Cold and flu season is upon us.
With chilly temperatures, heavy snow in some parts of the U.S. and cold rain in other parts, our immune systems are taking hits from all sides.
We’re all looking for ways to prevent sickness this time of year.
When I was in college I would take an over-the-counter decongestant to delay sickness (it worked for a while, but then when it hit, it would hit hard). Now I look for more natural ways to boost my immune system throughout the year so I’ll be less likely to get sick in the winter time.
Even though I do get sick less, it’s hard to prevent it altogether. But there are a few tricks I’ve learned along the way that seem to really work, and I haven’t had much more than a sniffle for about 3 years.
The front line of defense during the winter is bone broth.
A traditional food of the highest degree, every society has relied on broth in some form for thousands of years, and for good reason.
Broth provides our bodies access to a rich source of nutrients that bolster our immune systems and nourish us at a deep level. Broth also provides a way to use the whole animal (and veggie scraps), allowing us to reduce our waste while boosting nutrient intake.
Broth is versatile: use it as a base for soups, stews and grains.
This is an easy way to make every meal more nutrient dense. Drink as much broth as possible during the winter. I have a batch of broth going almost constantly in the winter, and I drink several cups per day, either plain with a little salt, or incorporated into other dishes.
Throughout the rest of the year I make about a batch per week and still use it in all of my dishes.
It’s a great way to stay warm, hydrated and nourished during the cold winter months! VitaClay is an ideal tool for safely making nourishing bone and vegetable broth—you can let it cook all night and all day and go about business as usual.
We have all heard chicken noodle soup is the best way to heal yourself of a cold or other illness. But why is this age-old recipe so effective? Is it the chicken? The veggies? The noodles?
The secret is really in the broth.
Traditionally every soup was made with a base of broth, not water. These days we grab a bouillon cube to flavor soup and other dishes, but did you know that real, traditional bone broth is a very healing and nourishing food?
It’s good for so much more than just flavoring–though it does that very well.
Homemade bone broth will add a rich, velvety texture and a deep flavor to anything it touches. It’s also filled with nourishing minerals and proteins that build immunity at the cellular level.
Any soup, stew or chili recipe I make uses bone broth as the base, and I add it to a lot of other things as well. For example, I’ll add a spoonful to a stir fry that is getting dry, instead of adding water or more oil.
I also always use broth a s a cooking liquid for rice, quinoa or any other savory grain: it boosts nutrition and adds a really great flavor. With broth and a little butter, rice becomes very filling–almost a whole meal by itself!
Whenever my husband eats rice from a restaurant, he comments that the rice I make tastes much better.
How Can I Make Bone Broth?
The best part about bone broth is that it’s so easy to make, and practically free! The stores sell tetra packs of stock on the cheap, but if you want to get the deeply nourishing benefits of bone broth, the real thing is usually found in the freezer section of the health food store or you can order it in bulk online.
Bone broth is amazing because you can literally make it from your “trash” –veggie scraps and bones (that’s better than free!). Save the bones and veggie scraps from meals during the week in a container in the fridge or freezer, and when you have a few handfuls, throw them in the slow cooker and get going!
Here is a quick, easy recipe for any type of bone broth:
- Bones (soup bones or bones left over from this week’s dinners)*
- Veggie scraps from the week’s meals (mushrooms, celery, carrots, etc)*
- Eggshells, oyster shells, etc: these add calcium and minerals!
- Seaweed strips (optional: these add lots of minerals and iodine)
- Ginger and garlic–boosts the anti-oxidant and immune-building properties
*Scraps can also be frozen to use in a future batch of broth if it will be more than a few days until you can cook them.
- Add bones, scraps and other ingredients to pot
- Fill the rest of the pot with purified water
- Cook on “soup” (for VitaClay) for 3-5 hours (up to 24 hours)
- Strain, bottle and freeze or refrigerate
- Use in everything!
I love to make bone broth in my VitaClay, because it is electronic and I can safely leave the broth cooking for hours and hours while I sleep at night or run errands during the day.
As a bonus, VitaClay does pretty much all of my cooking: it makes rice, quinoa, and other grains; it makes yogurt (!) and all manner of slow-cooking dishes, from roasts to stews, soups and beans and steamed veggies or fish. It’s truly a multi-cooker, and I don’t use anything else for any of these dishes.
If you want to start making your own broth at home and hire your “personal chef” (VitaClay) to cook all of your meals for you, use coupon code NOURISH10 at check-out for 10% off any product on the website.
What if I Can’t Make My Own Bone Broth?
There are times we simply can’t make our own bone broth. It requires space, time, and tools that are not always available.
Maybe you’re traveling or staying somewhere other than home. Maybe you are moving or live in a very small space. Maybe you’re crunched for time and just don’t have the bandwidth to do one more thing right now. Whatever the reason, don’t let it be an excuse miss out on all the nourishing, healing benefits of bone broth.
I have recently discovered Fire & Kettle bone broth, and I’m in love. I keep this stuff in my pantry for when I run out of bones and broth or just need some quick and don’t have time to make it.
I like Fire & Kettle because they have several options and flavor combinations, and they always use pastured, organic bones.
Never make/drink bone broth from non-organic bones: the toxins build up in the bones and will be passed onto you so it’s important to get the cleanest source possible!
Plus, right now you can get up to three free cartons of Kettle & Fire Bone Broth when you order through my link. It’s a great time to stock up for those times you run out!
Check out the great flavors at Kettle & Fire and start getting your bone broth on. In the meantime, be sure to make a big batch so you’ll always have some on hand to use as a nutritious base for soups, stews, rice, stir fries and other dishes!
Also, if you have a dog chicken bones are great to feed them as bone meal after they’ve been cooked into broth: you’ll know they’re ready when you can easily crush the bones with one hand.
These bones keep going, and going and going….!
What is your favorite way to use bone broth?
How often do you make it at home?
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