finally talk about it together and help each other find the best natural make up, body products and recipes (without being looked at by others that we are health freaks).
        Thanks again Tracy!
        Gabby :)

        • Tracy says

          Hi Gabby!
          It’s true, this summer has been wet…. I’m in Byron Bay today and the weather is gorgeous though so we got lucky! Usually I don’t mind the rain though, it makes me feel less bad for working on my blog instead of being at the beach! lol!

          Anyway, thanks for the note, and I’m super happy that your skin is going well… plus fat tastes great! so win win.
          lots of love,
          Tracy xox

  6. Laura says

    I didn’t realise Kerry Gold was grass-fed, that’s really good to know. Makes sense considering it’s a nice yellow colour :) I’m glad because it’s the one I’ve been using (I live in Ireland so it’s readily available here), and it’s delicious.

  7. Ali says

    You’re right, the Kerry Gold grass fed butter from Trader Joe’s is amazing! It’s like heaven on sweet potatoes. And luckily, I live within two minutes of my Trader Joe’s :)

  8. mr h says

    hi

    so you recommend kerrygold butter for acne?!?! so it wouldnt break me out will it, im dying for some :$ :)

    thanks

  9. Steve says

    First, I just found your blog and I must say its my new must read.

    If you want buy grass fed ghee:
    http://www.pureindianfoods.com/

    The stuff is pure golden heaven in a jar. I buy six large jars at a time to reduce shipping costs. It takes about month for my family to use a jar.

  10. Adam Glinglin says

    Canadian grass fed butter to the rescue!

    You can buy grass fed butter.. here in Quebec anyways.

    I recently learned through correspondence that the cows from Beurrerie du Patrimoine (www.fermegroleau.com) are pastured during the warmer months and fed dried hay during the winter. They said they occasionally supplement with a little grain but the cows are still
    primarily grass fed.

    I eat this butter all the time, it`s golden, rich, and delicious. I`ve never had Kerry Gold, but you can definitely tell the difference between this stuff and regular organic butter.

  11. Heather says

    Here in New Zealand all our cows are grass fed all year round. There is talk of starting dairying in sheds in the South Island but it has not gone ahead at this stage. Seems we are lucky then with our butter. Not much help to you folk on the other side of the word unless you can find some New Zeland butter in the stores there.

    • Tracy says

      Lol – start an export business! However, I think Canada has some kind of restriction about importing dairy products like butter and milk (but not cheese)… that’s why we can’t get kerrygold butter here

  12. Luc says

    Kerrygold butter is not available in Canada. It is legal to import from the US up to 20 pounds or $20. whichever is less in dairy products including raw milk. Yet I have no been able to locate a store carrying Kerrygold butter near the border with the province of Quebec. I used the Kerrygoldusa website, then phoned all the nearby stores mentionned, they did not have any.

  13. Mike Lucas says

    Organic Meadow butter, available in Manitoba and Ontario, is grass-fed in the summer (and hay-fed in the winter). I emailed Organic Meadow and they put me in touch with the farmer, to confirm this. It’s quite deep yellow in colour, and delicious. Unfortunately very expensive (it went up from $9 to $11 per pound recently).

    • Tracy says

      Oh yeah? Thanks for letting me know! Ouch on the price though. I have to go to the States soon, so I’m going to bring back some Kerry Gold haha

  14. Caye says

    Oh I wish I could mail you some Kerrygold! I live right down the road from my Trader Joe’s and it’s seriously delicious. I tried it because you recommended it and I’m very pleased. Hope you can find some!

    • Tracy says

      Hi Caye!
      Lol – we’re actually going to the States next weekend because my Australian boyfriend needs to cross a border in order to renew his working visa. So we’re going over to Washington state for a few days – I was actually planning on smuggling some Kerrygold back in on my way home!!

        • Mike Lucas says

          I think that’s 20 lbs / $20 per person, too. However I’m not sure if Kerrygold counts under that rule as it originates in Ireland. I’m not sure, but I believe the official Canadian rule is that any dairy that didn’t originate in the US, is simply not allowed in.

  15. audre says

    I love you tracy!
    so many articles on your site are just what my mom is always telling me about.
    My mom and I are westen pricers just like you and it makes me so happy that there’s someone out there revealing all the bullshit about food and medicine that’s out there.

    • Tracy says

      Hi Pan, I think that most likely no, because butter is mainly fat and little protein. But maybe :) It depends on your body and how it reacts to either cow or goat products

  16. Luc says

    Goat butter could be better depending on how the goats are fed. GMO corn is just as bad in goats as in cows. Yet goat milk is so white and melts faster than cow’s milk. Also, it is very expensive (in Canada)

  17. says

    I’ve learned so much about nutrition since finding your blog! I’m from Europe and I’m also sometimes jealous of Americans because they can find everything so easily. But on the other hand, I’m sometimes happy that I’m not from an environment where it’s normal to buy pre-mixed everything. So I couldn’t eat that much processed food even if I wanted to. :D

    • Tracy says

      Hi Masha, be grateful! I think the food culture over there is much healthier than it is here, much more accepted that eating real food is a thing that should be done, instead of something that is weird! :)

  18. Kit says

    OMG. I love butter. I go through a pound to a pound and a half of Kerrygold by myself each month. Sometimes I even eat a little bit like it’s cheese on top of some whole ingredient gluten free crackers I found…amazing. My roommates are horrified by the amount of butter/beef/coconut oil/bacon/etc I consume. I’ve tried explaining paleo, primal, and Weston A. Price, but they don’t believe me. Their bulk box of margarine sticks is literally right next to my Kerrygold supply in the freezer lol.

    • Tracy says

      aahha it’s really hard to try and get people to believe in the health benefits of saturated fat.. conditioning is strong and hard to break! I adore Kerry Gold too… unfortunately I have to smuggle it back over the border when I go to the States, but I haven’t been to the States in a long time. My supply is dry! :’(

          • Luc says

            Be careful! Being caught in this era of terrorism can bring you an awful lot of troubles!!! I read KerryGold can be from cows fed some GMO grains. A better alternative is : http://www.kriemhilddairy.com : We do not use BST or any type of growth hormones on our cows. The only time that we use antibiotics is to treat a sick animal for a short period of time. All proper withholding times are followed.
            No pesticides are used on our fields, although we occasionally do use some strategic and limited nitrogen on our pastures. As well our feeds are non GMO.
            - – - They will deliver to Canada legally. Expensive but real grass fed butter!

      • Mike Lucas says

        You are actually allowed to take KerryGold across the border from the US for personal use, although I think the technical limit is $20 per person (per trip) of dairy. But with my family of 5 that means I can spend $100 on butter on a trip.

        Note that this only works because the KerryGold is re-distributed from within the US (marked as such on the package) so it counts as a US dairy product even though it must originally come from Ireland. You’re not allowed to import *any* dairy that’s not from US/Mexico!

        On another note, I believe the President’s Choice Organic Butter ($4.99/8oz in Manitoba), sold at Superstore/Loblaws etc., must be mainly grass-fed. It’s quite a deep yellow, almost as yellow as KerryGold.
        I’ve also noticed that the Lucerne brand butter (available at Safeway in Manitoba), while definitely paler than true grass-fed butter, is a darker yellow than other cheap brands. They verified via email that there is no colour added, so their cows must be partially grass-fed, or healthier than the regular grain-fed cows in some other way.

        • Tracy says

          Hi Mike – yeah I know technically you are only allowed a certain amount, but in my experience, they don’t really care about your groceries that you buy and don’t really pay attention. But yeah since I am out of Kerrygold, I will look into those Canadian brands. Thanks :)

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