Nourishing + Blood-Building Bone Broth

*Almost* every week, I make a bone broth. I was inspired to start making it by my acupuncturist Elisa Berquist two years ago and haven’t looked back since. At the time, I went to see her to help balance out my hormones after 10 years of birth control. The wisdom she imparted to me in the process has shaped my view on how to “build my body up” when I’m feeling depleted and keep it nourished year-round. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, bone broth is blood- and qi-building. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), “blood is an essential fluid.  This means that without blood, your body will not be able to perform its usual functions.  When blood is used throughout the day, it has to be replenished so you don’t become blood deficient.  Stress, exercise, work, and studying are just a few ways that your body uses blood.  Bone Marrow is where the body makes both red and white blood cells.  By using bones filled with rich marrow, we are able to extract this property and infuse it into our own cells.  By drinking nutritious bone broth, you are giving your body what it needs to heal itself” (sourced from urbanherbs.com).

As women, “building up” our blood is even more important because we actually lose blood once a month. This period (see what I did there? : ) of blood deficiency can lead us feeling run-down, depleted, low energy and experiencing cravings to “boost” us back up. Elisa taught me to prepare for this time by consuming blood-building food + drink the week before my period. This included drinking bone broth (or use it in home-cooked meals) + consuming iron-rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, seaweeds, spirulina, sprouts, whole grains, richly colored foods like beets, dried apricots, dark grapes, blackberries, raspberries and organic, grass-fed or pasture-raised meat and eggs. Oh – and one other time we lose a lot of blood? When we have a baby! In addition, TCM views breastmilk as an extension of the mother’s blood and therefore it’s important that breastfeeding mama’s also eat foods that build their blood.

On top of all this wisdom, Elisa also dropped a bomb on me.

She told me that when our bodies are in balance, we shouldn’t really experience any of the awful period symptoms we’ve come to think of as “normal”. Our periods should actually involve little to no cramping, little to no bleeding, no back pain, no huge dips in energy levels and no crazy cravings.

Yep, you just read that right. And if you’re like me, you are thinking, “yeah {freaking} right”. Not possible.

At the time I went to see her, I had recently had my IUD removed and had had 2 months of rough periods, including serious low back pain + cramping. So, as you likely are now, I was skeptical. Even non-believing. Because everybody has painful periods, right?

Oh friends. I ate my words….or thoughts, rather (because I never actually told Elisa at the time that I thought she was cray-cray and full of it). But it’s true. Within two months of seeing her, taking her prescribed TCM herbs, practicing increased self-care and implementing her blood-building recommendations, I had periods with absolutely zero cramping, zero pain, zero discomfort. In fact, only a paper-thin pad was needed as primarily bled only when I went to the bathroom. And it lasted 3 days. No joke.

And until I got pregnant, I experienced this month after month. I wanted to share this with y’all today because I always think it’s important that we examine societal “norms” – especially when it comes to our health (or UN-health). And if there is a way to experience more comfortable periods AND gain better health in the process, I believe it’s something all us ladies should be looking into, right?

So, needless to say, I’m a believer in this bone-broth drinking + blood-building stuff. And whether you’re a believer too or not, the good news is that aside from all the amazing health benefits we can incur in consuming it, it tastes great and seriously ups the deliciousness factor of all recipes in which it’s used. Win win. And today, I’m sharing my personal bone broth recipe {and process} on the blog:

IMG_20160107_103652BONE BROTH: 99.9% of the time, I start my bone broth process by cooking a whole (organic + pasture-raised) chicken in the crockpot. It’s super easy – chop an onion and place in the bottom of the crockpot, then place the chicken on top. Cook on low for 8-12 hours. BOOM. On top of the chicken carcass, I usually use grass-fed + organic beef bones, but you can substitute buffalo, veal, lamb, goat; and can also add chicken and/or pig’s feet.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 – 2 grass-fed bones {knuckles, marrow, shank or other bones}
  • Optional: carcass of crockpot chicken
  • Enough water to fill the crockpot after all ingredients are in
  • 1 – 2 onions, peeled and chopped roughly {if you’ve done the crockpot chicken with onion on bottom, no need to do another onion unless desired}
  • 3 carrots, option to chop – but I usually just break + toss them in
  • 2 celery stalks,option to chop – but I usually just break + toss them in
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 Tbls. sea salt and 1 Tbls. black peppercorns
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme {or 1 Tbls. dry}
  • Big handful of fresh parsley {can put in “whole”, stems + leaves}
  • 2 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1″ knob of fresh ginger
  • Optional: egg shells from farm raised chickens
  • Veggie scraps: throughout the week, any scraps you cut off {like leek stems, broccoli stems etc}, store in Ziplock bag in freezer. Then toss into your broth to cook with other vegetables

DIRECTIONS: 

  1. IF YOU’VE DONE CROCKPOT CHICKEN: after pulling chicken off carcass, add bones + skin back into the crockpot with the “juice” that’s there {water + onion}.  
  2. Add all ingredients and cook on low for 10-18 hours. The longer you cook the stock the more concentrated it becomes.  
  3. When done, strain liquid, discard bones and vegetables.  
  4. Place liquid into the refrigerator and fat will congeal overnight. Skim off fat.  
  5. Pour stock into freezer-safe containers {careful not to fill to the top} as stock expands as it freezes. You can freeze stock for up to 3 months or keep in the fridge for 2 weeks. 
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About Whitney Mack of Macks Mo

Whitney Mack is a holistic nutrition health coach, fitness + movement specialist, feel good fanatic and founder of Macks Mo - a healthy living business that empowers busy women and mommas to connect to their desires and they want to feel daily in order to macks-imize joy, freedom, vibrancy, energy and ease. Through her programs + services, she uses real food, movement and signature health coaching strategies to guide clients in creating a more meaningful and fulfilled life (soulful, joyful, healthful) through nourishment and love. And turns out, as their love grows (for their life, themselves, their spirit), their body intuitively sheds the mental + physical weight holding them back from a life and body they're excited about.

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