Ghee is sometimes described as the “new butter.” Lee Capatina began her ghee journey with making it at home. After falling in love with ghee, she created her own company, Lee’s Provisions. Lee’s goal is to inspire others to find their unique inner beauty and to feel radiant, healthy, alive, beautiful and connected.
We had the opportunity to chat with Lee about the health benefits of ghee, how you can make it at home, and her experience on CBC’s Dragons’ Den.
WEHL: Tell us a little about yourself and why you became interested in natural wellness.
LC: As a model, I was advised to follow a low-fat diet (back when that was still very much the “thing”). The turning point came when I found myself binge eating to make up for the cravings I felt as a result of not having enough fat in my diet. I was literally starving my body of essential nutrients it needed to thrive! After 7 years of modeling, I left the industry in search of more meaningful work and ended up on an organic farm in rural India where I first began learning about holistic living and Ayurveda which kick-started my journey into natural wellness.
WEHL: What’s your personal philosophy on wellness?
LC: My personal philosophy on wellness is that everyone is totally unique and it isn’t one size fits all. Wellness is different for everyone and I think it’s important to try out different things until you figure what works for you. I love learning about new ways to find balance and feel my best, and I think it’s important to keep learning and growing all the time and never become too fixed in your way of doing things.
WEHL: Why did you want to start Lee’s Ghee?
LC: I started my company after learning about all the benefits of eating healthy fats, like ghee, and incorporating ghee into my diet. I started making it at home and fell in love with its rich, buttery taste. I literally began using it for everything, from slathering on veggies, melting on popcorn and even (dare I admit) eating straight out of the jar. At the time, ghee wasn’t very well-known to most people in Canada and I felt a strong pull to bring a really good quality ghee to the market and show people how delicious and nourishing ghee can really be!
WEHL: What is ghee and what do you use it for?
LC: Ghee is a type of clarified butter which adds a rich, buttery flavor to dishes and has a very high smoke point, making it a great choice for cooking. All of the lactose is removed when the butter is clarified, making it a much healthier alternative to butter. I love adding it to my morning elixirs, steamed vegetables, rice, desserts and even popcorn!
WEHL: What are some of the health benefits of ghee?
LC: First of all, ghee is great for digestion as it lubricates the digestive tract and nourishes the cells of the intestinal lining making it great for those with digestive issues. Since the lactose and casein are removed, ghee is great for those with sensitivities to dairy as it’s more easily tolerated than other forms of dairy. Ghee also helps fuel the brain with energy and keeps you satiated for longer in between meals. It can help you lose weight as it’s burned quickly as energy and not stored as fat. Last but not least, research has shown that ghee can actually help lower the risk of heart disease, as it’s high in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a fatty acid that is known to help protect the arteries.
WEHL: What are your tips for making ghee at home?
LC: Be sure to use unsalted organic butter, or else you will end up with very salty ghee, since ghee is essentially a concentrated form of butter. Also, make sure to strain the ghee with unbleached cheesecloth and always store it in a glass jar so as not to contaminate it with chemicals.
WEHL: What are some of your current favorite ways to use ghee in the summer months?
LC: I love using ghee in the Summer to make my Salted Brown Butter Ghee Halva Fudge, Turmeric Lemon Cashew Soup, and iced matcha lattes! Ghee is also great for grilling vegetables or meat on the BBQ (especially Za’atar Star)!
WEHL: What is the shelf life of ghee and do you have to keep it refrigerated?
LC: The shelf life of Lee’s Ghee is 24 months from manufacturing. I recommend refrigerating it if you aren’t going to use it right away as it will extend the shelf life. Ghee will last about 1 year after opening if refrigerated, or about 3 months if left unrefrigerated. If you decide to not refrigerate your ghee, be sure to close the lid after each use and use a clean, dry utensil when dipping into the jar. If left unrefrigerated, ghee will melt and liquify above 25C.
WEHL: You recently launched a tea. Why did you want to start that aspect of your company?
LC: As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get stressed out and anxious with all the things on your plate each day. I find having a cup of tulsi tea is an easy way to wind down after a busy day and release the mind from all its worries. Witnessing the benefits of tulsi firsthand inspired me to share this amazing herb with others, in my line of organic tulsi wellness teas. Tulsi tea is an adaptogen that helps manage stress and uplifts you at the same time. In addition to being an adaptogen, tulsi is also known to help relieve headaches, balance hormones, regulate blood pressure and increase energy levels. I grow tulsi in my garden and even had a tulsi plant at my wedding, as it’s believed to bring good luck!
WEHL: You were featured on Dragons’ Den. How was your experience with the show?
LC: Going on Dragons’ Den was a really positive experience for me, as it allowed me to gain the expertise and mentorship of a dragon who is now heavily involved in the business. It took the company from being in a handful of stores at a local level to gaining recognition at a national level and gave me the confidence to enter into new markets and products.
WEHL: We noticed that you donate 10% of your profits to help save the Asian elephant. Why is that important to you?
LC: Giving back to protect elephants is very important to me because I have seen firsthand the dangers Asian elephants face as human development encroaches on their natural habitats, nearly forcing them into extinction. 90% of Asian elephants have disappeared in the past century, with only 45,000 left in existence. However, the survival of the Asian elephant is much bigger than just the elephant alone. Elephants are a keystone species, which means they play a key role in maintaining biodiversity. They do so by spreading seeds across forests, creating gaps in the vegetation, which allows new plants to grow, and using their tusks to dig for water, which provides water for other creatures living in dry areas. If we lose the elephant, we lose biodiversity, so it’s important that we do what we can to help save them.
WEHL: Do you have any advice for someone who’s looking to start a socially conscious company?
LC: I recommend starting out with a solid business plan that gets into the nitty gritty details and outlines how you plan to become profitable and at which point you can begin giving back to support a cause. Having a plan from the beginning will help you stay focused on the bigger picture and ensure you can realistically meet your goals.
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