Sunday, January 21, 2018

Just another Sunday

It's just another Sunday here at BNB.  I asked B if he wanted cookies, I'm making the weekly meal plan, and tying to figure out what to prep.   It's also time to make another batch of bone broth, and I'm going to attempt it in the pressure cooker - and this time I'm using beef and ham bones.  We'll see how it turns out.

This Sunday is also the last Sunday that Missy Kitty will have both eyes.  Our mascot has  one eye that has been diagnosed as "lens luxation".  Due to the other associated conditions of the eye, the only course of treatment is removal; which will happen this week.  We are confidant that she will transition well and even have some eye therapy planned (see google play for an app called Mouse).

Thus with things on my mind, I plan to make cookies.    But not just any cookies.  I am craving my grain free - almond cookies, but I'm out of almond flour.   I  could try the recipe with coconut flour, but after several attempts at baking with coconut flour, I think I'll hold off.  So husband cookies it is!! 

Next you may wonder how cookies and AIP go together.  I recently read an article which reminds us that AIP is a template, a tool designed to help you identify your trigger foods and to aid you in creating lifestyle and dietary changes (note I did not say diet) so that you can achieve optimal wellness and healing.  I have identified several key triggers that cause immediate reaction for myself (corn, milk, chemical additives) and am working toward seeing which others cause mild symptoms.  So baked goods are an experiment.

My own health journey starts with an AIP baseline and may veer off the path from time to time to include foods that may cause inflammation in others - but for me it doesn't.  You never know until you try.  Sometimes that experiment can be painful (spent four hours with abdominal cramping Friday night due to packet au jus or pepper jack cheese)

Life is too short to restrict everything you enjoy - but for those items that cause your quality of life to be diminished, Life is too short to be in pain by factors you can change.

Be blessed this Sunday, live kind, humble, and smile.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

AIP, bone broth

You may have heard all the rage about nutrient dense bone broth, or seen cartons in the stores.   I'm here to tell you, don't buy it, you have to make it to get all of the health benefits!

Actual bone broth, in a chilled state should resemble, at minimum, a runny jello.  This means that you have extracted the gelatin and collagen and all the minerals from the bones that you cooked.  While some use a pressure cooker, I prefer the slow cooker.   When I first made a batch, I was home recovery from carpal tunnel surgery, so I had the three days it takes to make this!  One day soon I will adapt this for my programmable pressure cooker, just not today.

Warning, this method makes over a gallon of bone broth!  Make sure you read this all the way thru before starting.  Once you have, come back to this starting point.

Basic ingredients (feel free to add more or less per your preferences)
Filtered water up to 3 gallons
Raw apple cider vineger, 2 TBSP (do not sub white vinegar)
Sea salt, dash
3 lbs Bones from organic animals   **
Celery, 3 stalks rough chopped
Onion, 1/2 medium white or yellow, rough chopped
Garlic, 2 cloves, smashed and chopped
Bay leaf
Carrot, 4 , scrubbed, not peeled fresh carrots, rough chopped***

**Use the most healthiest animals you can find to avoid added toxins and chemicals.  You are what you eat, as are they!  I use chicken and turkey bones, equivalent to several quarters, thigsh, legs, wings, and a whole chicken carcass.  I put cooked bones in a freezer bag for later use.  You can use raw bones or previously cooked bones, with or without some meat left on.
***I grew carrots this year so I knew mine were organic, and contained no toxins in the skins so we left the skins on.   Purple cosmic carrots from Baker Creek heirloom seeds, they are pretty and a bit sweet (still pulling them out of the coldframe box). Check them out here:


Day 1
Place the animal bones (poultry or beef/lamb, or combination thereof) in your slow cooker.  Hopefully the bones will fill the pot at least 3/4ths.  Cover with water, add a dash of salt and a TBSP of raw apple cider vinegar.  Cook on low with the lid on for 24 hours.

Day 2
About this time you should be able to see the smallest bones start to disolve. Check back every few hours, removing any scum that forms.  I also like to help break the bones down by smashing them (good stress reliever), its not required as once this process is done, if any are not disintergrated, you can cool and freeze them for one more use (beef bobes may work best for that).   Using the crockpot will help maintain your water level as you do not want to start reducing yet.  Continue on low in the crockpot.

Day 3
By now even the largest turkey breast or leg bone should be soft and you can crush it to see all the minerals (yum yum).  Wash, chop and add the vegetables and bay leaf and cook for 2 hours on low, lid on, checking every hour and removing any scum, smashing and pulverizing the bones even more.  Many reciepes show adding the veggies at the beginning, like I do for a normal chicken broth, but this method is all about the bones first. Make sure when you do the first read thru, you make note of this.  Cooking the veggies too long gives the broth a bitter taste. So on the second read thru (hello!), you are excited to get to this point!

Now, after about 2 hours, remove the lid and start the reduction phase (up to 4 hours). This is where your house will smell of the good stuff!  So let everyone know there will be amazing smells and be thankful that you don't have a fully open concept home!

The reduction is actually the trickest part.  The more you reduce, the more dense and gelled your broth will become.  This step is evaporating the water, not the minerals, gelatin and collagen.  I prefer to reduce by at least a 1/3.  Some broths you may be able to reduce by 1/2, so you will have to use your best judgement.

After the desired liquid amount is reached, strain twice with a fine mesh strainer to remove large particles (the tiny ones will sink once chilled). If there any large bone chinks not disolved, you can chill and freeze those for one more use.   Place the warm liquid back in the slowcooker, unplug and leave the lid off to let the broth cool for a few hours. Once it reaches room temp put into a container with a lid (large juice pitcher works great) and then chill overnight.
The bone broth is done correctlty when the results are gelled, kinda like runny jello!  If it has not gelled, you can put the broth into a stockpot and reduce further as this means you did jot reduce enough.  But if its kinda gelly and looks a little yucky, congrats!  You did it!  You have created a bone broth to be envious of!

How to use.
This reciepe lasted about 4 weeks for us as we would use a cup here and there, adding it into just about every receipe that called for any liquids, cream or butter. 

We store it in a 2 gallon pitcher with a lid so the heavy particlds settled, and top was luscious bone broth.  I couldnt bring myself to drink it straight, but it was added to steamed veggies, soups, meats, rice, potato mashes, used in place of broth (added more water), added to canned chicken noodle soup instead of half the water, used in place of milk for mashed sweet potatoes or cauliflower puree.  I really can't say enough about this stuff!

There you have it.  3 day bone broth using a slow cooker.  It sounds daunting, sczry, and a bit, weird.  But the benefits?  Better gut health, stronger nails, hair, glowing skin and less stomach issues.    Of course bone broth can't magically heal all your health issues all on its own, but this is one of the primary builing blocks to acheiving better wellness for yourself.  Give it a try!
The last little bit of bone broth, time for another batch,

Thursday, January 11, 2018

AIP - super ginger tonic

This past Christmas, our nephew gave everyone a present we could not return.   The norovirus.  A nasty stomach bug that attacks the lining of your stomach and gi tract.  Had we known how bad it was, we may have delayed crossing the mountains to spend the holidays. But, since we had gifts for the OK kids that were too delicate for shipping, we pressed on. 

Skip ahead to Christmas day, we returned home from the sick fest only to be caught in the nasty web ourselves.  I brewed a batch of this tonic, and while hubby refused to drink more than a sip, this kept the nausea and vomiting at bay for myself.   The only reason I can contribute to me not getting this, but 7 others did, is the prior 45 days of AIP (healed leaky gut) and this tonic.

Amy's Special ginger brew to ease nausea and stomach upset.

6 cups cold filtered water
1/4 cup raw honey
1 large piece of ginger root(4-5 inches in length), peeled and chopped into slices.
Dash sea salt
Splash of raw apple cider vinegar

Bring water to just under a boil, add a splash of the vinegar, salt and drop in the ginger.  Heat on medium for 10 minutes, then reduce to simmer.  Stir in the honey until dissolved, then keep on low simmer for another 10 minutes.  Strain and keep in a mason jar with tight lid for up to 1 week in the fridge.

How to use:
When warm, sip on 1/2 cup to ease bouts of nausea, alternating with plain water.
Add to a hot green tea (my fave), add to water, and/or add ice if it's hot outside. 
To rewarm, use the stove top as microwaves are known to zap out the nutrients in the raw honey.
Warning.  Do not consume more than 2 cups per day as this could cause the same ill affects you are trying to avoid.

I sipped on about a cup of warm brew whenever I felt nauseated.   For B, I made him a concoction of ginger brew, kombucha, seltzer water and Gatorade which he sipped on during the worst bouts of vomiting.

The actual plan for the ginger was to make homemade ginger ale using a home-brewed ginger syrup (ginger and honey), then mix with club soda to provide the fizz! That's next up!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Year, New Goals

Every year about this time, I awake early and figure out a few goals for the new year, as well as review the previous year. B and I have jokingly called it "the project list" or list of "shit to do" as resolutions seem too formal.  This year I'm naming it the "get er done" list!

So now I sit with my weekly cup of dairy-free coffee and contemplate about the things I wish to accomplish this 2018.  Things like, complete the St. Pats Dash (Seattle) in less than 58 minutes (I walk/jog); find a bread box design pattern for B to create; use my handy dandy tablet to blog more frequently (doing that now); Christmas presents for 2018 will be focused on gardening (we make gifts every year); review, reduce, and remove unwanted or unused kitchen gadgetry; any unwanted household items should be taken to the local swap meet for a weekend (local one here in Concrete is huge by the way!); and of course - one of the most important, continue to maintain our health using the AIP lifestyle (no I will not call it a diet).

Out of all of those things, the most daunting is to keep focused on AIP.   What is AIP you may ask?   AIP is short for Auto-Immune Protocol.  It is a system that is growing in popularity not for its weight loss features, but the health benefits achieved!  While some may lose weight (I have dropped almost 20 lbs!), it is not designed primarily for weight reduction.  It is meant to help heal your gut and in doing so, as you reintroduce foods,  helps you to identify your trigger foods that create auto-immune flares.

The elimination phase is strict (makes Whole30 look easy), but it truly does help!  You will remove 6 food categories for a period of at minimum 30 days, more depending on why you are trying this (we did 45 days).  During our elimination phase my runny nose, watery itchy eyes, bags under my eyes, fullness, itchy skin, psoriasis patches, myyscle cramps, joint stiffness, skin redness, and even some back pain lessened or went away. B followed along with me since I do all the cooking, but wasn't as strict that I was (he kept some nightshades like potatoes, coffee, dairy, some sugar) and even he reaped benefits like less joint stiffness, better cold recovery, weight loss, better heat/cold tolerance (and he is not auto-immune!)  I find that just eating small amounts of grains or dairy makes me flare up, while nuts and eggs do not.  I enjoy a weekly cup of coffee and have revitalized my love of tea.   It is an amazing sensation to feel the difference and realize that the super tasty grilled cheese sandwich that used to be your comfort food was one item that made you feel unwell.

Keeping primarily AIP is hard.  So many of our American standard diet (known as SAD) contains fake foods that contain more chemicals than actual nutrients.  Going from SAD to AIP presents many challenges, but it is possible!  It doesnt have to be forever, but it may just keep you coming back for more!

Interested in AIP?  Then may I recommend the following book-since this blog is also about reading, not just eating! is the site you will want to grab a cup of coffee (while you can) or green tea and spend a few hours browsing!  This was their first book and it's a great starting point.  I have yet to buy the second, but I am planning on it.   Click the direct link to purchase from Amazon here.

The Autoimmune Wellness website is a wonder trove of resources for those seeking knowledge and help.  I will say this, this protocol does not contain a magic pill, it's not guaranteed to do anything but reset your own system and its success is solely on your own shoulders.   Call it super paleo, primal, whatever.  Its getting back to basics, something it seems so many have lost!

So this year look to this blog to see some AIP friendly lifestyle choices as we continue on our journey towards maintaining wellness!