Butter vs. Margarine: The Results!

I have gotten so many e-mails and comments about this, so I must say I’m a little nervous to report these results! I mean, they’re not bad or anything, but it’s not quite as exciting as we were all hoping… If you missed the introduction to this experiment, go HERE to read about it.

Above: Left = Butter; Right = Margarine; Notice how the butter melted MUCH more quickly than the margarine... read my comments on this at the end of the post.

I began with the butter and margarine in the back yard. Mostly because I wanted to prevent the neighbors from thinking I’m crazy. There was little activity all morning, and since it was in the 90s that day, the butter and margarine started melting around noon. I figured this was okay – melted butter and margarine are still edible. In the early afternoon, I spotted this guy checking out the margarine. I had to photograph him through our back screen door, so I apologize for the fuzziness.

I’m guessing there were more squirrels involved in the feast, because when I went outside later that day to check on the plates, they were not quite as full.

I decided to leave them there overnight because there was still plenty left on the plates. This was probably a mistake, because around 5:00 am the sprinklers came on. Luckily oil and water don’t mix, so I didn’t lose any butter or margarine – I just had soggy plates. The butter/margarine was hardened on the bottom, and the water had pooled on top. That morning I drained the water off the top of the plates. A few hours later, there were ants all over the “butter water” on the sidewalk, but not much going on with the “margarine water”.

Late morning, the margarine plate looked like this...

...and the butter looked like this:

There was definitely less butter than margarine! I decided to move the plates to the front yard to see what happened. I caught this guy eating the butter – I took this photo through the living room window and he saw me and ran away, but this is just seconds after he was eating the butter:

I was gone most of this day, but when I returned late that afternoon I noticed a lot of insects in the butter and not much going on with the margarine:

Above: Margarine

Above: Butter

This guy must have been here for a while, because he eventually just got himself stuck as the butter started to harden towards the end of the day!

Finally, by the end of the second day, the butter was almost fully eaten and the margarine was only about half eaten. There were lots of insects stuck to the butter plate in various places, but only a few leaves and maybe one or two insects on the margarine plate.

Here’s what I learned from this experiment:

  • Margarine is dark yellow when it melts, whereas butter is more of a pale yellow. This must have something to do with the preservatives and “fake” ingredients in the margarine being more difficult to break down.

  • The animals tried both snacks, but the butter definitely got eaten more quickly. The margarine ingredients (listed HERE) included salt and buttermilk (among many other things), so there are still some “real” ingredients that tasted good to the animals.

  • The margarine melted much more slowly than the butter (see photos at beginning of this post). This must be because of all of the fake ingredients that are added into the margarine.

  • I’m really glad I used paper plates, or I would have had melted oil all over my sidewalk!

You can't really tell from the photo above, but the margarine was thick and most of it was leftover, whereas the butter plate only held a thin layer. I think I need to try this again in the fall, when it’s much cooler outside and the sticks of butter and margarine won’t melt. This will be a more accurate experiment, because I can do a better comparison of what’s leftover at the end of the day. SO, maybe I’ll try it again in few months – after all, I still have another stick of margarine in my fridge, and I won’t be using it for anything else!


Apple Cider Vinegar, Part 2 of 2

I had a great response to part 1 of this post yesterday, so if you missed it, start there!

More great uses for ACV...

Blood Purifier:
Certain things we eat or put on our bodies can get into the blood and make it thicken, which strains our heart. 1-2 tsp of ACV mixed with fresh water and taken 2 times per day can help thin the blood. It will create healthier blood, lower blood pressure and improve circulation.

Reduced Water Retention: People retain water for many reasons. However, in most cases, the kidneys are not filtering properly and helping you eliminate as efficiently as they could be. Since ACV is a blood purifier and helps balance the pH of the blood, it also helps kick the kidneys into gear and decreases water weight. If you are someone who is retaining water because of pregnancy or other health issues, mixing 2-3 tsp of ACV with water twice a day can help with this.

Weight Loss: ACV is commonly used, along with nutrition and exercise, to support weight loss. Since someone who is overweight often has an underlying issue such as hormonal imbalances, a sluggish liver, poor digestion, or slow metabolism, ACV’s supportive nature can work in many different ways to help with weight loss. Drinking 1-2 tbsp of ACV mixed with water a few times per day can really be effective in getting the body balanced and on board with shedding pounds.

These are just a handful of the many ailments ACV can be used to treat. As I said, it’s a miracle food! We use it at our house whenever one of us is sick. I also add it to our meals whenever possible. For example, on Tuesday night I made a slaw with beets, cabbage, garlic, green onions, parsley and cilantro. For the dressing, I used apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. It works really well in salad dressings or on cooked vegetables if you enjoy that vinegar-y taste.

And remember, buy the good stuff for the best results! Organic, raw, unfiltered, undiluted, and with no preservatives. Bragg is the brand you see most often, and it’s great.


Apple Cider Vinegar, Part 1 of 2

I’ve been wanting to blog about apple cider vinegar for quite some time, so I’m excited about today’s post. Apple cider vinegar is one of those powerful foods that can be used for countless reasons. If you don’t have a big jar of it in your cabinet, I recommend purchasing one! Go for the good organic stuff – it’s not too much more expensive, and the quality is superior. You want something that is raw and unfiltered as well, to get the most health benefits. Right now you can get a 16-ounce jar on Amazon.com for only $3.55! Normally I don’t push the product until AFTER I’ve touted all of its health benefits, so I apologize, but trust me – after reading the rest of this post, you’ll be ready to buy.

ACV is made from fresh apples. They are crushed and allowed to mature in wooden barrels, which boosts the natural fermentation qualities of the apples. It contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chlorine, sodium, sulfur, copper, iron, silicon, and fluorine – all of which are essential for our health. It is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial. The health uses and benefits are as follows:

Hydrochloric Acid: Remember a LONG time ago (last November, to be exact) when I talked about the importance of HCL in the stomach? And how taking antacids can actually really hurt your digestion and overall health? To review, stomach acid is absolutely necessary for activation of digestive enzymes and for assisting with breakdown and digestion of our food. Without it, our food will remain undigested, causing cramping, bloating, gas, reflux, and serious damage to our digestive tract. Many things can cause someone to have low stomach acid, such as aging, overuse of prescription medications, poor diet, or disease. While there are HCL supplements that can be used, you don’t want to take these forever because your body will stop producing its own stomach acid and become dependant on them. Apple cider vinegar is one way to stimulate production of stomach acid before a meal. Just take 1-2 teaspoons 15 minutes before eating, and see if you notice a difference in your digestion!

Healthy Hair: Since ACV and our hair are both mildly acidic, and shampoo and hair products are alkaline, ACV can be a good way to balance out the pH in our hair and remove buildup from our hair and styling products. Simply mix 1 tbsp ACV into 1 cup water and rinse your hair with this mixture after you shampoo and condition. People who have tried this have reported that their hair becomes much shiner and smoother than ever before! The acids and enzymes in the ACV can also help kill off the bacteria that causes dandruff. For a dandruff treatment, rub ACV all over your scalp and leave in for 30 minutes before rinsing. Some even say ACV can be used to treat lice, although personally if I had bugs living in my hair, I may go straight for the strong, toxic stuff!

For Colds, Coughs and Flu: ACV is a detoxifier and cleanser of our organs. It has the ability to break down fatty deposits, mucus and phlegm within the body, which can be beneficial when we are sick. It helps balance the natural pH inside our bodies, which will in turn create an uninhabitable living environment for whatever bad bacteria we have when we’re sick. A simple mixture of warm water, ACV, lemon juice, and maybe a little raw honey can be really powerful for someone who is sick – kids or adults.

Arthritis: If you suffer from arthritis, ACV can be used internally and externally for the joints. Soaking the painful foot or hand in a solution of ½ cup ACV and 1 ½ cups warm water will help ease joint pain. Also, drinking a glass of water with 2 tsp ACV and some raw honey will also help. This should be consumed 2-3 times per day when joints are particularly inflamed and painful. This goes for those with painful gout attacks, as well.

Tomorrow I'll wrap this up with even more health uses for ACV!


Want to Improve Your Memory? Try these things…

There is little more frustrating than not being able to remember something. Especially the stupid little things that you should remember, like the person you talked to yesterday who said they ran into your sister; or, when you meet someone new and forget their first name literally a split second after you shake their hand. Does that happen to anyone else?!

Memory tends to fade as we age. That is inevitable. This is partly due to the natural aging process, partly due to the nutrient deficiencies often seen in the elderly, and partly due to the decrease in brain stimulation that some elderly people experience. I know some elderly people who work hard to retain their memory power by doing things like Sudoku, crosswords, and other brain teasers. No matter what your age, doing activities that make you think – make your brain work a little harder than normal – are all good for memory. We need to keep those neurotransmitters fresh and active! (I have provided a Sudoku below if anyone wants to get going on their brain exercises for the day…).

Nutrition can also be a good tool for improving memory. Some people believe that cognitive function is directly related to nutritional status. In fact, some studies show that Alzheimer’s disease is directly correlated with a low intake of essential nutrients. The B-vitamins are crucial for memory and brain function. Thiamin, or vitamin B1, actually mimics the effects of acetylcholine inside our bodies. Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter involved in memory, and supplementation of thiamin has actually shown improved memory function in Alzheimer’s patients. Foods that contain high amounts of thiamin include sunflower seeds, tuna, green peas, black beans, lentils, and pinto beans.

Vitamin B12 is directly linked to nerve function. When someone has a B12 deficiency, they may experience things like tingly or numb hands or feet; memory loss; brain fog; and other cognitive issues. Many studies have shown that B12 levels inside the body tend to decline with age, and supplementation of B12 can be a powerful tool for those with impaired brain function. Foods high in vitamin B12 include calf’s liver, snapper, venison, grass-fed beef, lamb, scallops, shrimp and halibut.

Ginkgo biloba extract is an herb used to help increase memory and brain function. The studies on ginkgo biloba are ongoing, with some seeing positive results and others concluding that it does little for the brain. However, I have spoken with some people who have tried ginkgo biloba and had success. Ginkgo biloba not only increases our brain capacity, but it also normalizes acetylcholine receptors, which helps improve our brain function. Ginkgo biloba extract can be bought in supplemental form at most health foods stores, or ordered online.

Lecithin is a fatty substance found in animal and plant tissues such as egg yolks, soybeans and organ meats. This is one reason it is so important to eat the entire egg, not just egg whites! Since lecithin is made up of fat, and our brain is mostly fat, it makes sense that a diet high in lecithin will help the brain. Our brain depends on these healthy fats to keep the cell walls in tact so proper messages can be sent and received. In addition to brain health, lecithin helps prevent cardiovascular disease by increasing excretion of cholesterol and bile acids, and aiding in proper fat digestion. It also helps keep our liver healthy.

Finally, increased vitamin E in the diet can help protect our nerve cells. It acts as an antioxidant and prevents free radical damage to nerve cells, which are crucial for brain function. Whole food sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, spinach, papaya, and leafy greens.

Did you finish the Sudoku yet?


Butter vs. Margarine Experiment

Remember when I talked about the difference between butter and margarine (here) and why butter is so much better for you? It’s healthier, it’s made from whole foods, and I don’t think anyone will argue with the fact that it tastes MUCH better.

Well, I’ve been wanting to conduct an experiment. I heard once that if you put a stick of butter and a stick of margarine outside, the animals and bugs will eat up the butter but basically ignore the margarine. The idea is to prove that even those critters will choose butter over margarine, because it’s a real, whole food. To them, the highly processed margarine is not even a food, so they will avoid it.

So, today is the day! I have no idea what the outcome will be, but hopefully my hypothesis is correct. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I bought Land-O-Lakes Pure & Creamy Margarine, and Organic Valley Pasture Butter (those lucky squirrels!). The ingredients in each of these are below:

Margarine: liquid soybean oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, water, buttermilk, salt, soy lecithin, sodium benzoate, vegetable mono and diglycerides, artificial flavor, vitamin A palmitate, colored with beta carotene

Butter: organic pasteurized sweet cream, salt, microbial cultures

I labeled 2 paper plates and placed the butter and margarine in the middle of the yard. I decided it was only fair if they were next to one another, so the animals could explore both options and make a choice. I may move these plates to the sidewalk later today to give the insects better access.

Stay tuned this week to see what happens! I have no clue if this will take one day or all week, but I’ll keep you updated. Also, it’s supposed to be in the 90s today in Denver, so that could make things interesting as well – the animals may be drinking their butter and margarine!

(My neighbors definitely think I’m crazy…)