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.

Pancakes in Your Loincloth

One of my favorite things to eat is pancakes. And – this is totally terrible – I love the pancakes from IHOP. I know, I know. Just kill me now. They’re probably made with sugar and corn syrup, AND they probably make them out of underwear. There’s probably everything in their pancakes BUT pancakes.

Strawberry Banana Pancakes from IHOP. Don't these look perfectly amazing? Image courtesy www.ihop.com

Strawberry Banana Pancakes from IHOP. Don’t these look perfectly amazing?
Image courtesy http://www.ihop.com

Since going grain-free, I have found it really, really difficult to find a pancake recipe I like. My issue with them is they just don’t taste good. Most grain-free pancakes are made with almond flour (made from almonds). Sadly, this flour creates a horrible texture. Speaking of texture, I think this is the main issue with grain-free pancakes. Everyone likes the smooth, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth aspect of the pancake, right? … Right? Yeah.

So, this is odd, but grain-free pancakes are so grainy. When I bite into them, I feel like I’m biting on air bubbles and foam and gritty grains. It’s not pleasant. Is this fixable? I don’t know. Flour (gluten) gives pancakes that nice, smooth consistency. To make sure I wasn’t crazy, I tested some recipes.

First up, a grain-free recipe that calls for coconut flour (made from coconuts). This isn’t almond flour, obviously, but I am still substituting a flour for a flour. What did I expect?

First, I expected to be able to cut this recipe in half because I’m feeding one person, and it’s supposed to make 12 pancakes. The consistency was wrong when I halved it, so I just made the full batch. Um, okay. I’m not sure who this person is feeding, but I only got 6 pancakes using their measurements. Perhaps this person eats delicately, but I certainly do not.

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Second, I expected these pancakes to be fluffy. No, that did not happen. I was only half disappointed, though. I kind of knew that it wouldn’t happen, but I got my hopes up.

Third, I expected them to be not grainy. They were indeed grainy. Considering I’m using a high rated coconut flour for this experiment, I’m going to assume that this happened because I’m using grain-free flour, and perhaps this happens with all grain-free flours (just as it did with my failed attempts at pancakes with almond flour).

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Fourth, I expected them to taste good. They didn’t, but this may be partly my fault. I cooked them in coconut oil, and I think I should have cooked them in butter. Regardless, they were quite bland and flavorless. I’m not 100% sold on the fact that butter could have fixed this issue.

And so another disappointed road to pancakes.
Or is it?????
The next day, undeterred by my previous day’s failure, I decided to try to make simple pancakes. A friend had told me about 2-ingredient pancakes.

“NO WAY!” I said.
“YES way! They’re supposed to taste good, too!” she informed me.
Yeah right, I thought. You’re so gullible, but not me!

Yet here gullible is, trying 2-ingredient pancakes. Here’s what you do:

Step 1: put 1 peeled banana in food processor
Step 2: add 3 eggs
Step 3: blend

Super simple, right?! I didn’t like the consistency, though. It wasn’t thick enough for pancakes.

I CAN FIX IT!

I have gelatin!

What is gelatin? To answer this question, let’s go back to say, the Paleolithic days.
There you are, roaming the forest in your loincloth, spear ready to strike any animal you see because you and your family haven’t eaten any meat for weeks. You see a lion (in the forest?). You throw your spear! It dodges, comes racing at you. You manage to wrestle the lion down with your bare hands, proving you are the ultimate warrior.
Now, what do you do with that lion? Do you gingerly cut it up, throw away the skin and bones and just eat the good parts of the meat like we would today?

Of course not!

You use the skin for clothes or blankets. You cook and eat every part of the meat because who knows when you’ll be able to kill another animal again. You boil the bones in some water you find. You eat the fat to keep you sustained. You eat every part of the animal.

Gelatin is what you get when you boil bones (and ligaments, etc) down. This is an essential part of our diet that has been lost, so gelatin has numerous benefits for a good reason: we lived off of this stuff for thousands of years. These benefits include (from the Weston A. Price Foundation):

– Supports skin, hair and nail growth
– Good for joints and can help joint recovery
– Can help tighten loose skin
– Can improve digestion
– Improve cellulite

Yes, please.

To this 1 banana, 3 egg batter, I added 1 tablespoon of gelling gelatin (the one in the red can makes it gel, like Jell-O), to give it a better consistency for pancakes.

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It didn’t really work. The pancakes were rather flat and still pretty tasteless despite the delicious banana in them.

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I’ll keep looking for that perfect grain-free pancake.