Have you ever walked into an Indian restaurant and seen a COW? I’ll never forget the time I saw a cow hanging out in the middle of a restaurant (in India!) Yes, she was standing right amongst the diner-occupied tables, chewing her cud as the dinner rush continued around her. That beautiful, giant cow was welcome inside the restaurant - and maybe even invited - because her presence was likely counted as a great stroke of luck. For centuries, Indian culture has honored and celebrated cows. Cows are held sacred for they produce the core ingredient for one of Ayurveda’s most healing and auspicious foods… Ghee. Loved for its delicious sweet taste, deep tissue nourishment, and impressive medicinal properties, cow ghee stands the test of time as one of Ayurveda’s premier superfoods. Here’s why…
Cow Ghee carries herbs, spices, and nutrition to the deepest tissue layers (dhatus) of the body.
Although a bonafide saturated fat, Ayurveda holds cow ghee in high esteem. It’s one of the most beneficial forms of fat (saturated or otherwise) because it’s so lubricating and digestible – even for people with food intolerances. It’s best known for strengthening ojas - the lubricating foundation of your immunity and radiance. All of your vital fluids – including your reproductive juice and bone marrow – rely on the viscosity of ojas.
Overflowing With Health Attributes, Ghee’s Benefits Include:
- The capacity to build and strengthen healthy gut flora – the backbone of a healthy microbiome
- Improved digestive fire
- Helps the body absorb and assimilate nutrition
- Super-charges the effect of herbs and spices
- Ghee is anti-inflammatory and nutritive – it can shift constipation and amplify nourishment
- Great for memory, ghee improves brain health and supports longevity
- Wound healing – both internal and topical
- It can even ease states of emotional distress like grief and anxiety and over time, help reduce the desire for animal products
How Ghee and Butter Are Different
Butter contains water and protein solids, both of which get cooked out when you make ghee. Where butter is cold, heavy, and dense, ghee is warm, light, and lubricating. Because of butter’s heavy constitution, butter causes congestion and blockages where ghee does not. Here’s what happens… When you cook butter – in preparation for making ghee - protein solids sink to the bottom and water evaporates off the top. What’s left is a clear golden liquid that you strain when ready. That way, protein solids (including lactose) stay out of the finished product. Energetically, ghee is earthy, warm, and enzymatic. It decreases Vata (air and ether) and Pitta (fire and water). Its sweet nature increases Kapha, but that doesn’t mean Kapha can’t use it. Contrary to what many people think, even Kapha folks need healthy, easily digestible fats! Ghee is more warming than coconut oil and has just as high of a smoke point. So it’s one of the best oils to cook with. Put it on top of foods such as whole cooked grains, hot cereal, pancakes, toast, and everywhere else you’d normally use butter.
A Few Tips When Making Your Own Ghee
When ghee isn’t cooked for long enough, or you pour freshly cooked ghee into a moist (or even slightly wet) container, it will mold. To avoid mold, use only clean, dry jars, equipment, and utensils. That’s true when making ghee, storing ghee, and using ghee. Never double dip! You know ghee is ready to strain when it sounds quiet, smells like buttery popcorn, and you can see straight through the clear, golden liquid to the bottom of the pan. If your ghee looks cloudy, it isn’t finished cooking. When ghee cooks for too long, it burns. Browned or roasted ghee is still fine to eat! It makes the ghee more warming – which can be excellent for cold Vata and cool Kapha. Store ghee at room temperature – it doesn’t need refrigeration.
About The Author, Talya Lutzker
Talya Lutzker is an author, certified Ayurvedic practitioner, and founder of Ayurveda Every Day With Talya – an online lifestyle and nutrition hub. Come on over and get fed! Talya helps women (and a few brave men) transform their health and bodies through the empowering framework of Ayurvedic medicine. She can help you improve your health, increase your vitality, and personalize your nutrition – so that you heal and feel your best. Especially when low energy, inflammation, and indigestion is an issue. Learn more at talyaskitchen.com.