Happy bellies for vibrant lives

Bone Broth

The nourishing broth made from simmering meat bones and vegetables in water is the delicious food called Bone Broth. It is a traditional way creating a base for soups, cooking liquid for rice or grains, a base for gravies or a lovely drink all on its own. This has really taken off in the health industry recently, and with good reason. It helps to boost the immune system, heal the gut, enhance detoxification and improve joint health. Bone broth contains collagen, which is known to support hair, skin, nails and joints.  It’s also high in minerals and electrolytes and is packed with 19 amino acids.

If you can’t make your own bone broth or if you’re traveling, there are some great options for premade boxed bone broths. Not all are made equal so if they seem cheap, they are very likely not made in the proper traditional way. I keep Kettle & Fire Chicken Bone Broth and Epic Turkey Cranberry Sage Bone Broth in the pantry for times that I don’t have homemade broth on hand.

But remember bone broth is pretty easy and inexpensive to make at home, so give it a shot and make some today! It also freezes nicely, so you can make big batches and have it available in the freezer for when you’re ready to use it.

The recipe is simple:


-    Meat bones *see below on choosing bones and vegetables

-    Vegetables or Veggie scraps *see below on choosing bones and vegetables

-    6-8 quarts of water (depending on the size of your pot)


·        Combine your meat bones and vegetables/veggie scraps in a 6-8 quart stock pot, crock pot or instapot

·        Cover with filtered water (the Berkey is my fav!), leaving 1-2 inches at the top.

·        Add Salt (I like Real Salt because of the consistent mineral levels in this product)

·        Add a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (this helps to extract the minerals)

·        Cook time for Chicken is 12-24 hours / Cook time for Beef is 24-48 hours

·        Simmer on the Stove top, in an electric Slow Cooker or in an Instant Pot (adjust cook time per manufacturer's directions)

·        [[I often dip into the broth as its cooking and drink down a mug-full or two on its own.]]

·        After the broth has slightly cooled, strain into a large bowl. Let cool. Discard the used bones and vegetables. Portion into mason jars or freezer-safe containers.

·        It will last in the fridge for about 5 days. Freezer for a few months.


How to choose your bones:

Option 1 – Roast a whole chicken. Eat the meat, save the bones. Drop the entire remains into the pot with vegetables and water and you are done.  If you are a newbie, this is the place to start. You could even use a rotisserie chicken that you get pre-cooked from the store. I’ve seen some recipes using two carcasses in the same amount of water, but I find that broth way too strong. Perhaps there are greater health benefits this way, but personally, I think one is just fine.

Option 2 – Save bones from meat you eat. I have a few zip top bags in my freezer for beef, pork, and chicken bones. When we eat a bone-in cut, like a pork chop or short rib for example, I’ll save the bones in the bag. When the bag is starting to get full, it’s time to make broth!

Option 3 – Purchase bones from your local butcher or farmer’s market. Many times the suppliers are looking to get rid of bones or sell at a low price. Although with the popularity of bone broth, the prices are starting to rise. If you want to make some broth and don’t want to wait to accumulate the bones, this is a good option. But, since these bones are essentially *raw* (unlike the bones that we’d talked about previously that had been pre-cooked), they should be roasted in the oven for an hour or two before making your broth. Pro-tip: Drop them in boiling water for a minute before roasting.

A note on quality: Make sure your meat is organic and ethically raised. A farmer’s market or local farm is ideal for obtaining the healthiest meat. And remember healthy meat = healthy bones = healthy broth.

Vegetables: While you can use an onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 carrots and 2 stalks of celery, I prefer to use vegetable scraps. When I’m cutting my vegetables for other meals, I save all the scraps in another zip top bag in the freezer. The scraps have just as much flavor and this way you don’t have to waste veggies you’d otherwise eat! So keep your onion and garlic peels, carrot tops and celery leaves for broth! You can also add in any other herbs, vegetables or scraps you may have.


How to use Bone Broth:

-        Base for soup or stew

-        Whisk an egg into 1 cup of broth for an egg drop soup (my go-to easy breakfast)

-        Add to roux (flour + fat) to make a gravy

-        Use in place of water when making rice or beans

-        Drink it right out of a mug. Especially if you are feeling sick or trying to heal a gut issue.

How do you use your bone broth?


Digestion - Its all in your head

When I was going through my numerous digestive issues, and saw countless doctors all letting me know that there "was nothing wrong", I started to believe it was all in my head. How could I feel so sick when all my tests came up normal? 
After years of working on my digestion and finding a cure through nutrition, I can now confidently say it was all in my head.
But not in the way I originally thought. It was not made up. There were surely physical symptoms telling me that my digestion was in shambles: nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, fatigue and heartburn... ohhhh the heartburn!

What I've found out through healing my digestion is that more than half the digestive process is initiated in the brain. Seeing, smelling, thinking about food primes the body for digestion. The salivary glands start working and the mouth starts watering. Just think about your favorite meal right now. Imagine it was on a plate right in front of you, steaming hot and smelling divine. Did your mouth start watering? Even a little? That's the response I'm talking about. 
There are even more downstream effects. This response triggers stomach acid production, enzyme secretion and the release of gastrointestinal hormones. That one little step primes your system and gets you ready for food! But do you do it? or have you been skipping this step? 

Another important function of the brain is to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system response for your "rest and digest" mode. Blood gets sent to the organs and allows your digestive system to do its job. 
The opposite of this is your "fight or flight" mode, controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. This mode tells your body that there may be danger coming, so get ready to run. Blood flows to the extremities in anticipation of movement and action. 
The problem is, we spend most of your lives in "fight or flight" mode! And our bodies can only do one mode at a time. So if you don't feel relaxed or you depend on constant stimulation [think phone, computer, driving, exercising, etc] you likely spend your time in the sympathetic nervous system. 
It is critical that you take a moment and find your parasympathetic nervous system before you eat in order to set the stage for digestion. As few as 8 deep breaths have been shown to help flip that switch.

But why wait until you are eating to recruit your resting mode? The more you do it, the easier it will be and the quicker you'll be able to get into a relaxed state. My meditation or yoga practice have been extremely beneficial in this way. New to meditation? Check youtube for a guided meditation and start with just a few minutes each morning or night. 

So maybe they were right all along. Maybe it was all in my head.... or my brain.... Maybe if I was able to slow down, meditate, engage my brain, pay attention to my food, and get out of my head (and my own way), then maybe, just maybe, the digestive issues could have been kept at bay. 
Think about it....

Action Steps:
-          Take a few moments to breathe or pray before a meal
-          If you have kids, maybe sing a song instead
-          Sit down and eat without distraction
-          Find a way to manage your stress
-          Meal prep to reduce stress around preparing food

Take 8 deep breaths before each meal this week. Journal in two sentences how you feel after each meal. One week of mindful eating can make a huge difference. How do you feel?

Need more support? Contact me here!   

XOXO ~ Dianne