Ask The Wellness Chef: Butter, Friend or Foe?
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- Ask The Wellness Chef: Butter, Friend or Foe?
In the new era of cooking with fats, which is better: butter, ghee, or other alternatives?
Is butter healthy or not?
Michelle N, Lewisville, TX
Cooking for health is just as important as pleasing one’s palette. There are many options these days when it comes to butter, oils, ghees, etc., making us question our daily fat intake. From my perspective, no, butter is not bad in moderation. The low fat/fat-free craze of the ’90s brainwashed many into believing that “fats” are bad. The 2000’s convinced us that dairy was bad. It can all be confusing as to what you should be cooking your food in!
When cooking daily, I often reach for ghee. Praised in Ayurvedic cooking as a superfood, filled with omega’s, vitamin D, and often touted as healing to the body. Ghee is butter that has been clarified and then cooked again to give it the golden color, also making it shelf-stable. Great for cooking, not the best for baking. Stick to either real stick butter, coconut oil, or plant based-butters.
Everyone faces different challenges when it comes to diet. Butter, while a good source of fat, in large quantities, is not the most healthful option. Butter is composed of a minimum of 80 percent butterfats, which is a derivative of cream. Is it less processed than milk, touted as more healthful by many wellness practitioners? Fats should be a part of our daily intake, enjoyed in small quantities, think the size of a thumb.
In baking, butter can add excessive amounts of fat to a dish. You may try a butter alternative, such as Earth Balance, a plant-based butter. I have used it countless times, which offers the same as cow-based butter in baking. Another baking alternative is coconut oil, pumpkin, or applesauce. If choosing coconut oil, there are two options, refined and unrefined. They differ in processing and flavor. Unrefined is by far the cleanest version but will give a lingering flavor of coconut, while refined does not.
Remember, everyone is different. Everyone’s body reacts differently to these ingredients. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Just keep in mind the following thoughts:
- Stick to Real Food
- Eat as Minimal Processed Foods Possible
- Listen to Your Body
- Find Your Balance