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06:19am, 31/10/13

As the old nursery rhyme from my childhood would have it, the poor king wanted nothing but a little butter for his bread; however, as the cow hadn’t given any milk that day, he had to put up with marmalade instead!

Slab of butterFor 30 or so years now, people have been told that they shouldn’t eat butter, and they should put not even marmalade on their bread, but an emulsion of rape oil and trans fats which in my opinion tastes disgusting however much the manufacturers try to hide the nastiness of it by adding a tiny drop of buttermilk or olive oil to the mix! As you might gather from this, I have never been a fan of margarine and have always stuck to pure, natural butter.

According to a small voice crying out in the wilderness, I now know that I have never been wrong in this! This particular heart specialist is telling us that in fact not only is butter good for a body, but that other saturated fats and red meat are too. That they are not only not bad for the heart but are actively good, providing protection from heart disease rather than causing it. Phew… In spite of the fact that I have always believed intrinsically that fats, especially butter, and red meat are good for you, it is a relief to know that I brought my sons up right after all!

Of course, the “establishment” have immediately closed ranks against this one small voice. I read for instance that one health advisor has said that successive governments have had “good evidence” that the advice to eat a diet low in saturated fats is the way to go. Pardon? I read extensively on matters to do with health and I am not especially stupid, but I have seen no real evidence to back this statement – certainly no true science, but not even much in the way of statistical evidence. As I mentioned in a past post on this site, it would seem that all this “low fat” business was kicked off by a senior American doctor who was advisor to a US President back in the 50s and having decided that saturated fat “caused” heart disease, spent the rest of his life trying to prove it, and failed – poor soul. Some people would say that this is because methods were not so good then, that we have more advanced science nowadays, and this is probably true. But at the same time, I have found that the better science generally tends to disprove these old-fashioned theories rather than prove them!!

But the whole crux of the matter lies with the huge industry that has grown around the “low fat” advice. Low fat diary products abound, animals (especially pigs) have been bred to carry less fat, etc, etc. The lobby to keep things as they are, so that people can make oodles of money out of mistaken, and probably in my opinion quite dangerous advice, must be incredibly strong! No government is going to counteract the advice of the last 30 years or so in a hurry – especially not with jobs, etc. in the food industry at stake. Low fat crème fraiche and yoghurt will unfortunately be on our shelves for many years to come, I am sure. At least we can still buy whole milk and full fat cheese and what have you, even if the average piece of belly pork has not enough fat to make decent bacon!!

And that is what we must do: vote with our feet and buy butter and whole milk diary products, red meat and all of it until the manufacturers find that their sugar-laden, low fat products are no longer selling as they once did. The main reason though for buying the nourishing, natural healthy stuff in place of the horrible, chemical-laden rubbish is that it is by far the better option for our health and well-being.

Some may say that such products are more expensive and they can’t afford to buy them. But actually, comparing the price of butter to margarine in the supermarkets, butter – especially the “own-brand” sort which is just as good – can work out cheaper than the fake spread. Red meat can be more expensive if you buy steak or roasting joints, but stewing cuts or mince are normally not so expensive, and lamb and pork is still fairly inexpensive. If you happen to like offal – which I do – you will find that it is actually cheap! From a butcher, you can buy enough liver for a meal for two for little over £1… In my book, I try to show how easy it can be to cook from scratch and using cheaper cuts can actually be more economical than buying, for instance, a ready-made pizza which is very, very high in calories and low in nourishment, and leaves you hungry again very quickly and ready to spend yet more on food or snacks – which is of course exactly what the food manufacturers want you to do!!

In my mind and looking at my still trim body, which is full of health and energy at over 60, there is no contest when I am out shopping…