Gluterra - gluten-free and healthy

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gheeAre you casein or lactose intolerant? Casein is a type of protein found in milk and lactose is a type of sugar found in milk. Many people seem to have a problem with one or both of these. If you are a sufferer, did you know that you can still have that incredible buttery taste in your cooking while using real dairy products?

According to the tests that came back from my husband's visit to the doctor, he is allergic to casein. Symptoms include all sorts of digestive issues that are similar to many of the gluten intolerant symptoms. According to, casein has a molecular structure quite similar to that of gluten, and may explain why a large percentage of gluten intolerant people are also allergic or intolerant to casein.

He was originally put on a dairy-free diet, and additionally a gluten-free and egg free diet due to his being diagnosed with leaky gut. After his gut was healed (read his leaky gut article here), he was able to introduce more foods in his diet on a rotation basis. That's when he learned that ghee, a type of clarified butter originating in South Asia, is both casein and lactose free as well as gluten-free if prepared properly (watch out for cross-contamination). An interesting tidbit I read is that, in some South Asian countries, ghee is not only used in food but also in rituals such as Hindu funerals.

While margarine does a decent job as a butter substitute, it can never taste like real butter in my opinion. That's where ghee comes in since it tastes very similar to butter but with a stronger milkier taste. It's great as a butter substitute, especially in desserts. When I make a pie crust from scratch, for example, I use 1/3 margarine, 1/3 coconut oil, and 1/3 ghee in place of butter. In this ratio, there is more than enough ghee to make a buttery crust. If you use ghee in cooking, not just as a spread, we think it tastes just like real butter.

Because the process of making ghee (clarified butter) involves removing water and milk fat solids (which can spoil) from butter, it has a longer shelf life than butter. This means you don't even have to refrigerate ghee. I keep mine right next to our olive oil in the pantry. It also has a higher smoking point than butter - about 485F instead of 250-300F (source:

The only downside is that just like GF substitutes, ghee is not cheap. But again, we only use it sparingly, so our supply lasts a long time. Purity Farms is the brand we buy since it's made from grass fed organic cows. You can also cook your own clarified butter, although I haven't bothered to make it on my own yet. I'm not sure how much casein and lactose would still be in the homemade version (maybe none?), so I am a little reluctant to try.

In case you missed it, I posted a baked chicken recipe using ghee a few days ago. Enjoy!