In the weeks leading up to Saturday, December 12th, we will be profiling some of the most fun, creative and sumptuous foodie talents whose wares and goods might just be the most original gifts under the tree.

For this installment, we spoke to the founder and CEO of Lee’s Ghee, Lee Dares. After quitting her previous job as a model, Dares spent the next year and a half working on organic farms in Canada, US and India, thus beginning her love and passion for ghee and healthy fats.

When did you fall in love with ghee?

I fell in love with ghee while I was living in New York City a few years back. A friend of mine came to visit and to attend a weekend seminar on Ayurveda (the ancient sister science of yoga) and she invited me to come along. In the seminar, we learned about the health benefits of ghee according to Ayurvedic medicine and how to make ghee at home. I tried my hand at making ghee shortly thereafter, and after a few attempts, I was hooked. I use it for everything now.

What ghee myth, or misunderstanding, do you want to clear up?

The myth that ghee will make you fat and give you high cholesterol. Studies have shown that ghee raises HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers LDL (bad cholesterol). Ghee is rich in CLA, a fatty acid which both protects against artery plaque, diabetes and heart disease and has been shown to aid in weight loss. Bottom line: Healthy fats do not make you fat.

Lee's Ghee
What are some of the health benefits of ghee?

Ghee is composed mostly of saturated fats, which, contrary to popular belief, are a health-promoting type of fat. They are used by our bodies to produce energy, feed and protect the brain, bones and vital organs, and transport important fat-soluble vitamins. Regular and moderate consumption of this type of fat encourages the body to burn excess fat and shed weight, and helps to keep cholesterol in check. Organic, grass-fed ghee is also high in fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and antioxidants.

How do you suggest people use it? Do you have a favourite way?

I suggest people use ghee first and foremost as a heat-stable cooking oil in the kitchen, which is how it has been used for thousands of years in India. A lot of people cook with olive oil or butter, which becomes rancid, denatured and pro-inflammatory at high temperatures. Ghee has a smoke point of 250 degrees C, which is even higher than coconut oil, meaning it won’t burn even if you wanted it to. Use ghee for sautéing veggies, frying eggs, and popping popcorn (my personal favourite!).

Do you and your fam/friends have any favourite holiday traditions?

Every Christmas, my aunt gives my family chocolate advent calendars. My sister still makes fun of me because I would usually just eat all the chocolates at once. Now my aunt has switched to giving us online advent calendars, which is probably for the best.

What are you looking forward to most this season?

I’m looking forward to wearing warm, fuzzy socks, my advent calendar, and eating lots of good food!

You can follow Lee’s Ghee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @leesghee.

Mark it in your calendar!

Join us at the Foodie Holiday Market on Saturday, December 12th, 10am-5pm at Artscape Sandbox (301 Adelaide St. W). Exhibitors include NadegeEmerson Pringle CarpentryThe Rolling Pin DonutsProvisions Food CompanyBurner Hot Sauce, I Love Puffy Love, Roselle Bakery, Lee’s Ghee, Hinkleville, Petits Mots and so many more.

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