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How to make killer bone broth

Chicken feet....a delicacy in Ecuador.  And a perfect ingredient for bone broth.  You can skip them if they idea is too much to handle.  

Most of you have probably heard of bone broth by now.  And if you haven't I am so excited to be the one to educate you on how to make this lovely healing tonic.  Now the name "bone broth" might turn you off.  But really it's just soup or broth that people made back in the day...before the mass meat production.  

So the reasons as to why bone broth is so good for you...I will save for a later post.  But in this article I just want to teach you how to make amazing bone broth.  Because if you are like me...you want it to taste good and not just be good for you.  

So you can use whatever type of bones that you want or already have.  (tip: hold on to bones from meals and make broth from them)  The most common bones to use for bone broth are beef, chicken and fish.  You can go to the butcher and ask for feet, joints, necks etc.  All the stuff we don't typically eat...and it makes great bone broth.  

Here are the key factors to making your bone broth taste amazing.

  • If you bought your bones (meaning not using bones from a previous meal) then you'll want to blanch them quickly to get all the yuckies off.  By yuckies I just mean stuff that isn't necessarily good for you and is hanging onto the joints/cartilage etc.  
  • If you bought your bones...you will want to brown them.  Yes make them all crispy and brown.  That's what gives your broth flavor.  
  • Cook your bones for the appropriate amt. of time.  Chicken is 4-8 hrs and Beef is 8 -24 hrs.  Over cooking doesn't really give you any additional benefits except break down the bones and undercooking doesn't give you the health benefits. 
  • Always use local pasture raised meat sources whenever possible.  You don't want to be drawing out impurities from bones from conventionally raised animals.
  • Lastly make sure you add a bit of apple cider vinegar to your broth while you are cooking it to help draw out all the beneficial yummies from the bones.  

Stay tuned for my next two posts.  I will share with you a great bone broth recipe and the answer all the "whys" you may have about this tonic.  

It's time to let go!

Everyone in Santa Fe can smell and feel that Autumn is here.  We have been blessed with that cool breeze and aromatic smell of roasting green chiles.   Fall is the transition from the warm exuberant energy of Summer into the introspective cozy energy of Winter.  It’s when you begin to feel life slowing down.  Your body begins to crave more grounding foods like root vegetables rather than the light salads you may have been eating all summer.  As we move from the playful energy of summer into the soulful wanderings of winter, fall allows us the time to contemplate what is we want to bring with us.  What is essential and what is it that we need to leave behind?

In Chinese medicine Fall is dominated by the element of Metal. The primary emotions associated are grief and sadness which can be transmuted into courage (Water element).  The Lung and the Large Intestine are the organs associated with Metal/Autumn.  They work together in receiving and releasing.  The Lungs receive oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.  The Large Intestine absorbs water and nutrients and expels waste.  Both help in providing energy to the body.  They are taking in what is good and pure and then letting go of that which does not serve.  When we are not living the life that nourishes and serves us, we can feel immobilized, depressed, or sad.

Letting go is the lesson the Fall brings us.  It’s one of the hardest lessons that life presents.  The entire Buddhist religion is essentially based around this concept of “letting go” – non attachment.  With the season shifting and my own transition into motherhood, I have become conscious of my difficulty of letting go of control.  I have felt unable to control my body as it grows and transforms to accommodate and nourish my baby inside me.  I have also felt unable to control how my partner relates to this experience or me.  I can plan all I want but I have realized that I have no control over how my birthing experience will be, what temperament my child will have, or how I will handle motherhood.  Pregnancy and birth is all about surrender.  I read a midwife commenting on this by saying “When the monster is coming to you and you want to fight, open your arms and surrender.  Let it have you.  It WILL eventually anyway.  Surrender to what have to go through.  The joy is on the other side”.

Letting go is synonymous to surrender.  It is not a passive act but actually one of empowerment.  Sometimes letting go means taking action and walking away from situations but sometimes it also means relinquishing control which can feel more passive.  This can be all the harder when things aren’t going the way that we have planned.   In Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart, she says, “When things fall apart and we’re on the verge of we know not what, the test of each of us is to stay on that brink and not concretize.  The spiritual journey is not about heaven and finally getting to a place that’s really swell”.  When we can relax into the process, practicing radical acceptance, and letting go of things that are not serving us, we move towards our higher Selves.  How can we be open to receive if we are gripping the old?  Take a look at your relationships, beliefs, and lifestyle practices that are no longer serving you.  Where are you ready to let go?  You can use the energy of Metal/grief to let go and move you into a new cycle that can better serve you.

Foods that support you in Fall:

adzuki beans, amaranth, apples, barley, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, daikon, dates, eggplant, figs, garlic, ginger, greens, kidney beans, melons, millet, mung beans, oats, okra, onions, parsnips, pears, peppers, persimmons, pumpkin, quinoa, raisins, brown rice, sweet potatoes, turnips, wild mushroom, wild rice, yams.

Why I start every morning with lemon water...

While most people are at home waking up and enjoying their favorite brew of coffee, I am enjoying a nice glass of filtered water with fresh squeezed lemon.  I started this morning ritual a couple of years ago as recommended to me by my acupuncturist.  I have since then enjoyed the benefits which include feeling more awake, less congested (I tend towards nasal/lung congestion), and overall feeling more balanced.  It’s crazy to think that something as small as drinking some lemon water in the a.m. would make any difference.  But when we look further into it there is scientific evidence as to why.

Turns out that the energy we get from our food comes from the atoms and molecules of energy in your food.  And this isn’t the reiki kinda energy that some people can see or feel (which I totally believe in!), this is a real measurable energy that comes from a reaction when cationic food enters the digestive tract and encounters digestive enzymes (anionic).  If I already lost you with the science talk, let’s break it down a bit.   In A.F. Beddoe’s book “Biological Ionization in Human Nutrition”, he explains that an ion is a part of a molecule that carries an electrical charge.  Ions which carry a positive charge are called “cations”.  Lemons are considered to be anionic.  This means that they have more electrons (negatively charged ions) of energy as compared to cations (positively charged ions) in their atomic structure.  Saliva, hydrochloric acid, bile, and the stomach’s digestive juices are all anionic.  Lemon is one of the only foods on the planet that has more anions than cations in its atomic structure.

When considering the electromagnetic properties of food Dr. Beddoe points out that all foods are considered cationic with the exception of fresh, raw lemon juice. Some have suggested that the reason fresh lemon juice is similar to digestive enzymes is due to the low amount of sulfur in lemons. It should be noted that pasteurized and packaged lemon juice is cationic and, therefore, ineffective as a health remedy.

So that’s the western health perspective of why it’s so good for you.  In ayurveda, they also believe that warm water with lemon juice in the a.m. helps to loosen ama (toxins) from the digestive tract.  In TCM, since the lemon is sour it belongs to the wood element or Liver/Gallbladder.  When not ingested in excess, the sourness of the lemon can help to balance and cleanse the liver.  This is great considering that the liver does most of the dirty work in the body.  It processes EVERYTHING we put into it…including drugs, medications, food, additives, pollutants in our food, water, and air.  Since in our modern lives we are bombarded with all those on a daily basis, it is no surprise that most people suffer from a congested liver.  Congestion of the Liver can produce physical and emotional symptoms.  The following are some symptoms of Liver congestion:

Physical Signs

Intermittent or migrating pain
Muscle spasms and cramps, muscle tension, can’t relax
Dizziness, vertigo
Internal or external tremors or shaking, trembling
Pulsating headache, especially in the temples or behind the eyes
Ringing in the ears
Dryness in the upper body (eyes, mouth, sinuses, skin)
Difficulty sleeping, wakes between 1 and 3 AM, or cannot fall asleep until the wee hours
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Menstrual disorders, PMS
Chronic indigestion
Belching or gas after meals, especially after oily or greasy foods

Emotional Signs

Depression and manic-depression
Feeling overwhelmed and overly sensitive; easily cries or angers
Irritable, agitated, angry, emotionally volatile
Nervousness, agitation, restlessness
Inability to keep commitments
Feeling of uneasiness, or “wound up”
Unsettled; the “eternal traveler”
Lack of motivation, stuck in a rut
Lacks patience
Poor judgement
Difficulty making decisions
Addictions and emotional attachments
Loss of sense of adventure and seeking new experiences

 

I use 8 oz of room temp filtered water with half a squeezed fresh lemon.