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Rethinking Saturated Fat

an article by Dr Andrew Weil for drweil.com

Q: I understand that you’re modifying your position on saturated fat and as a result, no longer recommend low-fat dairy foods. What prompted the change?

A: You’re correct that my thinking on saturated fat has evolved. One catalyst was a scientific analysis of 21 earlier studies, which showed “no significant evidence” that saturated fat in the diet is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. The 21 studies analyzed included nearly 348,000 participants, most of whom were healthy when they were enrolled. They were followed for five to 23 years, during which 11,000 developed heart disease or had a stroke. Looking back at the dietary information collected from these thousands of participants, the investigators found no difference in the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or coronary vascular disease between those individuals with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat. This goes completely against the conventional medical wisdom of the past 40 years. It now appears that many studies used to support the low-fat recommendation had serious flaws.

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7 Reasons To Eat More Saturated Fat

an article by Tim Ferriss for fourhourworkweek.com

In the not-so-distant past, the medical establishment considered all fats equally loathsome: all fats were created equal and they’re all bad for you. Things have changed in that quarter, if only slightly. You have no doubt heard the drumbeat of current medical thinking on fats: some fats are now good for you—olive oil and canola oil*—but others are bad for you—trans fats and all saturated fats. That’s an improvement from the old cry, but far from the truth.

It seems that no matter how the story spins from the denizens of the anti-fat camp, one piece of their advice remains staunchly constant: “You should sharply limit your intake of saturated fats.” The next admonition will invariably be, “which have been proven to raise cholesterol and cause heart disease.” Their over-arching belief is that saturated fat is bad, bad, bad.

You see with just a glance at [our suggested meal plans] that we’ve included fatty cuts of meat, chicken with the skin, bacon, eggs, butter, coconut oil, organic lard, and heavy cream in the plan. Aren’t we worried that these foods will increase your risk of heart disease and raise your cholesterol? In a word, nope. In fact, we encourage you to make these important fats a regular part of your healthy diet. Why? Because humans need them and here are just a few reasons why.

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A 21st Century Look at Ghee: Ayurvedic Nectar or Heart Disease Risk Factor?

an article by Joanna Webber from AyurvedicYogi.com

“Cow ghee promotes memory, intellect, power of digestion, semen, ojas, kapha and fat. It alleviates vata, pitta, toxic conditions, insanity, consumption and fever. It is the best of all the unctuous substances.”[1]

Introduction

In an ancient Indian tradition, newborns are given ghee and honey impregnated with special mantras[2]. A daily dose helps with nourishment, digestion, assimilation, elimination and increasing sattva (purity). Ghee is sweet in taste, cold in nature and has a sweet aftertaste. It is considered soothing, soft, and oily. However, due to varying predominance of the panchamahabhutas (Ayurvedic elements), ghee from different animal’s milk has different properties. Buffalo milk is colder, oilier and heavier and more effective at inducing sleep. However, it is also channel blocking whereas cow’s milk is not. Sheep’s milk is hotter and can aggravate Pitta.

Cow’s milk and its ghee are viewed as most wholesome, a view supported by modern analysis[3]. On a calorific basic, cow’s milk is superior in protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Buffalo milk also has a higher PH (acidity) buffer value, density, viscosity and fat globule size making it harder to digest[4]. Throughout life, ghee is considered nectar-like for living according to Ayurvedic principals. foods is the guiding principal behind diet planning in the Indian tradition.

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Ghee’s Central Role in Ayurvedic Treatment

an article by Joanna Webber from AyurvedicYogi.com

“Ghee is sweet in taste and cooling in energy, rejuvenating, good for the eyes and vision, kindles digestion, bestows lustre and beauty, enhances memory and stamina, increases intellect, promotes longevity, is an aphrodisiac and protects the body from various diseases.”  (Bhavaprakasha 6.18.1)

No other substance is as widely used to prepare Ayurvedic medicines as ghee.  Ghee is also cited as the best substance for preparing the body for Ayurveda’s internal detoxification (Panchakarma).  One reason for this is that ghee is given as the best remedy for diseases due to aggravated Pitta and Vata doshas.  Ghee alleviates Pitta dosha by its cold, sweet properties and Vata by its oiliness.  Ghee is hence recommended in autumn when Pitta’s hot nature can get aggravated after summer.  But there is more to ghee than its dosha balancing properties. This article explores ghee’s role in working alongside Ayurvedic herbs, as well as its own inherent healing abilities not found in other fats.

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Ghee’s Role in the Ayurvedic Diet

an article by Joanna Webber from AyurvedicYogi.com

Beyond being ideal for the yogi (see previous article in this series), ghee is considered nectar-like for all wishing to live according to Ayurvedic principals and maintain positive health. The final article in this series will look at contemporary scientific evidence in support of ghee in promoting health and healing. In this age of ‘fatism’, Ayurveda’s views on the wondrous benefits of ghee may appear contradictory. We must assess ghee through the Ayurvedic lens to provide rationale for it being recommended for all from cradle to grave. For example, just after birth the new baby is given both honey and ghee impregnated with mantras prescribed for this purpose in the Vedas (Ch Sa: 8/46). Charaka, an Ayurvedic master physician in ancient India, summarises:

“Cow ghee promotes memory, intellect, power of digestion, semen, ojas, kapha and fat. It alleviates vata, pitta, toxic conditions, insanity, consumption and fever. It is the best of all the unctuous substances” (Ch Su: 27/232).

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Ghee: A Short Consideration from an Ayurvedic Perspective

an article by Peter Malakoff for Light on Ayurveda: Journal of Health

This is the secret name of ghee:

“Tongue of the gods,” “navel of immortality.”
We will proclaim the name of ghee;
We will sustain it in this sacrifice by bowing low.
These waves of ghee flow like gazelles before the hunter…
Streams of ghee caress the burning wood.
Agni, the fire, loves them and is satisfied. – Rig Veda

As the Ganges has poured down through the myths and plains of India for thousands of years, so has ghee flowed through all aspects of the Indian culture. In the Ayurvedic wisdom, family homes, religions, peoples and kitchens of India, ghee is a sacred and celebrated symbol of auspiciousness, nourishment and healing as well as an esteemed article of everyday use. (more…)

Pass the Ghee, Please

an article by Linda Knittel for Yoga Journal

It is difficult for most Americans to believe that a little fat in their diets can be healthy, let alone be considered good medicine. In Ayurveda, however, pure clarified butter, known as ghee, is one of the most powerful tonics. It is used to heal wounds, improve digestion, fight free radicals, and boost the immune system. Ghee is also believed to enhance one’s ojas, or “life energy.”

“For centuries, ghee has been considered a rasayana, which means a healing food that balances both body and mind,” says Shubhra Krishan, author of Essential Ayurveda (New World Library, 2003).

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As a PhD candidate in Biophysics and an Ayurvedic clinician, I know ghee. I eat about 25-30 ounces of ghee per week and every deeply restorative nectarous spoonful is Ancient Organics Ghee!

— Prashanti de Jager
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