A year ago, I didn’t know what ghee was. I didn’t know what made it different from butter, or when to use it, or why to use it. In college, I would see my roommate use big globs of it in her Indian cooking, but never knew how to use it myself. Nowadays, I see it EVERYWHERE. It’s like ghee has taken over the wellness world. The first time I really understood what ghee was, was when I met up with 4th & Heart (the artisanal ghee staple) Founder Raquel Tavares Gunsagar at Once Upon a Tart cafe in Soho. Raquel explained that ghee was a lot like butter (same basic ingredients), but in a purer, more reduced form. The fun thing about 4th & Heart ghee, is that it comes in really unique flavors. I started using it in everything. A little California Garlic ghee while I’m sautéing vegetables, a spoonful of Madagascar Vanilla Bean in my morning tea, and Original on toast before I run out the door.
Ghee is great because it makes just about anything taste delicious, has a really high smoke point so it’s the best for cooking, and it’s full of healthy fats. Since it’s so versatile, we asked Raquel to give us her top 5 ways to use ghee- and she suggested more than just using it in food. It’s the ultimate beauty product, to moisturize the body inside and out.
The Moment: Why has ghee made such an impact on you (enough to start your own ghee business!) and in what ways do you hope 4th and Heart shapes consumer ideas about what ghee is and how it’s used in daily life?
Raquel: When I was young my mother had a book called the Sugar Blues and was incredibly strict about diet. She later became a Registered Dietician and then an Ayurvedic Practitioner, educated at the California College of Ayurvedic Medicine. I was 23 when she began to make ghee regularly in the house, which quickly led me to make it for myself in my San Francisco apartment. Ghee reminds me of the foundation of health my mom built which has contributed to my ability to sustain myself during life’s challenging times.
I think 4th & Heart demystifies ghee and also gives it the love the ingredient deserves. We put so much love into our work and the thousands of hours, the sleepless nights, the long business trips, the food shows, the roundtables with advisors and investors is all done in the spirit of our amazing brand. 4th & Heart has an authenticity to it, not only because of the place ghee had in my life, but because of the genuine community of bloggers, foodies and friends supporting the brand at home and online!
The Moment: What is your definition of a beauty food? In what ways is ghee a beauty food? How does it nourish our insides, outsides, and higher-self?
Raquel: Beauty foods are ingredients that feed your health, your spirit and soul. Foods which make you smile and glow from the inside out. Sure, most of the time they’re healthy ingredients but I’d say a delicious bowl of ice cream can also be a beauty food. Ghee most certainly is a beauty food as it’s rich in nutrients like omega fatty acids, and butyric acid, CLA’s and Vitamins A, D, E, & K. Ghee is considered a satvic in Ayurveda, meaning, balancing and is also alkaline, which helps balance out all the acidic foods we typically eat in the average American diet.
The Moment: Can we get 5 days of 5 different ways to use ghee?
Ghee in 5 Days, 5 Ways
Nasya, pronounced, NAHS-YA, is the use of oil as a lubricant for the sinuses. There are many types of Nasya, which, I won’t go into here, but the most basic and easy to administer ones are done with Ghee called the Marshya and the Bruhana Nasya.
Marshya Nasya is simply done by slightly melting ghee and using the tip of your clean little finger to administer in the interior of the nose. This is good for a dry nose or to decrease stress.
Bruhuna Nasya is accomplished my using ghee accompanied with salt or other Ayurvedic Herbs like Ashwaganda and then applied into the nostrils with the tip of the finger or using a Neti Pot.
Oil pulling is using ghee, coconut oil or sesame seed oil and swished in the mouth for 3-20 minutes. The oil is said to pull the toxins that accumulate in the mouth. Some of the fat-soluble toxins that we are regularly exposed to are:
- Heavy metals
- Environmental toxins
On another note it’s possible that when applied to the skin, these oils may attract to the surface of our skin and therefore be rid of them through our largest organ – our skin.
We’ve all heard of a milk bath, so why not a ghee bath? Seriously, it’s like you took ten milk baths in a week with one ghee bath. Who knew ghee was so versatile?
In India, ghee is commonly used for burns, cuts, and scrapes. Would you like to try this at home? If so, you’ll only be left with soft and glowing skin and it’s so easy!
Take equal amounts of pure ghee and water, blend them together and place on your skin as a mask for 15 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Try this 2-3 times a week, then follow with your normal nighttime routine. You won’t regret it!
SORE THROAT REMEDY
If you have a sore throat, or if your child has a sore throat, mix equal parts ghee and honey (about a tablespoon each, and warm them) add a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper, and drink. I promise you’ll feel better by morning. Repeat, as necessary or add to warm milk and coffee in the AM to start your day!
Have you ever been prepping for a hot date and wanted to smooth out just about every corner of your body “just in case?” Well, don’t forget those dry ends!
It’s very simple. Start with your hair dry and rub ghee into the ends, working your way up to the scalp. Allow to sit for 20 minutes in an ambient-temperature room. Wash with warm water and a mild shampoo, condition and viola! You’re ready for that date.
RECIPE: PUMPKIN SPICE ENERGY BALLS
1/2 cup Packed Dates
1/3 cup Walnuts
2 tbsps Pumpkin Seeds
1 tbsp Vanilla Bean Ghee Melted
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 pinch Sea Salt
1/4 cup Coconut Flakes
- Soak dates for about 7-10 minutes in warm water
- Next, place dates, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds into a food processor, and mix until well-combined
- Add the melted vanilla bean ghee, pumpkin spice, and pinch of sea salt
- Roll into bite-sized balls, and store in the fridge
The Moment: 4th & Heart is one of the companies pioneering the “Fat is Back” movement. Why do you think people were so afraid of fat for so long and why have things changed in recent years?
Raquel: I think there was just a lack of understanding on what the human body needs from a hormonal and cognitive level. Once diet was primarily structured to lose weight, whereas now I find most of us are eating to live and not living to eat; Essentially, fueling our bodies with a more comprehensive diet which now includes fat. While skinny was once the trend, now being strong, and fit becomes more acceptable and the new way we see beauty. We are becoming more and more fit and we need fat to fuel our body and for our bodies and minds to optimally perform.
The Moment: Ghee obviously carries with it a lot of cultural meaning and tradition- in what ways does 4th & Heart pay homage to that depth of history?
Raquel: The significance of 4th & Heart is our nod to East Indian culture. The 4th Chakra is the Heart Chakra so we chose this name as it gives homage to East Indian culture, however, I find it very important to remember ghee has been in all of our lives as it is just a form of clarified butter, which is what butter was before the industrialization of butter. After all, before there was refrigeration there was ghee. It’s our job to remind people ghee is for all of us, it’s for the people.
The Moment: At The Moment, we believe that there are 3 pillars that define beauty; The products we choose to buy and apply, the foods we consume, and the wellness practices we partake in all add up to how to feel about ourselves and how we project to the world. How do you see the connection between these three pillars and implement them in your own life?
Raquel: I’ve always believed our strongest way to change the world is to change what we buy, what we eat, and how we contribute to the world. After all, if we eat less packaged foods we produce less waste. If we do our best to recalibrate stress by doing yoga, running or dancing we’ll be able to contribute greater to ourselves and the world around us. I remember when you could barely find organic food and the premium on organic was significantly more expensive, whereas now the delta is less shocking, at least when it comes to produce (dairy has a way to go), and this is because the more demand there was, supply became greater and now most Americans are trying to buy Organic. I, therefore, just do my best to put my money where my mouth is and support brands, movements and actively participate in living a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, I only buy the best ingredients for my home but also for my brand in hopes it rubs off somehow on those around me.
The Moment: Any additional fun ghee facts you can share?
Raquel: Yes! Ghee and Honey were once used to heal surgical sutures in India and the combination is excellent to heal burns.
Special thanks to Raquel Tavares Gunsagar!