Earth Balance Original Natural Buttery Spread

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Written by: Cathy Tenzo.  A few years ago I discovered that I was severely lactose intolerant, so I switched from vegetarian to vegan overnight. It wasn’t much of a problem for me overall, but I love buttered toast and baked potatoes with butter and chives. I find most margarine to be just plain yucky. What’s a girl to do? Earth Balance Original Natural Buttery Spread  to the rescue. I got to keep my treats, and I like it just as much as butter (and my digestive system is much happier.)

Photo of Earth Balance Original Natural Buttery Spread

Earth Balance Original Natural Buttery Spread

What are the Features of this fine product?

  • Vegan
  • Lactose-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Expeller-Pressed Oils (uses no harsh chemical solvents)
  • 0 grams Trans Fat
  • Casein-Free
  • Non-GMO
  • Available in 15 oz. and 45 oz. tubs
  • Rich, buttery taste
  • Creamy, spreadable texture

I must admit to being a little concerned before I sampled it. People have been recommending it to me for years, but I figured I’d stick with butter. A lot of alternative products can have tastes that take quite a lot of getting used to, so I didn’t figure I’d try. I was pleasantly surprised from the very first bite. I think it tastes the same as butter, and it melts well. I’ve also used it in baking, and to make gravy, and in every instance found it to perform just as well as butter. That’s good, because it has quite a few benefits in addition to being vegan and lactose-free. Natural butter contains small amounts of trans fats, which has been shown to adversely affect cholesterol and raise the risk of heart disease. The risk may be small, but I’d rather have the Earth Balance Original Natural Buttery Spread, which has no trans fats. You can’t be too careful where your heart is concerned. I’m also glad that the product is Casein-Free. Some products claim to be vegan, but contain a small amount of the dairy protein casein. I’d rather keep my vegan products fully vegan, and this is really important to those who become vegan for ethical reasons.

This is a great product, but it’s not going to work for everyone. Some people will only be happy with butter, and the product does contain soy, which causes allergies in some people. For those people, Earth Balance has a fabulous soy-free alternative made out of coconut butter called Earth Balance Soy-Free Natural Buttery Spread. They’ve also added Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread to their line, and that is also soy-free. Other options for vegans include olive oil or some varieties of processed margarine, but I prefer the flavor and consistency of this product on my toast to those alternatives.

The only major problems I have with this product are price and availability. The average tub of Earth Balance Original Natural Buttery Spread will set you back at least $5, and whipped butter in tubs often goes on sale for a lot cheaper than that, especially during the holidays. In addition, Earth Balance can be harder to find in the stores–you’re never going to go into a grocery store that doesn’t have butter, but only the most well-stocked or progressive chains carry Earth Balance, so you may need to plan ahead before shopping. Finally, some health advocates claim that butter may be a better choice for you because it’s less-processed, so that’s a decision you’ll have to make if you can eat dairy. I think that the elimination of trans fats counters the fact that the recipe is more complicated. Earth Balance also is not genetically-modified (GMO), while some butter has been, so this also puts it on top of my health scorecard.

Pros:

  • Vegan and Lactose-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Non-GMO
  • Expeller-Pressed Oils (uses no harsh chemical solvents)
  • Creamy texture
  • Rich, buttery taste

Cons:

  • Can be more expensive than butter
  • Harder to find in regular grocery stores than butter
  • More processed than butter
Photo of Alicia Silverstone's vegan cookbook "The Kind Diet"

Actress Alicia Silverstone's vegan cookbook, "The Kind Diet", recommends Earth Balance

I’m not the only fan of this product. Alicia Silverstone, who starred in the blockbuster Clueless, is a well-known proponent of veganism, and she recommends Earth Balance Original Natural Buttery Spread in her vegan cookbook The Kind Diet (2009).

Conclusion:

Even though my body made the decision to give up butter, I’m not sorry I had to switch. Earth Balance Original Natural Buttery Spread is a delicious alternative that works in every situation I’ve wanted to use it, and I feel good about the health benefits it conveys. I don’t mind the extra expense because I know it’s going to thrill my taste buds. And when it comes down to it, isn’t it all about what’s yummy?

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Earth Balance Original Natural Buttery Spread, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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