This morning I read an article in which the Harvard School of Public Health offered readers their answer to the question posed in the title of this post. Read that answer for yourself at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine-features/is-butter-really-back/
In view of my own deliciously buttery experience of the last four or five months, I responded to Harvard SPH by email. As I found myself composing that email with surprising enjoyment, I’ve decided to take a first ever “blog plunge” and share my words with anyone else who might care to read them. Hopefully with the same enjoyment which I experienced in the writing of them.
I live around the corner of the planet from you lot. Or, more correctly perhaps, on the bottom side of your top side. A Caucasian male, I will turn 68 next week.
Notwithstanding “adherence to healthy food pyramids,” Weight Watchers, calorie counters, et al., I have been obese for 58 years. I have also suffered frequent and severe gout attacks since my thirties and am regularly awoken in the middle of the night by throat scorching bouts of acid reflux. The only good things about my health are a still miraculously healthy and strong heart (happiness IS the best medicine!) plus only moderately elevated total cholesterol (good genes, apparently!) My excrement smells like… Shit quite frankly. Shit on steroids…
Not a scientist, analyst or other clever being, I’m just a loving hubby and dad, who, all my life, has followed USDA Dietary Guidelines in vain attempt to control his weight.. Perhaps not entirely vain, to be truthful, as I HAVE managed to never crack the 140 Kilogram barrier yet!
All of that is, however, history now.
Five months ago I heard of LCHF and decided to give it a go.. I kicked into touch breads, biscuits, scones, croissants. Also all other wheat, corn, oats (and other grain and cereal based) manufactured foods. Along with them went sugar, sweets (only chocolate was and remains stubborn!), potatoes, sweet potatoes and beetroot, So too any and all manufactured foods labelled “fat free” or “low fat” or “diet” or (worst or all!) “healthy”. I also said “goodbye” to sunflower, peanut, canola and olive oils.. And to anything and everything made from those oils.. Out of the same exit went beer, all carbonated sodas and bottled fruit juices. I have however stuck with my 20 odd daily cups of coffee though (a half century habit that has kept me sane!), to which I have now added the odd (surprisingly refreshing) cuppa Ceylon or herbal tea.
In place of all that stuff I then began eating – every single day – at least 200 grams of red meat or chicken (with the delicious skin on!), as well as at least four whole eggs, 100 grams of butter, 200 grams of hard, full fat cheese (no typos here!) and 250 to 500 grams of double cream Greek Yoghurt. Every day. I have tended to avoid fish though, simply as – no matter how unarguably tasty it is – eating fish has always uncomfortably pricked my conscience.
Into this deliciously fatty and energising mix I toss (excuse the pun!) lettuce, tomato, sweet pepper and cucumber salad, plus as much aubergine, green beans, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and avocado as I care to consume. The cabbage and Brussels sprouts are especially, decadently delicious when baked in a fatty butter, blue cheese, full cream and walnut sauce! Just heaven! Daily fruit intake is one small orange or apple, plus seasonal fruits such as mango, papaya and strawberries. Oh, and a few seeds and nuts as well.
Most astoundingly, a three egg, mushroom, cheese and tomato omelette breakfast (fried in butter, naturally!) somehow manages to ensure that I no longer ever feel hungry (or tempted to snack) before my double cream yoghurt, fruit and nut lunch. I still find this hard to believe or understand… Contrast this to what I used to experience following my “earlier life breakfast” of either cooked oats or “Special K” (why is “Crap” not spelled with a “K” anyway?), marmalade toast and coffee. By 10:30am I would be contemplating chewing my fingers off, so out would come the biscuits, Lays, Muesli “Energy Bars” and such like. Or maybe just a Big Mac.
That’s all gone now. Forever. I now suffer NO more gout or acid reflux events. My total (random) cholesterol has declined from 6.9mmol/l (February) to 5.4mmol/l today. My blood pressure is stable at 120/70. I have also waved a happy farewell to each one of the 17 Kilograms of visceral fat which have (so far!) departed from me.
This body weight change (and slight shape shift!) has also made it far more comfortable for me to commence exercising regularly. I am now able to jog a fair distance nonstop (having battled to walk one kilometre not so long ago!), and I can also proudly do deep squats (50 of those!), as well as sit-ups (sort of, anyway) and box jumps. I am also able to dead lift a weight of 120 Kilograms! More – at long last – than I myself weigh! Wow! How cool is that!?
As miraculous as it may seem, I’ve also been able to stop buying “Glade” aerosol toilet freshener. For my use anyway. Visitors who still follow the USDA (or Mediterranean diet) food pyramid recommendations are another matter altogether. For them, I also keep handy my remaining few Rennies and Gaviscon antacid tablets.
Is butter back? You betcha!
Here’s wishing you all a long, happy, healthy, active and saturated fat filled life.
George, South Africa