To Ghee or Not to Ghee...
by Kiki Athanas
October 22, 2016
If you're up to date on the latest health trends and "superfoods", you've probably heard of the new and improved "butter": ghee. The thing is, if you're really well-versed in the cultural food space, you'll know that it's not new in the slightest. Ghee has been apart of the Ayurvedic diet - originating in Ancient India - for thousands of years, used as a therapeutic agent and is considered to be pure - thus "purifying" foods cooked with it (read more here).
I hope I haven't lost you with all of this "sacred" talk - because I'm not about to go on some rant about how incorporating ghee into your diet will transform your life into a purer state of being. It might - but I for one am certainly not prepared to back-up those claims. What I will share with you, though, is some perfectly scientific research to support the claims that ghee is certainly not something to avoid - regardless of how similar (or different!) it is to the much debated: butter.
First, let's start with what it is; ghee is simply clarified butter (or anhydrous milk fat), which means its made from butter or cream with all of its water content removed through the process of boiling (over 100 degrees Celsius) and evaporation, and then filtering out the precipitated milk solids (ibid.). Let's also address this "butter" debate right upfront. Butter is a saturated fat (i.e. a stable fat that won't denature), and while these types of fats should be consumed in moderation (shouldn't everything?!), there certainly isn't enough evidence to scare us into avoiding them altogether! In fact, a systematic review and meta-analysis published in a prestigious journal found that current evidence does not actually back-up cardiovascular recommendations to reduce our intake of saturated fat. I'm going to leave it at that: butter does not equal sin - let's move on.
Back to GHEE, and why you might consider opting it for butter...because aside from it's nuttier and down-right more "buttery" delicious flavour, it also boasts some pretty great benefits. Leaving any of the "ritual" talk to the side (personally, I'm a fan and believer, but hey - I get that it's not for everyone); ghee has a high smoke point (even higher than coconut oil), so it makes a perfect cooking agent. Getting a little more specific now, for those of you with particular dairy sensitivities: the process of turning butter into ghee helps to remove common allergens such as lactose and casein (although trace amounts may remain) - so if that's the source of your lactose-intolerance, you may be home free with ghee!
In regards to ghee being considered "pure" as I mentioned earlier, that's not all just hokey-pokey myth stuff - it may very well be valid. Ghee contains butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid that aids as a detoxifier in our bodies - studies have even concluded that it helps support healthy insulin levels and is an anti-inflammatory (read more here).
Now whether or not you want to buy into the hype over ghee - I'm not asking you to drink it every morning like Kourtney Kardashian does) - I'm suggesting you give it a try, because it's not everyday that ingredients this rich and delicious are deemed to be a "superfood"..
Want nuttier, richer banana bread? True authentic kitchari? A cooking ingredient you can fry with - up to 450°?! Try ghee.