It blizzard-ed this week in my sweet hometown, Chicago. Just to be clear, a blizzard happened in April. In the spring. The husband and I thought we could be part-time mid-westerners, because we see the irreplaceable value of our children’s grandparents and extended (crazy) family (who still lives there despite the obvious weather problems). We lasted four long cold months (end of summer through the beginning of spring).
Our heat was perpetually set to 78 degrees, and we walked around the house in shorts. I don’t even own socks (and, I’m not actively seeking them, either). But, the problem was, we couldn’t go outside without freezing our boogers. My Dougie got seriously crabby. No amount of time soaking in the sun through our huge window helped absorb the joy we need. And, coconut kefir alone (even with its serotonin-boosting power, wasn’t cutting it).
If you’ve ever visited or lived with me, you know I’ve always got a pot of bone broth or veggie-herb broth brewing on the stovetop. But, during winter and early spring, I find it necessary to incorporate this mineral-rich food even more into our diets. In fact, I’m listing it as a major staple healing food for us —right up there with coconut kefir, good fish oil, and Bioage Algae.
But, not everyone wants to eat soup all day long. The kids and man get bored and seek new flavors. So, I got creative. I began adding this amazing stuff to some of our other favorite foods. First, I was inspired by a friend who retired from veganism last year and needed some tips for adding this necessary mega-nutrition to her diet without the taste or smell of animal parts. Vegan versions weren’t working for her. I’ve so been there. I get it. I was also inspired by another friend and medicine woman, Heather Dane, who posted tempting FB pics of her bone broth creations hidden in desserts. I sent my newly de-vegan-ed friend a list of stuff she could do with her broth that fit her diet. She loves smoothies, salads, quinoa dishes and dips. And, wouldn’t you know… you can add broth to all of those.
What is Bone Broth?
A traditional bone broth, which consists of animal bones simmered in water long enough to extract the marrow, is full of minerals, protein and saturated fat (brain food). PLUS, you get the skin, bone and digestive-tract-protecting benefits of collagen and gelatin. These nutrients help with achy joints, dry skin, skin texture and sustaining your energy levels.
If you have leaky gut syndrome (anyone with allergies or food sensitivities should check into this), bone broth is often one of the most satisfying and “feel good” foods you can eat. If you are a vegan, there are also many amazing herbs, veggies and weeds that can come together to help strengthen your gut lining too. Most of my clients have leaky gut when they first come into my life. One of them told me that every time she ate, no matter what she ate, it felt like she was eating a rock sandwich. And it sounded like her stomach was churning rocks from the inside too. In these cases, probiotics are usually not enough. Especially probiotic pills. The good bugs often cannot colonize correctly, and sensitivities persist. In fact, many of my vegan clients will opt for bone broth as their one an only animal food dietary allowance. And, often the decision comes after years of digestive pain.
A serious leaky gut condition almost always goes hand-in-hand with stress, anxiety, brain fog, and even depression. Toxic by-products of undigested food enter the bloodstream and can cause neurological imbalance. So, when we experience this, we need to feel supported, connected and loved. We need more from our food than nourishment, we need true healing.
Minerals are very grounding in nature. That means that bone broth literally helps connect us to the earth’s magnetic vibration, and feel safe and calm. By adding warming herbs and spices, we get to feel warmth from within, and also tolerate colder outside temperatures. For some, receiving this from animal bone-based broths just works better. But, with the right herbs (right for you, that is) a vegan can get some of the same energy.
There is something hearty and strengthening about bone energy. Our family felt the interesting need to consume more bone broths versus straight-up herbal broths while wintering this year in the arctic (I mean…the midwest).
Bone stocks date back to at least the ancient Chinese. In my Chinese Herbalism classes, I was taught that slow-simmering the goodness from our herbs (bones can be considered herbs too when used as medicine) over a long period of time, allows for yin, grounded, structural or “feminine” energy healing to occur. They work on our bones, our structural components (like our gut lining), and our feminine side — or our ability to “receive.” Yes, your mood and outlook do shift once you add healing foods to your diet.
In Chinese Medicine, all liquids have a cooling energy, as do foods that are directed downward and inward (yin). You’ve heard the expression “cool down.” Incidentally, I find that this helps reduce anger and frustration which I feel when my liver is inflamed. So, while they are extremely nourishing, we must still use them in balance. Too much of this good thing can have the opposite effect. You will need to tune into your intuition, use trial and error and/or muscle testing to find your ideal dosages. And, this gets easier if you start slowly and pay attention to your response.
These brews produce collagen which heals the gut lining and reduces inflammation (our bodies’ response to threat). Gelatin, the break-down of collagen even promotes probiotic balance. Of course! Remember that our inner probiotics really create our physical health for us. What we feed them determines their ability to create vitamins for us, balance our hormones, and quite frankly — keep us alive in our skin.
It is the gelatin that is said to help digest proteins and provide us with minerals that are easy to absorb. This slow-cooking also allows for the full release of the amino acids arginine, glycine, proline and glutamine, all of which are essential amino acids.
My understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine theory (although continuously learning), is how nature heals us perfectly. We can look at our bones and consider that everything our bones need are within them. Consuming the bones of another animal can help reestablish anything within our bones that we are missing. Modern science simply continues to find new names and definitions for what the ancients knew. And, it’s cool to understand now how connected our skin and bones are to our guts and brains.
When we consume broths of bones, it also helps honor the whole animal as a gift for having given us their physical bodies. The decision to eat animals for nourishment forces a conscious individual to look at all of the implications. Using the bones makes me feel like I am not wasting. I am considering the animal as a whole being. In a world where much of our animal-based foods come from factory farms that dishonor the beings, bone broth making and eating brings me back to having full recognition of what I am doing as a consumer. I’m sure that our ancestors, and heck — even our grandmas would agree that we should make use of all of the food we have.
When I’ve had clients with broken bones, I usually recommend that they drink bone broth daily. Same for those in recovery from surgery, chemo or emotional trauma.
When I have had joint pain, tooth aches, acne, hyperactivity (yeah, I’m a rather excited lady), it has made me feel better. While bone broth can help people lose weight healthfully, mostly by hiking-up the nourishment — it has helped me put on a few pounds this year, for which I am grateful. It has helped me re-build after an intense and extremely healing parasite cleanse as well.
For my clients who have gone vegan and are having major health problems, but cannot fathom eating meat, this is their salvation. Meat can be so hard to digest. But, this liquid delivery can be so easy.
Bone broth was key for my healing after having 24 + hours of back to back seizures due to lack of nourishment when I was vegan. In fact, the message to begin consuming meat and bones came channeled during a very painful and enlightening experience of having seizures. I became so much healthier through following the guidance I received that day.
Animal Spirit Medicine
A few years back, after already having received the message to consume bones, I received a message from an Elk Spirit. As part of my medicine and gifts here, I often receive messages from spirit in the form of animals, fairies, angels, guides, and other archetypes and signs — depending on how they will be best understood. The Elk showed me his antlers and my arm skeleton. He implanted me with the knowing that bone heals bone. Having been a vegetarian and then vegan and raw vegan for a long time —this Elk implanted me with the deep understanding and even necessity and permission for me to consume bones (at the very least, during the times when I am guided to). He specifically pointed to the “horned or antlered” group of animals, from which I am guided and may at times need to consume. Since then, our family does not consume any animal or plant medicine that we don’t have such permission to consume. In fact, we honor the needs of each family member which are often quite different.
Bone Broth and Dougie
My son has low stomach acid, which is a pre-curser to leaky gut syndrome. Stomach acid sterilizes our food so that pathogenic bugs like parasites don’t travel to our guts. But, without it, parasites and pathogenic bacteria can eat their way through your one-cell-thick digestive lining. Or, low stomach acid “HCL” may cause improperly digested food to putrefy in your gut, creating a sickness cascade that includes food particles leaking into your bloodstream. This is one way we fall into autoimmune disease. Proteins that leak through look similar to human cells and cause the body to attack our own cells as a form of protection. I’m being quite brief explaining here, but this is what happens with gluten sensitivity too. Undigested gluten (protein) creates a war between the immune system and our own cells. So, it’s super important to accommodate our primary digestive needs, and eat in ways that help us absorb the goodness from whatever we choose to eat.
Dougie requires warm food. Keeping his digestive tract warm helps his body produce enzymes. He really thrives on bone broth and does not do as well with a completely vegan version.
When I eat bone broth I feel good too. I notice my children feel satisfied with their meals and have an overall bliss about them.
I have the kind of babies who can eat and eat and eat and cry for more. Bone broth really quells this craving.
You need to feel good or have some kind of positive result from eating. Although it is common to feel bloated, gassy, tired or even achy after a meal, it is certainly not natural and you do not have to continue on that path, Our results with bone broth are both immediate and long term.
For some, especially conscious autism families, there is a concern with glutamate in bone broth. If your child has sensitivities to MSG, he or she may or may not have sensitivities to glutamate.
But, it is important to know that our own bodies produce and use glutamate. It is an amino acid that enhances gut integrity, brain function and immunity, and is also naturally found in many foods. We all have it and need it. However, no bodily function stands alone. The cycle by which we naturally process glutamate in our own bodies may be interrupted for some people.
MSG is a human-made artificial substance that removes the protein from the glutamate to get a salty addictive flavor, and has proven adverse side-effects including obesity, addiction, dizziness, seizures and in over-consumption is also linked to ALS. Junk food companies use many forms of processed glutamate in their foods under disguise — even when a label says “no msg.” So, if you are eating any form of packaged snacks, you could be receiving man-made glutamate derivatives.
Vaccines contain MSG too. And, many children labeled with autism have vaccine injury at their core, and can potentially be unable to process an overload of what seems to be a necessary element for human functioning. Dr Russell Blaylock is a neurosurgeon and autism doctor who has cautioned parents about the excessive use of glutamates. There is a belief that this gut-loving amino can, in some cases, leak through the gut and contribute to neurotoxicity.
That’s right. Glutamate can both heal a leaky gut or wreak more havoc says Doctor Blaylock and researchers. As I shared, bone broth has been vital to our healing from leaky gut and even seizures. So, for our family it is pure medicine. And, I believe that the over-consumption of fake glutamates along with gut bacterial imbalances that don’t allow for the full natural process of glutamate in our bodies, is responsible for making it poison to some.
Sometimes, that which we need becomes poison. Our family turned to veganism when my son Dougie began “spinning” and “humming” after eating meat. I first intuited that it was the animal protein he couldn’t digest. And, removing meat stopped those reactions. So, it wasn’t that Dougie didn’t need protein, it was that he couldn’t process it. Giving him bone broth at that time wouldn’t have been wise because there is another connection with ammonia toxicity (from by-products of protein digestion) and the disruption of glutamate absorption. He may have reacted poorly even to natural glutamate at that time. However, we did have success with seaweed broths. Once he healed deeper, he so badly craved and responded amazingly to the bone versions.
If glutamate is a concern for you, you’d want to begin with small amounts of a mild bone broth (simmered only for 12 hours or less) which will produce less glutamate in the final product.
The seaweeds and herbs in my vegan broths contain less glutamates as well. So, you can also opt for that.
Every one of us is unique and deserving of personalized nourishment. I use a system of intricate muscle testing before I recommend any healing food to people. So, if you are in need of the deep kind of healing that these broths provide, please take into account your own personal health needs. And, begin slowly. You will be able to note how you feel and make adjustments if necessary.
Packaged Bone Broth and Powders
I’d ditch the idea of getting all the healing benefits of bone broth from a package or a powder. Much of the healing benefit of bone broth comes from allowing that gelatin to form at the top, which I have not seen in the widely available packaged broth. But, certainly, they can give you some nourishment in a pinch. Be mindful of your own needs though. I recommend Asking Your Body (which I teach you how to do in my book and program). I’ve gotten instantly sick and repulsed by Ancient Nutrition’s chicken bone broth powder. One drink and I was done. My spider senses say it’s not such a pure product at all.
This “Natural News” study done by Mike Adams boasts two organic bone broth powders that fit the clean bill –as far as not being too contaminated. However, several others, including non organic versions didn’t test so well. https://www.naturalnews.com/2017-10-05-exclusive-bone-broth-protein-products-found-to-contain-insect-repellent-antibiotics-and-prescription-drugs-consumer-wellness-center.html
Naturopathic Doctor, Kara Fitzgerald did an in-house study of various types of bone broth–conventional homemade, store bought (Kettle and Fire brand), and grass fed homemade. Check it out here: https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2019/02/06/bone-broth-report-investigating-for-lead-and-toxic-minerals-plus-nutritional-value/. She tested for lead and heavy metals in each brew, showing that very low or undetectable levels of lead and other metals were present in any of the 3 batches. Most notably, Kettle and Fire brand showed no lead at all on the test, and both grass fed and conventional home made broth tested at .001parts per million. The study also indicates that the calcium and other minerals present in bone broth help counter act the lead. And, in comparison to how much lead is in wine, raisins, and infant teething biscuits, the lead findings are not significant. However, I encourage you to peruse other studies which indicate more lead leaching. One would have it wonder about their source ingredients. Here is one study:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23375414
I highly recommend against non organic bone products, as Dr. Stephanie Seneff’s work with the pesticide Round-Up has shown that one of the active ingredients in Round Up, glyphosate actually mimics glycine. It therefore can become glycine in the body (bone). By consuming bones treated with glyphosate ( through grain feeding etc), we risk taking in glyphosate instead of glycine. The implications of this are wild, as glycine is a precursor to collagen which effects all of our connective tissue.
Listen to Dr. Seneff here: https://youtu.be/snNRfAfSeUk
Your Basic Starter Broths
These broths were created for a 3 1/2 quart cast iron Dutch oven.
3 Kinds of Bone Broth
When deciding to up the bone broth intake in your family, you can adjust your source broth to easily merge with many recipes. Each option becomes more nutrient dense and flavor-full. Chicken bones are used here, because they are the least expensive and most mild in flavor. I am more guided to use turkey for our family — so please use what suits you best
Mild Bone Broth (hardly notice the taste)
Simmer 3 lbs of raw chicken bones (and chicken feet if you can get them) in a covered non-toxic pot or crock pot for up to 24 hours. Strain bones and leave bits of fat if you can handle it.
Medium Bone Broth (yum yum soup like Mama used to make)
Simmer 3-5 lbs of roasted broken bones in a crock pot for 24-36 hours. Strain bones and leave bits of fat if you can handle it.
Kick-ass Bone Broth (well-rounded earthy flavor suitable for adding to your favorite soup recipe)
Simmer 3-5 lbs roasted broken bones in crock pot with 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar for 24-36 hours. Strain Bones. Blend enough slightly cooled broth and bones in a high speed blender to completely pulverize the bones. Strain through a nut-milk bag and add to your broth.
You can skip adding the apple cider vinegar if you’re planning on making a dish whose flavor will clash with it. The ACV helps extract the marrow, but so does simmering it and blending it into a pulp.
Easy Kick-Ass Vegan Seaweed Broths
The idea here is to get the sea-weed and miso into your beautiful body. First the seaweed, then the miso. Seaweed contains collagen and miso is a good source of glutamate. So, you can alter this simple recipe in any flavor you see fit as long as you get those goods.
Mild Seaweed Broth
Sauté 2 tbsp. ginger in organic unrefined coconut oil at a low temp for a few minutes, add a few teaspoons of powdered kelp and dulse to the mix. Cover with water and let simmer for an hour.
Medium Seaweed Broth
Sauté 2 cloves garlic, 1 onion and 2 tbsp. ginger in organic unrefined coconut oil at a low temp, add a few teaspoons of powdered kelp and pulse to the mix. Cover with water and let simmer for an hour. Stir in 1 tsp of miso to your taste and enjoy as is or go on a broth adventure.
Wild Seaweed Broth
Simply increase the seaweeds and varieties as per what is available to you. Add in herbs like turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper, curry powder, more garlic, lemon juice, and fats like coconut milk or blended-in raw avocado. Play with spices you like and herbs you know you need. This broth doesn’t play well with recipes for smoothies and desserts. But it can be very versatile with grain dishes, noodles, tempe, and other yummies.
Herb and Veggie Infusions
In a 2-quart mason jar combine 1 cup dried nettles, 1/3 cup chopped chaga mushroom, 1/2 cup burdock root. (or muscle test and use your favorite herbs. I alternate and try not to use more than 3 herbs at a time). Pour warm water over the herbs, stir with wooden spoon, cover and allow to infuse for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Simmer 2 cups chopped reishi mushroom for 12 hours, then add in chaga, cordryceps, and any other medicinal mushrooms of choice and simmer for 2 more hours. Then allow to infuse for another 24 hours.
More than Mushrooms Infusion
Add 1/4 tsp of shilajit to the above infusion per each person.
Broth Hacks: Let’s hide the broth in other stuff!
Each loving elixir mentioned above can be enjoyed alone or combined together for added nourishment.
Mix and drink 1/4 cup each of mild bone broth and the more than mushroom infusion for a mineral-rich morning pick me up.
Add them to your smoothies
Super Food Smoothies
Bone Broth is the Queen Mama of Non-Vegan Super Food. And, I think she loves mingling with her raw veggie friends to help warm them up and balance them out.
- 1 1/2 cup frozen berries
- 1/2 avocado
- handful baby spinach
- smidge ginger
- almond, coconut or hemp milk to the consistency of your liking
- 1/2 cup cooled mild bone broth (or 1/2 cup herbal or mushroom infusion)
Blend all non-frozen ingredients and then blend frozen berries and enjoy
Super Duper Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cup frozen Berries
- 1/2 avocado
- handful spinach
- smidge ginger
- almond, hemp or coconut milk to the consistency of your liking
- 1/2 cup cooled mild bone broth (Or 1/2 cup herbal or mushroom infusion)
- serving of grass-fed gelatin
- serving of your favorite fish oil
Super Duper Green Smoothie
- 1 1/2 cup frozen Berries
- 1/2 avocado
- handful spinach
- smidge ginger
- almond, hemp or coconut milk to the consistency of your liking
- 1/2 cup cooled mild bone broth (or 1/2 cup herbal infusion and1/4 cup mild seaweed broth or mushroom)
- Serving or more of your Favorite super green powder (I Love Vitamineral Green, Spirulina, Chlorella)
- serving of grass-fed gelatin
- serving of your favorite fish oil
Soak 1 cup chia seeds in water for an hour. Then blend with 1 cup berries, a splash of mild bone broth/ herbal or mushroom broth, vanilla, cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt and if you need more sweetness… banana
Add a few tablespoons of herbal/ mushroom broth to your morning coffee with coconut milk, coconut oil, and raw honey (I even add the more than mushroom broth to mine)
Add mushroom or more than mushroom infusions to any gravy recipe
After soaking: steam your favorite grain in any of these broths for added flavor
Add seaweed broth (to taste) to any asian dish (curries, noodle soups etc)
Quick and Easy “Almost” Bone Broth
Add one serving of grass-fed organic gelatin to a bowl of cooled-down wild seaweed broth
Blend together 2 cups of frozen fruit of choice, one avocado, 1/4 cup mild bone broth or herbal broth, vanilla and sweetener of choice (we use stevia) then freeze in popsicle molds.
Add a splash of mild bone broth to thicken any salad dressing
I’ll have more broth recipes and hacks for you soon.
Lot’s of Love,
Benefits of Bone Broth:
Healing Elixirs: Bone Broth & Vegetable Stock Heather Dane (.com)
Bone Broth Benefits for Digestion, Arthritis and Cellulite: By, Dr. Axe (.com)
Regarding Glutamate: “Glutamate is a critical neurotransmitter in the brain and is responsible for about 75% of brain and nerve function. In an ALS patient however, there is a higher level of Glutamate present in the space between the cells”.
Cautions for Glutamate Toxicity: (these can lead you to more of your own research)
“Glutamine via glutamate is converted to alpha-ketoglutarate, an integral component of the citric acid cycle. It is a component of the antioxidant glutathione and of the polyglutamated folic acid. The cyclization of glutamate produces proline, an amino acid important for synthesis of collagen and connective tissue.”
“One way glutamate causes gross obesity is that it destroys a special nucleus in the hypothalamus of the brain that regulates the body’s response to leptin, a substance essential to controlling obesity. This condition is called leptin resistance, and it is common among people with extreme obesity.”