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What is ghee?

Ghee is clarified butter, meaning the water and milk solids are taken out, and all that’s left is the fat. But oh, it’s so much more than that. This is an eastern holistic look at this ancient staple.

There are 3 things that cook food in a pot, and we'll use this as the analogy for our digestion: a fire, a mixing spoon and liquid to prevent burning. Your tummy is the pot. Your acid and enzymes are the fire. The mixing spoon is the churning and the liquid is the bile. When all three of these things are balanced, then you have healthy digestion, which is important because whatever you eat, it only counts if you can digest it!

Ghee is a perfect balance of fire, spoon and liquid. It thus promotes balanced digestion. Ghee is easy to digest. In even small amounts it kindles your digestive fire to make other foods more digestible. Ghee also provides a liquid for your food to mix around in, which helps with nutrient absorption and assimilation. Some other oils do kindle the digestion but they have more of that liquidiness, which in excess puts out your fire. Ghee is also more “neutral” than other oils, meaning it’s not too heating or cooling so it is a great all year staple. (Eg sesame oil is heating and coconut oil is cooling.) Even if you have high cholesterol, smaller amounts-like ¼ tsp-are beneficial. At this point I should say that I’m not a doctor and you should check with your doctor before starting any diet plan. Lastly, because ghee is so pure, it is able to reach deep into our tissue and nourish our body’s at the subtlest level-it nourishes our very life force.

Speaking of purity, ghee is so pristine, if on fire there will not be a single puff of smoke. For this reason, ghee is fuel for traditional oil lamps! When your body burns ghee too, there is no by product. It is all used efficiently with nothing left to ferment or compound in the intestines.

Also, because ghee doesn't burn, it's great for sauteeing and browning on high heat. You can get some real nice crispiness going on with the help of ghee.

As an added bonus, ghee is also shelf stable. It is like honey. It can sit unrefrigerated for an extended time. This is because of its purity. The water and milk are what spoil butter, but since they have been removed, there’s nothing to spoil! In fact, the medicinal properties of ghee are said to increase with age. And by the way, if you are lactose intolerant, you might try ghee since that milk is removed.

What about MCT oil? Ghee is high in MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) but it is minimally processed. You see, when you heat things, it actually changes the chemical structure. Sometimes this is good. Butter becomes better when it is heated into ghee. This process has been time tested for thousands of years. Heating other oils and extracting their MCTs in the way large food manufacturers do is not seen as ayurvedically sound. Overprocessing depletes the life force of food. (You already know this:eg trans fat.) It's better to stick with natural sources of MCTs. Even coconut oil is good, depending on your personal constitution. Ghee is a safe, healthy all around perfect and time tested multi use delicious fat.

You can make ghee at home. Just make sure to use the highest quality butter available. Since you are cooking down the butter, whatever is in it will get compounded. Just cook the butter in a saucepot until the milk solids fall to the bottom and the water is evaporated out. Then strain it with a cheesecloth or a tea strainer on its way into the glass. This is how we make our ghee at Key to the Mountain. We use the highest quality, grass-fed butter from our local dairy farm and make it just like you would at home- except like way more of it.

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