Rooted In Wonder:
Nurturing Your Family's Faith Through God's Creation
Master Naturalist, Bible teacher, author, wife, and mama of four! Join our adventures of discovering God while adventuring in creation.
When we set out a year ago on this food adventure, I was very unfamiliar with how to eat real food, and so we made it our mission to learn. Learning is a process however, and as we learned we made adjustments.
I came across a good example of this as I was looking over a blog post I wrote last August entitled, An Arena of Adventure, in which I shared a recipe for Blueberry Poppyseed Muffins with Ginger. I commented on the muffins, “Okay, so you may be asking, ‘what is with the stick of butter?’ It’s a muffin. We can deal…” It was a fine point to make, however, reading my comment now it almost seems as an excuse; as if I had to explain why we were eating butter.
Oh, how things have changed in such a short amount of time! Butter is now a staple ingredient in our house. Right now a couple of pounds of fresh salted cream butter from our fresh cheese market sit in our refrigerator; it will disappear quickly. This change in perspective over butter is due much in part to a greater transition in how we view fats in general.
The key to including fats in our diet is making sure that they are quality fats. Fats are indeed harmful to us if we approach them as most of our society does: consuming them in fake, processed foods. However, fats in their traditional, or natural, state are really quite healthful, not to mention delicious!
I won’t get too scientific here, but one example can be found in CLA, a type of Omega-6 fat found only in grass-fed beef and grass-fed butter. CLA helps fight cancer and builds lean muscle; it has also shown much promise in the realm of weight management–yes, fats for weight management! Now that’s good news! (More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cla)
My family would certainly attest to this. It is slightly difficult to measure, since I am pregnant and thus experiencing a steady, modest weight gain; however, in the past few months of increasing quality fats in our diet, we have maintained our weight. I have been able to manage my target weight gain for this pregnancy. I’ll actually deliver this baby 20 pounds lighter than I delivered my first child almost 2 years ago. I’m very interested to see how our new fat intake will affect my weight loss after the baby is born (if that ever actually happens…)
Nina Planck in her book, Real Food, presents some persuasive proof that butter and natural fats are not to blame for the heart disease and unhealthy cholesterol levels so prevalent in our country. Planck states:
“In 1890, the main fats that we ate were the traditional farm fats: butter, lard, and chicken and beef fat. A hundred years later, the top three fats were polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as soybean and canola oil, rarely found in traditional human diets…With this record of fat consumption–fewer saturated fats, more polyunsaturated vegetable oils–proponents of the cholesterol theory would not have predicted this: by the 1950s, heart disease was the leading cause of death in the United States. It’s a striking fact, worth restating another way: as consumption of saturated fats fell in the first half of the twentieth century, heart disease rose.”
Perhaps we can learn from the trends seen in history. Can we really blame butter and other fats we find in nature for heart disease? Perhaps instead we should be looking at the fake fats we have concocted in science labs and infused into our “foods”. Who’s the real culprit?
These are the reasons why, when I took a look back at my muffin recipe from August and decided to make a few adjustments, the butter stayed put. I have no problem with a stick of real butter in a batch of muffins; it lends great consistency, flavor, and healthy qualities. Rich, smooth, moist, and refreshing, these muffins are like a big bite of summer!
It’s important to remember that fats are essential for vitamin absorption. A good example here is milk. Skim milk must, by law, be fortified with synthetic vitamins A and D. Some evidence points to these synthetic vitamins to actually be toxic in large quantities. If you are buying skim milk fortified with vitamins, your body is not even absorbing those vitamins because there is no fat in the milk to aid that process. It makes no sense.
Whole milk, on the other hand, does not need to be fortified with vitamins. The cream in whole milk naturally contains fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Nina Planck states that “without vitamin D, less than 10% of dietary calcium is absorbed”.
The butterfat in whole milk also helps aid the body in digestion. Children who consume skim milk have diarrhea rates three to five times higher than children who consume whole milk. (Real Food, Planck)
There is a good reason milk is made the way it is; just as in every other food, it is best consumed in its natural state. Why our society has deemed it so necessary to mess with a natural food in the name of “health” is beyond me. When it comes to milk, whole milk is a whole lot tastier and a whole lot healthier!
Lastly, let me just throw this out there: If you do decide to give traditional fats a rightful place in your diet, it’s crucial that you remember this: in with the good means out with the bad.
Traditional fats can’t do a whole lot of good if they are at war with industrial fats in your diet. I’m all for moderation, and my family enjoys our occasional cone of frozen custard. For the most part, however, we whole-heartily enjoy traditional fats, and as a result we desire so much less of the fake stuff. As I’ve claimed before, a natural result of bringing in real foods is that we want less of the fake stuff. Our taste buds, along with our entire bodies, are thanking us for this.
It’s simple in theory, yet it takes effort and time to integratge into your lifestyle. View it as a process by making small steps. Of course, take these steps with my previous comment in mind–incorporating these good fats requires that we avoid or greatly limit industrial, processed fats.
Here are some small steps you can take:
Real Food Question of the Week, Comment Below: Which of these or other steps would you consider making to incorporate traditional fats into your diet?
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!