MSU offers free online course on Laura Ingalls Wilder

In 1974, families in the United States became acquainted with the Ingalls family through NBC’s pop culture phenomenon “Little House on the Prairie.” Forty years later, the life and works of novelist Laura Ingalls Wilder — on whom the television series was loosely based — are still being studied, read and taught.



Pamela Smith Hill, history faculty at Missouri State University, will begin a free online course “Laura Ingalls Wilder: Her Work and Writing Life” on Sept. 22, and she will offer another course on Wilder’s later works in early 2015, according to a release from the university.

This is Missouri State’s first semester offering Massive Open Online Courses — a recent trend in higher education.

For those who haven’t previously read Wilder’s books, Smith warns that the required reading for the course will deviate greatly from small screen adaptation.

“The book ‘Little House on The Prairie,’ for example, takes place on the Osage Diminished Indian Reserve in Kansas, not in Walnut Grove, Minn., where the TV series is set,” Hill said in the release. “Neither the real nor the fictional Ingalls family settled in Walnut Grove.”

Hill grew up approximately 45 miles from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home in Mansfield, Mo., and she — an aspiring author herself — was fascinated with the idea of a successful writer being from her own area of the world.

“I’d always thought writers were from New York or New England; I had no idea that someone who wrote books could live and work in the Missouri Ozarks. The Little House books inspired me to keep writing,” she said in the release. “When I moved to South Dakota, where Wilder set five of her novels, I began to appreciate more keenly the depth of Wilder’s craft and her achievement in American children’s literature.”

The course will explore Wilder’s writing life and the first four books in the Little House series, and more specifically, the relationship between Wilder’s personal life and her fiction. Hill also hopes to answer many questions about the qualities that make Wilder’s work stand the test of time.

Want to take the course?

Go to to enroll. Anyone can register. You don not need to be a student at MSU. The online course is free and does not provide college credit. Interested participants can enroll at any point during the eight weeks of the class. Participants will need access to several of Wilder’s books, which may be available at local libraries.


Butter Vs. Margarine –


Butter is America’s best and most easily absorbed source of Vitamin A., which is needed for a wide range of functions in the body, from maintaining good vision, to keeping the endocrine system in top shape. Vitamins A and D in butter are essential for the proper absorption of calcium and hence necessary for strong bones and teeth. Butter also contains the other fat-soluble vitamins E and K.

Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents. Short and medium chain fatty acids in butter protect against pathogens and have strong anti-fungal effects (that means yeast and Candida.)

Butter is rich in trace minerals, especially selenium, a powerful antioxidant. Ounce for ounce, butter has more selenium per gram than either whole wheat or garlic. Butter also supplies iodine, needed by the thyroid gland (Vitamin A is also needed by the thyroid gland.)

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Butter has appreciable amounts of butyric acid which are used by the colon as an energy source. Butyric acid is also a known anti-carcinogen. Lauric acid, also in butter is a medium chain fatty acid, which is a potent antimicrobial and antifungal substance. Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which gives excellent protection against cancer.

When looking for good quality butter, raw and cultured is best and which may be hard to find. Organic butter is your next best choice, with store-bought butter being at the bottom. Butter made from grass-fed cattle is better for you because it has more of the healthier medium-chain fatty acids (and less E. coli.) I choose Kerrygold butter because I don’t get to the farm often, you can read about it here.


When Dr. Weston A. Price studied native diets in the 1930′s, he found that butter was a staple in the diets of many supremely healthy peoples.

Now, a little history on margarine: Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had invested money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together. They added yellow coloring to the white substance and sold it to people to use in place of butter.  All margarines are made from assorted vegetable oils that have been heated to extremely high temperatures. This possessing may be unsafe for your health.

Now, comparing margarine and butter:

  • Both have the same amount of calories.
  • Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams in margarine. Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.
  • Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few—only because they are added.
  • Most people think butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods. Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.
  • Margarine is very high in trans-fatty acids which are carcinogenic and mutagenic. The US federal government requires the labeling of all food in such a way as to disclose amounts of trans-fat in products. Many brands label their products legally now as “zero grams” trans-fat, which in fact means less than 500 mg trans-fat per serving. I don’t know how they get away with this one.
  • Some studies show that margarine triples the risk of coronary heart disease, increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol), increases the risk of cancers up to five fold and lowers the quality of breast milk. Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% when compared to eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study. Other studies sponsored by the margarine promoters refute this.
  • Other studies show that margarine decreases immune response and decreases insulin response.
  • And here’s the most disturbing fact. . . Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC. . .Yum.

Who eats margarine? Humans do. Now, here’s a test you can do at home:

Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:

  • No flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something.)
  • Margarine does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value; nothing will grow on it.





Is butter bad for you? For decades, the food processing industry has used advertising campaigns to successfully lie about the urgent and proven need to replace “unhealthy” butter with “healthy” margarine. But now we know that this teaching was nothing more than made-up. In the battle of margarine vs butter, you may now be surprised which comes out on top.

As far back as the 60s and 70s sufficient scientific evidence proved that butter was far better than margarine for good health. Who knew? Still, the fake food industry relentlessly convinced  us to eat margarine for our health. The fake food industry merged with Madison Avenue, the AMA, and mainstream media to instill a whopper of a lie by reinforcing margarine as better for you. They claimed in unison that saturated fats made you fat and promoted cardiovascular disease.

Damage from Fake Fats that Replace Favorable Fats
Partially hydrogenated fatty acids in margarine damage arteries and blood vessels. They lower good cholesterol, and raise blood levels of triglycerides and lipoproteins leading to cardiovascular damage. They also raise C-reactive protein, an inflammatory and cellular dysfunction marker. Worse yet, they inhibit the utilization of essential omega 3-fatty acids as wells a prostaglandins, which eliminate blood clots. Additionally, a diet high in partially hydrogenated fatty acids has been linked to insulin resistance and type 2 Diabetes.

The NY Times covers hydrogenated oil health issues while still promoting saturated fat nonsense. In order to function properly, your lungs, heart, immune system liver, bones, hormones and cell membranes all require high quality saturated fats – in moderation of course. Fatty acids and cholesterol are needed for healthy cell membranes, hormone and vitamin D production, and the transport and utilization of important vitamins and minerals. Now even mainstream media is spreading the truthful real news on butter. The New England Journal of Medicine recently solidified the link between trans fats and heart disease. Even low levels of trans fats consumption (1%-2%) substantially increase heart disease.

Butter vs Margarine: Butter Hierarchy: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
So what should you be looking for?

At the top of the pyramid is organic butter made with raw milk from grass fed cows.
The middle level is organic butter with pasteurized milk from grass fed cows and without rBGH, rBST, or antibiotics.
The pyramid’s base is butter made from pasteurized milk from confined, grain fed, factory farmed, antibiotic and likely rBGH or rBST injected cows.
Amazingly, the butter at the bottom of the pyramid is still better for you than margarine! Margarine is merely a lab created plastic food-like substance, not by any means a real food. It’s cheap to make, lacks nutritional merit, and damages health. But it has a longer shelve life and a higher profit margin than real butter.

Five Reasons to Eat Real Butter
1. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – Raw organic, pastured butter has loads of anti- tumor CLA. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the skin, colon, breasts and lungs. It’s anti-fungal and it stimulates muscle growth while preventing weight gain.
2. Butyric Acid – Butter contains 4% butyric acid – a short chain fatty acid that research indicates can inhibit tumors. It also signals the immune system into action when an infection is brewing.
3. Vitamin K2 – Raw, organic, pastured butter and cream contains vitamin K2 – a necessary co-factor in vitamin D synthesis. K2 also ushers calcium out of your blood stream and into bone cells which increases bone density instead of calcifying arterial and heart tissue. Check out Mike Barrett’s article on vitamin K deficiency symptoms.
4. Fat–Soluble Vitamins – Butter is a good source of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E. It’s also an excellent vehicle for their assimilation.
5. The Wulzen Factor – Raw, unpasteurized butter, cream and milk contain the “Wulzen factor” an anti-stiffness agent. It protects against calcification of the joints (osteoarthritis) as well as cataracts, and the calcification of the pineal gland. Pasteurization destroys the Wulzen Factor.
Raw, organic butter is a superfood that won’t make you fat if consumed in moderation. It fact, it consists of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) and medium chain fatty acids(MCFA), which are not significantly stored as fat but easily used as energy.

This may finally be the end of the butter vs. margarine battle.

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