Ok, So I Made Bone Broth

Ok, so I made bone broth.

I very recently started being willing to really nurture myself with food.  For much of my life I didn’t take diet seriously for a variety of reasons.  I was always thin growing up so I was able to eat whatever I wanted until I was in my early 20’s and even then, I never suffered too many consequences of bad diet.  I never took an interest in cooking growing up.  I was also very driven to build a successful business and was single for many years, so cooking really wasn’t a huge part of my routine.  I ate very simply at home and bought a lot of my food outside, which is very common for many New Yorkers.

Last Spring I started having some health problems.  I was in and out of the hospital on three separate occasions and it became a serious wake up call for me for self-care.  But even with what I would consider to be three pretty drastic messages that something was going on with me I needed to address – I was still unwilling to look at my diet and consider how I was nourishing myself.

Why was this?  I mean I do a lot of other healthy things for myself. Why was food so hard to look at and so hard to change?  What I have come to know is that some deeply held beliefs I had about my self-worth were standing in the way of me being able to nourish myself deeply and meaningfully.  I had to do some inner work to realize that in order to nourish myself well, I had to really love myself more.  I had to clear some trauma from my mind and body in order to even become willing to care for myself on this level.

This all confirms my suspicions that many times people are blocked off from deep self-care when they are blocked from self-love and people are blocked from self-love when there is unresolved conflict or trauma in the body’s energy system.

How we nourish ourselves in Chinese medicine comes out of the energetic of the Spleen.  The spleen is responsible for turning food into fuel in order for your body to function.  Symptoms of spleen disharmony are weight gain, cravings for simple carbs and sugar, cravings for sweets after eating, being tired after eating, belly fat, low energy, worry, undigested food particles in the stool, loose stool, constipation, slow metabolism, organ prolapse like hemorrhoids or varicose veins.

Spleen is the mother in us.  How strong and how balanced our Spleen is demonstrates how much we deeply value ourselves and our rightful place on this planet.  It is fundamental.  It should come before all.  It should come before money, love of spouse or children and before vocation.  How we nourish ourselves has to be number one priority in our lives and if something is not right in our relationship to food, something is not right in our relationship to self.  Heavy, right?  If this is resonating for you, make an appointment and we’ll talk about what’s going on.

Bone broth is one of these jokes I kind of make about health trends, because I am exposed to a lot of the latest health trends in my business, and most of them are just so extreme they make me laugh. Bone broth is one of those things I kind of made fun of when it started being “trendy” in Manhattan because it’s, well, it’s hilarious that it’s as popular as it is.  Almost as hilarious as people putting butter in their coffee now and calling it breakfast.

But then again, bone broth gave me pause because it’s a trend but it’s also an ancient Chinese traditional medicine that I studied in school.  It’s a kidney tonic and is considered to be medicinal level nourishment.

I love the idea of bone broth for healing the gut because you have to be so intentional about it.  It takes a while to make and to me it’s the essence of nourishment because you are going to the source of life – the marrow  – and extracting the deep, deep resources found there.  And if you’re vegetarian or vegan you probably want to throw up right about now.  But seriously, I also, because I’m a water type and love to efficiently utilize resources, I love, love, love the idea of using all parts of the chicken or beef (you can use fish bones too – which, actually, makes me kind of want to barf).

So here’s what I did:

1) I bought the chicken at Trader Joe’s.  In my opinion, they have the best organic chickens.  They have so much meat on them and they are a bit cheaper than Whole Foods.  It was around $14 – which isn’t cheap – so I wanted to get the most out of it as I could.

2) I actually watched this you tube video that shows you how to cut up your own chicken because it’s cheaper to do it yourself and if you buy the whole chicken you get the backbone, which makes the most delicious stock.

3) Then I put the breasts aside and used the wings, the backbone, the thighs, and the legs for the soup.  I made my usual pot of chicken soup and ended up freezing half of it because I didn’t want to throw it out or get sick of eating it.

4) Then I gathered the discarded bones from the soup and put them in a crockpot – I added the neck from the center of the chicken where the gizzards are wrapped in wax paper. I followed this video for how to make the bone broth.  I let it cook in the crock pot for ten hours.

When it was done, I strained it and put the broth in a mason jar.  People drink the broth with breakfast and so I tried it.  It tasted good.  And the interesting thing is that it filled me up for hours.  I think this is why people like it because the hard part about watching what you eat is when you become hungry.  Then you get the crazy cravings for junk food.  The gelatin from the broth is good for hair, nails and skin. And apparently it helps support healthy lining of the intestines which helps with everything from staying regular to warding of colds. Not to mention the benefits for bone and joint health.

So until next time, when MAYBE I’ll report back about trying the butter coffee and even though I am making fun of it now – I’ll be touting its benefits later!

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