Updated: May 23, 2020
Goly gee, have you ever heard of GHEE? No? Well, you're missing out. A prized staple of the Indian diet, ghee is clarified butter, made by melting down butter and skimming the milk fat solids off the top, leaving only the golden hued, rich and nourishing oil. For hard core vegans, this is still made from cow's milk, however, if you don't do dairy because of lactose intolerance, this is a wonderful option for cooking, spreading and baking as all of the milk solids are removed. Ghee has a rich smell and a soft, smooth texture. It is creamier and nuttier than butter and in Ayurveda, the Indian science of health and well-being, is very nourishing to the dhatus or tissues of the body. It is rich in butyric acid which can boost the immune system (hello . . . we all need that right now!) as well as vitamins A, D, E, and K all of which also help strengthen the immune system. Most importantly, ghee helps build ojas which is essentially the body's vital reserves. Think of a car running on a full tank of gas, all lubed up, tires rotated and shocks aligned. That's your body full of ojas. Now imagine your your car on an empty tank, oil that hasn't been changed in years, shocks busted, tires almost flat - that's you low on ojas. (Check out this article from Kripalu Institute for more information about ojas and how to know if you have enough.)
Ghee is tri-doshic meaning it pacifies Vata and Pitta doshas and can support Kapha in small amounts. It is a warming food so it's particularly wonderful to add more of it in the cooler months (use it to cook soups and stews for a rich flavor), especially for Vata dosha. Another bonus during these strange times of Covid-19? It is shelf stable for years and does not need to be refrigerated. You can use it in place of butter in almost any recipe for increased health benefits. I love it spread over a warm piece of sourdough, a dollop in my steel cut oats, to saute my veggies, and if I'm feeling indulgent, blended into my coffee latte in the morning, or for a nourishing drink at night (not too late) try this recipe for golden milk. You'll sleep like a baby.
Because ghee starts out with a dairy product, I do try to use a brand that is organic and/or comes from grass fed cows. My two favorite brand are Ancient Organics and Fourth and Heart (which has varieties with himalayan pink salt (my favorite), turmeric and - hold the butter - CHOCOLATE!!! Let me know if you have any questions or send your comments after you've tried it!