Life Without Butter: Bitter Medicine
By: Thomas Griffin
Society today is a very health conscious one; more so than ever before. People are grudgingly chomping their way through bowls of grape-nuts in skim milk to shed a few extra pounds. Medicine is going right along with health foods, with more and more medications popping up to cure miscellaneous sicknesses. Grape-nuts and Night-quill have one thing in common: They are both miserable to ingest.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, has a famous quote: “Let food be thy medicine…” It makes sense; food contains nutrients that allow our body to run at its peak. However, I think that there is much more to his saying than plain ol’ nutrients. It is commonly known that emotions play a big factor in health as well. Unhappy people get sick more often, whether they are depressed or just plain stressed. This is where I blow your mind: Food can be physical and emotional medicine… AT THE SAME TIME!!!
Of course, I’m not going to spout bold statements like that without giving you reasons and solutions to go along with it. The secret to this approach is balance. Ingesting nutrient-rich items with happiness enhancers in balance is the key to healthy eating. No point in eating that wheat germ if you hate doing it, right? Is it good for your body? Yes. Is it good for your soul? Not without some culinary work. To keep it short: Add some butter.
As a chef originally rooted in French Cuisine, I love butter and cream. They add butter and cream in handfuls (well, with heavy cream it would be cupfuls). It makes everything taste good. They go a little overboard, perhaps; that’s why I bring up balance. Besides, butter is not nutritionally void. Butter contains all kinds of vitamins and minerals in its milk solids, which is more than I can say for margarine (don’t get me started). In the right amounts, butter can be a healthy part of our diet. Cream is the same but with around 50% less fat. It is very good emotional medicine and eating it makes me happy. Combined with wheat germ and a couple select herbs/spices, you have medicine for the body and soul.
Don’t get me wrong. Butter doesn’t need to be added to healthy, nutrient rich foods that already taste good. Some of the best commonly known ‘medicinal foods’ have little to no fat and still taste great. For example, a nice bowl of chicken soup will do wonders for a cold, as will a cup of green tea with a touch of honey (if you prefer it sweetened) and spiced with a little cayenne pepper. The difference between chicken soup and night-quill is the way it makes you feel. The difference is wanting to finish every last drop vs. wanting to spit it all out. Oh, and it doesn’t have any potentially uncomfortable side-effects.
Many modern medicines have side effects that aren’t really warranted for what it’s treating. A medicine that cures a stomach-ache, yet gives you a headache is not beneficial whatsoever. Nor is a medicine that cures your headache at the cost of a potential rise in blood pressure and diarrhea. I have good news: food has none of that (not counting blowfish or other poisonous foods). Eating healthy in the first place even prevents some of these things from happening!
So you, with the grape-nuts, it’s ok to use 2 % milk instead of skim. It’s ok to add a little honey to make the experience less dreadful. The benefits of removing the misery out of healthy eating outweighs the couple extra calories. And you, with the night-quill, give your gag reflexes a rest and have a delightful cup of tea instead. Now that food is your medic