Virginia Prior, L.Ac., DAOM
This is obviously not an option for vegetarians, but if you are open to the Traditional Food movement (ala Weston Price), this may be appealing to you, and it will certainly be appealing to your body, bones & brain. Having a bone broth mastered just as cold & flu season is around the corner may be you and your family’s key to avoiding repetitive sniffles and full-on, flu-related meltdowns. It’s also a god-send during the upcoming darker, vitamin-D deficient season as it keeps on replenishing the deepest parts of our bodies, the bones, where our energy wants to hide out in the winter months. When our bones are nourished and strong, the body tends not to pull from these inner reserves when in emergency mode, under stress or during a day of poor diet or lack of exercise (or during pregnancy). Bone broth also helps prevent osteopenia & osteoporosis, so if this runs in the family this should be a fall staple, especially for the women in the family. Bone broth not only supports the deeper aspects of our bodies, but it also gets the immune system up and running, strengthening that outer, protective layer called “wei qi”, what the Chinese call the protective barrier that decides what to let in and out – kind of like a bouncer for pathogens like bacteria, viruses & fungi.
- Any bones from a local, organic-based trusted source. (You may also use a small whole chicken, meat on or off). Bones can be browned for additional depth of flavor.
- Optional: whole peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic.
- Optional: veggies like celery and onion work well. Carrots tend to be too sweetening & broccoli/cabbages tend to be to bitter – but feel free to experiment & be creative!
- Optional some more: a tbsp of apple-cider vinegar helps to enhance the mineralization of the broth, so feel free to add this in if you like the taste.
Using a large crock-pot, add the bones or chicken frame, cover with water and anything else you’ve decided to mix in, and turn to medium-high for 24 hours. Once 1 day has passed, keep the cooker on low, and start doling this out as a breakfast-broth, or as an in-between meal, pick me up vitamin. As you sip on your broth, be sure to replenish the reserves by adding the same amount of water back to the crock-pot. If a whole chicken was used, the meat can be picked off throughout the week and eaten with the broth, or in tacos and sandwiches, etc. You can do this for about 4-5 days, then toss & start again as needed. You’ll notice that the bones, after giving up all of their minerals, disintegrate and are completely cashed. This is when you know that you’ve reaped the benefits. Give thanks and continue to preserve the precious energy you’ve received from this winter-prep ritual.