Why am I so obsessed with butter?! Short answer: because it’s a great food for fertility and reproductive health!
The photo below was a text from a dear friend, which simultaneously cracked me up and got me thinking about all the reasons that I love (grass-fed) butter SO MUCH. Like, a lot, friends. A whole lot.
Food for Fertility + Reproductive Health
In my opinion, grass-fed butter is a health food, although that certainly isn’t what I was taught growing up.
In fact, I grew up on a low fat diet, high carb diet, mostly because that is what my parents were taught was healthy (food pyramid fail). We regularly consumed things like margarine, processed cereal grains and low fat dairy products. I was overweight as a child, and had gawd awful periods from the onset of menstruation — which of course I’d later learn was the beginning of endometriosis.
Meanwhile, even well into adulthood, I would *crave* the fattiest foods I could dream up — I loved rich foods like cheese, BUTTER and oily things, but was always told that these things were bad for me. I felt shame about wanting to eat them. I didn’t understand then that these cravings were my brilliantly wise body’s way of asking (read: begging) for the nutrients it was (much to my unknowing) being deprived of.
Fat Soluble Vitamins: Fertility Food Superheroes
Enter the amazing fat soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K, all found in butter. Other nutrition and fertility food superheroes like omega 3 fatty acids and linoleic acid are also found in grass-fed butter, and are important nutrients for reproductive health. These goodies are essential to healthy tissue development (hellllllo, abnormal endometrial cell growth —> endometriosis), hormone balance (fertility support!), immune health (did you know that endometriosis behaves much like an autoimmune disease?) and more.
Can we get these nutrients from other foods too? Yes! Eggs, liver, avocado, olives, grass-fed full fat yogurt, cheese and cream, dark leafy greens, grass fed beef, are all great sources of nutrient rich, fat soluble vitamins that serve as great foods for fertility and reproductive health. As with all things, bio-individuality is key — what works for one person may not be best for the next. This is where working with a qualified provider can be helpful.
What About Endometriosis and PCOS?
For Endo and PCOS folks, you might be thinking “but I was told dairy was BAD for me! I’m so confused!” The short answer is it depends on a lot of factors. The quality of the dairy, for one. Conventional dairy is a bummer and should be avoided. Also, your unique genetic make up and the state of your gut health and immune system also play a role. This is where a conversation about epigenetics (the concept that your environment, ie what you eat/how you live etc can directly influence your gene expression) may be helpful, but that is a whole other blog post.
It’s possible that you don’t tolerate conventional dairy but would tolerate grass fed butter. It’s possible that you might tolerate good quality dairy after doing some work to heal the gut. Or, it’s possible that dairy really isn’t for you, in which case you can chow down on the other yummy, high quality fats — the options are bountiful!
It’s a Forever Kind of Love
It took a lot of self education, eventually formal education — and a lot of research for me to come around to the idea that good quality fats were actually my friend. But when I finally did, I began to notice amazing things happening to my body. Less (and eventually NO) endometriosis pain. Clearer skin. More energy. And I got sick less. This is when I fell in love with butter (and a whole lot of other fatty, yummy foods). It’s been a love affair that I expect will last a lifetime.
XO — Merritt