Oh Em Gheee!
I’m sure I’m not the only one to have stifled a giggle when I first heard about ghee.
To be honest, having followed a strict vegan diet for 4-5 years, the concept of Ghee was a hard one for me to get my head around. Like with anything in Ayurveda, introducing things slowly and in a way that works for you and your lifestyle is the key to forming any new habits. But here’s a bit of info that might persuade you to give Ghee a go!
What is Ghee?
Ghee is clarified butter used in Ayurvedic cooking and in many other eastern cuisines. Although it’s used in a way similar to oil, the benefits of Ghee far outweigh that of other cooking oils, and it helps to know that most forms available to buy are organic and of very high quality. It’s also extremely easy to make yourself, so there’s no excuse!
Creaky Joints and Cracking Skin
Anyone with even a HINT of Vata Dosha in them may struggle through the Irish Winter without suffering from a dryness in their skin, achey, creaking joints and a chill in the bones that even the spiciest chai can’t soothe.
Ghee is unique from other oils in that it is AUGMENTING to the system rather than EXTRACTIVE. This means that instead of drawing on prana (energy) from our internal reserves to carry out digestion, Ghee adds to our system and provides much-needed hydration, nourishment & lubrication to aid with digestion on all levels. For people who suffer from cracked, dry skin, creaking joints or even arthritis, Ghee can provide a natural form of relief with it’s soothing, warm and heating properties.
Very Very Gut
Ghee contains a substance called butyric acid, a fatty acid which plays a vital role in cell proliferation in the digestive tract. This means that it heals the intestinal walls from the inside out, growing new tissues and healing areas which may be damaged due to things like IBS, Crohn’s, gluten-intolerance or any kind of inflammation. As 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the intestines, it makes sense that a happy digestive tract equals a more vibrant, happy & healthy emotional life.
Oh Me oh Mye(lin)!
It’s not just our digestive tract which can benefit from Ghee – the nerve fibres and neurons in our brain are coated in what’s called the myelin sheath, which is comprised of 80% lipids. While fats have gotten a bad reputation in generations gone by, we are now coming around to realise the necessity for including good quality healthy fats in our diet to promote and maintain brain health and functionality. Things like brain fog, fatigue and even anxiety can result from a poorly nourished brain and neural receptors.
Ghee Boosts OJAS
Most importantly, all of these functions serve to boost OJAS. In Ayurveda, Ojas is said to be our ‘life-force’ energy – our solid, stable & consistent reserve which keeps us vibrant, strong and connected to life. This means that by consuming small amounts of Ghee on a regular basis, it becomes easier to boost & maintain a healthy OJAS (literally ‘that which protects & stabilizes‘) – which is key to remaining balanced & healthy in both mind and body. This promotes healing & overall vitality, as the more OJAS we have the more adequate our reserves to draw from in times of illness/imbalance.
By adding even half a teaspoon of Ghee to warm drinks, soups, & hot dishes, you maximise the absorption of all the other nutrients contained within them, meaning that the nutritional value of the meal is hugely increased.
NO Lactose or Casein
If you’re still unsure about the thought of consuming a (technically) dairy product, it might help to know that Ghee is casein and lactose-free, as all milk solids are removed during production. This means that if you’re sensitive to other forms of dairy it likely won’t cause you any problems, however for those with intolerance/severe dairy allergies, then an alternative is recommended.
A high smoke point also makes Ghee better for cooking than other oils, and when used in moderation it doesn’t take long to feel its vitality-boosting effects! It’s especially good for those with a high level of Vata Dosha, in cold Winter months, and in any cold, windy climate.
Check out this recipe to make your own at home – it really couldn’t be easier, but this post gives a great visual breakdown of the process!