What’s a Manganese?

Per my past posts, many of you know that I’ve been experiencing severe fatigue. So bad. It’s been chronic fatigue. Kind of like kill me now fatigue.

After my DNA test, I found out I was deficient in manganese, so I began supplementing for it. I could not BELIEVE the amount of energy I had! It was like WHAAAATTT! I mean people HAVE this kind of energy? THAT’S AMAZING! I had even more energy, more focus, and more drive than I have had in the past 5 years. I cleaned my room, my bathroom, and the kitchen; wrote a 7 page paper; went grocery shopping; and read nearly 80 pages of material for one of my classes in one day.

Can you believe I did ALL of that in one day? I KNOW! It’s amazing! And for those of you thinking “Uh, so what?” Psh, well, back up there. You probably have no idea what it’s like to experience fatigue like I’ve had.

But, it got me to thinking.. What exactly is manganese? The simple answer is a mineral, but I wanted to know more. And! Here we are. Discussing manganese, of course.

What is it?

Found mostly in bones, the liver, kidneys, and the pancreas, manganese is a trace mineral in the body.

What does it do?

According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, manganese “helps the body form connective tissues, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function.” In addition, manganese can help protect against free radicals (free radicals destroy DNA and other cells in your body).

What about the dosage?

According to WebMD, the dosages are widespread depending on the age group. There is no recommended daily allowance for manganese, so it is best to follow the adequate intake and keep below the upper intake level of your age group. For me, this means no  more than 11mg a day.

What foods does it come from?

You can get manganese from nuts, seeds, pineapple, beans, spinach, and sweet potatoes. The typical American diet lacks a lot of these whole food sources of manganese because a processed foods diet is typically followed.

What are some deficiency symptoms?

Deficiency symptoms include impaired glucose tolerance, altered carbohydrate and fat metabolism, stunted growth, elevated blood calcium, infertility, weakness, nausea, dizziness, hearing loss, iron-deficiency anemia, weak hair and nails, and convulsions.

What happens if I take too much?

According to Oregon State, Ingested manganese has been associated with neurological symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. However, this was found in people who had high manganese intakes from drinking water. One case included a person who had been taking large amounts of manganese supplements for years.

So, what’s the verdict?

While everyone is different, manganese is an important mineral to include in your diet. The best place to get manganese is from whole food sources including nuts and seeds, as well as the foods listed above. It’s important to remember that vitamins and minerals play a role with each other in the body. It may be that my manganese levels were causing some other vitamin or mineral to be off (actually, in my case, I had extremely elevated blood calcium). There’s no need to supplement for it if you’re not deficient, and there is certainly no reason to supplement if you’re not experiencing any deficiency symptoms.

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Let’s Talk about Research

Recently, I read this article about the paleo diet. (HT: Madwoman with a Laptop)

And, well, I’m kind of upset. Kind of. Why am I upset, you ask?

This person clearly didn’t do their research before posting their “drawback” area (which really surprises me because I see this person is a RD):

Despite the emphasis on very healthy foods, the Paleo diet has a few drawbacks or potential areas for misinterpretation. For one, the diet is heavily reliant on meat, and meat today isn’t as lean as it was thousands of years ago. Domesticated animals are sometimes stuffed with food and given little room to move resulting in fatty cuts of meat. In addition, adopting a diet from ancient times, when the average lifespan was in the 20s, seems less than appealing when one considers the average lifespan of today, which is in large part due to the eradication of nutrient-deficiency thanks to fortified foods and dietary supplements. The Paleo diet falls short on some of these micronutrients, namely calcium and vitamin D.

Hold up. Before I go on, let me say: this person is definitely right about some things. The paleo diet is quite dependent upon meat. However, the paleo diet stresses that you should eat grass-fed, lean meat. In fact, the first thing you should be eating is (dirt cheap) organ meat from (from grass-fed sources). But, there is also a heavy emphasis on eating fish. The Paleo Mom created a list of the best meats to eat, which is very helpful when grocery shopping. It’s not like we eat prime rib every night and call it a day. I mean come on.

Salmon. Image courtesy Today's Parent.

Salmon.
Image courtesy Today’s Parent.

Let’s talk about the second point: eating a diet that fed people who only lived into their 20s. This is a very unfair comparison. We live in a time that emphasizes modern medicine. People used to die from things such as measles, which can now be prevented. You can’t compare modern, scientific times to the paleolithic age. Sure, you could if you never got vaccinated, never used the hospital, and never saw a Western doctor EVER; but, these things are very, very unlikely. The Tylenol that you take when you get the flu to lower your fever never existed thousands of years ago. Humans have taken technology and used it to expand the lifespan of the average person. Even 50 years ago, people were not living as long as they are today. Case in point: this isn’t a good argument, and actually, it’s completely invalid.

Now, onto the point that made me more than a little upset: the paleo diet lacks intake of “micronutrients,” specifically vitamin D and calcium. Well, I have to make a correction. Vitamin D is actually not a micronutrient. It’s a vitamin. Anyway, this claim is so untrue it’s not even funny.

First, let’s address how vitamin D is made in the body. You’ve probably heard that vitamin D is made from exposure to sunlight. Sunlight hits the skin, causes a chemical reaction, and voila! You have vitamin D in your body. Of course, the process is much more complicated than that; but, that’s the main gist.

Sunlight. Image courtesy Network Vitality Center.

Sunlight. It does a body good.
Image courtesy Network Vitality Center.

“But Brittany,” you protest, “if it’s as simple as getting sunlight, how are so many people vitamin D deficient?”

My first suggestion would be to look at how much time you actually spend outside without sunscreen. Of course, this also depends on your skin tone. If you have a lighter skin tone, you probably only need 15-20 minutes of sun exposure a day; darker tones may need a bit more. The second thing to look at is your overall diet. Are you including fish? Fish is the main source of vitamin D in the paleo diet. Of course, if you don’t eat fish, you could supplement for it; but, as stated above, fish is important to add to the diet because it’s an important meat source.

I’ve never supplemented for vitamin D, and I’ve never been deficient.

I started with vitamin D first because it’s important for the micronutrient calcium.

While our bodies can make vitamin D, we can’t make calcium. Calcium has to be absorbed through foods. Vitamin D is the vitamin that allows the body to absorb calcium. So, if you’re vitamin D deficient, you are likely calcium deficient, too. It’s highly recommended that paleos eat sardines because they contain a lot of calcium, but there are a lot of paleos who eat dairy (beep beep, paleo police!), which is a HUGE source of calcium. Yes, it’s true: many, many paleos eat dairy because they tolerate it. That dairy is, of course, grass-fed dairy.

The lesson here: do your research before you post. Provide links with your evidence. Know what you’re talking about. Research is important and imperative.

Another note on research: I’ve been reading Chris Kresser’s quite interesting and informative article about the so-called benefits of supplementing with calcium. He writes:

Yet the evidence that calcium supplementation strengthens the bones and teeth was never strong to begin with, and has grown weaker with new research published in the past few years. A 2012 analysis of NHANES data found that consuming a high intake of calcium beyond the recommended dietary allowance, typically from supplementation, provided no benefit for hip or lumbar vertebral bone mineral density in older adults.

Here’s my thoughts, ladies and gents: do outside research on everything that goes into your body. If it’s published by the government, skip it. If it seems to have an undertone of selling you something, skip it. These people have their own agenda. They have their own companies to think and worry about. They don’t care about you as people; they care about money. Look for independent research. Look for research done by someone who’s not getting paid to sell you something. Research, research, research until you die.

So, What Exactly DO You Eat?

I get questions all the time: “What do you eat?” “How many calories do you consume?” “Like.. no bread? How is that even possible?”

Let me preface by saying: I don’t count calories. Ever.

I know I just blew your mind. You’re probably thinking, “WTF??!! No, you’re on a diet. You count calories.” Wellllll, no. I don’t. I just don’t care to because it’s way too time consuming for me. I eat when I’m hungry, and usually, I eat what I want to eat. I go through periods when I eat way more fruit than I should and that’s okay.

My meals mostly consist of proteins and vegetables, as well as some type of fat (lately, it has been olive oil). Though, on my long days at school, I sometimes have yogurt, nuts, or fruit (or all three).

When you look at my meals, you may think, “Holy crap, that’s a lot of vegetables! Are you crazy with those vegetables?” and yes, it’s mainly a vegetable filled plate; those vegetables are always cooked in fat or oil. This is because the feeling of fullness generally disappears on the paleo diet as you cut out carbs. A large consumption of fat is necessary for the feeling of satiety. Fat is not bad for you. Mark from Mark’s Daily Apple notes that it isn’t fat causing atherosclerosis (thickening of the artery walls) but oxidized LDL (the bad cholesterol).

In order to feel full, I listen to my body. It usually goes like this:

Brittany, I’m craving some brussel sprouts.

To which I’ll say, “By golly, I should make some brussel sprouts in olive oil!”

Does my body want protein? Then, I’ll have a protein filled plate. Does it want veggies? Fruit? I don’t deprive my body of what it’s telling me it wants, and I think this is a huge reason this diet has been a success.

I’ll eat what I want, thanks! You ain’t the boss of ME!

Brussel sprouts, asparagus, & grass-fed beef

Brussel sprouts, asparagus, & grass-fed beef

Here is a meal I ate the other day (I’m on a huge brussel sprout kick right now). I was feeling incredibly hungry, so I added a lot of veggies (cooked in olive oil) to my plate. Notice that I didn’t cut the fat off the beef. First of all, I think fat is delicious. Second, it’s great for you, as we’ve established.

Typical breakfast: eggs, brussel sprouts, green beans, oranges, and coffee

Typical breakfast: eggs, brussel sprouts, green beans, oranges, and coffee. Not pictured: morning smoothie.

Morning smoothie: 1 cup swiss chard or spinach, 1 banana, 1 handful raspberries, 5 strawberries, 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 tablespoon green matcha

Morning smoothie: 1 cup swiss chard or spinach, 1 banana, 1 handful raspberries, 5 strawberries, 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 tablespoon green matcha

The above is my typical breakfast: protein, vegetables, and fruit. Coconut oil (in my smoothie) is ohhhh my god so good for your skin and health in general. Coconut oil has medium-chain triglycerides; MCTs are “easily digested, absorbed, and put to use nourishing the body.”

A typical lunch at home (the salad was a bonus)

A typical lunch at home (the salad was a bonus). Turkey andouille sausage, brussel sprouts, asparagus, and a raw vegetable salad.

At home, I have protein and vegetables for lunch. I had a “bonus” salad because I went to the store. A majority of the salad dressing is made from olive oil. Olive oil is my favorite oil to use because it reduces oxidized LDL (the bad cholesterol) and helps raise HDL (the good cholesterol).

It may look like my diet doesn’t vary very much, but it actually does. I’m just on a huge brussel sprout and asparagus kick lately. I’m not perfect; I don’t always have a protein for lunch. Or, I may have a few more brazil nuts than I should. GASP! It all depends on what my body is asking for.

Are you afraid of fat? Do you cook with fats or oils? If so, what kind do you use?

Edit: if you’re looking for good apps to use to track your diet, check out Unwilling Vegan’s post entitled “A Day in the Life of a College Vegan.”

What if I’d Cried My Eyes Out and Begged You Not to Depart?

Nana & Pop Pop

Nana & Pop Pop

“Happy birthday, Nana. I love you.” These were the last words my grandmother heard me say.

The following post is not related to paleo; however, as a human being, I think it is important that I address something that affects everyone at some point in their life: grief. I haven’t had a chance to grieve over the loss of my grandmother, so this is going to be my place to do that. I can feel the effects of grief catching up with me, so I need a space to share my story.

On February 9, 2014, my grandmother passed away. I called her Nana, so that’s what I will be calling her from now on. It was sudden, scary, and heartbreaking.

Nana’s health problems began in January. She was having “abnormal” conditions, even for a person her age (she was 81). One night, she was in so much pain that we called an ambulance to take her to the hospital. I was holding her hand before they came to take her. As I stroked her hand, Nana was telling me how much pain she was in. I said, “You’re going to be just fine. They’ll fix you and bring you back here.” After she was gone, I anxiously awaited every detail from my parents.

“What’s going on? Have they done anything?” I texted my dad.

“No. Will update you later on,” he replied back.

Hours went by. I checked my phone constantly. Suddenly, there was a text message from my mom. I could feel my heart stop, my blood pump fast, and my eyes swell up. Because, you see.. My mom never texts. Ever.

“It’s not good. She has cancer in her kidneys, lungs, and bones.”

I read every word a million times, but it didn’t seem to click in.

“Uh, what? We don’t even have cancer in our family,” I replied back.

Her bones? Is that even possible? I thought. It turns out that yes, bone cancer is a thing.

Nana was brought back home. When I say home, I mean back to my house. She had been living with us for the past 10 years. This was a woman whose presence was prevalent in my life. I saw her a lot.

“What are we going to do?” I asked my mom.

“I just can’t put her through chemotherapy. She wouldn’t survive it.”

Instead of chemotherapy, it was decided that Nana would have a procedure done to her bladder, which was causing her problems. So, back off to the hospital it was. The next day, she was taken to a different hospital where they could perform the necessary procedures and tests. As it turns out, the bladder was the source of her cancer.

Nana came home after a week in the hospital. Unfortunately, they sent her home and placed her under hospice care. My mom had to sign a “do not resuscitate” form. That translates to: enjoy your time with her now.

Nana & Pop Pop

Nana & Pop Pop

It was February 3rd. When Nana came home, she was relatively coherent. I greeted her and told her I loved her. Almost ignoring me, she informed the nurse she was in pain and needed morphine. This cycle continued for days. After a while, she was no longer coherent, though I think she could understand some things when the morphine wore off.

February 7th: my Nana’s birthday. I went downstairs and sat on the side of her hospital bed. My mom told me I would have to come close to her ear to talk to her if I wanted her to hear but warned me, at the same time, that she didn’t appear to be very responsive. Translation: I shouldn’t be upset if she didn’t acknowledge me.

“Happy birthday, Nana. I love you.” I said into her ear, probably a little too quietly.

Mom leaned in and asked, “Did you hear that, mom?”

Nana grunted.

“That was your Britty; she wished you a happy birthday.”

And then something amazing happened. Nana said, “Ohhhh,” giggled, and then got a huge smile on her face. She was quickly asleep again. I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life.

Nana, Mom, and I had been very excited for February 9th because it was the season premiere of The Walking Dead. Yes, my 81-year-old grandmother loved a zombie show.

I had some friends coming over that night for the premiere, which wasn’t unusual. Mom encouraged me to continue with normality despite everything that was going on, and I needed that reassurance. I was taking six classes; one of them was internship that I loved very much. I needed a small break. My friends and I went out to dinner, which was quite enjoyable.

When I came home, I immediately knew something was wrong.

My boyfriend, who was studying at my house, came to greet me at the door.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“You need to go downstairs,” he replied.

My heart sank. Why? I wanted to scream. Why do I need to go downstairs? What the hell does that mean? What do you know that I don’t?

I didn’t need to ask because I knew.

“I don’t know what to do, my friends are outside,” I said.

But I knew. I knew. I could feel my heart racing, palpitating from the sudden sense of urgency that comes when your adrenaline peaks.

“I don’t even know how to say this.. It’s happening,” I told them. “I’m so sorry. I need to be with my family.” Eyes stinging with tears that I tried to hold back, I apologized profusely to them. After seeing them off, I went downstairs.

My dad, mom, two uncles, and our close friend/nurse Bonnie were standing around Nana’s hospital bed. Gospel music was playing. Everyone was crying. My mom was holding Nana’s head. Dad was holding her right hand. Nana was breathing in weird, raspy breaths.

“What’s happening?” I asked, wishing in the next moment I hadn’t.

Bonnie explained to me what was happening and while I understood at the time, I couldn’t possibly repeat it now. Bonnie lifted up the blanket to show me Nana’s feet. They were purple, as though someone had dipped her feet into Concord grape juice. Her eyes were half open, but she appeared to be staring at nothing. The water sound in her breaths deepened.

After looking around again, I realized my brother wasn’t there.

I looked at Charlie. “Go get Chris. Tell him now. Tell him RIGHT NOW.”

I turned back to Nana. I needed to say goodbye. But, how do you say goodbye to someone? What do you say? I wanted to speak many times but failed. So many thoughts flew through my head.

Was I a good granddaughter? Did I make her proud? Will I make her proud? Is she hurting? Why is this happening? Is she scared? I’m scared. I hope she’s not in pain. I wish I had spent more time with her.

The raspy breath deepened and quickened. My mom later called this watery sound (the fluid backing up into the lungs) the “death rattle,” and I would say that’s a pretty accurate description.

I didn’t know how to say goodbye. I didn’t want to. I wanted to scream STOP! Just stay with us! but I knew it was futile. I knew she was leaving.

After about 10 minutes of the worsening “death rattle,” her muscles began to tense — almost like she was stretching. Then, her entire body tensed. I grabbed her hand. I knew it was coming: the final breath. I watched helplessly as her eyes got bigger like she was taking in the world one last time. Because she had her head facing my way, it looked like she was looking at me for the last time, even though I know she was out of it.

My mom was screaming, “I love you Joycie. Go be with Jesus,” over and over.

And then I heard the last breath. It was deep, long. Much too long to be a normal breath. My mom slammed her head on the hospital bed. She howled. A child’s love for their mother in one single sound. I felt and heard my mom’s pain. It was this sound from my mother, the one most dear to me, the one losing her mother, that snapped me into reality. I continued to hold my Nana’s hand while I watched, tears streaming down my face, as my mom ran out the back door, away from the sadness, the lifelessness, the death.

We buried my Nana on the 15th of February, the same day my grandfather passed away in 2002. It was snowing; the ceremony was beautiful.

This is my first experience watching someone die. It was hard and very heartbreaking. I feel almost selfish wondering what death is like. Where did she go? I’m not religious; I don’t really believe in anything after death. Is it just darkness? Is she dreaming? I hope she is with my other favorite person in the world (if we are so lucky to go to someplace like that), her husband, my Pop Pop. I guess I’ll find out when I get there.

I haven’t been allowed to grieve. My schedule this semester hasn’t allowed it; some days, I am at school for 10 hours. Dropping classes was not an option. But, this experience taught me a lot of things. First, I realized how short life is. It feels like Nana was just moving in with us yesterday. Second, I am a much stronger person than I thought. I saw everything through with my mom: I watched as they took her from the hospital bed, put her in a body bag, and put her in the back of the hearse. You never know what you’re capable of until it happens. Sharing the story feels like a relief, and I thank you for reading it.

A Vlog Update — DNA Testing

I decided to try a vlog for an update. Let me tell you people, this was incredibly difficult. Maybe it looks like I did this in one take (probably not), but it was actually like the 200th take before I was OK with it.

Also, I realize that magnesium and manganese are a MINERAL deficiency, not a vitamin. I have no idea what possessed me to say “vitamin.” In order to up my intake of manganese and magnesium, I added pumpkin seeds to my diet because they are very nutrient dense.

Some things that didn’t get mentioned (even though I had notes up on my screen), I am deficient in vitamin B6 and the amino acid methionine, both of which I am supplementing for.

I’ve actually been asked a lot: where did I get this test done? I ordered this test through a site called PNC Science. Doctor Tefft, who (from my understanding) does not do the test but interprets the results, is amazing. He spent an hour on the phone with me going over the comparison tests and what each test meant for me. The test is a little pricey at about $250, but it is worth every penny. Of course, you’re supposed to retest 3-4 months after the initial test, which is about $100, but I believe that’s completely optional.

The adrenal fatigue supplement by Gaia Herbs has helped me overcome some of my fatigue (I think — it feels like it, anyway). The adrenal glands are important because they regulate stress. In turn, they control hormones in the body. So, if the adrenals are out of wack, you’re most likely experiencing side effects such as fatigue. (More about adrenal fatigue here.)

The vlog was quite a learning experience. It’s difficult to talk about things on the spot, but I actually had a lot of fun doing it. It made me realize how much I don’t want to be a newscaster. Those people do things on the fly are amazing! Hope you enjoy the update (whoever’s actually reading!)

The Dreaded Paleo Perfectionist

For this week’s blog challenge, my group decided to talk about the extremists in our area of blogging.

A perfect definition of "paleo perfectionism."Image courtesy Balanced Bites.

A perfect definition of “paleo perfectionism.”
Image courtesy Balanced Bites.

For paleos, this is the dreaded “paleo perfectionist” (also called “paleo police”).

What’s a paleo perfectionist? Well, I’ll tell you. They think they’re paleo.. and perfect. Yes! That is paleo perfectionism.. Sort of!

A paleo perfectionist is one who thinks that paleo is an all-or-nothing diet. They chastise innocent people on the internet who do not follow paleo 100% of the time. They leave nasty comments on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and blog feeds. It’s almost like they feed off of giving other people negative energy. They will judge you before even getting to know you (by what you eat, of course). If you deviate from the “rules” of paleo, you’re out of the club. Didn’t you know you had to follow paleo 100% of the time?! WELL!? DIDN’T YOU?!

Ecard paleo perfectionistThese paleo perfectionists do not represent a majority of the paleo population, and they certainly do not represent me. The great thing about paleo is that you get to judge what is good for your body. When you ate that strawberry, did it make you feel good? Then by all means, continue to eat them! Did that banana that made you feel sick? Maybe you should leave it out. That is the philosophy of paleo. (Also, here is another great philosophy on paleo treats).

Of course, you will hear paleo described as: legume-free, dairy-free, grain-free, etc. Yes, this is true. Most people do encompass these things.. For a majority of the time. Let’s take me for example. I am not a paleo perfectionist in any way. I don’t police other people expecting them to be paleo day in and day out. I think it’s an unrealistic expectation in the world that we live in for people be paleo in every way, shape, and form. It just doesn’t fit people’s lifestyle to never eat any processed foods. I quite enjoy my goat milk yogurt that comes in a container, thank you, and I think I’ll keep eating it because it’s delicious. In fact, I’m not afraid to admit that just last night I had a gluten-free (not grain-free! gasp!) cookie from a PACKAGE. YES! (Side note: these cookies were amazing, and you should buy them. Additionally, I don’t necessarily think these are 100% processed because there are no preservatives) I ate a processed food. Why? Well, because my dad bought it for me, and I wanted to eat it. So I ate it. And it was delicious. SO THERE. What are you gonna do, scream at me?

Gluten free cookie. Sorry for the terrible photography: this was never meant to be seen by anyone else!

Gluten free cookie. Sorry for the terrible photography: this was never meant to be seen by anyone else!

I would say that I am in tune with my body, and I put science behind it. I don’t say, “well, I’m gonna eat that lamb heart tonight, because it is DARNNNN tasty!” Lamb heart isn’t actually that bad, but I eat lamb heart because it’s nutritious for my body. Offal is the most nutritiously dense meat you can eat, so I eat it.

There’s a general 80/20 rule to paleo: most people eat paleo 80% of the time, 20% not paleo. Of course, this doesn’t mean going to Taco Bell once a week because Taco Bell isn’t even food; I’m convinced it’s cardboard or something. Anyway, you’d just be adding a whole bunch of chemicals to your body that shouldn’t be there, and obviously that is very bad. 20% maybe means you have a gluten-free cookie once a week, or something.

So, what’s the lesson of the day? Back off, paleo perfectionists. Stop policing people. We don’t care what you think of our diet or our lives. We don’t care if something isn’t paleo. We just want to do something that makes our bodies feel good. We want to heal our insides and our outsides. We want you to leave us alone. And not just paleos, so do those “annoying vegans“! And don’t even get me started on any nutrition police. Let us be us.

P.S. the electronic device you’re currently using to look at this site? Totally not paleo 😉

Healing through Bone Broth

For my blogging class, we were supposed to post a “spring break update.”

Unfortunately, this will be nearly impossible for me. Why?

fluThat’s why. I got sick the day before spring break started. I had to leave class early and endure a week’s worth of sickness and pain and death.

Well, maybe not death, but it was close. It definitely felt like death. I lost a total of 11 pounds. Don’t worry, I quickly gained it all back in the last few days of break, which I admit I spent freely doing nothing. This was completely contrary to my original plan for spring break: I had each day planned for what I was going to catch up on. AND! I was going to start two of my end-of-the-semester research projects. Alas, this didn’t happen.

And so, my friends, you see why it’s impossible for me to do a spring break update. I was sick the entire time, and therefore I wasn’t even eating. I couldn’t possibly update you on any delicious food I had, seeing as I had none.

What I can update you on is how I’m healing my body from the flu/stomach virus.

Thursday, when I finally began feeling a little better (6 days after I began with chills and a fever), I went to replenish my food supply. Since I eat whole foods, I literally had nothing to eat: it had all gone bad. My first priority was to make bone broth.

What’s bone broth? Bone broth is cooked down bones (from any animal) in soup form. If you remember the gelatin post, it’s essentially the same thing, just in a different form. Cooking down bones is the purest and most raw way to obtain all-important gelatin. In addition, bone broth is essential in recovering from micronutrient deficiencies. Importantly, as the Paleo Mom explains, bone broth contains two important amino acids: glycine and proline. Your body can make these two amino acids, but it’s much more energy efficient to consume them.

Some great benefits of bone broth include:

  • More speedy recovery time from illness
  • Improvement of cellulite
  • Strengthened hair/nails
  • Improve digestion
  • Support bone and tooth health

Everyone has a different bone broth recipe. Here is what I put in mine:

  • 1.5 pounds bone marrow
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 organic carrots
  • 3 organic celery stalks
  • 3 parsnips
  • 3 handfuls of bok choy, stems removed
  • 1/2 spanish onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • .5 teaspoon black pepper

If you can’t tell, I like to use repetitive measurements because it helps me remember them better. Because I used bone marrow (remember that you can use any animal bones, and I have heard that chicken or beef knuckles are best), my broth turned out quite fatty. I let it sit in the fridge overnight in a container and removed the solidified fat from the top. The fat is completely edible, but it’s honestly too much for my palate. I love my fats, but this stuff is really fatty.

The layer of fat that accumulated on my bone broth

The layer of fat that accumulated on my bone broth

After scraping this layer off, I was left with delicious, healthy broth.

Bone brothDrinking this broth is an important step in helping to fight my fatigue. Last week, Charlie helped me cut sections of my hair to send off for a DNA sample. This test costs a lot of money, but it might reveal an answer that I just can’t figure out; or, it might reveal something my doctors just aren’t seeing.

Even if you don’t have health problems, I encourage everyone to start living a healthy lifestyle, what ever that choice may be. If it makes you feel good: do it, eat it, live it. If it doesn’t then don’t. If bone broth makes you happy, drink it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Always be open to trying something new.