Have you ever taken butter out of the fridge and tried to spread it on a slice of toast?
You completely destroy that toast with the rock-hard butter.
But it doesn’t need to be this way.
Butter used to be soft—right from the fridge.
I first learned this from the 2013 book “Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life“.
If you can use a finger to push into cold butter—it’s passed the butter test.
Failing the butter test is a simple demonstration of everything that’s wrong with our food—and it’s slowly killing us.
Why is butter hard now?
Back in the day, when farms were getting bigger and were shipping food farther and farther—the butter was too soft to be shipped well.
Butter would melt during the trip and show up all disfigured.
So what was the solution?
Well, if you fed cows cottonseed oil (toxic industrial seed oil, like Crisco), the butter would be hard.
Now it could ship far and wide.
Why did the butter become hard?
You know how coconut oil is hard when it’s cold—but fish oil isn’t? That’s the difference between saturated and unsaturated fat.
Saturated fats are hard when they’re cold.
Taking the cows off of regular ol’ grass and feeding them Crisco made their butter much higher in saturated fats.
Now the butter was hard and easier to ship.
(We’ve also selected breeds with more volume output, like Holstein’s, over nutrient quality such as Jerseys or Guernseys, article.)
Unfortunately, what giant feedlots are feeding cows today is much worse.
A paper By-Product Feedstuffs in Dairy Cattle Diets in the Upper Midwest, and this one from 2012, covers the foods fed to cattle.
- Cottonseed (Crisco-esque)
- canola meal
- bakery waste (sometimes with plastic wrappers on it still)
- stale candy
- leftover restaurant grease
“The feeding rate of high-sugar candies should be limited to 2 to 4 lb. per cow per day.”
“Restaurant grease is not recommended for lactating dairy cows because of concerns about milk fat test depression related to trans fatty acids found in hydrogenated vegetable oils. Because the fatty acid profile of vegetable oil is more highly unsaturated than animal fat, its feeding rate should be limited to 0.5 lb per cow per day, and it should not be fed along with whole oilseeds.”
Now, I don’t think saturated fats are the cause of heart-disease like many others do.
(A state-of-the-art August 2020 review in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found no evidence that limiting saturated fat will prevent heart disease or mortality.)
My main point is that they took the cows off their natural diet and fed them garbage.
Yes, now their fat is much more saturated.
But because they’re eating empty, toxic calories, there are less nutrients in the butter (and their meat/organs, etc.)
Take a look at the colour difference between these two butters:
The main colour from milk/butter comes from beta-carotene—an important source of vitamin A. You can literally see the difference in nutrient density.
Pasture-raised Grass-Fed Cattle + Nutrient Density
Now that cows aren’t eating grass, they cannot take up the nutrients they normally would get and put it in the milk. Depending on the specific study, for dairy—it’s about:
- 4x more vitamin E in grass-fed
- 4x more beta-carotene in grass-fed
- 4x–5x more CLA—anti-cancer fat-burning acid in grass-fed
- 2x better omega-6 to omega-3s ratio in grass-fed
- 60% more omega-3s in grass-fed
Now when you’re looking at grass-fed *meat*, it seems to be a 5x better omega-6-to-3 ratio and 5x the amounts of omega-3s. (source)
And this is just a few of the things we know to look for. (There could be other things at play that we’re unaware of.)
Vitamin k2—the newly discovered vitamin
Anyways, I want to quickly get back to vitamin K2—”The little vitamin that could save your life.”
Researchers only found out what vitamin K did in 1972. We still don’t even know how much of it we need. In a 2012 review on vitamin K, researchers wrote:
“there is controversy regarding biochemical measures of subclinical vitamin K deficiency and as a consequence, the true dietary requirement of vitamin K is unknown.
And where do we get it?
“[Vitamin k2—type MK-4] formed from phylloquinone is limited to organs not commonly consumed in the diet including kidney. The exceptions are dairy products with [Vitamin k2—type MK-4] found in milk, butter, and cheese, albeit in modest amounts.”
Vitamin k2 low in dairy because almost all dairy isn’t 100% grass-fed anymore.
And I don’t know of anyone eating nose-to-tail and eating kidneys or liver.
So, why does vitamin K2 matter?
Not getting enough means:
- Have weaker bones and getting osteoporosis—increasing risk of fractures
- Increases the risk of heart disease and mortality
- You might get chronic inflammation (vitamin k2 seems to help modulate cytokines, study)
- Might get bleeding gums when flossing, and worse oral health like periodontal disease
Vitamin K2 works with calcium. It draws calcium into the bones to get stronger.
And it draws calcium out of veins and arteries, lowering calcified plaques, reversing heart disease.
It also helps blood coagulate properly.
When it was first found by the Germans, it was called Koagulationsvitamin—which is how it became vitamin K.
Fixing these issues, especially reversing plaque in the arteries, would give you:
- more energy
- better blood flow
- better bone density, allowing for heavier weights when lifting
- and more strength
(As we know, having better fitness improves your muscular gains by being able to get in better rep quality and training output.)
Vitamin k2 + supplements
Here in Toronto, Canada, I literally cannot find 100% grass-fed dairy.
The closest thing I found was searching online, was a Geocities-styled website for a farm 500km from me. They wrote that it was illegal for them to sell their 100% grass-fed dairy publicly because they don’t have the quota to do so from our government.
Big dairy in Canada doesn’t 100% grass-fed since it wouldn’t sell. The consumer wants the cheapest-price—and that’s how feedlots end up feeding cows restaurant grease.
If you’re elsewhere, you might be able to find things like Kerrygold butter or a local option.
In the meantime, I’m supplementing with vitamin K2 (mk-4 form), and buying eggs from pasture-raised chickens who roam around eating clovers and bugs. (Vitamin K2 is in the yolks.)
And I ought to be eating more liver/kidney/organ meats… I suppose.
Anyways, it’s funny how we all feel the need to take (expired) fish oil to get more omega-3s (CBC story), vitamin K2, vitamin E supplements, and whatever else etc. to become healthier and stronger.
All of those supplements could all be avoided with the simple solution of taking better care of our animals (and our soil.)