For the Love of Ghee: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know

Ghee - an Ayurvedic secret that's out, just not entirely. If you have never reaped the delicious, deeply nutritious benefits of ghee (also known as clarified butter), you haven't fully lived – and you haven't fully yogified. For once you taste, feel, know the incredible service ghee can do for you and your body, mind and spirit, you will fall in ever-lasting love. It's everything you ever wanted to know about ghee, just for the health of it.

Created by pure alchemy, ghee is transformed butter, made by heating butter up to remove the milk proteins and other impurities. When milk proteins and the other “unfriendlies” in butter are separated out, the result is that lactose and casein intolerant people are free to enjoy.  It becomes the most Sattvic food you can eat. You could basically call it Ascended Butter.

How does this work?

Regular, grass-fed, organic, unsalted butter is placed on medium heat for several hours (preferably in a non-leaching pan – to preserve flavors). During this process the milk fats eventually rise to the top of the butter as a foamy substance, and then fall to the bottom. After the process is complete, the ghee is strained through a cheese cloth and stored in a container safe from air and sunlight – revealing the golden, awesomely translucent liquid of life.

Why is this awesome?

Much like the alchemy of relationship, where the lower, base attitudes and expressions of two people combine in the melting pot of divine union in order to transform into two more conscious, loving expressions of themselves, butter, in its normal, basic, straight-from-the-cow state is placed in a safe container over a heating element and allowed the time to break-down its less than human-friendly traits and find the true gold within. For this end it is often referred to as “liquid gold” as the clarification process brings forward incredible properties, once hidden in the basic butter substance.

Why choose ghee?

Imagine a person who was an incredible speaker, musician or artist, able to inspire and uplift the masses, but who had suffered traumas which had basically rendered them unable to share their gifts. This might seem like a long stretch for butter, at first, but bear with me. 

In India, the cow is revered as sacred, holy and not to be harmed or killed. It is thought to be a physical manifestation of the Divine Mother who provides all substance and nurturing for her people. The cow is, instead, decorated, celebrated and all provisions are brought forth from her – for all people to use: dung for firewood, and milk for the raw milk itself, for curd, yogurt and ghee. The later three are all put through a process in order to bring forth the beneficial qualities of the raw milk itself, ghee being the most prized.

Digestive Health is everything

Perhaps you have heard it said, if your gut is healthy, your whole body will thrive. It is true. If the digestive system struggles, all the other systems in the body will also falter. Ghee is like medicine for the gut; it provides a very crucial element for digestive support – butyric acid.

In a normal, healthy person, the beneficial bacteria living in the intestines would take fiber and create butyric acid, which is essential for good digestion, adequate uptake of nutrients and a strong immune system. Butyric acid helps the body make killer T cells and it also protects against leaky gut, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and other inflammations of the bowels. In other words, people suffering from the aforementioned dis-eases are lacking in butyric acid.

Ghee is full of butyric acid and has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammations of the intestinal tract as well as other stomach upsets. Overall, the medicinal properties of ghee on the gut alone are worth the investment – of either time or money – to bring ghee into one’s daily ritual.

Nutritional Components and Weight Loss

Not only does ghee assist the digestive tract in maintaining health or in healing distress, it is also chock full of nutrition that anyone could use to fortify the physical body and remove the causes of stress. Vitamin A and vitamin E are both rich in ghee, and since they are oil soluble, ghee is the perfect carrier for such nutrients to be readily accessed by the body. 

Medium-chain fatty acids are high in ghee, which help the body produce energy and when found in high supply in the body, turn the metabolism toward other less-beneficial fats and break them down, helping you lose weight (if that is your desire).

Vitamin k2 is also found in ghee in rich supply, helping protect bone health and allowing calcium to be properly absorbed by the body. Ghee is also a great source of an omega 6 fatty acid known as CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), an antioxidant which not only guards against cancers and viral infections but helps to burn fat and boost the immune system to boot.

Ghee for Emotional Health

Every time an emotion is felt in the body, a corresponding hormone is released into the bloodstream. Stressful emotions produce adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. Feelings of love produce oxytocin and vasopressin, and with the experience of bliss and ecstasy the hormone anandamide is created. Hormones, when not properly dealt with in the body, are stored in the fat cells.

Ghee is the perfect food for emotional health as it encourages these stray hormones to take a ride out of the body without unwanted storage. Ghee takes the place of “bad fats” and acts as a cleansing agent to the cells of the body as hormones are attracted to the fat in ghee and allowed to leave the body without harm.

Ghee as the perfect Sattvic Food

Sattvic is from the Sanskrit word Sattva which translates as “pure, essence, vital, energy, clean, conscious, strong, true, honest, wise, rudiment of life.” Sattva is one of the three gunas (qualities or tendencies) of Ayurveda and yogic philosophy, the others being Rajas (passionate, agitated, emotional, stimulant, change) and Tamas (stagnant, weak, spoiled, latent, slow, dark, stale or unripe). [These three gunas are related to the dosha body types in Ayurvedic medicine where Vata is closest to Sattvic, Pitta to Rajas and Kapha to Tamas, though they do not translate exactly.]

Ghee is said to be one of the most Sattvic foods as its nature is pure, its essence accessible and the energy derived from the consumption of ghee is clean, strong and true. A person who takes the time to make their own ghee is also put through a transformative process where their consciousness is refined and in the consumption of it, a wisdom and connection with one’s authentic nature is revealed.

From Butter to Ghee - in Greatness

Where butter contains the potential to become ghee, as it births from the Mother and has all the inner elements present, only through the process of refinement do the actual, purified properties reveal themselves. Ghee is a spiritual metaphor for personal transformation as well as a means to assist one in obtaining a more enlightened state – consisting of a clearer mind, balanced emotions and a stronger body. Ghee is a spiritual tool which elicits mental, emotional and physical benefits for awesome health today and deeper connection with Source now.

Ghee not only offers a myriad of incredible benefits, it is also extremely delicious and enhances the flavor of any food it is combined with. With a high smoke point of around 500 degrees Fahrenheit, ghee is an oil every kitchen should sport and every tongue ought to take the chance to delight in and take flight in!

For the love of ghee, pick up a few sticks of unsalted, grass-fed butter today and get to clarifying and receive everything you always wanted to experience in health, peace of mind and great taste from the love of ghee.

Photo Credit: "Ghee" by Priyanka Kochhar is licensed under CC BY 2.0