‘Miracle cure:’ Chico healer learns the timeless power of ghee
Special to The Union
Indya Gage remembers 12 years ago when she first started making ghee on her home stovetop as a meditative extension of her yoga practice.
“You have to sit with it and listen to it,” Gage said of the crackling sounds made when butter solids settle and water separates, leaving behind an ancient healing food used by different cultures all over the world.
A massage therapist at the time, Gage was already studying the healing benefits of alternative Ayurveda medicine when she began making batches of ghee each month during the full moon.
“I kept the temperature low and the flavor came out like you wouldn’t believe,” she said, of her self-taught technique of slowly making ghee using low temperatures and setting aside the end product to age in a dark place.
Indya Gage is the owner of Chico-based Mama Sattva Ghee, made from certified organic cultured butter that comes from Jersey dairy cows raised 100 percent on lush Northern California pastures of the Pacific Coast.
When Gage first began making ghee, she came across some teachings of Charaka Sambhita, a Vedic Scholar who called 10-year-aged ghee the “miracle cure for any ailment.”
Inspired by Sambhita and Dr. Weston A. Price, Gage devised a slow, low temperature method to keep the rich butter flavor and high nutritional content of her ghee.
“That to me was the exciting part,” Gage said. “What you get at the end is so, so good for the body. You could live off ghee and very little else. It’s very nutritious. It’s very healing.”
Price traveled the globe studying the diets of various cultures and concluded that processed vegetable fats, flour and sugar of the modern Western diet caused nutritional deficiencies that caused dental issues and health problems.
Gage began sharing with friends and family who encouraged her to sell her product. She launched her business in 2012. Within the first year, Mama Sattva could be found on shelves in 50 stores.
Now she transforms more than a 1,000 pounds of butter a month into ghee. Locally, Gage sold her product at the open air Nevada City Farmers Market and is a regular staple at BriarPatch Co-op and California Organics.
“There’s a lot of educated people up there that are hip to ghee,” she said.
A clarified butter, ghee originated in ancient India and is commonly used in South Asian cuisines. Ghee is a Sanskrit word that means “sprinkled” because it’s sprinkled on everything in traditional Indian fare.
Clarified butter is milk fat rendered from butter to separate the milk solids and water from the butterfat.
It has its roots in other parts of the world, too, including Scandinavia countries, where Gage traces her lineage.
“Vikings used to war over aged butter,” she said.
Gage calls herself more mystic than scientist, yet, there is much science backing up the health properties of this food that has stood the test of time.
Gage says eating ghee reverses aging and keeps those who consume it vibrant and youthful. Fatty acids such as pamitic acid, myristic acid, and lauric acid are important for stabilizing proteins used in the immune system.
Ghee has butyric acid or butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid known to be beneficial for the mind, metabolism, inflammation and stress.
Unlike butter, ghee does not require refrigeration. The longer it ages, the more medicinal it becomes, Gage said.
“Once you clarify it, it’s ageless,” Gage said.
With a nearly 500 degree smoking point, ghee can safely be heated at higher temperatures without destroying the molecular structure of the fatty acid chains needed by the body. It’s also a good choice for vegetarians and those with extreme intolerance to milk sugars and protein, according to a Price-influenced cookbook, “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon.
Mama Sattva Ghee can be purchased online. Learn more at mamasattva.com.
Contact freelance writer Laura Petersen at email@example.com or 530-913-3067.
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