Ghee: Rich in Nutrients and Casein-Free
By Julie Matthews
Do you love butter but are avoiding it because of dairy intolerance? Then try ghee – it’s easy to cook with, its nutritional properties are outstanding, and it’s casein-free.
Dairy is rich in many important fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, but casein can be a problem for many people, including those with autism. This is where ghee comes in. While ghee is made from butter and contains many important nutrients found in dairy, it’s casein-free.
Ghee stems from South Asia and is commonly used in the preparation of Indian foods. Ghee is a form of clarified butter. Making ghee involves cooking butter, which separates and eliminates the milk solids that contain casein. Therefore, ghee does not contain casein and can be used if you’re following a casein-free diet.
Ghee is a wonderful food–delicious, nutritious, and great for cooking.
Particularly, ghee made from grass-fed butter is rich in vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as the fatty acid CLA and butyric acid (a short chained fatty acid that fuels the intestinal cells). Grass-fed ghee also has a higher ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids than conventionally raised dairy products.
How to use Ghee
Ghee is an excellent substitute in recipes that use butter. It works well in baked goods – just melt it at low heat before adding to the recipe where liquid oil is indicated. Ghee also has a high smoke point so it does not burn easily like butter and some other oils. It works well with pan-frying and other cooking methods that require higher heat.
You can use it in place of butter and other “butter spreads” for a much more nutrient dense choice. I think it is delicious spread on toast or other places butter might be used. Because one of the things that make butter taste so good is salt (and ghee is salt-free), I recommend a small sprinkle of salt on the food to help mirror the delicious salty taste of butter.
Ghee has a slightly stronger flavor than butter, so for some children you might try softening ghee and mixing it with 50% coconut oil (refined is flavorless)–and add a pinch of salt. You can also add a touch of honey for a delightful spread.
My favorite uses for Ghee:
1. Pop popcorn in ghee and/or drizzle melted ghee over finished popcorn (add salt).
2. Sauté vegetables in ghee
3. Spread ghee on toast
4. Melt ghee and use in baking where liquid oil is called for
5. Add a dollop of ghee to hot rice or hot cereal
6. Melt on corn on the cob
7. Use when caramelizing onions
8. Use when cooking eggs such as scrambled eggs
9. Melt one ounce 70% cocoa, ½ coconut oil, ½ cup ghee, melt together. Add nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut and a pinch of salt. Freeze and eat.
10. Top cooked squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes with ghee
11. Make or Buy
You can make your own ghee, or buy it in your health food store. To ensure that you make high quality, nutritious ghee, only use butter from pastured animals that eat grass. Unsalted, cultured butter is a good choice to use for making ghee. There are many videos online that demonstrate how to make ghee.
When buying ghee in the store, choose a brand that uses grass-fed butter. I have tried several brands of ghee and my personal favorite is Pure Indian Foods–they have been making ghee for generations and use only high quality grass-fed butter. You can see this with the very golden color of their ghee indicating a nutrient-dense food. It smells wonderful when heated, and tastes divine.
Courtesy of Nourishing Hope News; Diet & Nutrition for Autism & ADHD
You can easily buy ghee at your local South Indian market.