Love Your Bones

Nothing says “I love you” to your bones like a fresh batch of broth!

Geez, it’s the season for hearts, flowers, cupid, strawberries and chocolates…and you give me broth?

Yup! We are getting ready to put up the first annual foodtalk4you recipe book which includes my take on broth, but thought I’d do a special post to review the benefits of broth. Many thanks to Paul Stevens from the Star News in Wilmington, NC for interviewing me for his article which ran in the Sun Journal and all of its affiliate papers on Feb. 4, 2015! What an honor to have been included in ‘brothing’ opinions! Catch my 15 seconds of reading fame:

“Deidre Edwards, a wellness educator in New Bern, has written passionately about broth’s benefits on her blog (www.foodtalk4you.com) and teaches how to make it at home in her “Designed for Health” workshops.

“’There is a big interest toward more nutritionally dense food, and bone broth is a way to achieve that,” Edwards said, explaining that many of the attendees at her classes, which are offered for free at New Bern’s First Baptist Church, are concerned about bone health. “Meds for osteoporosis have heavy-duty side effects. Extracting the minerals from a rich bone broth, along with weight-bearing exercises, is a natural way to get stronger bones.’”

Indeed, bone health needs to be at the forefront of our minds at any age. Poor diets, sedentary lifestyles, and eschewing any and all sunlight without benefit of sunscreen all contribute to weaker bones for both sexes. The ability to actually build stronger bones declines as we age, so if you can start that decline with stronger bones, the better it is. The combination of clean, nutrient-dense foods, bone broth, weight-bearing exercises, and sun shine all work together to build stronger bones at any age.

Yes, direct sunlight on skin is important for bone health! Remember the “Sunshine Vitamin D”? But what about skin cancer? I am not asking everyone to strip down, head to the beach, and fry! But according to the experts I have been reading, 10-15 minutes several times a week, if not daily, is not only okay but desirable. Being fair-skinned myself, I can actually start burning pretty quickly, but I try to get some direct sun for a few minutes every day. Mind you, I never leave the house without putting on my facial sun screen, but before covering all exposed parts with sun screen, I definitely enjoy a walking spin around the yard (especially in warmer weather) to soak up a few rays.

Vitamin D supplementation may also be a consideration for you. Friends of mine actually have been tested for Vitamin D levels and are taking prescription strength dosages. I take my over-the-counter Vitamin D with my morning supplements. Some where I read something about taking vitamin D in the morning being a more natural time to take it, day time, -duh- and that taking it at night might contribute to sleep troubles. Made sense to me.

So, back to the broth. Once it is made and strained of the bones (now broken up and falling apart) as well as the over-cooked veggies, it’s time to either A) strain it again with a fine mesh sieve so it is totally drinkable, or B) make soup out of it. Strangely enough, this rich broth is rather mild tasting. I have never found the chicken broth I make to be very chicken-y tasting. You can add all kinds of veggies but a strong essence of anything is lacking unless the spice shelf is opened up and used. My personal favorite is Penzey’s Bavarian Seasoning which is an herb-filled, salt-free, meat and poultry sprinkle. The need for added seasoning is not stressed enough in the recipe which is as follows:

 

Better Bone Broth and Soup

Many people advocate drinking one cup a bone broth everyday as an elixir for everything from stronger bones to improved over-all health! Make sure your bone broth is up to snuff and you know how to tell the difference! Using a large stock pot, add the following:

Ingredients for flavoring the broth

LOTS of bony pieces of meat, preferably from grass fed animals or free range chickens. We’re talking more than one rotisserie chicken carcass! Today, I used a family pack sized tray of chicken wing parts containing just the two-boned half of the wing, not the single boned mini drumettes. If possible, add 3-4 chicken feet (just don’t tell your family!) which will give added nutrients and the desired “gelling” goodness. For a beef broth, beef knuckles and ox-tails work great.

2-3 carrots cut up into 1-2 inch chunks

2-3 ribs celery cut up into 1-2 inch chunks

½-1 onion cut up into 1 inch ‘square’ chunks

2-4 Tbs. apple cider vinegar which helps extract minerals from the bones

2 Tbs. unflavored gelatin (I use Great Lakes brand for its purity)

Large handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. ground porcini mushroom powder for an amazing “umami” factor!

2 tsp. poultry seasoning if using chicken

1-2 bay leaves, fresh thyme and/or oregano, and garlic if using beef

12-24 hours of cooking time, preferably divided.

Method for broth

Fill the remainder of the stock pot with water. I cook my bone broth for about 8 hours one day, cool it off in a cold water bath, refrigerate overnight, skim off congealed fat, check for gelling which shows how far along the way the broth is- the more gelled, the better- and return to a gentle simmer. IF using meaty bones and you want that meat as a part of a soup, remove the meat after 2-3 hours of simmering and return the bones, cartilage, and skin to the broth for the rest of the cooking time. Refrigerate the meat and use for the soup making later on. Add the parsley in the last hour or two of the cooking time.

Strain the broth using a large colander to remove big chunks and if desiring a really clear broth for daily drinking, strain again using a fine mesh strainer.

Method for soup

Add fresh cut up vegetables to the strained broth, simmer to desired doneness, return meat to the soup, adjust seasoning and serve.

 

Nut Dumplings for Chicken Soup

Now that you have a rich and healthful chicken broth from the preceding recipe, you can create a hearty meal with the addition of nutritionally-dense veggie choices and add some fun dumplings that will add to the nutritive factor and will thicken the soup as well.

Ingredients for Dumplings

½ cup tapioca flour

1 ½ cups slivered or sliced almonds

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. poultry seasoning

1/3 cup cooled broth

Method for Dumplings

Using a food processor, grind the almonds into a fine flour. Add the tapioca flour, salt, and poultry seasoning and pulse several times to combine. Add the cooled soup broth and pulse until a soft dough forms. Drop teaspoon-sized dumplings into soup that is at a gentle boil. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Soup ideas

While bags of frozen veggies are a quick way to ‘flesh out’ a good soup, chopping up fresh veggies is too! But even if you use a bag of frozen veggies, you definitely will want to add some leafy greens and other sources of great nutrition. Consider these:

  • Tear up several sheets of sea weed “paper”
  • Add broccoli florets
  • Slice up kale, chard, or spinach leaves into strips
  • Grate a fresh beet to change the soup to Borsch!
  • Add zoodles!
  • Add a handful of chopped parsley

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Disclaimer: The information being discussed in these blogs is NOT intended to replace a relationship with a qualified health care professional. Foodtalk4you blogs endeavor to empower people through the exploration of publicly available resources of information about human anatomy and physiology, and how different foods affect the human body. Readers should seek the advice of their qualified health care providers with any questions about their medical conditions or health status before attempting any dietary, exercise, or lifestyle changes.

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