Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bread and Butter

People have been consuming animal products in the form of meat, poultry, wild game, fish, eggs, raw milk, butter and other forms of dairy for centuries.  Weston A. Price, a prominent dentist of his time switched his focus to nutrition and began researching the diets of ancient cultures. He found that nearly all primitive cultures consumed a non-vegetarian diet and ate large quantities of foods with fat-soluble vitamins: Vitamin A and D. Butter, being one of the highest and most readily absorbed sources of Vitamin A, was a common food in the diets of most traditional cultures.

Now let's focus on quality because the butter you may be consuming or have in the past may not be anything like that of ancient cultures. Unfortunately, if you haven't heard yet our food and agricultural systems in America have dramatically altered the way livestock should be raised. Commercially raised cows produce milk that contains anti-biotics, hormones, pesticide residue and most importantly less nutrients. Butter made from this kind of milk is more damaging to your body than it is any good. Traditional butter on the other hand, churned from raw pastured cow's milk contains much higher levels of the anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids, the potent anti-oxidants Vitamin A, E and the commonly deficient mineral Selenium, while containing CLA a compound now shown to be highly protective against cancer. The process of pasteurization where milk undergoes high heating destroys the enzymes found in raw milk that make it such an immune boosting and nourishing food. The best and most nutritious of butters will be made from raw pastured cow's milk.* To further enhance the health properties of butter you can purchase a 'cultured' butter that has been inoculated with probiotics, the good bacteria found in our guts that supports our immune system and fuels our digestion.
Bread is a whole other topic so to keep this post from becoming a book I will only briefly touch on here. Traditionally most breads were made with a sourdough culture, yes that same word again. Culture. You will hear much of culturing and fermenting on this blog as these practices add health benefits to any food. When good bacteria are culturing in a food they are literally eating away at some sort of 'sugar' in order to keep thriving which produces a food full of probiotics. Exactly what our bodies need and want. Fermented, cultured and probiotic foods were consumed on a daily basis in all traditional cultures but are lacking in most modern diets.

During the process of dough becoming 'sour' as it cultures the chemical structure of the gluten in the flour is being changed and becomes much more easily digestible. Gluten is the difficult-to-digest protein found in wheat, rye, barley and spelt that has caused many health ailments in the recent decade. The traditional wisdom of home-making sourdough breads could prove to be of high benefit. The most high quality bread will be made from organic whole grain flours made with a sourdough.

As you see now this was not your ordinary 'bread and butter'. Most would hear the words, 'bread and butter' and think no way would would this be healthy but in fact it most certainly can be. It's the quality of what we are eating that can make all the difference in our health.

My favorite products:
-Organic Pastures Raw Cultured Butter 
-French Meadow Sourdough Rye
-Manna Sourdough Breads
Look for these at your local health food store. For bread you can check out the local artisan bakeries and see if they make a high quality sourdough bread, this bread was made at one of my favorite bakeries, Le Pain Quotidien.

For more information on Weston A. Price view the Weston A. Price Foundation website where you will find this article on 'Why Butter Is Better'.

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