Bone Broth Soup - the cure-all remedy

Bone broth is inherently calming, soothing, and restorative. It has been used for centuries as a healing food both for comfort and to treat various health concerns.

Bone broth is rich in vital nutrients. When the bones and cartilage simmer for long periods of time, these tissues release healing compounds such as proline, collagen, glycine and glutamine which have amazing healing effects on our digestive tract, skin and joints. It is also rich in essential minerals like magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, silicon, and sulphur which strengthen our bones and immune function. These nutrients make bone broth an ideal treatment for:

  • Arthritis
  • Food intolerances and allergies
  • Leaky gut
  • Cellulite
  • Mood imbalance
  • Immune dysfunction

What you Need:

  1. Bones: poultry, fish, beef or lamb. You can used cooked bones from your previous meal (I like to roast a chicken and eat the meat for dinner then make broth out of the remaining parts) or raw bones from your local butcher. It is also nice to include the cartilage, like the joint capsules, and ligaments to get even more nutrients.
  2. Water: cold & filtered. You need 2 cups water per 1 lb bones or just enough to cover the bones.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar. You need 1-2 tablespoons to help leach the nutrients out of the bones.
  4. Vegetables & Herbs (optional). Sometimes adding some herbs or vegetables can make your bone broth even more tasty and nutritious. Try adding a handful of garlic, onion, celery, rosemary, cilantro, thyme or parsley for the last 30-60mins of cooking.

Cooking Directions:

  1. Combine bones, water and apple cider vinegar in a crockpot or slow-cooker on low temperature. Remember to add enough water to fully submerge the bones.
  2. Simmer on low heat for 6-48 hrs for chicken or fish and 12 –72 hrs for beef or lamb. The longer you simmer the better, but you can reduce cooking time by smashing or cutting the bones into small pieces first. You can also use a pot on the stove, by bringing the water with bones inside to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 24-48 hours. You can also remove any scum that may come to the surface of the water while cooking.
  3. If desired, add herbs or vegetables in last 30-60 minutes of cooking. 
  4. Strain and discard the solid matter (bones, meat, skin, cartilage, etc). If uncooked meat was used to start with, you may reserve the meat for soup or salads. If you wish to remove the fat for use in gravy, use a gravy separator while the broth is warm, or skim the fat off the top once refrigerated. 
  5. Broth can be kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days or stored in the freezer for months.

Medicinal Use:

  1. Tea - sipping broth like tea has the best health benefits. This is especially nice in the winter months or if you’re feeling sick. Since broth is simultaneously energizing and calming, it can take the place of morning coffee, afternoon tea, or evening nightcap. Take 1 cup broth daily for best healing effects!
  2. Ice cubes – after making your broth, fill a few ice-cube trays with the broth and place them in the freezer. Every morning you can pop 2 broth ice cubes into a cup, add 1-2 tbsp of hot water and drink the solution once it liquefies. 

Culinary Use:

  1. Soup - Make soup by adding your favourite vegetables, grains, beans or meat to broth.  Add your vegetables, grains and meat to a pan and fry with oil for about 5-10 minutes or until the food browns and softens.  Add broth (and previously soaked beans if desired) and simmer until all food is cooked and ready to be enjoyed (approximately 20 minutes).  Season with your choice of salt, pepper or other spices.
  2. Cooking Liquid - Replace water with broth to steam veggies or cook rice, beans or other grains.  Place steamer basket of veggies over broth or add grains or beans directly to it in proper ratio and let simmer for the instructed time.  You may thicken veggie steaming-broth, as below, to use as gravy.   
  3. Gravy - Make gravy to put on vegetables, meat or biscuits.  Put fat (removed from the broth, or use butter) in a skillet.  Add any type of flour, one tablespoon at a time and stir constantly till browned.  Whisk in broth and cook till thickened.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

I hope you enjoy your delicious and nutrition Bone Broth soup! Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of this healing food.

Sauerkraut: the original probiotic

Sauerkraut is an age-old medicine for regenerating the digestive system. It helps to balance the secretions of our stomach and pancreas, boost enzyme and vitamin production and improve our ability to digest fats. It is full of healthy bacteria that help to rebuild the lining of our intestines and boost our immune system.

There has been much debate over the safety of making your own sauerkraut with risk of mold, yeast and pathogenic bacterial contamination. I'm here to show you a safe method of making the most healthful and delicious sauerkraut, even better than store bought! ;)

What you need:

  • Large container for your sauerkraut. The best options are fermenting crocks, large mason jar with airlock/sealed lid, or any other glass jar with an airlock/sealed lid. 
  • 1 medium cabbage
  • 1.5 tbsp pickling salt or sea salt (or you can use 1/2 cup soaked and sliced dulse seaweed)
  • Wooden cutting board
  • Knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large bowl

STEP 1

Remove and discard the top layers of the cabbage and wash well. Remove an inner layer of the cabbage and set aside for later use. Chop your cabbage in half, then in quarters. Once the cabbage is cut in quarters, you can cut out the central core

STEP 2

Once the cabbage is cored, you can chop the cabbage into thin slices and add to a large bowl. (f you want to add some flavour, you can add caraway seeds, cardamom seeds, dill seeds, celery seeds or juniper berries to add a little extra kick, but the original recipe is pretty delicious!)

STEP 3

This is probably the cabbage's favourite part. Place the chopped cabbage into a large bowl. Add the salt (or dulse seaweed) and let sit for 10-15 mins, then start massaging (with clean hands). Massage the cabbage for a good 5-10 minutes until it starts to get juicy. Massaging the cabbage with the salt will cause the liquid in the cabbage to come out, the liquid is loaded with sugars from the cabbage which will feed the bacteria. The happy and well-fed bacteria will create lactic acid to pickle your cabbage.

STEP 4

Place the handfuls of massaged cabbage into a glass jar and press the cabbage down with a wooden spoon. Continue until all the cabbage is in the jar and there is a nice amount of liquid collecting (called brine). 

Keep pressing the cabbage down until the liquid comes to about 1-2 inches above the cabbage. If the liquid doesn't quite cover the cabbage, you can make your own brine by combining 1 tbsp pickling/sea salt to 4 cups distilled water (if there's too much, it will keep in the fridge until your next sauerkraut batch!).

STEP 5

Once your cabbage is tucked in nicely under the brine, you can add the cabbage leaf that you set aside earlier on top and wrap it around the chopped cabbage under the brine. You can also add a glass plate/saucer if it fits into the jar and covers all the cabbage. Then add some weight to keep all the cabbage below the brine, this can be a small clean jar full of water that fits inside your larger mason jar, or a clean zip-lock bag of water that covers the surface of the cabbage. The bacteria you want in your sauerkraut is anaerobic, which means that it does not like oxygen. Ensuring all the cabbage is submerged will reduce oxygen exposure which will keep the good bacteria happy and prevent pathogenic yeast and mold from forming (which need oxygen to grow).

STEP 6

Close the lid of the mason jar and store the sauerkraut in a room-temperature dark place for 2-4 weeks. It is important to wait this long so the bacteria can finish its entire life cycle to give you a more potent medicinal sauerkraut. Periodically check it to make sure the cabbage stays below the brine and to "burp" your sauerkraut to let out the CO2 if you are not using an airlock system. To "burp" your sauerkraut, raise the lid very slightly until you hear an escape of gas, then close the lid again to maintain the best anaerobic environment you can. 

After 2-4 weeks, remove the cover and discard the weights and top cabbage leaf. Some sites say it's OK to remove the moldy pieces on top and eat the sauerkraut below, but the truth is that mold has roots that cannot be seen by the human eye and can penetrate deep into you sauerkraut. If you see mold, discard your sauerkraut and start over - better safe than sorry! Other signs of contaminated sauerkraut are a creamy or slimy film, browned cabbage, pink cabbage, or a yeasty odour. It is normal to see foam or white sludge on the bottom and for your cabbage to have lost its vibrant colour. 

Put the kraut in the refrigerator in the closed glass jar and it should last 1-2 months. ENJOY!

For full benefit, sauerkraut should be eaten on a daily basis. Start small, with 1 tbsp daily with food for the first week, and gradually increase the amount to 1/4 cup daily with food. If you eat too much too soon, you may experience some gas and bloating.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Fiona