instant pot bone broth

Instant pot bone broth

I'm sure if you're at all into healthy eating and gut health, you've probably been hearing a lot about bone broth. Truth be told, I didn't know what the hype was about until I had to make significant changes in my diet which included lots of gut healing foods, bone broth being one of the top foods (or liquids).

I know, I know, the sound of bone broth doesn't seem particularly sexy but in all honestly if you like chicken soup, you're probably going to like bone broth. The idea of making it myself seemed a bit daunting when I started down this gut healing road since the proper way of making bone broth is to let it simmer for 12-24 hours (or more) on really low heat but I resolved to give it a shot. And to my surprise it was great. 

Instant Pot bone broth
Instant pot bone broth

As the instant pot is a time saving and clever contraption though, I decided to make it my staple bone broth maker. Since hopping on the Instant pot train, I have to say, 2-3 hours is a pretty sweet deal compared to 12. But again, the method for making bone broth is entirely up to you.

Now let's talk about bones. Yes, I'm the creepy one who has bags of bones in the fridge and freezer. But honestly when it comes to making bone broth, you need free range organic bones so whenever you make any sort of chicken, save the bones. Got an organic rotisserie chicken? Don't toss the bones. Save everything and be weird like me. Remember that everything that goes into a chicken, ultimately goes into you.  

So why is bone broth so good for your health? 

Digestion - Bone broth contains important amino acids such as glycine, proline and glutamine which aid in healing and sealing the lining of the gut, improving the function of the entire digestive tract. Drinking bone broth regularly also improves diarrhea as well as constipation.

Joint, skin, hair and nail support - Bone broth contains collagen, which is one of the most important amino acids making up nearly a third of the proteins found the human body. It is responsible for maintaining and rebuilding skin and is found in the connective tissue throughout the entire body. It's also been shown to assist in reducing cellulite and accelerating hair growth. Sign me up! 

Immune support - It's no surprise that our grandparents insisted on eating chicken soup when we got sick. Bone broth contains an abundance of minerals and an important amino acid, arginine, which is vital for immune health and optimal liver function. 

Aside from dinking bone broth daily, you can use it in:

  • Soups

  • Stews

  • As liquid for rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth or any other type of grain

  • Risotto

  • Cooking vegetables

Instant Pot bone broth
Parsley
Instant pot bone broth

instant pot bone broth

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cook time: 2.5-3 hours

  • makes: 10-12 cups

Ingredients

  • Bones of a roasted pasture raised chicken (rotisserie chicken works great)

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 3-4 large carrots, washed and roughly chopped

  • 1-2 celery stalks, washed and roughly chopped

  • 1 whole clove garlic, peeled

  • 1 tsp peppercorns

  • 2 tbsp good apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tsp dry parsley

  • 1 tsp dry thyme

  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

* I use chicken bones for this recipe but if you're using organic beef bones, they're best if you roast them in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees first. 

Equipment

  • Instant pot or large stock pot

  • jars or bottles of your choice

Directions

Place bones, water and apple cider vinegar in the Instant pot (lid off). Let sit for 30 minutes (the vinigar helps to draw the nutrients out of the bones). Then add the rest of the ingredients, seal your pot according to instructions and set it to the "SOUP" setting on "LOW PRESSURE" for 120 minutes. It will take time to get up to pressure so the total cooking time will be more like 2.5-3 hours. 

Once the bone broth has finished cooking, turn off the Instant pot and let it naturally depressurize. This will take roughly 15 minutes. 

Store in refrigerator for several weeks or freeze. 

*Reheat when ready to drink it again

Stovetop alternative

In a large stock pot, add bones and cover completely with water (don't over fill the pot, as you still need to add the vegetables), add the apple cider vinegar and let sit for 30 minutes - the acid helps to draw additional nutrients out of the bones.

Add the rest of ingredients and bring bone broth to a boil. Then reduce and simmer for 12-14 hours. (I recommend starting first thing in the morning)


Instant pot bone broth is an easy way to make one of the most nourishing foods at home. If you don't have an instant pot, no problem, there is a stove top alternative. #bonebroth, #whole30, #gaps, #paleo, #instantpotbonebroth, #homemadebonebroth, #calmeats #instantpot #guthealth

how to make sauerkraut

A basic recipe for making probiotic rich sauerkraut at home with just two ingredients.

My gut healing journey has been an eye opening experience. It's been exactly a year since the day I decided to give up gluten and dairy for good. It stands out as it was decisive and transformative. I vividly remember driving home from work, listening to a podcast on gluten sensitivity. What I was hearing hit me like a pile of bricks. I finally asked the question: "could gluten be at the root of all the issues I'd been struggling with?" I had to put the theory to the test and it turned out to be the best decision I ever made. 

If you're wondering why I gave up dairy as well - the answer is simple. Like gluten, cows milk proteins act as an allergen and can cause a similar immune response. 

But let's get back to the gut and more importantly to how to make sauerkraut. When it came to healing my gut, removing trigger foods and allergens was good but not enough. Working towards re-building what had been broken for so many years required that I focus on repopulating my gut bacteria. 

One surefire way I've done this probably the best way is by consuming fermented foods regularly, in particular sauerkraut. The stuff is truly miraculous. I believe out of all fermented foods, sauerkraut packs the most benefits in a very small serving. 

A basic recipe for making probiotic rich sauerkraut at home with just two ingredients.

What are the benefits of sauerkraut? 

  • Improves digestion

  • Improves nutrient absorption

  • Better focus

  • Increases energy

  • Boosts immune system

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Improves cognitive function

Some sources state that something like 10 trillion live bacteria can be found in just two ounces of home made sauerkraut, which is the equivalent of a 100 count of bottled probiotics.  Another interesting article on the benefits of consuming sauerkraut and fermented food sheds some scientific light on this ancient food. 

Why make your own sauerkraut? 

My reasons are cost effectiveness and also knowing exactly what goes into it. A small jar of refrigerated sauerkraut that contains only salt and cabbage usually costs somewhere around $4-$5 dollars. Making your own will save you money and yield far more sauerkraut.

Easy on the sauerkraut the first time you eat it.

If you've never eaten sauerkraut before, I suggest starting out with only 1 tsp and building up to a few table spoons a day. Eating too much too soon can actually have some negative side effects such as upset stomach or diarrhea.  

How to make sauerkraut? 

I keep things very basic by using clean mason jars, one head of cabbage, that's been finely sliced and fine pink salt. I prefer pink salt because of the milder taste and added nutrients. You can either hand hand massage the cabbage and salt together or you can use a sauerkraut pounder in order to speed up the process. You can also choose to use a fermenting stone but it's certainly not a requirement.  

A basic recipe for making probiotic rich sauerkraut at home with just two ingredients.
A basic recipe for making probiotic rich sauerkraut at home with just two ingredients.

how to make sauerkraut

  • prep time: 5-10 minutes

  • fermenting time: 2 weeks to several months

Ingredients: 

Equipment: 

Directions: 

Ensure your work space is clean. Wash and dry mason jars. 

Cut cabbage in two and and finely slice the cabbage. Add to bowl along with salt and massage cabbage with both hands or sauerkraut pounder for about 5-8 minutes until cabbage starts to release a liquid. 

Stuff cabbage in jars and pour in liquid dividing it between jars. Press the cabbage firmly into jar ensuring the liquid bubbles to the surface. Option is to add fermenting stone. Twist on lid firmly and store in a cool, dark place and allow to ferment for 14 days to several months. Once you open the sauerkraut, store it in the refrigerator. 

*Tip: While fermenting, keep sauerkraut away from fluctuating temperatures such as dishwashers and stoves. The ideal temperature is between 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit. 


 

 

collagen blueberry smoothie

collagen blueberry smoothie

I've discussed collagen and gelatin in previous articles and recipes and will be posting an article relating specifically to collagen shortly. Collagen has made a significant difference in my life since the day I started using it. I can't say enough about it and would encourage everyone to incorporate it in their lives. Thrive Market has a variety of options for different collagen, if you'd like to check it out here

I've also discussed the benefit of blueberries in this page and whether or not you're using fresh or frozen is up to you. The only thing I  recommend is using organic. They really do make a difference in taste. I like frozen since it adds another layer of creaminess to the smoothie. And the other thing I like is just how easy it is to make!

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: none
  • Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 small frozen banana 
  • 1 scoop collagen (1.5 tbsp) 
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 2 cups almond, cashew or coconut milk

Equipment

  • blender

Directions

Add berries, almond milk, banana and collagen to blender and bend until smooth and creamy. Pour into bowl or glass and top with chia seeds and coconut flakes. 

 

bone broth vegetable soup

bone broth vegetable soup

By now it should come as no surprise that my focus when it comes to health and well being revolves around gut health.

For my body composition, I find that I function optimally on food that's mostly cooked and consuming only some of it raw. This changes according to seasons, but even on mild days, my body craves light soups. On wet, spring days, I especially want something warming. While there are those who believe food should be eaten raw, I find a lot of uncooked food to be hard on digestion, leaving me bloated and uncomfortable.

How raw food can tax the body:

  1. Thyroid Health: Cruciferous vegetables particularly, can be taxing on the thyroid. These include: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli. Several leafy cruciferous vegetables such as bok choy, collard greens, kale, red and green cabbage, chard, turnip greens, arugula, mustard greens, savoy cabbage, Chinese cabbage, rapini, watercress, radish, horseradish, turnip, rutabaga, wasabi and Oriental radish. When consuming these vegetables in small amounts there is an increased need for iodine. When consumed in larger amounts, they can wreck the thyroid gland as it may become enlarged as a result of it trying to pull iodine out of the bloodstream.

  2. Digestive Health: Unlike cows or other mammals that have several stomachs to help break down raw food, we only have one and ours is not well equipped to properly break down food in order for the gut to optimally absorb nutrients. Consuming mostly raw foods that are high in cellulose, will lead to constipation, bloating, indigestion, fatigue, allergies, weight gain.

  3. Inability to absorb nutrients: We could literally starve the body of nutrients while eating all the right foods by not properly preparing them. By cooking most (but not all) vegetables we ensure that a certain amount of digestion has already occured before we take the first bite.

"Vegetables and legumes represent one of the most important components of the human diet. Being informed about their characteristics can improve the health benefits, helping to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and some cancers. Recent studies have demonstrated that the method of preparation and cooking can improve the nutrition quality of food."

Cooking vegetables in the form of soup, not only softens them allowing your body to do less work, but also provides a good amount of water to your system, which is critical for your colon to function. In addition, I cook my vegetable soup with bone broth, which packs additional nutrients. For a full recipe and variations for making bone broth, please check out this post.

In Ayurveda and also in Traditional Chinese Medicine, eating too many raw foods is said to adversely affect the body by creating a burden on the digestive system. Cooking certain vegetables can actually unlock nutrients that may otherwise not be available. Heating actually helps to break down some of the hard to digest fiber. While some vitamins are inevitably lost during the cooking process there are still plenty retained and I've noticed a drastic improvement in my digestive health. 

Benefits of bone broth vegetable soup: 

  • intake of numerous vegetables at the same time

  • helps to heal and seal the gut lining

  • easy on the digestive system

  • provides additional water to the large intestine, which is crucial for proper elimination

  • hydrating to the whole system

  • helps with regularity

  • supports weight loss

  • full of vitamins and minerals

  • anti-inflammatory

bone broth vegetable soup
bone broth vegetable soup
bone broth vegetable soup

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bone broth vegetable soup

  • prep time: 10

  • cooking time: 45-60 minutes

  • yields: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 large or 3 medium organic sweet potatoes cut into small chunks

  • 4 large carrots cut into bite size pieces

  • 1 onion diced

  • 2 zucchini cut into bite size pieces

  • a good handful of green beans cut into bite size pieces

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander (optional)

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped dill

  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil

  • 4-6 cups bone broth (home made or store bought. I've used this brand when I didn't have fresh on hand, but most grocery stores sell some version of bone broth. You can also do 4 cups broth and the rest water, if you want more liquid.

* When purchasing bone broth, be sure it is organic. You want to make sure the bones used for the broth are free of hormones and antibiotics. 

* This soup is fantastic for little ones. One thing I want to note. If you plan on giving this soup to babies/toddlers, either skip the turmeric or make sure they don't wear anything you don't want stained. Kids are messy and turmeric stains (TRUST ME). 

Directions: 

Heat a large soup pan over medium heat, add the oil and onion and sauté until translucent but not burned. About 5 minutes.

Add the rest of the vegetables, herbs and spices and cook for 2 more minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let cook for 30-45 minutes.

Finish with fresh squeezed lemon juice. Store in air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


This gut healthy bone broth vegetable soup is perfect for a cold winter day or any time of the year. It’s a nourishing soup loaded with vegetables, and full of protein from the delicious bone broth. If you’re vegan, feel free to use vegetable broth instead. #soup, #bonebroth, #traditionalfood, #paleo, #whole30, #glutenfree, #dairyfree, #lunch

paleo glowing skin blueberry jello

jello (2 of 6).jpg

When thinking about healthy food and gut health, jello may not be the first thing one thinks about. But this jello is different. The main ingredient in it is gelatin (I know so obvious). Not many people think of gelatin as a super food but in my opinion it is that and more. 

It's no surprise that when talking about gut health, inevitably gelatin and collagen come up. Collagen is a  broken down version of gelatin though retaining the same amino acids but containing different chemical components. Since collagen is not a thickening agent, I wanted to focus on gelatin today for making a quick healthy treat that's sure to help your skin and much more. 

I find this to be excellent for little ones as it provides them important amino acids. The only caveat with gelatin is that in order to reap the health benefits, it has to come from 100% grass fed cows.

Gelatin is not a food that's commonly used in the standard American diet and some have said that this may be a missing piece in our diet. In older times, people used to eat the entire animal (skin tendons, etc), so obtaining crucial amino acids was not a problem. In today's world everything seems to be skinless and boneless with very little fat, therefore most of us miss out on these key nutrients

Essential amino acids found in gelatin:

  • glycine - promotes healthy sleep, improves digestion, assists with muscle growth

  • proline - keeps muscles and joints flexible

  • glutamic acid - a contributor to digestive and immune system

  • arginine - promotes healthy blood flow and may have an anti aging effect

  • lysine - helps with calcium absorption and reduces anxiety

  • aspartic acid - generates cellular energy, fights chronic fatigue, improves mental focus

  • alanine - preserves a balance of glucose and nitrogen in the body

  • hydroxyproline - primary component of collagen and is often used in anti-aging products

There are numerous ways for using gelatin and the most popular include using it in soups, stews, smoothies, making jellies or even mixing it with your drink of choice. Though again, if you're going to go the drink route, I'd recommend collagen, because gelatin coffee does not sound appealing. But I digress...

I've noticed an improvement shortly after using gelatin on a regular basis. The most visible sign for me has been in the elasticity of my skin. I do think it has made a significant difference. In addition to my skin, I've also noticed other major improvements as listed below. 

Additional benefits of gelatin: 

  • it improves digestive and gut health by repairing the mucous lining of the stomach

  • it helps to ease bowel movements, hindering excess water to be absorbed by the colon

  • protects and greatly improves joint function

  • improves sleep - glycine has been shown to improve the quality of sleep

  • promoter of healthy skin by stimulating collagen production

For this jello recipe I'm also using frozen blueberries (fresh work perfectly well) which contain a powerhouse of nutrients and deliver additional anti-cancerous and anti-iflammatory benefits to the body and skin: "

Research on blueberries finds

  • "Vitamin C protects cells’ DNA by trapping free radicals and inhibiting formation of carcinogens.

  • In cell studies, blueberry extract and anthocyanins, as well as ellagic acid and the urolithins that form from it, decrease free radical damage to DNA that can lead to cancer. They also decrease growth and stimulate self-destruction of mouth, breast, colon and prostate cancer cells.

  • In animal studies, blueberries decrease inflammatory cytokines, esophageal cancer and pre-cancerous changes in the colon, although impact on colon cancer is less clear. In other animal studies, blueberries decrease estrogen-induced mammary cancer and DNA damage.

  • Pterostilbene increases self-destruction of lung, stomach, pancreatic and breast cancer cells. In an animal study, it also decreased formation of pre-cancerous colon polyps and reduced markers of inflammation.

  • Dietary fiber reduces cells’ exposure to cancer-causing substances, and healthful gut bacteria use it to produce short-chain fatty acids that protect colon cells"

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paleo glowing skin blueberry jello

  • Prep time: 5 minutes

  • Cooking time: 2-5 minutes

  • Assembly: 5 minutes

  • Serves 4-6

Ingredients: 

  • 1 bag organic frozen blueberries (12oz)

  • 1/4 cup raw honey

  • juice of one lime

  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • 3 tbsp gelatin

  • 2 cups water

Equipment needed:

  • blender

  • medium sauce pan

  • Pyrex baking dish or any other container of your choice

Directions: 

Bring blueberries and water to a boil for about 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and add to blender. Blend until fully incorporated. Pour in container and let sit on the counter for an hour, then transfer to refrigerator.