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Stocks and Broths: How to Soup Yourself to Health

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Stocks and Broths: How to Soup Yourself to Health

Alternate tittle: How to Cook Bone Broth Like a Witch Doctor. Homemade broth is one of those ancient dishes we have let fall to the wayside. For centuries stocks and broths were the backbone of a family's nutrition, but now it is much easier to drop by your local store and pick up a box of pre-made or a bullion cubes.  I get it.  We, myself included, are all busy rushing around trying succeed in our lives and then feed ourselves and our loved ones.

But I had my eyes opened a few years ago, when I opened my life to a man who is an incredible chef and who takes none of these old traditions for granted.  He really values the taste and depth of food made from scratch and will go to great lengths to make homemade sauces, soups, dressings, and pastas, you name it.  While I agree that flavor is much better, my biggest discovery is how easy it is to actually make these healthy basics. Now I am the lucky owner of a jam-packed freezer.  It is full of homemade fish and chicken stocks, ice-cube trays full of different pesto's and tomato sauces, pre-made crusts and lots of tiny bags filled with veggie and bone scraps to be saved for future stocks.

I first got into drinking bone broth to improve on my digestive system (as it's known to seal and heal the gut), but now I drink one cup a day of this age-old medicine for a strong immune system during flu season, to support my body when I'm stressed out, and to give me beautiful, vibrant skin and hair. It is the very BEST real food way to get your body maximum nutrients.

A South American proverb says "good broth will resurrect the dead." Known as a cure-all in traditional households, bone broths can be found across many generations, continents and healing traditions.  And science validates what our grandmothers knew best, a homemade broth is the healthiest thing you can eat. It's known to cure colds, soothe sore throats, heal ulcers, relieve fatigue, strengthen hair, nails and bones, improve digestion, heal the gut and boost the immune system.  Whether you are a chef, a healer or just trying to live a healthy life, this is a must have ingredient for your kitchen.

INGREDIENTS Broths can take many forms but should always start with a pile of vegetables (or scraps), and pure water. From there you can add just about anything to make it your own and boost the nutrition to fit your needs:

Vegetables: Onion, garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms or mushroom stems (cut and save your shiitake stems in the freezer), green beans, leeks (or saved/ frozen leek tops), greens, dried or fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, basil, bay leaf, thyme).

Bones: Organic beef, lamb, turkey, chicken, or fish bones. these can be bought raw from your local butcher or you can save leftover bones after a roast. Keep them in the freezer adding scraps of bones/ vegetables until you have enough to fill half a stock pot. Now you are ready to make stock! Cooked bones work fine, but raw bones produce more flavor.

Boosters: Clean egg shells (for added calcium); Heads and feet of poultry (for added collagen); Dried seaweed, aka kambu, (adds iodine for thyroid support & digestibility); Vinegar (increases nutrient absorption);  shiitake/ maitaki or reishi mushrooms (to deep immune support ).

Nourishing Chicken Stock

INGREDIENTS

1 whole organic chicken carcass including all the bony parts: neck, back, breastbone and wings (Remove as much of the fat as possible.) (Highly recommended option to include the chicken head, feet, or gizzard for increased mineral density and lots of healing collagen. This is a great way to create a medicinal broth that will support your digestive and immune system and give you healthy hair, skin and nails.)

4 quarts of cold water

2 Tbs. vinegar

1 large onion, quartered, papers can be left on

1-2 full heads of garlic, cut width-wise, papers can be left on

3 pieces of celery, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

1 bunch of parsley

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp of whole peppercorns

Optional Boosters: 1-4 Tbs. of seaweed (dulce or kambu) optional 1-4 egg shells, cleaned 10 shitake stems (or whole mushrooms)

DIRECTIONS

To begin, preheat your oven to 350 and once ready, add your bones and onions to the oven to brown (about 15 mins). This will deepen the flavor of the broth and give you a dark, rich color (if you are looking to make a clear broth, skip this step.) NOTE: If using the head or feet, do not brown them first

(If using the addition of seaweed, cut a piece of kambu that is a few inches long and soak in water for 10 mins.)

Meanwhile, add the rest of your vegetables and non-roasting bones (like feet or head) to a stock pot with cold water. Cover with enough water that the bones and veggies are just submerged. Remove the roasted bones from the oven and place them directly into the stock pot with the vegetables. Add the herbs, bay leaves, pinch of sea salt, peppercorns and the kombu. Add vinegar and let them sit for 45 minutes in cold water. The vinegar will help to leach maximum nutrients (calcium and collagen) from the bones.

Once you have soaked your cold stock, turn on the stove to high heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer then skim the top of the broth with a ladle to get the scum (small bubbles) off. (These are the toxins the bones release.) Remove the kombu after 45 minutes and discard, but let the broth continue to simmer for a minimum of 8 hours, but up to 24. If needed, you can add water to replenish any evaporated liquid

Once done cooking you will need to strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Save the liquid-stock, then compost the remaining bones/veg.

Your stock will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to four-five days. For the stock you don't think you'll use right away, let it cool and then add it to plastic quart containers (old yogurt jars) or zip lock bags to freeze. I like to freeze some in ice-cube trays so that I can have small portions to throw into sautéed veggies.

I love to drink a cup of steaming broth with my lunch with a little parsley and salt, but I also add it to my cooking by making rich soups, cooking grains, beans or even oats with it. It is the very BEST real food way to get your body maximum nutrients.

Alkaline Vegetable Broth

This is an excellent broth to make if you are vegetarian, fighting a cold, or on a whole-food cleanse. This broth is completely alkaline and will help your body re-set from the acidity of a regular diet.  You can use it as a soup base, to add extra flavor and nutrition to any recipe that calls for water, or as a great nourishing, hydrating and cleansing meal.

INGREDIENTS

Choose a combination of the following vegetables equaling about 1 1/2-2 cups of each: celery, carrots, zucchini, green beans, parsley, kale, spinach, chard, parsley, and onions. Add several cloves of garlic, a handful of your favorite herbs and a couple of bay leafs. Include boosters like kombu, vinegar, lemon juice, or shiitake mushroom stems.

DIRECTIONS

Place all of your vegetables in a large stock pot and saute for a few minutes. Add more than enough filtered water to cover them. Bring to boil and then simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off and let cool on the stove. Strain and discard the veggies and keep the broth.

These will keep in the fridge for up to three days, or you can freeze and use later as a soup stock.

The Skinny

When cooked for a long period of time bones and vegetables release their nutrients into the water. Bone broth's contain high levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur, and trace minerals. Vegetable broths contain the potassium and magnesium , but with little to no protein.  And in its liquid form, these nutrients are very easily absorbed by the body. Broths made from fish bones and seaweed provide iodine and thyroid strengthening substances.

When broths are cooled they congeal due to the presence of gelatin. Gelatin has been used for historically by many cultures to treat a long list of diseases including treat ulcers, hernia, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle disease, digestive issues,  infectious disease and cancer. Infant chicken stock that includes the head is called the "Jewish Penicillin".

Broths drastically improve the bodies mineral content, repair digestion and boost the immune. And as a low-calorie, protein rich food, vegetable and bone broths are hard to beat.

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Natural Sports Drinks

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Natural Sports Drinks

During exercise the body loses many fluids and electrolytes. It is important to keep them replenished to avoid dehydration and allow your muscles to repair themselves more quickly.  When your out for long bouts of training (runs, cycling, swims over 45 mins.),  drinking only plain water can cause bloating, cramps and actually suppress, rather than quench, feelings of thirst which can lead to dehydration.  The body's cells need salt in order to actively transport water between them and replenish hydration within the body.  In other words, an active body needs constant electrolyte replenishing.

When looking at the major sports drink on the market you will find that many of them are packed with high fructose corn syrup, unhealthy levels of caffeine and a wide range of additives and preservatives. While it is possible for high levels of sugar to be burned off by a serious athlete, most of us are not performing at a level to properly deal with that insulin boost.  This can disrupt our blood sugar levels causing weight gain, energy crashes and a lowered immune system.

I've been tinkering with ways to get those electrolytes in without all the junk of the shelf versions. Some times that means I mix 50/50 coconut water and filtered water; sometimes I add a dash of salt to filtered water; some times I add 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 1TBS of honey to 1 liter of filtered water; and when I am really inspired and have the time to plan ahead I turn to the botanicals to create an electrolyte sun tea. The herbs used in this tea specially blended by a herbalist friend of mine to address the needs of an athlete. The Skinny: Hibiscus and lemon balm both lower blood pressure, peppermint is a stimulant that increases both speed and strength, tulsi is a metabolism booster and lowers cortisol, and eleuthro is an energy booster and that can aid in muscle recovery.  These teas can be bought loose from the bulk bins at your local health food store (if you live in San Francisco, Rainbow is your best bet.) You can mix and match herbs and flavors depending on your needs and tastes.

Drinking your electrolytes before, during and after your next workout for sustained energy, increased hydration and fast recovery!

Herbal Electrolyte Tea

INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 gallons water

4 cups lime juice

2 cups of honey

1/2 cup of salt

Fresh herbs of your choice. Try hibiscus, peppermint, tulsi, lemon balm, eleuthro. (These can be bought in the bulk section of a good health food store. i.e. Rainbow)

DIRECTIONS

Brew sun tea using 1/2 gallon of water and fresh herbs.  Let sit in sunny place for 1-2 days until a strong tea is brewed.

When ready to make your electrolyte tea, start by dissolving the honey in salt in hot water.  Then in a large jar, add the additional 3 gallons of water, the diluted honey and salt mixture and lime juice.  Stir until mixed well. Serve in your water bottle over ice.

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Here are a few more ways to create a homemade sports drink:

Energy Water:  In 1 quart water add ¼ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp baking soda, 2 Tbs honey, 1 tsp. Ginseng

Water Booster: In 1 quart water add ¼ tsp sea-salt, juice of 1 lemon, and 1/2Tbs honey.

Isotonic O.J: Isotonic sports drinks quickly replaces fluids lost by sweating and supplies a boost of carbohydrate.To make-In 1 litre of water add 200ml of concentrated orange and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled

Coconut water: Coconut water naturally has 650 mg of potassium (15x more than a banana), 25mg of magnesium, and 35 mg of sodium.  Low calorie. Packed with natural electrolytes coconut water hydrates, increases energy, balance bodies pH, cools the body, transports nutrients to cells, improve digestion and increase libido.

*Drink unsweetened coconut water before and after exercise.  Try dilute with water and use for hydration during training.

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Anti-inflammatory Ginger Tea

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Anti-inflammatory Ginger Tea

Ginger, A Powerful Superfood: The Benefits of Ginger Tea Fresh ginger root has many properties that qualify it as a “superfood”. Here are just a few benefits of fresh, raw ginger root:

  • Eases Gastrointestinal Discomfort
  • Anti inflammatory effects on arthritis
  • Induces Ovarian Cancer Cell Death
  • Reduces Pain
  • Aids in Weight Loss
  • Helps Carry Wastes Out of the Body (Detox)
  • Alleviates Morning Sickness and Motion Sickness

Ginger tea has been studied for its healthy benefits on digestion and improving gastrointestinal ailments in a wide number of individuals. It has also been shown to alleviate gas and constipation. Using peppermint tea and ginger root tea together after a meal may help ease digestion, which results in better nutrients being absorbed and utilized. Also, with better digestion comes easy and healthy weight loss. This is one reason why I love adding ginger to my green smoothies.

Ginger tea has shown some promise in aiding apoptosis of ovarian cancer cells, resulting in less cancer cells overall. Although not a sole treatment, it has been documented that the cancer cell death is indeed initiated by properties called gingerols in ginger root. I also believe that the powerful anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger are also helpful, as chronic inflammation has been shown to be connected to cancer (inflammation can occur through eating excessive grains, sugars and not enough anti-inflammatory foods).

Being a powerful anti-inflammatory, it has been shown to be helpful in those with arthritis. Pain in the joints, bones and head may also be relieved through ginger tea. A ginger root tea made with a cinnamon stick and a little stevia may give it an extra anti-inflammatory boost. One of the leading cause of aging is inflammation from diet and lifestyle, as well as general metabolism, so the best thing that one can do is increase anti-inflammatory rich foods and herbs, such as ginger root.

Finally, weight loss can be helped by drinking ginger tea, as inflammation can often suppress hormones that help control hunger and metabolize fat. Ginger root tea, being rather spicy, may also elicit the removal of wastes through causing you to sweat. Spicy foods have also been shown to increase fat burning potential, but it is unclear whether ginger does this the same way peppers do (gingerols are a relative of capsacian).

How to Make Ginger Tea

For two strong cups:

2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger (peeled) 1 cup hot, almost boiling, water 1 cup room temperature water Almond milk, coconut milk and stevia, to taste (optional)

Pour hot water over the fresh ginger and let steep for 30 minutes. For a strong infusion, steep overnight, covered on the counter.

Strain the ginger and add the additional 1 cup of water. Add coconut or almond milk and stevia, if you desire.

For extra anti-inflammatory and blood sugar benefits, steep tea with 1-2 cinnamon sticks, chopped into 1/2″ pieces.

Serves 1-2.

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Escape the Plague

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Escape the Plague

The flu is hitting hard this year and unless you can talk the boss into letting you work in quarantine, there seems to be no escape from the inevitable. Or is there? Arm yourself with a strong immune system and get ready to evade the plague.  Here are five foods you can add to your diet to naturally boost your immune system and have you ready to fight back! 1) Yogurt and fermented foods. Kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha are filled with naturally occurring probiotics aka healthy bacteria.  How is bacteria going to keep you healthy? Well, this particular bacteria is considered a “good guy,” lining the walls of the digestive tract, and is your first defense in fighting  off the “bad guys.” Higher levels of good bacteria means an increased response of white blood cells in reaction to an intruder. Be sure you pick dairy that is unsweetened and choose krauts and pickles that have been brined, not pickled.

2) Homemade soup. Homemade soups are an age-old remedy for a reason: stocks are nutritious concentrates of bone and vegetable minerals, and once made into a soup, salty broths actually work to thin and break down mucus.  Pack them full of garlic, onions and ginger — all natural anti-microbials — and add shiitake mushrooms, known for their deep immune stimulation.

3) Red peppers. We’ve all heard that citrus contains vitamin C, which is why many people stock up on orange juice when they are sick. But what they don’t know is that this sugary drink is working against them, when they could be getting twice as much vitamin C from red peppers.  A half-cup of red bell peppers contains one and half more vitamin C than the daily requirement, plus they work wonders to protect your skin, which is your first line of defense. Studies show that vitamin C can reduce the length and severity of a cold, so snack away on raw bell peppers throughout the flu season.

4) Orange you glad you’re healthy? Pumpkins and sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Experts have long known that vitamin A plays a big role in fighting infection and maintaining mucosal integrity.  Vitamin A also helps the cells communicate and create a better defense.

5) Surf and turf. Both beef and oysters are among the foods highest in zinc, along with lamb, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and crab. Zinc deficiencies, which leave you open to infection, are often seen in those with high stress, so go ahead and slurp down a dozen oysters after work.  And when you pick up that steak, remember, always choose organic and free range wherever possible.

*Bonus*

Immune boosting supplements should be thought of as two categories of defense: deep immune support and viral attacks.

Preventative: Take herbs like echinacea, reishi mushrooms and astragalus on the daily for deep immune stimulation.

Corrective: Once your sick you need to directly attack the bug that got you down. Try elderberry syrup, silvercillian, viral attack or kick ass immune as a natural anti viral/microbial.

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Increase Brain Power through Nutrition

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Increase Brain Power through Nutrition

Eat protein for breakfast. Eggs, not oatmeal, give your brain the good fat it needs to function properly. Eggs will also help you boost your metabolism while keeping insulin levels low. That means more fat burning and less fat storing. Don’t like eggs? Try organic breakfast sausage and sautéed spinach or protein powder in a yummy shake.Keep your desk stocked.  By loading up your workspace with quick and healthy snacks, you can spend your time finishing that big project rather than daydreaming about the next meal. Shoot for protein and good fats for maximum brainpower: almond butter, apples, nuts, celery sticks, Lara Bars, string cheese, organic turkey jerky, fresh berries, Greek yogurt, etc. Skip carb loading lunch. Too many carbohydrates at lunchtime will leave you with a bad case of afternoon slumps. Carbohydrates of all kinds create a spike in your insulin and a crash in your blood sugar. If you plan on getting anything done after lunch, go for a lunch loaded up on lean meats, veggies, and less than a cup of whole grains or beans. Green caffeine boosts concentration. While one cup of coffee in the morning will get you going (followed by plenty of water, of course), it is not ideal for your digestion or your stress hormones. Try replacing your afternoon joe with a cup of green tea, which is proven to aid in concentration, boost the metabolism, and work to keep you looking young and vibrant. Eat more fat. While not all fats are created equal, healthy fats will bring better blood flow to the brain and improve mood and memory function. Omega 3’s are the closest thing to a miracle food for the mind, so stock up flax seeds, fish oils, coconut butter, avocado, and wild salmon. Add herbs to your diet.  Supplements like ginkgo, ginseng, and rosemary will improve your mental abilities.

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Love your liver

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Love your liver

Life is hard on the liver, no way around it! No matter how much you take care of yourself, your liver is working over time.  This is a product of our increasingly busy world. Whether you have weekends packed with dinner parties, a stressful work life or simply living and being in this increasingly toxic environmental,  it is the liver takes the brunt.

More than ever, we need to support our liver.  This will aid the body in flushing our bodies of the toxins used beauty products, ingested chemicals, overloaded stress hormones and bad cholesterol.  The liver is also where estrogen metabolism occurs. Detoxifying the liver will help to balance hormones levels, and lower your chance of chronic disease.  If the liver is over-worked or clogged the body will be unable to rid itself of dangerous toxins and they will instead circulate the body and over stimulate the genes. The largest contributors to liver overload are poor diet, excessive alcohol, drugs, and toxic chemicals.  Support your liver with a good detoxifying diet and bi-yearly cleanses.

Symptoms of liver impairment

  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Mood swings, (anger and irritability), depression
  • Poor concentration (foggy brain)
  • Constipation and/or light-colored stool
  • Jaundice
  • Lack of appetite or nausea
  • Rash on back
  • Bloated stomach.
  • Abnormal metabolism of fats
  • Blood sugar problems
  • Recurrent headaches (including migraines)
  • Overheating of the body (especially face and torso).
  • Digestive problems

• EXTERNAL SIGNS

Brownish spots and blemishes on the skin (pruritus), excessive sweating, skin rashes, red palms and soles (which may also be itchy and inflamed), coated tongue, bad breath, acne rosacea, dark circles under the eyes, offensive body odor, red swollen itchy eyes, and flushed facial appearance or excessive facial blood vessels. Tenderness/ aches on right side of body

 

Liver supporting foods

1. Garlic

Just a small amount of this pungent white bulb has the ability to activate liver enzymes that helps your body flush out toxins. Garlic also holds high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.

2. Grapefruit

High in both vitamin C and antioxidants, grapefruit increases the natural cleansing processes of the liver. A small glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice will help boost production of liver detoxification enzymes that help flush out carcinogens and other toxins.

3. Beets and Carrots

Both extremely high in plant flavonoids and beta-carotene, eating both beets and carrots can help stimulate and improve overall liver function.

4. Green Tea

This liver-loving beverage is chock-full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, a constituent known to assist the livers overall functions. Green tea is not only delicious, it’s also a great way to improve your overall diet. Learn more about the benefits of green tea.

5. Leafy Green Vegetables

One of our most powerful allies in cleansing the liver, leafy greens can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced. Extremely high in plant chlorophylls, greens literally suck up environmental toxins from the blood stream. With their distinct ability to neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides, these cleansing foods offer a powerful protective mechanism for the liver.

Try incorporating leafy greens such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens and chicory into your diet. This will help increase the creation and flow of bile, the substance that removes waste from the organs and blood.

6. Avocados

This nutrient-dense super-food helps the body produce glutathione, which is necessary for the liver to cleanse harmful toxins. Recent studies indicate improved liver health when avocados are eaten regularly.

7. Apples

High in pectin, apples hold the chemical constituents needed for the body to cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract. This, in turn, makes it easier for the liver to handle the toxic load during the cleansing process.

8. Olive Oil

Cold-pressed organic oils such as olive, hemp and flax-seed are great for the liver, when used in moderation. They help the body by providing a lipid base that can suck up harmful toxins in the body. In this way, it takes some of the burden off the liver in terms of the toxic overload that many of us suffer from.

9. Whole Grains

Grains, such as brown rice, are rich in B-complex vitamins, nutrients known to improve overall fat metabolization, liver function and liver decongestion. If possible, do not eat foods with white flour instead try eating whole wheat alternatives.

10. Cruciferous Vegetables

Eating broccoli and cauliflower will increase the amount of glucosinolate in your system, adding to enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes help flush out carcinogens, and other toxins, out of our body which significantly lowers our risk of cancer.

11. Lemons & Limes

These citrus fruits contain very high amounts of the vitamin C, which aids the body in synthesizing toxic material into substance that can be absorbed by water. Drinking freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice in the morning helps stimulate the liver.

12. Walnuts

Holding high amount of the amino acid arginine, walnuts aid the liver in detoxifying ammonia. Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega 3 fatty acids which support normal liver cleansing actions. Make sure you chew the nuts well (until they are liquefied) before swallowing.

13. Cabbage

Much like broccoli and cauliflower, eating cabbage helps stimulate the activation of two crucial liver detoxifying enzymes that help flush out toxins. Try eating more kimchi, coleslaw, cabbage soup and sauerkraut.

14. Turmeric

The liver’s favorite spice. Try adding some of this detoxifying goodness into your next lentil stew or veggie dish for an instant liver pick-me-up. Tumeric helps boost liver detox, by assisting enzymes that actively flush out known dietary carcinogens.

 

 

 

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