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Benefits of Healthy Fats in the Diet

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Ayurveda has long proclaimed the benefits of adding healthy fats into the daily diet. Fats are associated with kapha dosha; the bodily humor comprised of the earth and water element and governs the structural and lubricating energy of the body. Healthy fats are deeply nourishing to the bodily tissues and help to loosen metabolic waste products from the deep tissues, organs and channels, thus aiding in their elimination.

Cell membranes are comprised mainly of fatty acids, and their integrity is crucial for the free flow of nutrition and removal of waste products. A healthy cell structure enables clear cell-to-cell communication, which is essential for maintaining health and the prevention of diseases such as cancer and autoimmune diseases, where this communication is greatly broken down. So in this way, the right amount of healthy fats can help to keep the lines of cellular communication open and flowing freely.

In Ayurveda, this cellular communication is associated with prana, the vital life force energy.  The spark of intelligence that guides prana is associated with tejas, the subtle essence of pitta dosha, and the pathways in which this communication takes place in the field of kapha. To go deeper here, the myelin sheath, the insulating layer that forms around the nerves, is made up of kapha, in the form of fats and proteins. The myelin insulates the nerves and allows the impulses to move quickly and efficiently. If the myelin becomes damaged due to excess movement of vata, or deranged pitta, it can lead to demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Here, healthy fats can help to calm vata, pacify pitta and nourish and protect kapha dosha.

Adding the right amount of healthy fats into our diet has both cleansing and rejuvenating effects. For thousands of years Ayurveda has known about this and has encouraged eating healthy fats, such as ghee, for nourishment and prior to Panchakarma, cleansing and rejuvenation therapy to lubricate the bodily tissues, thus loosen toxins to be expelled from the system.  In deficient conditions bone marrow broths are also used to build the strength back up and to protect and nourish the nervous system. Conversely, if our diet contains trans fats, rancid and over cooked oils, or conventionally raised and grain feed animals, it contributes to the degradation of the fluidity and permeability of the cell membrane.

 Omega 3 Fatty Acid

In recent years, the awareness of the benefits of healthy fats in the daily diet has increased. The most notable are essential fatty acids, or EFAs especially from Omega-3. Aspects of these oils are not produced by the body, and must be obtained from the food we eat.  We already tend to get enough of Omega 6 & 9 already, so it is important to that we get more Omega-3 from sources including high quality fish oil, walnuts, flax seeds, soy beans, pumpkin seeds, and dark leafy greens and so on.  There are also some very good Omega 3 oil supplements in both fish and vegetarian form. Omega-3 has shown to support the immune system and metabolism, regulate cholesterol, and enhance the joints, eyes, bones and nerve tissue. Along with a holistic approach it may also aid in the treatment of mental and emotional conditions such as mood swings, depression, ADHA, and bipolar disorder. Omega 3’s anti-inflammatory and immune supportive properties make is a useful addition in the treatment of asthma, arthritis and degenerative and autoimmune diseases.

Fat Got a Bad Rape

Unfortunately, fat got a bad reputation in the 80 and 90’s and people where encouraged to eat low fat diets, but unhealthy fats still made their way into the daily diet in the form of trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils. In fact, he standard American diet is still loaded with trans fat and poor quality saturated fats. It is important to note that not all fat is bad for the body. In fact, saturated fat from coconut, avocado, nuts and ghee (clarified butter) is quite nourishing for the body.

Ghee ~ The Nectar of the Gods

Ghee (clarified butter) has a full spectrum of short, medium and long chain fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated. Ghee made from the butter of healthy, organic, grass fed cows is naturally lactose free and a rich source of Omega 3 & 9 essential fatty acids, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins such as E, A D, and K.

Ayurveda often uses ghee as an anupana, a substance that is taken along with other herbs to enhance their absorption and direction into the body. When we cook food in ghee, it enhances the flavor, improves agni (digestive fire), and increases the absorption of nutrients. Lightly sautéing culinary spices in ghee is a good way to improve digestion and nourish the system, especially in the fall and winter months, when the body experiences more dryness as a result of increased vata dosha. Ghee is also considered sattwic, or pure, and can be added to meat soups to help balance meats tamasic, or inert qualities.

 

Health benefits of ghee:

Improves digestion and absorption

Nourishes the bodily tissues, especially the nerves

Lubricates, cleanses and protects the channels

Improves complexion

Increases immunity

Reduces inflammation

Improves mental function

Improves the eyesight

And much, much more

Fat Sources to Avoid:

Grain fed beef

Meat from non-organic and conventionally raised sources

Non-organic, non-free range eggs

Homogenized  dairy products

Deep fried foods

Refined cooing oils

Rancid nuts and seeds (taste them first)

Lard

Farmed fish

Donuts

Conventional brand cookies, crackers and breads (many contain partially hydrogenated oil)

Ice cream (unless its your birthday J)

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Om!This recipe was first given to Brahma, the creator, and eventually handed down in an oral tradition to our present day. With the help of Sri Ganesha, I will attempt to put the recipe to writing. Forgive me if I make an error as I humbly transmit this valuable teaching.

Ingredients:
2 cups of pure water.
1 cup milk (or plain EdenSoy milk)
1 Tbsp. Darjeeling tea.
1-2 inches Fresh ginger root.
1/2 tsp cardamon powder.
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder or chips (too taste)
1-2 pinches ground nutmeg.
1-3 tsp. turbinado sugar, agave, Sucanat, or local honey. (Stevia as sugar substitute)

First bring 2 cups of water to a boil along with the fresh ginger root (shredded),cardamon, and cinnamon powder. Immediately reduce heat to medium/low and simmer with the lid on for 3-5 minutes. Then remove the pot from the heat, add Darjeeling tea, and cover the pot. Let the tea steep for only 2 minutes (makes sure to not over steep the tea) and strain the tea decoction into a separate pot. Now add the milk of your choice, heat it up until it is good and warm, and sweeten the tea to your taste. Add the finishing touch of a pinch of nutmeg and you’re ready to drink.

Chai Guru Dev!

Enjoy!

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