I had the absolute pleasure last week to attend a cooking class with Monique, the founder and owner of Essential Ayurveda, a wellness practice in northwest Chicago. "She performs Ayurvedic consultations with a focus on supporting healthy lifestyle changes to help her clients achieve their wellness goals. These changes can include diet, use of herbs, meditation, yoga, daily routines and other Ayurvedic therapies such as Marma bodywork." (1) She also makes homemade organic teas, custom herb mixtures and many other healing products.
She taught us how to make some wonderful food and drinks, including Chai Tea, Ghee and Khichari. Her recipes were all so amazing and it inspired me to make my very own ghee, and let me tell you it was so much fun and easy too! It also smells amazing, just like warm buttery popcorn and has a rich nutty taste. So what is ghee?
Ghee (pronounced GEE) is an ingredient deeply revered in India. It is essentially clarified butter that is a good alternative to cooking oil (especially because it has a high smoke point). It is an Indian Ayurvedic ingredient containing butyric acid, a fatty acid with anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. Ghee is prepared by simmering organic grassfed unsalted butter and removing the residue (water and milk solids). Most of the lactose and casein in the butter are removed, so many people with a lactose intolerance can eat Ghee. After the butter cooks for about 45 minutes, it is strained and then cooled in a glass jar.
According to Ayurveda, ghee promotes longevity and protects the body from various diseases. (2) Some of the other benefits of ghee include:
Aids in reducing inflammation Ghee contains butyric acid, which is one of the most beneficial short-chain fatty acids that the body needs. Butyric acid has been shown to decrease inflammation in parts of the body. Ghee also helps lubricate the connective tissue and promotes flexibility. One study found that men who consumed two tablespoons of ghee a day lowered their risk for heart disease by 23 percent. (3)
Provides antioxidants Ghee contains healthy fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and E as well as carotenoids. These are all antioxidants that are great for boosting your immune system as well as promoting skin cell growth and better vision. These vitamins are also important for promoting bone and brain health.
Aids in digestion Ghee helps to minimize stomach acid while also repairing the stomach's lining. Ghee also produces digestive enzymes and aids in nutrient assimilation. It can help in regulating abnormal bowel movements as well.
You can learn more about Monique, her practice and order all of her amazing products here.
"Surround yourself with people who make you hungry for life, touch your heart and nourish your soul." -unknown