Love butter, but worried about cholesterol? Guilt-free ghee is your alternative!
Fat is good for you! In fact, “good” fat (in moderation) is an essential part of a healthy diet if you want happy joints, healthy tissues and good digestion. This is what I learnt today at our Ayurvedic cooking class with Dr Arun Sharna of the Ayuskama Ayurvedic Clinic in Bhagsu, Himachal Pradesh.
Ghee (clarified butter) is:
- easily absorbed by the body
- a pure form of fat, with no milk protein in it
- a healthy form of fat, nourishing the tissues and helping to prevent diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s (note: I am not a doctor, so insert my disclosure here about doing your own research about what is good for you)
I use ghee (from my local Indian shop) when I cook Indian food, but always thought it was a convoluted and difficult process to make your own. Same with paneer … as much as I love this cheese, when a recipe’s ingredients calls for cheesecloth, I immediately file it in the “Complicated” category.
I’ve been eating my way through a mountain of paneer here in Macleod Ganj. Paneer in curry sauce. Paneer with grilled green peppers. Paneer with peas. The thought of being able to make my own paneer when I get home, instead of buying frozen paneer, had me salivating. And so I found myself spending cheerful cooking time with Arun, learning his family recipes for ghee and paneer.
Arun is one of the many Sanskrit words for “sun” and he couldn’t be more aptly named – he was sunny and smiling throughout, answering our questions and smiling as he told us that healthy eating is not complicated; it’s common sense.
He explained the Ayurvedic belief that the body has 7 different types of tissues and they all need different foods for healthy functioning; so a balanced diet consists of grains, protein, cooked vegetables, raw vegetables, fruit and yoghurt or milk – all of this, every day.
Simple advice, like avoiding processed and refined foods (white rice, white flour, processed sugars), keeping a regular eating routine and not eating in a hurry or late at night, are a good start. All things that we inherently know, but often ignore – well, I know I do!
I’ve only just recently been introduced to Ayurveda and there’s lots to learn, but I’m inspired to ditch some of my bad habits and try a healthier approach. And if the lifestyle results in a sunny disposition like Arun’s, that’s an added incentive. (recipes to follow soon, once I have better wifi access!)