We have been told, for decades, that butter and other animal fats will cause heart disease, obesity, diabetes, many other illnesses and death. Yet the purveyors of this claim were faced with evidence that could not be denied. The French ate huge amounts of butter and other animal fats, yet had low rates of these diseases, and were far less obese than other people. This situation was described as “The French Paradox.”
Some research was done, and some scientists explained the French Paradox by claiming that all the benefit came from drinking a glass or two of red wine daily, which supposedly counteracted the “harmful” effects of all that fat. This explanation never convinced me, because I knew that many other nations consume similar amounts of red wine and do not experience the better health enjoyed by the French.
But it was not until I had the pleasure of actually eating traditional French butter sauces that I realized the truth of the matter—it is the butter and quality animal fats that have the beneficial effect, not the wine.
It is the butter that helps give the blessing of good health.
My Fear of French Sauces
I did not always know about the benefits of traditional animal fats, like butter. Like most people, I believed the bogus “lipid hypothesis,” thought that butter was harmful, and avoided it. “Rich French butter sauces” got so much bad press that I never used them.
After studying the research of Dr. Weston A. Price, and eating a diet based on his discoveries, I experienced great health improvements. This meant eating a diet rich in traditional animal fats, including butter. Yet I still did not eat French butter sauces. Besides, these sauces were supposed to be very difficult to prepare. I had avoided them for so long that it did not even occur to me to try them, except occasionally in restaurants. The restaurant versions were boring and did nothing for me.
Rich butter sauces such as Hollandaise and Béarnaise are a big part of traditional French cuisine, often served with red meat. It did not even occur to me to put such sauces in my cookbooks, Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue, though I now realize they go wonderfully with grassfed meat. My mind still was influenced by the old mesmerism that French butter sauces were to be avoided, at all costs, though this belief was subconscious.
I was so wrong.
My New Appreciation of French Butter Sauces
When I was reading a traditional French cookbook, I turned to the section on sauces. As I started to read the ingredients of butter sauces, I realized that their main components were butter and egg yolks, two of the healthiest foods on earth, and two of my favorite foods. I actually became aware of the ridiculous attitude I had—if butter and egg yolks are good outside a sauce, why would they not be good in the sauce?
And, as I read the recipes, I came to realize something else. These sauces did not sound that difficult to prepare.
I prepared a Béarnaise sauce to go with some grassfed steaks two weeks ago. This was easy to make, though it required concentration. The resulting sauce was mostly butter, and had nothing in common with the pallid restaurant versions I had tasted before. It was absolutely delicious, and greatly enhanced the flavor of the grassfed steak without overwhelming it. But the real surprise was how good I felt. I always feel good after eating good grassfed meat, but this time I felt even better. Much better. The sheer enjoyment of the wonderful taste, the immense satisfaction of eating so much butter, and the wonderful combination of animal fat and meat, left me feeling full of energy and happiness, ready to do just about anything.
It struck me that this wonderful feeling of satisfaction, of enjoyment, of well being, was my body rewarding me for eating something wonderful, something highly nutritious. I never felt anything like this when I drank red wine.
I had exactly the same feelings of contentment, satisfaction, energy, and well being after I ate some homemade Hollandaise sauce on Mother’s Day, combined with some grassfed tenderloin steak.
To me, this solves the “French Paradox.” It is the butter. And my next cookbook will have easy, traditional ways of making these wonderful sauces.
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