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Ghee: Stove Top Super Food from Mother of All Health Systems

Sunday, October 18, 2009 by: Paul Fassa
Tags: ghee, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Ghee for thee is much better than butter for you. Ghee, made from butter, is considered a health food in Indian Ayurvedic (pronounced Ah-your-vadic) medicine, which has a 5000 year history predating even Chinese medicine. Ayurveda is continually gaining popularity in the western modern world. Ghee is the preferred cooking oil in India, and it is a healing food in Ayurvedic medicine. Though sometimes confused with clarified butter, ghee goes beyond clarified butter with more health benefits.

The only problem is that if you buy ghee from a health food store, it`s expensive. And you really have little control over the quality of that purchased jar`s content. So why not make your own ghee with a high quality butter and get more ghee for less cost? This article will explain how to make your own after you`ve hopefully been motivated by ghee`s healthful food properties along with a little understanding of Ayurvedic medicine.

A Little on Ayurveda

Ayurveda has its roots from ancient India, but it`s not voodoo or woo-woo. Ayurveda`s foundational wisdom of food as the first medicine for preventing disease, and herbal remedies for curing disease are constantly creeping into the western world`s holistic circles. What is amazing about Ayurveda are the diagnostic techniques for dietary advice and herbal remedies.

Ayurvedic clinics have no expensive equipment, which lowers overhead, and they dispense inexpensive herbs along with dietary advice. All this adds up to providing very inexpensive, effective medical care.

In the hands (literally) of a good Ayurvedic practitioner as well as the practitioner`s eyes and ears, Ayurvedic doctors are able to tell you of underlying problems that unless attended soon will cause future disease, often even before modern allopathic testing gets a hint. This is because the foundation of Ayurveda undercuts the complexity of modern medicine.

By the way, except for being okay with fermented non-GMO soy, Ayurvedic doctors were naysayers on soy years before many others caught on. Their history is ancient, but their awareness is ahead of the contemporary curve. Their ability to catch hidden bad health indicators and give you the tools to thwart them before they manifest can put you in charge of your present and future health.

Ayurveda is the source of Chinese medicine`s diagnostic techniques, using pulse characteristics, tongue observations, and gathering information of a client`s emotional tendencies, physiological reactions to cold and heat, and life style characteristics. Ayurveda`s basic premise is that there are three doshas, or the tridosha concept.

Each dosha is a mind-body characteristic to help determine an individual`s constitutional type. One`s constitutional type, categorized by the dominant dosha or doshas, is determined with a dosha analysis. From this a diet can be prescribed that is in harmony with your constitutional type.

Though all three doshas are present in all of us, usually one or two are dominant. Each dosha has elemental qualities, such as air, fire, earth and water, which were taken up and used by Chinese medicine after Ayurveda. Dosha disorders that create constitutional imbalances are remedied through lifestyle changes, prescribed diets, and herbs.

The prescribed diet balances your doshas by lessening food types that emphasize certain already strong doshas, and increasing food types that augment weak doshas. Surprisingly, you`re not expected to be completely vegan. If you prefer, even meats may be consumed when balanced properly within the diet.

However, the average SAD (standard American diet) person will usually have a very hard time adapting to the dietary shift prescribed. Approaching a prescribed Ayurvedic diet gradually is not unusual, unless one is really motivated!

A balanced dosha system creates steady good health. An Ayurvedic doctor can prescribe remedies for your present and future condition by reading your pulse with his fingers and observing your tongue. But it takes a list of questions and observations to determine your dominant dosha(s) and constitutional type.

You can do a short form dosha quiz to get an idea of what a long form questionnaire will be like in an Ayurvedic clinic here: http://www.whatsyourdosha.com/

What Is Ghee and How Can I Make It?

Ghee is good for all the doshas, and even assists with balancing them.

It is the premier cooking oil in Indian Cuisine. Though derived from butter, it has a much higher burning point than even most cooking oils, 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 191 degrees Centigrade. Ghee has more positive health effects than butter without the impurities (saturated fat, milk solids), enabling even lactose intolerant people to use it as butter on toast or pasty and in cooking.

Modern western science has discovered that ghee has phenolic antioxidants, which bolster the immune system. Traditionally in Ayurveda, ghee has been used to enhance digestion, improve memory, promote intelligence, and lubricate connecting tissues. It is healthier than butter for every day use, as it does not contain any dairy product cholesterols and its caloric content is low as well.

According to Dr. Vasant Lad, author, lecturer, and director of the Albuquerque, NM Lad Ayurvedic Clinic, "Ghee relieves chronic fever, anemia and blood disorders and is useful for detoxification. . . . it aids in the balancing of the tridosha. Ghee promotes the healing of wounds and alleviates peptic ulcer and colitis. It is good generally for the eyes, nose and skin."

Making Ghee at Home

If you don`t have the time or inclination and you have the bucks, at least buy and try some ghee for cooking and buttering to improve your health. However, some believe it will taste better while giving you quality control if you make it yourself, besides being cheaper.

To make it yourself, get the best butter you can buy. Butter from whole raw milk is ideal, but difficult to find unless you know some Amish or Menonite groups who make dairy products from raw milk. Googling raw butter or raw butter sources may get you somewhere though. At least make sure you get real organic butter from whole milk if you can`t get raw butter.

There is some deceptive labeling out there with lowered USDA organic requirements, which allow dairy producers to use a percentage of milk containing hormones (rBGH)in their dairy products. Do some research, or talk with knowledgeable health food store staff to determine which butter brands are truly organic.

It`s also important to make sure the milk producing cows are grazed on non-chemically sprayed or non-fertilized grasses or alfalfa. Toxins get lodged in fats, and you don`t need those toxins in your ghee.

Get at least one pound of organic unsalted butter. Make sure you have unbleached cheesecloth on hand for filtering the liquid, and make sure you have a clean, sterilized heat resistant lidded jar on hand for the finished hot ghee.

Put the butter into a pan or pot over low heat. When the butter completely melts, continue heating at low heat until boiling occurs. There may be some sputtering as the water in the butter boils off. Before 30 minutes elapses, you should be aware of three layers in the liquid.

1) A top layer of foam, which is the water boil off
2) A middle layer of liquid
3) And at the bottom, the milk solids

If you want clarified butter for shrimp, crab, and lobster, here it is! But getting the ghee requires a couple of more steps.

Continue heating and now stir occasionally while closely watching to prevent the clarified butter from burning. Keep an eye on the milk solids as you stir occasionally. The milk solids will turn medium brown, and the liquid will become a translucent golden while emitting a fragrant nutty aroma.

At this point remove from the heat. Let it sit for a short while to ensure all the milk solids drop to the bottom. But while it`s sitting, go ahead and skim the foam or froth from the top of the liquid. A gravy or fat separator can make this easier. This is an important step, as you don`t want any water in your ghee. Water will spoil it.

Then get your cheesecloth layered over twice, or once inside of a fine mesh filter, and place that over the mouth of your selected jar. Pour carefully into the jar through the cheesecloth to prevent those milk solids from getting into the jar.

Keep the jar lid off until it cools to room temperature to prevent moisture from forming on the inside of the lid and contaminating the ghee. Then put the lid on. You can refrigerate it or put it on a shelf.

Ghee keeps for a year, even without refrigeration. If you want to use it for buttering toast or pastry, you will probably prefer it in a more solid state. So you can refrigerate it to keep it solid, as it gets soft for buttering quickly when taken out. You won`t need to be concerned about having it spoil if you do leave it out.

Caveat: as you use your ghee for cooking or buttering, make sure you do not allow any food particles, crumbs, or water to get into the ghee. Those can contaminate and spoil your ghee.

For a couple of introductory recipes using ghee, go here for sweet stewed apples: http://blog.asmartmouth.com/2008/09/22/stewe...

And go here for a savory omelet: http://blog.asmartmouth.com/2008/10/10/dill-...


Site to Help Understand Doshas and Determine Your Type with Dietary Solutions

Ghee Explained - Yoga Journal Article

Fran`s House of Ayurveda

Clarified Butter and Butter Ghee

Homemade Ghee if You Dare

About the author

Paul Fassa is dedicated to warning others about the current corruption of food and medicine and guiding others toward a direction for better health with no restrictions on health freedom. You can visit his blog at http://healthmaven.blogspot.com

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