Bone Broth, what, why and how?

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chicken broth

I recently wrote about my love for My slow cooker and how I originally got it because I wanted to make bone broth. Today I thought I’d share with you what bone broth is and how to make it.

Broth is made from the bones of animals. By simmering the bones for a long period of time the nutrients will extract from the bones.

It is incredibly protein and mineral rich and contains nutrients that our body will thank you for. Minerals that support the immune system and healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline.

It can heal and protect your gut lining and reduce intestinal inflammation.
It can help protect your joints and from getting osteoarthritis because of the glucosamine. It gives you stronger bones.
It boosts your immune system because it’s so rich in minerals. And even if you do get sick, you know the old “chicken soup remedy” when you have a cold? Well, it’s true. Bone broth is the answer.
It can help you look younger. Bone broth is a rich source of collagen.  You can often find collagen in beauty products that help to minimise wrinkles and make your skin to look younger, but you can drink it too.

Ok, so how do I make it?

1-2 kg of bones from chicken, beef, turkey or fish. I will say though, that it is important to use bones from a good source. Meat and bones from organic and grass fed, happy animals are more nutrient rich and healthier than grain fed cattle or battery farm chickens.

1-2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar – optional
Vegetables. Use what ever you have at home; onions carrots, leeks, celery, garlic. 1-2 of each, roughly chopped in large chunks. Exact amount of size doesn’t matter so don’t worry about it to much, its just for flavouring.
1-2 bay leaves
Peppercorns

You can use the bones that are left over from a roast chicken or any other times you have bones left over from a meal. Clear off as much meat and other stuff from the bones as possible but it doesn’t matter if you can’t get them really clean, it will all be filtered away when its all done anyway. If you have raw bones you will need to roast them in the oven for about 30min. The broth will taste better than if they were raw.
The amount doesn’t have to be exact. I can usually get 2-3 old chicken carcasses in my slow cooker, or 1 kg of bones. If you don’t have enough bones left after dinner, you can freeze them and accumulate until you have enough.

Put the bones in the pot and pour water over them. You will need it to cover and have an extra 2-3cm extra on top, but make sure you don’t fill up to close to the edge. This is why you need a big pot.
Pour the apple cider vinegar over and let it sit for about 30min. This is to help draw out the nutrients from the bones. If you don’t have any apple cider vinegar, don’t worry you can still make the broth and it will still taste fine.

Then in goes the vegetables and seasoning. Once it starts to boil, immediately turn it down to just simmering. Or if you have a slow cooker, put it on the ‘low’ setting and just leave it.
The times vary depending on what bones you’re using.

12-24h for chicken bones
24-48h for beef bones
6-12h for fish bones

When the time is up it will look something like this:

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Yummy! 😉

 

Then you need to filter it. I use a big colander and pour it all through in to another big pot, just to get the big bits out of the way. Then I filter it again through a mesh filter.

You will want to cool this down quickly but don’t put it straight in the fridge, that will raise the temperature of the fridge and it will be unsafe for the other food in there. Put the pot in the sink filled with cold water instead.

Once it’s cooled a bit, pour the broth in to jars or containers to store. It will keep in the fridge for about a week. And what you won’t use this week, put in the freezer. It’s a good idea to store it in portion size tubs so you can just take one out to defrost as you need it.

A cooled broth will have a layer of congealed fat on the top. You can remove it if you’d like, but if you have used bones from grass fed, organically raised animals, that fat will be really good for you. And once you reheat the broth it will all melt in it again and make the broth all nice and shiny. You can even use it to fry food in. Fat from well raised animals is not bad for you, but that’s a topic for another blog post.

Thats your broth.

Once you have that the options are endless.
You can season it and drink it as it is.
Use it as a base for soup, stews, gravy or sauce.
Cook vegetables in it.
I use broth anytime I have to use water when cooking. It gives a delicious flavouring and extra nutrients to food.
Mostly I use it for soups.

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Chicken broth soup

So there you have it. Please give it a go. I thought about making broth long before I actually got around to doing it because it seemed so complicated to me, but once I did it, it’s really not that hard at all.
If you try it, please let me know how you got on!

xx

Inspiration! I read this book…

“Actually, I listened to a podcast…”

My husband rolls his eyes at me every time I say that, because I so often start my sentences that way and have some new ‘information’ or insight that I just have to share. But I love to be inspired! And I love to share this inspiration with him.

And now I’m so inspired I feel I need to share it with all of you.

So I listened to this podcast where a guy called Craig Ballantyne  was interviewed.
I listen to a lot of podcasts, and it is in fact it is one of my favourite activities. I often listen to them whiles out walking or doing housework.

If you want to hear it here’s a link to that podcast.

What a fantastic and inspirational guy! In fact, so inspirational that I went straight home to instantly buy his book The Perfect Day Formula

I strongly encourage you to read it.
It’s actually what made me start this blog. It’s what made me structure my day in an intelligent way and have a plan for my life.

Of all the things I’ve read, and I’ve read a lot of self improvement, time-management books, this is the one that’s by far has had the biggest impact on me.
In fact, Richard saw how much it changed me and my mindset that he was inspired to read it and now he’s a changed man too!

Well, as I’ve said before, my mindset is work in progress but I’m liking the road it’s taking me so far.

My point is:

Inspiration is important.

After reading this book I was so inspired I decided to structure my day in a smart and conscious way, but for someone else that area of life might not be an issue.
But what ever you do and enjoy in life, take some time every day to get inspired.

Inspiration helps you grow as a person and enriches your life, and in my case helped me become more productive.

For exemple:

*Listen to a podcast in an area your interested in. I listen to lots of different health, fitness and wellbeing podcasts for example.

*Check out Pinterest. I’m not on it but thats all about inspiration, isn’t it?

*Read an autobiography of someone you look up to or are interested in finding out more about.

*Find a blog, website or forum in a subject you’re interested in.

*Get on the emailing list from a person you look up to or inspires you, and you get an inspirational email in you inbox several times a week!

*Go for a walk or meditate if thats your thing

So tell me, what inspires you? Have you ever been inspired enough to make big change in your life?
xx

My slow cooker

I love my slow cooker.

I think I’ve told this to everyone I’ve bumped into recently.

It started with me trying to make my own broth, and I plan on writing a post on how to make your own in the future.
Making a broth on the cooker in the kitchen just wasn’t doable anymore. I’ve done it in a big ol’ saucepan on our gas hob, which didn’t feel safe because a broth is made over 24h.    I dread to look at our gas bill, and it stank our kitchen out!

So, I finally got around to buying a slow cooker. Mine is a Crock-Pot (“the original slow cooker”), and I’m telling you; it’s the best thing I’ve ever bought!
Here are three reasons why:

1.They are inexpensive. Depending on the make and the size you can buy one from between £15 – £40.

2. It saves money. Even though, like the name suggests, it cooks your food slowly over a long time, the energy usage is not much more than a regular lightbulb. It is far less expensive than using an oven for example. Running an oven for 1h compared to a slow cooker for 6h, is three times more expensive!

3. It saves time and effort. Cooking in the slow cooker is really just as easy as throwing all the ingredients in, put the lid on, turning it on and voila! 4-10h later, depending on what you are cooking, you have a meal ready!

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My Crock pot

So what do I cook in it, I hear you ask?

Well, apart from chicken and bone broth, which turned out much better in the slow cooker than in the sauce pan by the way, I’ve tried a few other things.

I LOVE to make slow cooked beef in it.
Before I used to make the beef in the traditional oven, cooking it there for about 10h and using up aloooot of electricity. Since my purchase I simply rub the beef in some spices, put it in the pot and leave it on the “low” setting for about 8h.
The great thing is that the timing doesn’t have to be exact. The food won’t over cook or burn so if you happen to leave it for half an hour or so extra, not a lot will happen to it. The only mistake I made was when trying to make a lentil soup. I hadn’t put enough liquid in and it all kind of turned in to a goo on the bottom.
The general rule is to use less liquid than in the traditional recipe, because the lid is so tight it doesn’t evaporate. But I forgot to take in to account that lentils will suck up a lot of liquid during cooking. whoops! Oh, well. We live and learn.

Since then I’ve made soups, even with lentils, successfully. Like I said before; I just put the ingredients in, pour liquid over (if needed) and put it on. It’s like magic!

Recently we’ve started doing roast chicken in it too. Really, after rinsing the chicken and rubbing it in spices, I just put the whole chicken in there, put the lid on and 8h later we have the most delicious chicken we’ve ever tasted! Cooking the chicken this way creates a lot of broth at the bottom and to prevent the chicken to sit in it for to long (it will just fall apart if it does) you can place some vegetables or chunks of potato at the bottom of the pot. That way you will have delicious vegetables too! A tip, don’t use sweet potato, unless you want sweet potato mash 😉

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Yes the chicken is a bit pale, but don’t let that fool you, it tastes delicious! If you want to brown it off you can do so in the oven before serving it.

 

I am going to put an no4 in to my reasons for getting a slow cooker.

4. Food is tastier cooked in a slow cooker.

I’m not kidding. I’ve yet to cook something that didn’t turn out tastier this way. Ok, apart from my lentil soup fiasco.

I haven’t made any stews in it so far. Simply because I haven’t got around to it yet, but I plan on trying it in the near future.

There are a lot of slow cooker recipes out there, and I’m slowly (pun intended) working my way through them.

Go on, get one!
And please let me know what tasty dishes you come up with!

xx

The secret to get fit and healthy…

I’m sorry about the misleading title, but I was trying to get your attention.
The reality is that there are no secrets when it comes to health and fitness.

There are no shortcuts.

I thought about this while being out for dinner with some friends recently.
Friend A asked friend B if she had noticed any different in weight since she started taking Supplement X. Friend B said No.
I am not surprised by this at all.
Not that we fall for the marketing of a supplement and buy it, but also not that it’s not working.

People always seem to be searching for that shortcut, for the quick fix, to loose weight, to shape up, to get more energy and so on.
Why?
What’s the rush?
It has taken years for our bodies to get to the shape they’re in today, so why won’t we let it take time to change it?

Because here’s the thing:
There are no shortcuts. There is no ‘secret’
It comes down to this:

Consistency

Food, exercise, sleep and stress all need to be consistently managed well.

Moving consistently

Eating consistently healthy

You can’t live on takeouts then take a ‘magic pill’ and lose weight
You can’t sit on your butt all day and then go all out in the gym twice a week

Your body doesn’t work that way!

You have to get the foundations right first:
Eat real food, plenty of vegetables and avoid processed food as much as possible.
You have to consistently move every day. EVERY DAY!

I’m not saying you can never treat yourself to a take out or a glass of wine. Of course you can.

But in the words of the brilliant Gretchen Rubin:  what you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

What-YouDoEveryDayMattersMore_124744
gretchenrubin.com

I’m also not saying you have to spend an hour in the gym every day, who’s got the time for that? You might not even like the gym!

But find something you do like.

A lot of people think that by ‘getting in shape’ they have to run. No! Just no!                       You can if you want to of course but the options are endless. If you hate running, don’t do it!
Go for a walk, take a Zumba class, do yoga, go swimming, go horse riding, whatever floats your boat. And make sure you get your daily activities in. Walk with the kids to school instead of driving. The classic: take the stairs. See if you can get your 10 000 steps a day in.

I would encourage everyone to get some kind of weight baring exercise in though.             No, you won’t look like Arnold because you pick up some dumbbells, that takes years of consistency, dedication and a well thought out program and very very strict and balanced nutrition.
But muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat tissue.
Weight training strengthens your bones as well as build valuable muscle to protect said bones and joints.
And, get this:
Muscle tissue can store access glucose instead of it spiking your blood sugar and therefor decrease your risk for diabetes and obesity.
What this means is that if you eat a bit to much of the good stuff, the more muscle you have, the better your body is at ‘saving’ this extra sugar in you muscles because, hey, your body knows you will need it for next time you work out. Cool, huh?

Ok, so that was a bit of a sidebar, but what I really mean to say is that you have to get the basics down first. If you don’t eat well, most of the time anyway, and you don’t exercise, taking a “shortcut” is not going to help you get to where you want to go.

If you eat a extremely well balanced diet and you are a regular at the gym, have got your stress management and sleep under control, then a well thought out good quality supplement might help you get that extra 5-10%
But you have to do everything else right first! otherwise you’re just waisting your money. A supplement is just that: a supplement.

Look, if you want to buy the latest ‘fat melting pill’ please, be my guest. But I guarantee that you’ll get better results, and save money by getting everything else right first. Don’t know where to start?
Here’s a few basic guidelines for you:

Change 1 or 2 things at the time. Don’t overhaul your whole diet; it will never last. Studies have shown that the more changes we make at the time, the less likelihood we’ll stick with it.

So why not…
Make sure you eat vegetables or fruit with every meal. (although try to up your veg intake rather than fruit)
Make sure you have protein with every meal like meat, fish, chicken, egg, cheese, dairy
Make a habit of going for a walk every day
Make a habit of not eating after 8pm
Make a habit of going to bed earlier, and set a ‘bed time alarm’ to remind yourself to get ready for bed instead of surfing the net or bingewatching Netflix.
Follow the 80/20 rule: eat well 80% of the time and you can relax and enjoy a treat or something less nutritious the other 20%

If you want some tips or advise I am more than happy to help.

Until then, stay away from the magic pill. …and maybe the biscuit tin 😉

xx

My Moderation journey

Originally my plan for this blog was to make it a bit more about health, fitness and mindset than it has actually been so far. I’d like to try to write a bit more about that stuff so today I thought I’d share a bit of my own health journey.

My journey of moderation.

See, all my life I’ve seen myself as an all-or-nothing kind of person. And I have been, – because I didn’t know how to be any other way. I didn’t see that there was another way.

I didn’t have the tools to change.
But with the right tools anyone can change.

It’s fair to say I’ve been ‘all-or-nothing’ in many areas of my life, but I wasn’t happy living with this mindset, so I’ve been working hard to change it. In this post I’m going to focus on my relationship with food in particular.

How many of you eat a really good and strict diet Monday to Friday, only to let lose and binge at the weekend?
That was me, for years! I can’t remember having a normal relationship with food, not ever. On a Saturday and/or Sunday I could and would eat like there was no tomorrow, because come Monday I would have to tighten my belt a bit to make up for all the bingeing over the weekend. And I would swear, that the following weekend I would only have a small and well thought out healthier treat and be able to control my intake. But then I was so strict during the week that by Friday I stuffed my self silly.
I mean I had been so good all week!
I deserved it!
Gone were all willpower and reason.

The thing is that I know a lot about nutrition and health. I’ve been working with it and studying it for many years and have a profound interest in it. I know what’s healthy, I know how many calories I should consume, and I bet I can name the calorie and nutrition content in almost any food by heart. I’ve been obsessed for years!

But knowing and doing are two completely different things!
I would have weeks on end where I would be “good” and not eat anything “bad” and then I would feel better about myself. I was worthy; look! I can control myself!

But the problem was that food was the only thing I could think about. I assumed that when I’d gotten in a certain shape or when a certain amount of time had passed, then I wouldn’t think about food anymore. I wouldn’t have to count my calories and be conscious of every bite. But that never happened. The path always lead back to food – more food! – in the end. And back to me feeling hopeless and stupid for not being able to stay away from chocolate.

But then I came across another path. I have learned, or shall I say, I am learning that I can live another way. A way where I don’t have to stop eating all the good things, and where don’t have to feel guilty when I do eat.

It’s called Moderation.

Moderation.

It sounds so boring. It sounds like ‘not really trying’

It’s not.
It is hardcore.
It. is. hard.

So how does it work?
Well, I eat whatever I fancy. Ok, not quite.
But it’s the opposite of deprivation and binging.

It’s about finding a way to eat that doesn’t make you feel deprived (‘Oh, I can’t eat cake, even if it is your birthday’) but also a way that doesn’t leave you stuffed and uncomfortable (‘Oh my god, I’m so full I think I need to lay down”)
It’s about finding the middle ground.

I have a few nutritional guidelines that I’ve set for myself and that I follow every day. I also know myself well; I know that I don’t like eating sweets in the morning for example, so that’s not a hard time for me to stay away from stuff like that.
But when I do want something, like a glass of wine with dinner, I can have it! If I want a piece of chocolate while watching Game of Thrones, I can! But it’s Monday?! Doesn’t matter!
What I try hard to do though, is to stay mindful. I ask myself, do I really want this piece of chocolate or can I do without? If I have another glass of wine, will I be able to get up at 5am with a clear head, and if not, is it worth it? I have to make a conscious choice and then not feel guilty. Guilt has no place here. It serves no purpose other than to make us feel bad.

Now this all sounds like hard work doesn’t it? We’ll it is and it isn’t. Staying mindful and learning how you really feel takes practice. At first it might seem like a lot of effort and self reflection, but practice really does make perfect and soon mindfulness becomes second nature. I now know that I’m happy with just one glass of wine. The second one I can take or leave, so usually I just leave it. Or just a few bits of chocolate not a whole bar.
And this from a girl who used to stuff herself silly with chocolate every Saturday night!

Like I said, this is a journey. One that takes time and I have to be patient. Some days, like Easter weekend just gone, I slip a little and might eat a bit more than I intended (whoops) but the thing is to not feel guilty about it or to try to make up for it by being mega-strict again, because I know that will only lead back to the deprive-binge cycle.

I am over a year down this path and I am still not there yet. I don’t think I’ll ever arrive at a destination. Like I said, it’s a journey.
Some days are easier, some days are harder, but I keep trying because what else am I going to do? Go back to deprive and binge mode? I already know that doesn’t work.

I just move on. Try to stay on my moderation journey the next day.
Stay mindful.
And enjoy the ride.

xx