Viewing entries tagged


Bone Broth: New Health Craze or Traditional Staple?

CC image courtesy of Billfromesm

CC image courtesy of Billfromesm

Seems like bone broth is getting a lot of media these days... here, here and here. There's even entire books devoted to bone broth! Which is fine by me! Frankly, I don't care if it is a craze or not. I do know that bone broth has been around for many, many years and probably arose from trying to get as much nutrition out of food as possible and without letting anything go to waste. 

In fact, broth has been touted to be a healing potion as far back as the days of Hippocrates. Bone broth, the kind you make at home, is extraordinarily rich in nutrients, namely minerals and amino acids and collagen. Bone broth is rich in arginine, glycine and proline. Glycine supports the body's detoxification processes and is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin, bile salts and other compounds within the body. Proline, especially when paired with Vitamin C, supports good skin health. Bone broth is also rich in gelatin which improves collagen status and also supports skin health. Gelatin also supports digestive health which is why bone broth plays a critical role in therapeutic diets such as GAPS, SCD, Paleo and AIP. Ever hear that chicken soup is like "Jewish Penicillin"? There's a reason for that! Chicken broth inhibits neutrophil migration; that is, it helps mitigate the side effects of colds, flus and upper respiratory infections.

But here's the thing, while bone broth has a ton of wonderful nutrients in it, amino acids, collagen, some minerals, etc. there's one thing that people make an assumption about and that is that "bone broth contains a lot of calcium". Fascinating to learn in this AHS 14 Presentation by Kaayla Daniel, Ph. D, that bone broth only contains calcium if there are lots of vegetables cooked with the bones! Pretty interesting huh? 

For most people, they think it's a hassle to make or that you have to use scary ingredients (like chicken feet). But really, Im here to tell you that its super simple and with a few tricks I have collected over the years, making bone broth is easy to do and easy to use! No need to fret about the bones any more than making sure you are sourcing bones from pasture raised animals. If you don't know how to make bone broth, I use the technique outlined at Zenbelly's site.

Good broth will resurrect the dead
— South American Proverb

Tips and Tricks for Simple Broth

  1. Save all the bones! This is pretty basic, but if you cook entire chickens, turkeys, or cuts of meat with bones in them, just save them. I have two plastic bags in the freezer that I dump all the bones into: one for poultry and one for beef/pork/lamb bones. I will toss the bones (not picked clean mind you - I use the extra meaty bits for flavor) into the bags and save them until I have enough for making a batch.
  2. Save the veggie bits too! The veggies, as we know now, provide a lot of the minerals in broth. Plus they add a lot of flavor. If I have a bunch of coriander stems, carrot ends, broccoli stems when trimming my veg, then I will toss those in the freezer too to save for making a batch of bone broth! My friend Simone over at Zenbelly does this too!
  3. Use Soup Socks! What? What the heck is a Soup Sock? Seriously makes the whole bone broth process super simple. I stick my bag-o-bones, my bag-o-veg and some smashed cloves of garlic into a soup sock (basically a huge net "stocking" to hold all the goodies in), tie it up and plop it into my Instant Pot (see #4). When the broth is done, I simply pull out the one large "sock" of stuff in one step - no fishing for bones with tongs, no ladling into a strainer... Saves a ton time.
  4. Instant Pot - As if you didn't already have reasons to get one of these! Bottom line, you can make super broth in 2-4 hours instead of 12-36 hours! Its like getting a Tardis without the whole "its bigger on the inside" bit. Plus the Instant Pot is a true kitchen multi-tasker and totally worth it! I pressure cook my broth about 4 hours each time I make it.
  5. Reduce - Simone (Zenbelly) is a self-proclaimed (and rightfully so) Bone Broth Jedi Master. If you read her tutorial, take note of her reduction step. This is the key to making the most gelatin-laden savory "jello" out there. When my batch is done in the Instant Pot, I switch modes to low sauté, this gives me a nice simmer and I let it reduce for 30-60 minutes. Perfect gelling every time. 
  6. Portion Freeze - I often times can't drink/use as much broth as I make in a batch. And instead of wasting it, I freeze it. But freezing in mason jars is impractical as I sometimes only need 1/3 cup for braising, etc. And then I found this ice cube tray that makes about 1/3c pucks. So I freeze up my batch into 20-30 of these pucks (bag-o-pucks) that I keep in the freezer. (Do you see the trend here? bag-o-everything!) I pop out ~4 of them to make a mug of broth, or use one as a braising liquid when cooking veg later in the week.





Back to School ... in April?

UCSC Science & Engineering Library. Image CC of Toréa Rodriguez

UCSC Science & Engineering Library. Image CC of Toréa Rodriguez

I know its the middle of spring, and normally Back-To-School season is in the Fall. However, I decided to go back to school. Yep its official, this 42 year-old is a student again.  Bring on the lectures, quizzes, mid-terms, practicals and finals. Part of me has been yearning to go back to school for a while. So here I am! 

Instead of a PhD or Masters, I have decided to get several certifications in the field of Functional Medicine. Where I live, I can begin to practice with certifications and later work towards being licenced if I choose to take it further.

I discovered the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) certification, and after researching, everything about it was perfect. The FDN certification feeds right into my sciency geeky side - bonus! The course is a self-paced online certification, that once complete, allows me to work with clients to help them heal and gain better health.  And since I have become quite the health nerd these days, why not turn it around and share all this knowledge with you and my clients?

What is FDN?

Functional Diagnostic Nutrition is an emerging field and body of work that bridges the gap between clinical nutrition and functional medicine. FDN is an approach that seeks to identify and correct the underlying causes and conditions that lead to common (and sometimes not-so-common) health complaints. With FDN, the goal is not to diagnose or treat any disease, but instead identify the root cause of physiological imbalances in the body that result in dysfunction.

Common Health Complaints/Symptoms addressed by FDN:

  • Fatigue

  • Weight gain and weight loss

  • Allergies, acne, and rosacea

  • Blood sugar problems

  • Digestive Discomfort

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Emotional fragility

  • Headaches, migraines and fogginess

  • Indigestion and bloating

  • Inflammation and joint pain

  • Insomnia/ sleep issue and wakefulness

  • Low sex drive / poor libido

  • PMS, skin, and hair problems

  • Menstruation irregularities

The FDN approach is designed to assess underlying metabolic functions and discover the root cause of your health problems (symptoms). This natural approach leads to long-term resolution of symptoms, not just temporary relief.


In addition to the FDN certification, I am also enrolled in a Micronutrient Certification course - which means I'll also be experienced in core micronutrients (read: vitamins, minerals, etc).  CMS combined with FDN will be a great foundation for my helping others in the future.

I love new adventures, and while most people envision adventure as scaling huge peaks or jumping out of aircraft (with a parachute, mind you), even learning new subject matter can be an adventure. I have always felt that the day I stop learning is the day I stop living. So, once again, here's to new adventures!

What are you learning these days? Leave a comment below and share with us what learning you are doing.



Welcome to My "Book Club"

I love getting lost in a good bookstore! 'Course these days, its mostly on the iBook Store... but I digress.... While there are a ton of book clubs you can belong to, I find that I just go about my own way. Having never signed up for a Book Club, I still love to get ideas on what to read from others. So I thought I would share what I am currently reading. And, yep, Im one of those that reads a lot of books simultaneously!

Eat The Yolks by Liz Wolfe has got to be one of the best books available to learn about our food industry and health myths that have been so rampant for so long in our society. I just am loving the humor, but also the myth busting!

The Wahls Protocol by Dr Terry Wahls. I have written about Dr Whals before and posted links to her famous TEDx Talk. I think that her diet is top notch for anyone, not only those with MS or other Autoimmune diseases. I personally am following her Wahls Paleo Plus™ diet right now to see if I can make further enhancements to controlling my autoimmune disease. You can find out more about the Wahls Protocol and the research foundation here.

Sexy By Nature by Stefanie Ruper - this is a great book about body image, self confidence, healthy eating and the psychology of confidence. Im really enjoying this one. And if you want to get more of Stefani and her work, she has a great blog!

Naked Calories by Jayson and Mira Calton. Im learning a lot about micronutrients and why they are so important. Not to mention how easy it is in our modern world to have micronutrient deficiencies. It's likely a key contributor to why I accumulated heavy metal toxicity. Check out more of the Calton's work here.

Food for Humans by Henry Fong and Michelle Tam from the popular Nom Nom Paleo blog. I picked this book up in January and still cook from it on a weekly basis. I am loving it! Easy to make recipes and nothing has let me down yet!

Paleo Foodie Cookbook by Arsy Vartanian. Arsy is the author of the popular blog Rubies & Radishes and is a great chef to boot! Given my foodie tendencies, this book has been right up my alley!

American Gods and Anasazi Boys by Neil Gaiman. I am still a sci-fi girl at heart and I love a good set of fiction novels to offset my reading adventures. Neil never disappoints with is Novels and Im having a great time following this adventure that Shadow is on!

Well that is it for now. I will post another in the coming months to get you an idea of what I am reading and hopefully inspire some reading for you too!

If you have opinions about any of these titles and want to share, please do so in the comments below!