(And not butter or clarified butter.)
From an Ayurvedic perspective good fats are grounding, juicy and nourishing for new mums. Good fats are sattvic, meaning they promote harmony and balance in the mind, and they help new mums to relax and sleep more deeply. Interestingly modern science has found that eating fatty food also stimulates the release of oxytocin in the brain, which is why we feel relaxed and comforted by fatty foods, and why good fats are considered an essential postpartum food.
The reason fatty foods are such a problem today is because of the way they are processed. Avoid any fats that are hydrogenated, homogenised or deep-fried including trans fats and margarine.
Ayurveda considers Ghee nectar, ambrosia, one of the finest foods we can eat. Here's why:
- Ghee’s balance of elements (earth, air, water, space, fire) is very similar to ojas, the juiciness or sap of life that gives us strength and immunity.
- Ghee is sweet, cooling and increases digestive fire.
- Ghee is excellent for nourishing and rehydrating your body and helps you make breast milk. It also helps prevent that strung out, wired feeling.
- It is strengthening, satisfying and soothing. It aids digestion and is cleansing and healing.
The difference between ghee, butter and clarified butter.
Ghee has a few advantages over butter too. It is cooler and lighter which is unusual for fats. It has a higher smoking point so it is useful for cooking at high heat. Pure ghee contains little or no lactose or casein so it is often better tolerated than other dairy foods. It has a longer shelf life and doesn’t even need to be stored in the fridge. In fact ghee is one of only a handful of foods considered by Ayurveda to improve with age.
Ghee is the pure extraction of oil from butter, where clarified butter has a much shorter cooking time at a lower heat, which means some of the milk solids (casein and lactose) have been removed but not all of them.
Why it's worth making your own ghee.
Homemade organic ghee has a very pure flavour. It tastes completely different to what you can buy at the shops and you would really struggle to eat enough shop-bought ghee because the taste can be quite overpowering.
If you do buy ghee, organic ghee tastes much better, but in my opinion nothing is like homemade organic ghee.
You may be surprised by how easy it is. The hardest part may be sourcing organic unsalted butter. If you can only find conventional butter it will take longer to make ghee, and will not be as pure.
In India the solids left over after making ghee are mixed with jaggery and
coconut and given to children as a treat.
Get the recipe to make your own ghee in my recipe book Nourishing Newborn Mothers.