filly’s blog – eatstrong – bone broth
A full moon.
It was raining and dark and kind of spooky as I drove out to the Quiet Cone out the back of Latrobe the other night. This place is mystical, magical, full of soul and spirit and positive energy.
Lily from the gym was there, with her two friends, and we rolled out on mats in a circle in the big, white Cone.
I was given a Citrane crystal by a lady with silver hair and blue twinkly eyes. She told me to place it on my sternum and allow the crystal to draw the energy from my very being as I lay quiet and still, breathing in the sounds of the gongs and the chimes played in the Cone.
Some people fell asleep they were so relaxed. Some one even snored (I think that was Lily!), and strangely that was nice and kind of muddled up in the rumbles of the gong. But me. I couldn’t sleep. I wouldn’t. I couldn’t keep my eyes off Mr Gong Man as he tiptoed and slippered around in the crystal-lamp-lit-dark, picking up musical bowls and brass pipes and ancient looking gongs. He was a piece of art, Mr Gong Man and his shadow on the Cone. His hands were like mittens, ever so softly making vibrations on his instruments. He was hypnotic.
And the sound. It was like a warm soup, slipping beneath my skin, trickling through my blood, right to my very fingertips and toe-tips. I tingled.
I liked it there. In the Quiet Cone. A place to unwind. To meditate. To let go.
You can’t escape it in this life. But you can manage it. And you must. Because if you don’t you can become one big ball of screaming hormones all out of whack. Stress can wreak havoc on your health. It directly affects your gut (remember how I posted a couple of weeks ago about the brain-gut connection?), which in turn turns everything upside down. When you get stressed, your body initiates a ‘flight-or-fight’ response which triggers the release of a group of hormones called glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids work to replenish energy supplies that are lost during the ‘flight-or-fight’ response by increasing sugar cravings, and even increasing our abdominal fat stores. When you’re constantly stressed (i.e. when you have chronically high levels of glucocorticoids in your blood), even if you’re eating and training right, your hormones fight against you, sabotaging your good efforts by increasing sugar cravings and causing you to store fat. Stress has also been shown to impair recovery from workouts, and is related to immune dysfunction, illness and injury.
If you want optimal athletic performance, a balanced mood, and the best body that you can have (inside and out), you need to get a hold of your stress, and match it with healthful eating and smart training. Meditate. Breath. Go for a walk. Work out (smartly – i.e. don’t over-train or use poor movement). Have a laugh. Read a book. Go to sleep.
Food can also be a source of relieving stress from your body. I can’t think of anything less soothing than a warm mug of homemade bone broth.
I made a batch this week in a giant pot. And it was divine and filled my house up with a homely scent of boney-goodness.
Bone broth can be made from any type of animal bone. Chickens. Cows. Pigs. Fish. Rabbit. Whatever takes your fancy. The bones are left to simmer in water on the stove for 12 – 24 hours. It is extremely nutritious as it draws out all the minerals (particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium) from the bones, cartilages, marrow and vegetables added to the broth. The natural gelatin drawn from the animal remains also aids digestion and has been found to be beneficial in treating joint pain in particular, and also many other chronic disorders such as anaemia, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and cancer.
The good old wife’s tale of serving chicken soup to those who have fallen ill might not be such a tale after all. Hanna Kroeger, in Ageless Remedies from Mother’s Kitchen, says this about the calming effects of chicken soup:
“Why is chicken soup superior to all the things we have, even more relaxing than “Tylenol?” It is because chicken soup has a natural ingredient [ie. bone broth] which feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine. This inner lining is the beginning or ending of the nervous system. It is easily pulled away from the intestine through too many laxatives, too many food additives. . . and parasites. Chicken soup … heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength.”
So eat up your rich bone-broth concoction! Have it for breakfast, lunch or tea. You could even gulp a mug down as a post-workout drink. I sometimes do. Tastes better than protein powder. And it’s real whole food that contains more then just dried amino acids.
How to make bone-broth
This week I made chicken bone broth. I had a stack of bones saved up in my freezer from roasts and stews and such. I NEVER throw out the bones. EVER. The bones are the best part! I’m a little bit anal. There have been times after dinner at a friend’s or relative’s that I’ve sweetly asked to take their bones home. Weird, I know.
I don’t really ‘do’ measurements when I make my broth. I had a couple of chook carcasses in the freezer, as well as a whole bunch of wing and leg bones, as well as scraps of celery that was getting old. I simply just chucked them in my pot and covered them with water.
But anyway this is what I used:
A bunch of chicken bones* (enough to fill your pot)
Water (enough to cover the bones. Filtered is best)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
*Note: Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results as many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels – and they contain less nutrients and potential carcinogens. Feet are especially good as they are full of gelatin. Use chicken remains that have already been roasted or boiled (i.e bones from a chicken roast or chicken stew) as they will be more flavoursome.
- Place chicken bones in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavoursome it will be.
- About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.
- Let the broth cool for an hour or so, and then strain the broth into a large bowl or pot.
- Pour the broth into jars or containers and store in your refrigerator or freezer. Broth stored in the fridge must be used within 5 days. Freezing in smaller portions is handy as you may only need a cup or so for a quick soup or to add to recipes such as casseroles, stir-frys, mashed veggies, curries, etc.
Do you have any ‘calming’ whole foods that you like to eat? Anything that helps you to unwind and de-stress? Feel free to share them 🙂
Sources and further reading on stress and bone broth:
Sally Fallon. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. 2001.
Hanna Kroeger. Ageless Remedies from Mother’s Kitchen. 1981.