Acquired Butterphilia

Because of my finding that butter improved my mental speed, in 2012, Dustin Lee, a programmer in Bozeman, Montana, decided to try eating lots of butter. He thought he’d do it for a month.

He ate a half-stick (2 ounces = 57 grams) every day. Nothing fancy: Kirkland Salted Sweet Cream Butter. At first it was repulsive. He had trouble eating it. He ate it with other foods, such as soup or pancakes. Or he would take lots of tiny slices (without other foods). It felt like more butter than he wanted.

After about two weeks of this, however, he decided this is pretty good. He was enjoying it. He began looking forward to the slices. He made them larger. He prefers the butter hard, straight out of the fridge. He now enjoys eating the fat on meat. He stopped limiting how much animal fat he eats. (His wife still cuts it off meat.) Now he gets lots of fat from lots of sources. Butter is the easiest source.

His children (7 and 9 years old) don’t eat butter directly, but he allows them to eat as much as they want. They eat a lot more butter than other children. At other people’s houses, he jokes about it. Incidentally, he tried taking Vitamin D3  in the morning (around 7 am) but it made him so sleepy in the evening he stopped.

This impressed me. I’d been eating a half-stick of butter per day for a few years (half as much was less effective), but I always ate it with a little bit of meat, e.g., sliced roast beef (Berkeley) or roast pork (Beijing). That was less than ideal because I kept running out of the meat. I started eating it Dustin’s way (straight) and found it’s fine. It’s like dessert, halfway between ice cream and cheese.



19 Replies to “Acquired Butterphilia”

  1. Here’s a delicious (I think anyway) way to enjoy a little extra butter:

    Melt together (lowest temp possible):

    1 Stick of butter (I use Kerrygold salted)
    1 Tablespoon cocoa butter
    2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 T raw honey
    1/4 tsp vanilla

    I pour it on to a piece of parchment paper placed over a 7 inch square dish which has raised sides. Place in the fridge to harden. Before it becomes completely hard, score with a knife into 2 inch squares. Because of the high fat content, it melts quickly, so keep in fridge.

    If you don’t like salty chocolate, use unsalted butter – I would add a pinch though. I also add a splash of concentrated coffee – it seems to enhance the chocolate flavor. Using more cocoa butter should make it melt slower.

    I’m going to make a batch with a couple of tablespoons of raw crunchy almond butter. Shredded coconut (Mounds). Coconut & almond butter (Almond Joy).

    My cocoa butter/powder and vanilla are from bulletproofexec.


  2. Here’s another idea.

    In the past I have melted the butter in the microwave and then added grated parmesan cheese to it. Delicious.

    Your piece today, Seth, inspires me (with an idea from my spouse), to try something else: in addition to the melted butter and the parm I will add some cream and garlic powder and create what amounts to alfredo sauce. Sounds great. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  3. Ok I just whipped up a small amount of my Alfredo sauce idea; and you know what? It is damn good! Better than desert.

    No pasta necessary or desirable. 🙂

    Next time I’m making a much larger batch.

  4. @txomin: I would say there was a small increase and it seems fairly persistent. I don’t know that I *felt* my brain working more quickly but there was a bump on my graph. I don’t know that I would have continued eating butter just for the brain effects. I just enjoy it now.

    I think the description of it being between ice cream and cheese is pretty accurate.

  5. @tom: I haven’t tried any other type of butter (though I do know that unsalted butter is *not* something I enjoy eating directly). I may try returning to experimenting with this again but I found that once I went into “high fat mode” my brain speed scores didn’t change much no matter what type of fat I was primarily consuming.

  6. I’m open-minded about all this, but a half stick daily does seem like a significant variance from the norm. Is there any science suggesting hinting at whether or not this might ultimately cause health problems (esp atherosclerosis)?

  7. By the time I’ve put herb butter on my steak, and butter on my veggies, and also (gasp!) butter on my toast and oatcakes, I don’t feel a need for any more. Except sometimes on biscuits. Or on scones. And in sandwiches. Or just plain bread-and-butter. Or bread-and-butter pudding. And in all sorts of cooking of course.

    I see no difficulty in enjoying butter as part of the normal course of things. I understand that Americans eat margarine instead. How terribly ill-advised.

  8. @mike: This does give me some pause. If I read LCHF or paleo writers they reference papers that seem fairly convincing that fat (and in particular saturated fat) is unfairly demonized and that most people would be healthier if they substituted a major portion of their carbs with fat instead. I’ve been reading a lot on this recently and I’m still sticking with LCHF but it does bother me that I’m basing my opinion on what is still a minority view of fat and heart health.

    FWIW, I’ve been low carb for over 2 years at this point and my total cholesterol is in the healthy range, my HDL is pretty good (about as good as it has ever been – and higher than some earlier periods in my life) and my total cholesterol to hdl ratio is better than average. The only thing that makes me wonder is that my LDL is a little high (just high of the optimal range), but the more I learn about how that is measured and how reliable a heart health marker it is the less I’m concerned.

  9. Try bullet-proof coffee: tablespoon of non-salt butter mixed into the hot brew. I add cocoa and cream.

    Tasty + replaces the chewable breakfast + covers a chunk of your daily butter requirement.

    On top of that I have tried fermented cream for lunch over the past six months, but my conclusion is … pinchable fat.

  10. I found that eating butter this way worsened my tinnitus. I stopped eating butter straight and the tinnitus got better.

    But if I eat it with other food, it doesn’t cause problems.

    I am somewhat lactose intolerant (causes things like eczema in me).

  11. Funny! I’ve been eating a chunk of butter in my morning coffee & chewing a big chunk of butter before lunch for a couple of weeks now. I never found it disgusting, I only worried that other people would think I had gone insane if they saw me gnawing on straight-up butter. The flavor is great of course & the way it melts in your mouth isn’t really like any other food I know of.

  12. I was inspired by this blog on butter, went to Waitrose today and found this traditional Italian Butter called Gran Bonta in small 125 g packages plus another brand called Gold Top (lightly salted butter purely from Jersey & Guernsey Cream). I looked for the italina parma butter but could not find it. I started eating more butter in everything a few years ago and I think it contributed to completely healing an eczema problem I used to have and urticaria (itchy welts) I used to get int response to eating cheese and coffee/chocolate and other things my body seemed to be intolerant too. Hurray for butter I say!

  13. Added note: in the UK butter usually comes in 250 g blocks/sticks, so seeing 125 g of italian butter is unusual.

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