Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Stephanie Pearson of Daily Nectar. Please check out her bio after the article. Thanks Stephanie!
Making Broth for Allergies
When my son was toddler and we had not yet uncovered all of his food sensitivities, I began working with bone broth soups and stews as a way to clear his symptoms. I found that after a day or two on a very basic eliminative diet of just non-starchy vegetables, nourishing grass-fed meats, and bone broth, my son’s digestive and behavioral symptoms would completely go away. I was then able to reintroduce foods one by one and observe which foods caused the symptoms to reappear. I used this method in combination with herbs and an adapted version of the Coca Pulse Test, which are described in other articles.
Although a lot of us have learned about bone broth from Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions, many have not experienced using the broths as a tool for determining food sensitivities. Bone broth provides easily absorbed proteins and minerals, has a healing effect on digestive organs, and stimulates immune function. It is also hypoallergenic, allowing so that we can get a clear view of the which foods are triggering inflammation and/or an immune response. Below, I provide instructions for making nourishing broths and using them to support healing for those with food sensitivities. Include the broths as rich additions to your regular diet or consider using broth to cleanse during an allergy-elimination diet.
Bone Broth Directions
Making bone broth is easy. first, ask your butcher for an organic chicken or knuckles and marrow bones bones from grass fed cows. I prefer to simplify (and keep my hands clean!) by having the chicken and beef bones pre-cut. You may also use lean fish like bass or cod to make a fish broth. A fish based broth makes a delicious base for coconut and other Thai and Asian soups, such as Tom Kha Gai. It all types of broth, the bones are essential, but you can increase nutrition if you also include organs and other parts that we don’t usually consume in our modern diet. Depending on your sense of adventure, you can include none or any of the following: chicken feet, chicken necks and heads, whole fish, including the heads, and organ meats. If this really isn’t really your thing, don’t worry, omitting the less familiar bits will still produce a gourmet, very tasty, nutritious, and healing broth.
It is economical if you can make a habit of keeping all the bones from the meat that you eat during the week. Vegetable scraps and egg shells make great additions to the broth too (make sure that you clean the egg shells well). Keep these spare parts in a labeled jar or freezer bag in the freezer and add them to your pot in within six months time.
To make the broth, place the bones in a large pot and cover with filtered water and a teaspoon or so of apple cider or other vinegar. Within 15 minutes, the acidity of the vinegar will draw minerals such as calcium and potassium from the bones and into your soup. These minerals support the healing of bones and make teeth stronger. Bring the pot to a boil and skim off what collects on the top. At this point you can add vegetables if you’d like. For American soups, I like to use a French mirepoix, a combination of equal parts celery or celeriac root, onions, and carrots. This works fine with Asian soups as well, but it can be nice to also include ginger and other Asian vegetables. Many Latin American stocks are lovely with a bit of cilantro added in the last ten minutes. Next, decrease the temperature to a simmer and cook for between 4 and 24 hours. The longer you simmer the more minerals you’ll extract. During the last 30 minutes, you can add medicinal herbs to your broth. I like to add a few tablespoons of astragalus root to strengthen wei chi, a Chinese medicine concept that describes the protective barrier of our immune system that forms our natural defenses. I recommend that you do not use astragalus if you have an acute infection, least you “lock the thief in the house” (or close the outer barrier with the sickness still inside you), as they say in Chinese medicine). It is also contraindicated in pregnancy. Dandelion and burdock roots can be beneficial to people with eczema or other skin eruptions or to those in need of detoxification. Garlic and ginger are warming and improve circulation which can be especially helpful to those who often feel cold or who have cold hands and feet. Ginger also improves digestion and can double or triple the absorption of nutrients. Fresh nettles make a fabulous addition to broth when added in the last half hour. Nettles can modulate allergic response, are protein-rich, and are highly nutritive (make sure to use tongs to avoid being stung).
When the broth is ready and has cooled, strain it through a colander or fine mesh strainer and into another pot or a large glass container. The marrow within the beef bones will be red to yellow in color and is extraordinarily healing to gut lining. You can boost the healing power of the broth by scooping the marrow out and returning it to the broth. Share the bones with your dog or bury them in the garden. After straining, you can use the broth to make soup, serve it on its own with sea salt, freeze as it is, or reduce it further by boiling it down, letting it cool, and freezing it in ice cubes trays (which should later be transferred into a freezer bag). Add the cubes to meals to improve flavor, contribute to healing, and increase the nutritional value of what you are eating. I add cubes to water when making grains, sauces, and even biscuits.
This recipe makes approximately 64oz of broth depending on how much water you use and how long you leave it to cook.
4 quarts of filtered water
1.5- 2 lbs of beef marrow bones, chickens with necks, etc., or whole fish cut up
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar (organic, unfiltered)
chopped vegetables, such as 2 carrots, 1 onion, and 3 celery ribs
1 tsp. unrefined sea salt (I use Real Salt brand)
1-2 Tbs. of herbs such as garlic, ginger, astragalus, burdock, or dandelion root (optional)
As I found in the case of my son, bone broth, with its easily assimilated minerals and gut-healing gelatin, is perhaps the ideal food for those suffering from allergies. When intestinal lining becomes overly permeable, as is common with conditions such as food and environmental sensitivities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, we are left with a condition descriptively called Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky Gut Syndrome can develop as a result of high levels of stress, chronic maldigestion, undiagnosed food sensitivities, or with the use of birth control pills, antibiotics, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin and ibuprofen).
The small intestine is highly specialized to absorb certain molecules and keep others, such as toxins, out. Increased permeability leads to increased toxicity, decreased nutrient absorption, and a greater susceptibility to acquired allergies- or proteins tagged as antigens because they have seeped through the gut with other allergens. Gelatin-rich bone broth has a nourishing and curative action that is reparative to permeable lining and can dampen the allergic response. In addition to its benefit to atopic conditions, bone broth has the overall effect of enhancing the natural functioning of our bodies, boosting the immune system, and preserving and strengthening teeth, bones, and joints. All other the world, broth was traditionally served as a first course or along side meals. Take a lesson from tradition and put it on your table.
Stephanie Pearson is a mother of three, nutrition consultant, herbalist, and community educator. She is also a member of Slow Food Portland and holds an appointed position on the Multnomah Food Policy Council. She is up and coming for her work with Daily Nectar in nutritional education and consultation, specializing in herbal and nutritional support for Autism Spectrum Disorders, sub-acute gluten sensitivity, and digestive imbalances. Stephanie is committed to spreading nutritional awareness and works diligently to offer free education and affordable nutritional support to individuals and parents nation-wide.
Daily Nectar is based in Portland, Oregon. Stephanie offers telephone consultations nationwide. www.dailynectar.net, 971-678-4280