December 9, 2012

Healing Fats for Winter

Fats contain carbon, hydrogen, and some oxygen. The three main forms of fat found in food are: glycerides – mainly triglycerides, the form in which the body stores fat for fuel; phospholipids; sterols – mainly cholesterol.

These crucial nutrients provide up to 10 kilocalories per gram of energy, compared with four kilocalories per gram from carbohydrates and proteins. Fats are not taken up directly by any tissue, but must be hydrolyzed outside the cell to fatty acids and glycerol, which can then enter the cell. Thus, when metabolizing fats, the body must use energy, primarily from carbohydrates in glucose form, to produce energy. 

We support our strength and ease by eating small quantities of high-quality fats such as olive, sunflower and coconut oils, animal fat from poultry, eggs and fish, and hormone-free butter.


Try these recipes for healthy animal fats.


Ghee
Ghee, or clarified butter, is unsalted butter that has been separated from its water and milk proteins. When heated, butter will separate into three layers: the casein, a frothy layer on top; the clarified butterfat--the ghee--in the middle; and the milk solids, and proteins in the bottom.

Heat 1 lb. of unsalted butter in a stainless steel stock pot. When it starts bubbling, reduce heat to low.
Fetch a small bowl and spoon.

Stay with the butter, skimming the foamy white casein that rises to the surface with the spoon.  Repeat the skimming process for about 15 minutes, or until the ghee has stopped making any bubbling sounds.

Remove from heat immediately. Strain through a fine mesh tea strainer or cheesecloth into a glass mason jar. This process removes leftover milk solids. Ghee can be used to cook for people who are lactose intolerant.

Allow it to cool completely before closing. Ghee stores at room temperature for 2-3 weeks.

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Chicken Stock
Place leftover bones and skin from a chicken into a large stock pot and cover with cold water.

Coarsely chop and add vegetables: 2-3 stalks celery, 1-2 onions, 2-3 carrots. Add salt and pepper.

You can also add: 2 inches fresh ginger root to make a warming, spicy stock;  2 Tablespoons each astragalus root and reishi mushroom slices to enhance the immune boosting properties of the stock.

Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, for 1-2 hours.

Remove the bones and strain the stock. Save the vegetables, purée them in a blender with olive oil and artichoke hearts, and eat as a spread on bread.

You can store the stock in the refrigerator for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Use the stock to cook rice, kale, or make soup.

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