My little sister called me a few weeks ago. She had dreamt that I had a little baby in my lap, and I was endlessly feeding the baby sticks of butter. Her dream was a Jung’s bullseye right to the heart of my love affair with all things oily. And wet. And unctuous. And nourishing.
Yes, I’m really into butter. And coconut oil. And ghee. And gelatinous broth. I like to put in my mouth, on my skin and in my hair, and I recommend you do the same.
Like many young women who were doused with the chemical and antibiotic onslaught of the 1980’s (and sadly, through current times), my little belly was less than happy. My entire life, I have struggled with chronic digestive issues. For decades, I have studied ancient methods for healing such as yoga and Ayurveda. I even wrote a whole book on the topic. And if there was one thing that really helped (besides straight up self-love), it was deeply shifting my understanding of true nourishment. Think grandmas and soups and buttery cornbread. And butter.
So here’s why you gotta’ get on the butter train. The butter train is a big deal. It’s about more than the fact that butter is hella’ good for you, keeps wrinkles at bay, heals your gut lining and is basically jet fuel for the brain. It’s a true movement, especially for women, away from the ideals of emaciation and dryness, and towards the energy of juiciness and vitality. Butter represents moistness, being turned on and tuned in with the sensuality of life. Butter, like many other beloved oils (ghee, olive, sesame and coconut to name a few of my faves), has always been associated with fertility, youthful glowiness and sexy-times. I want my clothes to be buttery soft. My skin to be that right amount of glowing. And inner thighs to be, well, buttery. Yeah, I said it. I also want to give my body the unctuous juice it needs for my machine to be well-oiled for as long as possible. That’s why my toast and my skin is buttered. And why I encourage you to do the same.
Our ancient mamas (Ayurveda, for example), got this. They churned butter slow. They broke it down into ghee, a naturally refined form of butter where the milk solids have been removed. They found it to be great for boosting the metabolic fire. In fact, butter is as important to Ayurvedic cooking and medicine as lubrication is for sex. You can read more about ghee here.
You can think of butter as “love oil for the body.” This oily love nectar, made from milk, is a medicine. It is also an excellent carrier (anupana) for herbs, in that it helps your body actually absorb what the medicine offers.
Okay, enough esoteric butter talk. Want science. You got it.
The emerging science on why butter is the bomb:
Butter heals the belly. It holds high levels of glycosphingolipid, a component of fat that helps heal the gut lining. Contrary to popular thought, we need some dietary cholesterol, especially to prevent belly issues like leaky gut and IBS. A study from British researchers found no association between saturated fat and arterial plaque. source
Butter helps us absorb vitamins and nutrients from the food we eat. Butter has a ton of Vitamins A, D, K and E, and it helps your gut absorb those nutrients. The Weston Price Foundation has been a long-time promoter of eating healthy fats for high-level nutrition absorption. source
Butter makes us younger, longer. Why? Because it has high amounts of something called the Wulzen Factor- a hormone-like substance that keeps the joints juicy and the bones strong.
Butter is high in minerals like manganese, zinc, copper, iodine, chromium and selenium.
Butter is high in healthy fatty acids that support your immune system, metabolism and nervous system.
Butter may keep your weight balanced! It has both omega-3, omega-6 fats, arachidonic and linoleic acids – important compounds that support brain function, cancer prevention and aid the body in storing muscle instead of fat! OMG.
Want more? Check out this butter article from Harvard.
Today my diet consists of a lot of warm and wet soups and stews. I eat high quality protein, including grass-fed beef, marrow-rich bones broths, seafood and chicken. I avoid all processed grains. I’ve traded those in for quinoa, black rice, sweet potatoes and rutabega. But mostly, I’ve fallen in love with butter and other high quality oils. I truly believe a shift from “burning sugar” to “burning oil” in my body has been the major factor in dramatically reducing gut inflammation and blood sugar weirdness inside my own body. Make sure to get your butter from a good source. I recommend only eating grass-fed butter from reliable farms and health markets. You can read more about why I love butter in my new book, Healthy, Happy, Sexy – Ayurveda Wisdom for Modern Women. Or even better, join my online yogini school where I will teach you how to cleanse with high-quality foods and yes, fats!
Katie Silcox is a nationally-known yoga teacher, New York Times Best Selling author and passionate spiritual mama. More at www.katiesilcox.com
Photos by Naomi Huober