Recently by Karen De Coster: Helmet Nazis and the CultureofFear
This is a short story of real vs. imitation, free market vs. the corporate state, tradition vs. political pandering, and good vs. evil. First, I’ll start off with the imitation/corporate state/political/evil. A reader sent me a commercial from YouTube, which brings up an interesting comparison that started my wheels turning. Back in the 1980s, or thereabouts, a product emerged in the market called Molly McButter, a processed powder butter replacement. Products like this (replacing real food with fake, fat-free non-food) were a response to the government’s low-fat agenda and the industrial food machine’s food pyramid coup. People fell into the marketing trap and lapped up products like this in the hope that they would get thin, stay healthy, and look like all of the beautiful people in the TV ads who were hawking the products of the mega-food complex. Nowadays, in an eerily similar manner, all of the beautiful people are running down beaches, holding hands, and smelling daisies in the pharmaceutical ads. According to FoodFacts.com, these are the ingredients in Molly McButter:
Maltodextrin corn derived, Salt, Flavor(s) Natural Butter, Contains 100% of Other Flavor(s) Natural, Butter, Corn Starch, Buttermilk Solids, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soybean(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Annatto Extracts, Paprika and, Turmeric (Color(s))
Warning(s): Soybean(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated is exempt from being labeled as a soy allergen according to U.S. labeling laws. There are only slight traces of the soy protein present to trigger a reaction, however people who are allergic to soy should use caution and check with their allergist before consuming this product.
These ingredients, as you may have guessed, provide no nutritional value whatsoever. Well, except this product does have 1% of your government-recommended, daily iron intake. Here is the caloric breakdown of Molly McButter: 2% fat, 95% carbs, 3% protein. It is low fat, therefore it must be healthy! Molly McButter is also a very American product: it is a quick-to-use and seemingly cheap alternative that requires nothing more than dropping it into a shopping cart, and when the shopper gets home, he or she can just take off a lid and shake it, and … finished! However, in reality, not only is it very costly in terms of its price per pound, but the costs to your health down the road are immense, and likely immeasurable.
[Molly McButter Commercial]
Staying on the evil side, there are many industrial fake-a-roos that are created to appeal to the low-fat, food pyramid-worshipping crowd, so mention of all of them here is impossible. On that note, one other product that deserves attention is an early challenger to butter, pre-Molly McButter days. Many of us remember growing up with this commercial about margarine and fooling Mother Nature.
Margarine, along with all of the industrial seed oils, is one of the greatest disasters of the industrial food complex. Here is a typical margarine ingredient list:
Liquid Canola Oil, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Plant Stanol Esters, Salt, Emulsifiers, (Vegetable Mono- and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin), Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA to Preserve Freshness, Artificial Flavor, DL-alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Colored with Beta Carotene.
Butter even an industrial butter would typically contain only cream and salt. Partially hydrogenated soybean oil, as people may or may not know, is trans fats. Everyone now agrees that trans fats wreak havoc on your health, as described by Mark Sisson.
"Shape shifters" is incidentally an apt way to describe trans fats. That's exactly what the hydrogenation process involves. From a chemical standpoint, you take a decent enough unsaturated oil and add some hydrogen atoms. The process undoes the existing double carbon bonds of the unsaturated oil. By "saturating" the bonds with additional hydrogen, you saturate the oil. The result is a solid (at room temperature) but meltable, more stable fat. Seems simple enough, but all of a sudden the body doesn't know what to make of the end product. The trans fats go on to incite havoc in cell metabolism. Research indicates trans fats cause comparatively more weight gain than the same diet with monounsaturated fats and a redistribution of body fat tissue to the abdominal area, the riskiest place to carry extra padding. Additionally, they're associated with inflammation and atherosclerosis.
Systemic inflammation is the root of all chronic disease such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, etc. Here, Mark Sisson describes the difference between acute inflammation that promotes healing and chronic, low-level inflammation that becomes a part of your physiology “that's always on and always engaged,” thus continually attacking healthy tissues in your body. “You can’t fool Mother Nature” is correct. But that is exactly what these highly processed, industrial food products attempt to do in order to conform to the government nutrition malarkey that has fattened and sickened Americans for over four decades. But, once inside your body, these products don’t fool your innards. Read this serious but sort of funny article by Stephan Guyenet, a PhD in neurobiology and a researcher, on margarine. Here’s a snippet:
Despite the snappy-looking tub, margarine is just another industrial food-like substance that will help you get underground in a hurry. In the U.S., manufacturers can put the statement “no trans fat” on a product’s label, and “0 g trans fat” on the nutrition label, if it contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. A serving of Benecol is 14 grams. That means it could be up to 3.5 percent trans fat and still labeled “no trans fat”. That’s a crime. This stuff is being recommended to cardiac patients.
Stephan is spot on when he says it is a crime. The federalized dietary guidelines are not, and have never been, a result of science. They are the result of a politicized and purposeful coup on the part of powerful special corporate interests and their enabling politicians in Congress and the USDA/FDA to subsidize the food machine corporatocracy and institutionalize the belief in the supremacy of artificial foods produced cheaply by the mega food giants. It is intentional, on the part of the enablers, that people get sick, stay sick, and therefore swell the sickness economy.
Then, over in the other corner stands Ghee, weighing in with traditional (South Asian) roots, high in nutrition, with a high smoking point, and, yes, it has fat — including saturated fat (gasp!) and essential fattyy acids. Ghee is essentially a clarified butter, with the milk solids and water removed. However, ghee is cooked longer than clarified butter to remove all moisture and milk solids. Ghee may also be a good choice for those who are lactose intolerant. According to Livestrong, ghee has the following nutritional value:
The protein content of ghee is .04 g per tbsp., which includes 17 amino acids, essential for good health. Ghee contains 3 percent linoleic acid, an antioxidant. Ghee provides 393 IU of vitamin A per tbsp., including 105 mcg of retinal and 25 mcg of beta-carotene. Other vitamins include .36 mg vitamin E per tbsp., 1.1 mcg of vitamin K, and small amounts of riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Minerals in ghee include 1 mg of calcium and potassium per tbsp.
Ghee has a long shelf life, and it can sit around without turning rancid, unlike industrial seed oils, which are rancid from the get-go. Historically, ghee has both sacred and medicinal roles in other cultures.
Still, Americans are terrified of politically-demonized real foods that are rich in tradition with proven health benefits while they eagerly embrace any and all promises from the industrial arm of the state to “keep them healthy” with substitute products to which their natural systems cannot adapt. While Americans are indeed “getting it” better than ever before in terms of understanding the myths and lies of the government-pharmaceutical-medical-industrial food complex that has destroyed their health and quality of life, they have become willing prisoners of the medical-pharmaceutical establishment, and emerging from that lifestyle is still a challenge for many folks who have spent their whole lives absorbing the conventional wisdom passed down to them through the various channels and agents of the state.
We all have our own experiences that finally cause us to engage our thoughts and reflect on what we think we know, and then we ask ourselves, is it really the truth? Admittedly, until the mid-1990s, I had margarine and Molly McButter in my kitchen, and butter or ghee were nowhere to be found. Butter had become a substance I could not trust. Our household also embraced all of the “heart healthy” trans-fat loaded, refined industrial oils. This was passed on to me from childhood. I was a part of the baby boomer generation that grew up on the industrial food supply while “family, sit-down dinners” and cooking fresh food slowly escaped our culture.
This, along with my incessant carb-loading to fuel my weekend warrior adventures, finally landed me in a hospital, where infectious disease Docs and rheumatologists were dumbfounded by my sleek physical appearance vs. my autoimmune rampage. Finally, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder. I was sentenced to a life of low-fat food and pharmaceuticals and low-impact exercise, as well as a progressive loss of quality of life. I thought, “nah,” and thus I exited the conventional medical establishment. I had already flirted with Atkins, so I went back to it and then customized the Atkins way, which eventually became paleo-primal, which is nothing more than Eat Real Food. I cured myself of all symptoms with my food changes, and since then, I have never looked back. While I bemoan the loss of time and money, the pay off in terms of wisdom and experience has been a huge positive in my life.
Indeed, little things like the quality of your “butter” and the elimination of its evil imitators can be the beginning of some major changes in your life and health. It’s a worthwhile start along a very informative journey.