Recently, the grocery store closest to me has started rearranging its isles in bizarre ways. (I walked the whole store twice and then had to ask someone before I found the vinegar!) More irritatingly, they’ve also been using the process to revise their product lines. “Middle of the road” products are rapidly disappearing, leaving only nutritionally devoid products on one hand and crazy expensive ones on the other. The new divide was particularly noticeable in its impact on what my husband jokingly calls the “base of the [food] pyramid” in our house: butter.
When I was little, the grocery store had two choices – butter and margarine. End of story. These days, there can be entire cases dedicated to various permutations appealing to every niche diet. Happily, there is a clear and easy hierarchy to butter.
From good to best, it goes like this:
Conventional, Cultured Conventional, Pastured, Pastured Cultured.
Pastured butter comes from cows that have been grass fed; they’re healthier, have more nutrients in their diet, and pass that rich nutrient density into their milk/butter.
Cultured butter has been exposed to healthy, probiotic bacteria (similar to those in yogurt), boosting its ability to support a healthy gut.
Pastured Cultured butter has the double benefit of being super nutrient dense and bearing a probiotic boost.
Conventional butter is typically from cows fed a standard diet based on grains/ other commercial feed.
(Organic falls somewhere in the middle, above straight conventional and below pastured.)
The best thing about butter is that no matter what kind you get it’s still great for you, and you can feel good about eating it!
(Obviously, that does not hold true for individuals with dairy sensitivities/allergies, though many can still tolerate and benefit from ghee. Also, to be clear margarine and butter-based “spreads” that are low fat, blended with other oils, etc. don’t count!)
So if your grocery store decides to pull a prank like mine and start eliminating your preferred choices, take heart. As long as it’s really butter – not some sad impostor – you’re all good, no matter what you choose.
Is butter the “base of the pyramid” at your house, too?