I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with just the right amount of relaxation and fun. And, I hope everyone is recovered from the indulgences and festivities of December, as well :)
Speaking of recovering, I wanted to share with you what I consider to be the most nourishing dish to prepare for yourself and loved ones during this cold season (and always)....BROTH! This January has brought with it cold temperatures (well, cold for California, at least) and with that the cold season has hit many of us harder than usual. Of course, as a preventative measure against illness, we should all be focused on feeding our bodies with nutrient dense diets full of a wide array of colorful veggies, seasonal and anti-oxidant rich fruits, quality protein sources, and good fats. And guess what one dish has almost all of these characteristics...broth!
There are 2 ways to prepare broth, either as a bone or mineral (meat vs veggie) broth, and lets look at the benefits of both.
Broth is an ancient and healing food used in many cultures for centuries. It is valued for its nutritious, calming, and healing properties. It is not only great for immune support, but crucial to those with digestive problems and supportive of weight loss. According to my colleague Mary Vance, "broth made from chicken bones blocks the migration of inflammatory white blood cells, making it an invaluable tool to boost immunity." Aside from their immune supportive properties, minerals are essential for cardiovascular function, metabolism and managing stress hormones. Bone broth is rich in calcium (much more so than commercial dairy), magnesium, potassium, and many other essential minerals and amino acids. Bone broth is also rich in collagen and gelatin, vital to joint, tendon, ligament, skin and bone health and is also great for controlling cravings, therefore aiding in weight loss!
Mineral broth (veggies minus the meat/bones), is beneficial in the sense you are still getting lots of minerals, but are missing out on the healing properties that animal bones provide. However, if you are a non-meat eater, this is a great option!
You can sip on broth throughout the day as you would with herbal tea. If you are experiencing a sugar or carb craving, try sipping on homemade broth. Remember...the stuff you buy in the box/can is NOT in any way shape or form the same. Making your own from good quality, organic bones is the key. You can purchase these cheaply at your local butcher or any store that sells good quality meat, or even better a local farm. For us here in San Francisco, try Prather Ranch Meat Company in the ferry building or Bi-Rite in the Mission District.
Here is a great recipe for Bone Broth! Simmer for as long as you can (8-24 hours) either in a crock pot or just in a big pot on the stove.
BONE BROTH (or mineral broth if you minus the bones)
1 lb bones of pastured animals (you can use a variety of lamb, beef or raw beef marrow bones, and chicken bones/back/neck. Always get organic/grass fed bones. I’ll save them in a container in the freezer until I have about a pound or more. You can also save egg shells and use those.)
2 organic celery stalks
1 organic onion, chopped
6 cloves organic garlic
water (preferably filtered)
Sprigs of thyme/rosemary/sage as desired
Add sea veggies for more trace minerals–kombu and kelp are great for this
Any other veggies you have on hand can be thrown in, sweet potato, leafy greens, etc
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (important for the extraction of minerals)
Put all ingredients in slow cooker or pot, then pour enough filtered water to cover everything. Set to low and let it cook for 8 to 24 hours. Strain broth and store in glass containers (preferably). You can freeze and defrost, as well. In the fridge you'll notice a later of fat on the bone broth that forms on the top, don't skim it off as this keeps the broth fresh! Simply reheat on the stove.