Which is the Better Butter?

“With enough butter, anything is good.” Julia Child

If you grew up in my generation then you have heard your television utter the words, “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” a few million times. Perhaps that should have been our first warning, but in the rush to lower cholesterol in our diets, we dashed to buy up margarine instead of butter. 

Now we have a better understanding of the difference between LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). Simply lowering cholesterol turned out to be an oversimplification that led to increased intake of synthesized foods rather than natural solutions.

Lets start with a basic understanding of what margarine, butter and ghee are:

Margarine is artificially hardened vegetable oil. The oil is hardened using nickel or cadmium catalyst, both of which are toxic to our bodies. Up until recently, margarine also contained trans fats resulting as a by product of the process. As trans fats were found to raise LDL, they were banned in 2015 with a compliance deadline of 2018. It should be noted that some companies were given extensions until January 2020.

Butter is a dairy product made from the fat contained in milk. The quality of the milk determines the quality of the butter. Many feel strongly that cows that feed on GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) result in butter that is less than natural. Consequently, you will find dairies that proudly announce that they are grass-fed operations. While butter is all natural, it’s ingredients may not be! Taking time to make sure your butter came from an organization who prioritizes healthy cows over profits is a bit of extra work that pays health dividends.

Ghee is “clarified butter”. The water and milk solids are removed by a low heat, slow cooking process that keeps nutrients intact. This reduction means that the fat concentration in ghee is higher than in butter, while calories are nearly identical to butter. Ghee has recently become popular in the United States due to the keto diet. In India, ghee has been both a dietary and medicinal staple for centuries. 

Which is the better butter? For starters, margarine of today is NOT a natural product. The removal of trans fats didn’t mean that margarine became a “close to the earth” food. Rather, it became a safer artificially processed synthesis that may or may not have additional health concerns. Time will tell. 

If you would rather not wait on science to answer the margarine question, you can find solace in the fact that butter is no longer deemed evil by nutritionists. While eating it out of moderation can cause LDL levels to rise, finding a better balance will help remove risk. Here is where ghee becomes increasingly interesting. Research has shown that ghee slightly decreases LDL rates in addition to other health benefits.

According to Dr. Axe, ghee is a great source for fat-soluble vitamins, is free of almost all lactose, full of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) and can help with your gut health. Further benefits may apply, but it is important for you to use this short article as a jumping off point and do your own research.

My house is a no margarine zone. We do use both butter and ghee. All things being equal, I am intrigued by ghee and want to get to know it better. Even in the time I spent researching all three I am pulled in that direction. So, what do you think…which is the Better Butter?!

The Sacral Chakra

The second chakra is the Sacral Chakra. It means the “place of the self”. This chakra is home to your creative energy and sensuality, and is considered your source for enjoying life and all it has to offer! Water is considered a source of energy for this chakra.

Orange is the color that represents the Sacral Chakra. It is located right below your belly button. Consider this your “seat” for creative power, whether that be coming up with ideas that can be solutions to problems, creating actual objects such as works of art or decoration, or having a creative idea that can further your business or career. This is the center from where it originates. Pay special attention to this area the next time you need to “brainstorm” some ideas!

The other main role for this chakra is learning to take PLEASURE in life! This can be from an intimate relationship with your spouse or partner, good food, in being creative, or just appreciating the experiences we get to have here on earth. We are here for a purpose, and part of that is to ENJOY. 😊

When this chakra is overactive, it results in things like addiction and gluttony. Pleasure is a GOOD thing, we are SUPPOSED to experience it, and that shouldn’t make anyone feel guilty. However, if you are indulging in things or behaviors that are not healthy and life giving to you, then this may be unbalanced and out of whack. Symptoms of this can be addictions and obesity, and possibly even hormone imbalance and restlessness.

How do you balance an overactive chakra? Focus on drawing energy away from “pleasure” and focus it more on your “heart”.  Take time to assess whether or not a particular activity or indulgence is benefitting you. Just asking yourself, “Is this action I’m about to take good for me? Is it healthy and will it benefit me?” can be enough to check and alter your choices.

A sluggish Sacral Chakra that isn’t allowing energy to flow very well can happen if you spend a lot of time focusing on very practical issues, and you don’t allow yourself to enjoy the fruits of your labor before moving on to the next task or responsibility. Certain personalities are more prone to this. Symptoms of this can be depression, and decreased sex drive, feeling uncreative and unmotivated, and just kind of blah.

How do you energize a sluggish Sacral? Easy! ENJOY LIFE!! Go do something creative, like paint a picture. Ever been to a paint and wine studio? Two birds with one stone! Spend time enjoying your relationships, especially the closest ones you have. Be intimate with your partner, have coffee with your closest friend, call your mom.

Here are some oily suggestions for this chakra. A lower back massage with Cardamon can awaken a sluggish Sacral. A massage with Ylang Ylang or Neroli can calm an overactive one. And Orange and Sandalwood are excellent for helping to maintain a balanced Sacral Chakra.

As always, we are looking for balance in our lives. Be sure to enjoy all the wonderful things life has to offer while you are here visiting earth, and keep tabs on yourself so that you are aware if you start to fall over into a little too much indulgence. Happy enjoying, friends!

A Look at the Seven Chakras

Did you know your body is made of ENERGY? And so is the universe and everything that is in it?

I tend to geek out when I read about the seven energy chakras in the body. At first, I thought that perhaps they were a little “trendy” or somehow “new age”. I even questioned if they were maybe ungodly, or anti-Chrisitan. But the more I have studied and learned, the more convinced I am that this is an essential part of how we are designed. Whether you believe in creation or evolution or something else, you really can’t argue that we don’t just have a physical body. There is also a non-physical part to us. I believe it’s an integral part of every human, and that there is an ultimate design for it all to work together. It’s fascinating!!

The word chakra literally translates to “wheel”. It symbolizes the spinning, rotating energy that’s inside of us, and there are seven main centers for it. They start at the base of your spine and run right up it to the top of your head. It’s important for these centers to be aligned and in sync for your PHYSICAL and EMOTIONAL health to be at their peak! When you are balanced, the chakras give the right amount of energy to the right place. When one, or more, are out of balance, they can be giving too much or too little, and your overall health may suffer.

For the next few weeks, we are going to look at the Seven Chakras-what each one is, how to tell if it’s balanced and functioning well, and suggestions for ways you can work on getting an unbalanced energy back into balance. Today, let’s look at the foundation of the chakras, the Root Chakra.

The Root Chakra is called Muladhara in the Sanskrit language. The translation of Muladhara is two part – Mula means “root” and Adhara means “base” or “support”. This 1st chakra is the foundation for all the others. If your foundation isn’t stable, what’s built on top of it will most likely have some issues. Muladhara is located at the base of your spine, where your tailbone is. The role of this chakra is to “ground” you to the earth. Another way to say it is that this chakra connects your body’s energy to the earth. It stabilizes you, provides you with security. The chakras are represented by the seven primary colors, and the Root is always represented by the color red

This chakra, when open and not blocked, flows energy that facilitates our everyday needs. These can be basic needs, like food, shelter, water, financial security and safety, and also emotional needs like feeling loved and free from fear.  For most of us, these are things that are necessary for survival.

When this chakra is BALANCED, you feel peaceful when you think of things like money or shelter or safety. You also feel very connected to being “human” and the experiences that go along with that in relationships.

This chakra gets a LOT of use in our day to day lives, so it’s easy for it to be overactive, which means a little too much energy flowing through it. An overactive Root Chakra feels like jitteriness and anxiety, or fear. Sometimes an overactive chakra will be shouting messages of survival to us when there isn’t really any danger or threat. This can show up physically as lower back pain, hip issues and ovarian cysts and prostate issues. We aren’t designed to be in a constant state of fear and anxiety.

So what can you do to tone down an overactive Root? First, it’s important to make sure your survival needs are met. Your Muladhara gives you the energy to do just that, so work with it to take care of those practical issues. Then you can turn to spiritual practices to help calm this chakra. Focusing on connecting spiritually through quiet times of prayer and meditation needs to be done daily. Make it a priority to keep your energy balanced and healthy. Finally, find some ways to volunteer, and spread kindness and compassion wherever you go. This helps to divert energy to some of the other chakras and bring your Root down to a more healthy level. 

Sometimes the energy in this chakra may be too low, not enough flowing through. This can happen when most of your needs have typically been easily met. When that’s the case, you may be prone to day dreaming, and people may describe you as “having your head in the clouds”.  This isn’t necessarily a serious issue, but remember that being connected and balanced in our chakras is important, so dealing with a sluggish Root is just as important as dealing with an overactive one.

If you need some revving up in this energy, get reconnected! The earth is the source of energy for Muladhara, so reconnect with it. Get outside and enjoy nature! Go for a hike, dig in the dirt, or take a dip in the ocean.

Plants in various forms have been known to be extremely helpful in keeping energies balanced. Consider eating root vegetables to help harmonize your Muladhara. Essential oils have also been found to be extremely helpful in either getting energies back in balance, or offering support to energies that currently ARE in balance. Oils like Patchouli, Cedarwood and Vetiver can help calm an anxious, overactive energy. Nutmeg and Rosemary will help to stimulate a sluggish one. Use Bergamot and Frankincense to support a balanced chakra. Diffusing is a great option for using oils to help balance, but you can also use them in a foot massage, or apply them directly to your tail bone.