Ghee (and Ghruta, a superior form of ghee) is becoming increasingly popular all across the world. It’s becoming more and more recognized for its health benefits, and many people are starting to use it to cleanse and rejuvenate their minds and bodies and maintain optimal health. One of the questions surrounding the use of ghee is posed by vegans: is ghee vegan? And if it’s not, why do some vegans eat it?
A Bit About Veganism
If you want to understand whether or not ghee is actually vegan, you have to understand a bit about what veganism actually is. Some people have different definitions as to what actually constitutes veganism.
In its strictest sense, veganism is a philosophy that excludes any form of animal product. That means not only meat and fish, but anything that is derived from any part of an animal.
However, many vegans make exceptions. Lacto-ovo vegetarians are vegetarian, but they eat eggs and drink milk. Pescetarians eat fish but are otherwise vegans. Additionally, some vegans eat honey (a product that comes from bees) and/or ghee or Ghruta.
What is Ghee? What is Ghruta?
Ghee and Ghruta are strictly speaking, animal products. They’re both forms of clarified butter, but Ghruta is made through the traditional Ayurvedic multi-step and hand-crafted process, and as such, is a superior form of ghee.
But, at its root, these products still come from an animal. So why do some vegans choose to eat it? The answer to this question depends on the reasons for why a person chooses veganism.
Philosophical & Ethical Reasons
Some vegans have philosophical/ethical reasons for going vegan. Often, they don’t support the factory farming of animals or follow the ideal of, “if I wouldn’t kill it myself, I wouldn’t eat it.”
In short, these vegans don’t eat meat because they don’t want animals or beings to be harmed. This allows for a few exceptions to the definition of veganism. If the product is given or shared out of the animal’s free will, then it is acceptable.
Products like honey, for example, can be considered to be given freely by the animal. In this case, some vegans may choose to consume this substance because they don’t violate their ethical principals. It’s important to note that Ghruta (and some brands of ghee) falls under this rule since the cows are free-range and are only milked by free-will and never by force.
In addition to philosophical and ethical reasons, some vegans choose veganism for health reasons. Their reason for giving up dairy may be because they are lactose intolerant or sensitive to the beta-casein protein.
Ghee and Ghruta are forms of clarified butter, which means they don’t contain any milk solids, making it lactose-free. In addition, although there may be trace amounts of protein left, Ghruta comes from cows who only produce A2 proteins, which are much easier to digest than A1 proteins. Vegans with dairy sensitivities may find that they are able to tolerate Ghruta and decide to incorporate this form of dairy product into their diets.
In short, ghee and Ghruta are not strictly vegan. However, depending on the reason for why a person chooses veganism, some may be willing to make an exception to include them in their diets.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)