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March 28, 2008

Butter v Margarine

Margarine was invented in France in the late 1800's as the result of a competition sponsored by their Emperor. There was a shortage of butter so a substitute was sought, especially one that was cheap and would keep for long periods of time. It was not created to be a health food.

Margarine caught on in the rest of the world after the rationed years of the World Wars. It is interesting to note that prior to 1920 Heart Disease was rarely heard of in America. By the mid 1950's it was the leading cause of death.

Margarine is made by refining various vegetables oils and blending them together with additives such as flavours, colours and vitamins, then emulsifying and pasturising the lot. All of this processing results in a product that will never turn rancid, contains traces of toxic metals, and that bugs and rodents won't even eat.

Butter on the other hand is made by letting the cream separate from milk, then churning it until it releases it's water (buttermilk). You can make it yourself at home by whipping real cream (not thickened cream!) till it forms lumps, drain the watery bit and what you have left is butter.

Of course I am not trying to suggest that butter is some super food, just that it is a completely natural whole food, which humans have eaten safely for many, many generations. It is easier to digest than some other forms of dairy, but heavier and more mucous forming than ghee, so not ideal for Kapha.

So if you really care about your health, always choose a natural food with has withstood the test of time.

13 comments:

Divya Vikram said...

thanks for the info julia..

Rupa said...

Thanks for the info...wanted to know this difference since a long time...great blog :)

Vegeyum said...

Agree. And ghee is the essence of butter, and a favourite of mine.

Dee said...

a very informative post Julia and we all those weight watchers use margarine instead of butter/ghee!

A-kay said...

Totally agree with you on that. I would rather eat something that is natural in moderation than industry-produced ones. Not idea for Kapha, that is a bummer :( Is ghee ok for Kapha though?

Julia said...

Moderation is the mantra for Kapha, or ghee will become a bummer! But it is the lightest fat, and excellent for developing subtle energies of Ojas, Shukra and Artava.

Anonymous said...

Here in USA, we cannot make butter at home because the milk we get here is homogenized.

Julia said...

Yes, most milk in Australia is homogonised too. There are a few brands which aren't, which is what I buy, and occasionally at a Farmers Market we can get raw, un-pasturised milk, but this is illegal unfortunately.

You can make butter from pouring cream, just beat it for a while.

LG said...

Thanks for the info!!Nice Read.

trupti said...

hi julia,

this comment has nothing to do with your topic....just wondering if you've had any experiences with 'marma' therapy. It is something I am so interested in.

cheers,
TS

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia,
I enjoy reading your blog.Its very informative.

My grandma says butter cools the body,and she insists us to take 1-2 tbspn for mouth ulcer .
Does it really cool down the body and heal ulcer?
Thanks in Advance.
-Swapna

Julia said...

It is difficult to say whether butter is cooling or heating. Back in the day butter was made from soured cream. When cooling cream ferments and goes sour it becomes heating. Therefore butter made this traditional way is heating. But these days most butter is made in factories by machines that can turn fresh, cooling cream into butter. My guess is that this makes butter cooling.

Also if butter is salted it may become more heating. Ghee is preferable, this is cooling and lighter and more digestable.

As for ulcers they are indeed caused by an excess of heat. Cooling foods like ghee, basmati rice, milk, mung dahl and whole wheat will all help. As will a cool mind, so ease your stress and worry with rest, sleep, meditation, pranayama and yoga.

Julia said...

Hi Trupti-sorry your comment got lost somewhere in cyberspace, but now I will finally reply!

Marma are much like acupuncture points, but they predate Chinese medicine. I have been meaning to post about marma massage for quite some time so keep your eye out.

I have experienced very subtle but very effective marma therapy personally. They are very powerful little points to know about!