Is that Ghee on your Toast?
Super easy to make, ghee is a form of clarified butter. The benefits (and taste!) exceeds those of butter (and beyond exceeds those of margarine). Here’s why:
Before I start on about Ghee, first please tell me that you don’t still eat margarine because you’ve been told it’s healthier than butter. No, no and no. Not only does margarine taste and smell artificial (personally the smell nauseates me) but margarine is:
high in trans fatty acids (think heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes)
contrary to what you’ve been sold it contributes to heart attacks
it increases cholesterol
it lowers quality of breast milk
it decreases immune response (decreases the body’s immune response)
it decreases insulin response (increasing the risk for diabetes)
Now, back to ghee. Ghee stems from India, dating back to 2000 BC. It is used in Ayurveda (a 5,000 year old science) in healing practices. Not only does it have a host of cooking benefits, but ghee is believed to promote physical and mental purification through its ability to cleanse and support wellness. Much like coconut oil, ghee is a multi-use fat that is healthy in many ways. It benefits the body both inside and out, it can be used topically to treat burns and rashes, and it moisturizes the skin and scalp. Plus, it is a power food and one of the seven healthy fats (extra-virgin olive oil, refined almond oil, extra-virgin coconut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil and flax seed oil) you need in your kitchen!
Through the process of making ghee (recipe below), all of the milk fat solids are removed, leaving a beautiful golden “potion”. Unlike butter, ghee won’t burn when frying, and it has a smoke-point of 482ºF, similar to other very unhealthy oils (like corn, peanut, soybean and canola, which are genetically modified).
Some of its Amazing Benefits:
Ghee has a high smoke point: Why is this important? You can fry and cook with ghee, and because of its high smoke point, it won’t destroy essential phytonutrients and thus result in an increase of free radicals. Many fats, when heated, change their fatty acid structure and become unhealthy. For example olive oil should NOT be used for cooking and only added after cooking in dressings and sauces.
Ghee is suitable for people with a dairy or casein intolerance: Because milk solids and impurities are removed when preparing ghee, people who are lactose or casein intolerant have no problem with ghee because these elements have been removed through the process.
Ghee is rich in oil (fat) soluble vitamins A, D, E, K2 (which builds stronger bones than calcium) and CLA: CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid ) is an antioxidant and anti-viral which studies indicate may help with reducing tumours, lowering cholesterol and high blood-pressure, reducing inflammation, and lowering body fat — if sourced from grass-fed cows.
Ghee has a long shelf life and does not require refrigeration: Some ghee mixtures have been known to last 100 years!
Ghee, like coconut oil, supports weight loss and is nutritionally rich: Ghee, like coconut oil, is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (which are absorbed directly by the liver — like carbs) and burns energy and other fats in our system leading to weight loss. Athletes can use ghee as a constant energy source.
Ghee improves digestion and strengthens the immune system: In order to have a healthy digestive tract butyric acid (a short-chain fatty acid) needs to be produced, which supports the production of killer T cells in the gut, therefore strengthening the immune system. Because it attracts other fats ghee eliminates toxins that are normally difficult to eliminate. It also helps to jumpstart the digestive system and helps improve gallbladder function.
Ghee is anti-inflammatory: By creating a more alkaline system it decreases inflammation by reducing the leukotriene secretion and prostaglandin in the body. Inflammation is a big one as it is believed to be at the root cause of most diseases including arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, asthma, some types of cancers, Alzheimer’s Disease and high cholesterol amongst others.
Ghee tastes “butterier” than butter: The process of extracting the milk fats and water intensifies the flavour of the butter. It has a lovely nuttier flavour than butter but richer and more golden in colour.
Ghee is a positive food: It promotes positivity, growth and expansion of consciousness!
How to Make Ghee
First it is imperative that you have either cheese cloth, or a super extra fine sieve (I mean seriously fine). Otherwise the solids you are eliminating will fall through and it will not only spoil, but the benefits will be reduced.
What you need:
A block of unsalted organic (non negotiable) grass-fed (highly recommended) butter
A heavy bottomed stainless steel or enamelled cast-iron (like Le Creuset) skillet or sauce pan A heavy bottomed stainless steel or enameled namelled cast-iron (like Le Creuset) skillet or sauce pan
A skimmer or a spoon
Cheese cloth (or a fine mesh sieve)
A dry, clean glass jar
Place the butter in the skillet on medium-low heat. It will start simmering and forming small bubbles. The key here is to be patient! It takes 20 to 30 minutes for the milk protein to separate and to form a foam on top and milk fats to sink to the bottom and eventually brown. Gently skin the foam from the top and discard.
Continue to simmer and you will eventually start smelling a nutty smell as the liquid becomes golden brown. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Place the cheese cloth (so it has a few layers) over a strainer atop the glass jar. Ensure that none of the milk solids makes it into the jar!
Cover the jar and let cool overnight.
Ghee can be stored at room temperature for a month and from two to four months in the refrigerator. Make sure that it is properly sealed.
IMPORTANT: When you use it, do not double dip. For instance don’t start buttering your toast then dipping the knife you used to spread the ghee back into the jar. Otherwise it will become contaminated by the food particles. Use in any recipe that calls for butter or oil.
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