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A Love Affair with Ghee

Ghee is made here at Belly Hazen with Organic Cultured Unsalted Grass-fed butter, over a flame. It's made in the traditional way, while chanting myself or along with recorded devotional chants. It didn't take long to develop a love affair with this golden elixir and the entire process of making it! Maybe you will, too.

In my Edible Ayurveda class I learned how the process of clarifying body came to be, and it's benefits. I can share a long list of benefits, but three questions remain for each of us once we accept that fats are essential to how mind and body connect and how both are supported. We must ask ourselves

  • what fat?

  • when do I need it?

  • how much do I need?

Ghee is a “superfood” of Ayurvedic nutrition, overflowing with health benefits. Also known as clarified butter, ghee is clean, sweet, warm and light to taste. We use it exactly as we would butter. We can cook and bake with it (it is one fat, aside from animal fat or coconut oil, that tolerates high heat), put it on warm meals, mix in warm drinks and even put a dollop on our porridge or grains. When you warm your spices in ghee, the room will explode with flavor of healing spices, seeped in butter in it's clarified form, creating an alchemy to delight both senses and digestion.

Ghee is best known for strengthening “ojas” - vital body fluids such as reproductive juices and bone marrow - the lubricating foundation of well-being and immunity. It is one of the most beneficial forms of fat for the body and, though it a saturated fat, it is different from dairy, nuts and avocados. It has Hyaluronic acid, which is is good for the skin, Butyric acid, which helps the liver detox, and more.

Why DID the originators clarify butter? Realizing it's high saturated fat content they found a way to make it lighter - and easier to store without refrigeration - by slowly cooking out the milk solids. The remaining substance and essential goodness was found to digest better than butter. In this form, even many with lactose intolerance can use it - the lactose is eliminated and disposed of with the mild solids left behind! In fact, for some, ghee is THE only milk form they can tolerate. Of course thousands of years ago they didn't know what we know today about milk sugars or about how butyric acid creates a protective barrier in the intestine, coating and lubricating so probiotics can be pulled in for the digestion process.

Upon investigation we see how both ghee and other foods have gone through a transformation. Yogurt, kefir, fermented vegetables, kvaas, krauts, some pestos, grains, Kombucha and even Apple Cider Vinegar-- are the fermented foods I make at home and include in my daily regimen. They are our allies significantly aiding the digestive process. Yogurt and milk are left out in warmer temperatures to ferment with a culture or grains, fermented vegetables and kvaas (like with beets) ferment in a salt brine. Krauts and Kimchi are left to ferment with salt and spices alone. Good Apple Cider Vinegar is made with a mother, like it's sister Kombucha. In order to make my grains more digestible, I even soak my grains (and ferment a little if soaked long enough) a bit before I cook them, but that's just ME taking care of a digestive system that doesn't do well with the anti-nutrients found in grains. As all seed, they have a protective coating, and we tolerate that seed/grain better if we soak it in advance. Mother Nature takes care of life, and so must we.

But back to ghee -- store it at room temperature. It's free of water and protein solids, so there's no need to refrigerate! When enjoying ghee, only use clean, dry utensils. Moisture can cause your ghee to mold - so no double-dipping :-) Use a clean knife, fork, or spoon every time you use.

If you haven't tried ghee, sample Belly Hazen's ghee! Start with a small 1/2 oz. jar at first and if you want more to keep on YOUR counter, go for the gold! You'll be amazed at how many ways you can incorporate it into your daily habits.

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