Bone broth.

Bar_Pod_Arkadami_Poznan_tomato_soupConsuming bone broth is a traditional way of getting good nutrients into your body. The broth is made by boiling healthy animal bones with vegetables, herbs and spices over a period of time. The typical broths (also known as stock) found at your grocery store is often time made at very high temperatures to speed up the process. The high temperatures used often results in many of the beneficials aspects of the broth being boiled away or damaged by the intense heat. Traditional bone broth is high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and amino acids which helps your skin, hair and nails look and feel better in addition to having other positive health effects.

In making your home made bone broth you should select quality bones from grass fed cattle, wild caught fish or chickens fed traditional chicken feed. You can find quality bones from reputable local butchers or ask the meat sellers at you local farmers market. A seasoned bone broth can be consumed alone or can be used as the base for many types of soup (chicken noodle soup anyone?), pasta or more.

Here is a starter recipe to get you going:

2 lbs. of (chicken, cow, fish) animal bones
1 sweet onion
Vegetables like 1-2 carrots, couple stalks of celery, few sliced radishes, cauliflower or other vegetable you prefer
2 tablespoons of organic unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Salt, pepper, other herbs and spices to taste

Chop up your vegetables into medium sized pieces. Beef bones can be roasted for 40-50 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit before adding to the water to enhance the flavor (let the bones cool before adding to the water). Place bones, one gallon of water and the ACV into a stock pot. Let the bones and water sit unheated for 20-30 minutes. After letting the bones sit in the water add your vegetables, spices and seasoning and bring to a boil. After bringing to a boil reduce the temperature so the stock is simmering. For the first two hours of simmering you should skim off (do this every 20-30 minutes) the froth from the top of the broth and throw it away.

Beef bones should simmer for 40-48 hours, poultry bones for around 20-24 hours and fish bones for 6-8 hours.
Once done simmering strain the broth with a fine sieve. The broth can be stored in your refrigerator for up to one week or can be frozen for longer term use.

For those that don’t want to simmer the broth on your stove for that long you can instead use a slow cooker. Start off on high to get a boil and then drop the temperature to low for the simmering portion to get similar results.

Let us know how you use the broth in other dishes!

Delicious homemade kale chips

chili-dusted-kale-chips-well-of-health-flickr

Here is a healthy homemade treat anyone can make on their own:

Ingredients:

-Kale (one bunch or anywhere from 8 to 15 large kale leaves)
-2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
-kosher salt
-added flavors per your desires (You can use spices like turmeric, black pepper, cayenne powder, fresh garlic, etc.)

1. Preheat your oven to 300F degrees.
2. Wash and dry the kale ahead of time. Cut the stems off if you desire.
3. Brush (basting brush would work best) or rub the oil onto the leaves.
4. Sprinkle on the kosher salt as per your preference. If you chose any added flavors sprinkle those on as well. Certain powdered spices can be mixed directly into the olive oil and spread on directly as noted in step 3.
5. Spread the kale evenly on a baking sheet and put into the oven for about 10 minutes, rotate the baking tray then bake for another 10-15 minutes.
6. Let stand for 3 minutes then serve and enjoy.

A healthy and easy to make treat. Let us know what flavors you added in the comments below.

Vitamin D

As we start to enter the fall and winter seasons, for those of us in the further northern and southern areas of the globe our sun exposure begins to decline.  Longer nights, shorter days, more gloomy overcast weather results in us getting less sun.  Sun exposure is critical in helping our bodies make enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D helps our intestines better absorb calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphate and zinc.  Calcium and phosphate are two minerals that are essential for normal bone formation.  Lack of vitamin D  can result in rickets which is a softening of the bones and is more common in developing countries where vitamin D supplementation is not usual.  Lack of vitamin D can also result in feeling depressed (aka the winter time blues), body aches, and fatigue.

If you don’t spend much time in the sun, have darker skin, wear sunscreen or wear long sleeve shirts and pants when going out into the sun you may be at risk for lower levels of vitamin D.  Diet alone also may not provide sufficient amounts of vitamin D, especially for those on a low or no dairy diet.  To find out where your vitamin D levels are at it is advisable that when you have your routine physicals and blood tests done that you ask to have your vitamin D levels be tested.

Additional sun exposure is one way to ensure your body has enough vitamin D and the benefit of vitamin D made by sunlight is that your body cannot overdose from sunlight derived vitamin D.  But your body can suffer from an overdose of sunlight in the form of sunburn and worse so we must temper our sun exposure time to achieve a proper balance.  Where sun exposure is not possible all the time then vitamin D supplements can prove beneficial.

Too much vitamin D through supplements can be a bad thing.  Some experts suggest 2000 IU of vitamin D per day is a good amount to consume.  This is above the government suggested intake of 400 IU but below the maximum daily amount.

In addition to helping keep away the winter blahs, recent research indicates proper supplementation of vitamin D may help prevent certain cancers, reduce chances of hypertension and alleviate some other conditions.  As with any supplement it is best to take it wisely based on the needs of your own body and to monitor your supplements through blood tests to see if you are where you should be.

How To Make A Bacon Fat Candle

While we know too much bacon is not exactly a diet item, we do know it is great for flavoring (and that it tastes really good). We also know “all things in moderation” is a great motto to live by, so we decided to help you with your leftover bacon fat if you are one who uses bacon.

Many people, whether they use bacon often or not, store the fat in a glass jar. If you want to store it for any future use, whether candles, flavoring or frying, the fat should be cleaned first. This is easier than it sounds, and a clean-bacon fat candle will burn cleaner, yet leave the mouthwatering bacon smell all around the home. Following you will find how to make this candle out of your leftovers.

Instructions:

Some people will fry bacon, while others will cook it on a backing sheet in the oven (in a cold oven, put bacon on foil on a cookie sheet, turn over to 400 degrees and cook for 17-20 minutes). Either source will produce the fat, but the cookie sheet method will produce cleaner fat and consistently good bacon.

While the fat is still warm (not hot) after you have cooked your bacon, pour it into a bowl through a paper towel. Some bacon fat candle makers will tell you to “leave the bits in” and not filter, but this is not a standard rule. For example, lower-quality bacon cooks up darker and messier. Due to this and pan-frying being uneven, filtering is not a bad idea if you want your candle to burn cleanly.

To filter, lay the paper towel into the bowl and pour in the warm fat. Pick up the paper towel, being careful not to let any fat run over the sides. By picking up the paper towel you will help the fat filter faster.

Once the bacon fat has cooled down, but before it sets up, pour it into the glass jar or candle tin you wish to use for your candle. A small pint jar works well with the nice open top if you have some laying around, or you can use nice candle tins with lids. You will need to insert a wick into the jar or tin first. To keep the candle burning clean, we recommend these wicks:

Click here for a nice wick pack.

These wicks are 6”, and you will get enough in this affordable package to make many candles of any size up to 6 inches. The big advantage to these wicks is they will stand up when you pour in the fat. As you pour in the fat, once the fat reaches the level you need (it make take some time to acquire enough fat), let the fat cool. It will take about 30 minutes at a moderate room temperature to solidify. You can short-cut the process by putting the candle in the refrigerator and it will set up in about 5-10 minutes. Once solid, trim the wick to 1/4”. Your candle is now ready to burn. Enjoy your renewable candle source!

Here is an idea for the candles if you do not have any jars laying around you can use. These are small candle tins with lids, making them easier to store as well as gift:

Click here for Candle Tin ideas.

Quick steps:

  1. Render fat by cooking bacon (better not to burn it as it will make your candle stink).
  2. Clean fat by filtering through a paper towel.
  3. Pour cool fat into glass jar.
  4. Drop wick into jar.
  5. Allow fat to cool at room temperature or in refrigerator.
  6. Put on lid and store or gift.
  7. Burn at your convenience.

Reducing sugar cravings

You’ve done your best to reduce your sugar consumption some but are still looking for tips on how to reduce cravings to further yourself along.  Sugar can be an addictive substance, it affects the pleasure center in our brains.  Depending when we ate sugary sweets during life we may associate sugar consumption with positive events (birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations) so sugar consumption can be equated with positive emotions in our minds.  Lets not forget the massive onslaught of advertising aimed to get us to buy this sweet or that treat through many means of psychological influence.

It is not an easy and cold turkey process to give up sugar and eliminate the cravings.  There will be the occasional binges of sweets which lead to continued consumption for days, which can lead to relapse into our sugar eating ways.  What’s worse is when you go to someones house for something like a birthday party where cake, ice cream, cookies and nother sweets are expected.  It is hard to resist.

So how do you reduce those sugar cravings?  There are a number of ways we can attempt to counter the intense cravings.  One easy way is to substitute fruit sweetness for refined sugar sweetness.  So if you feel yourself craving a piece of cake or pie then opt for some fruit like oranges, apples, pineapples or other fruit.  The sugar in fruits is easier digested and dealt with by your body.  Most fruits contain good amounts of fiber too which helps your digestive system.  A cake loaded with frosting, sugar and bleached flour is obviously not going to be as body friendly as a fresh piece of fruit will be.

Another way to help reduce those cravings may be to eat a small piece here and there.  This works well when your craving is more based on a psychological need.  Eating that small piece of chocolate or few small bites of cake may be enough to satisfy and not require you to consume anymore.  Of course if you are the type where one bites leads to another and then ten more bites, avoidance would be better.

Don’t buy sweets to begin with.  If you don’t have sweets around then there is less chance for you to find yourself eating them during a moment of weakness.  I know, it’s easier said than done.  For those with kids in the house sweets are inevitably found in the pantry and are an easy target for something sweet to snack on here and there.  If that is the case for you as well then tell other people in your household about your desire to eat less sweets.  Whether it be to improve your health or just to cut back on sugar in general, when other people in your house know about it you will be less likely to grab something sweet to snack on.  In the event you do grab something sweet one of your family members may ask you about it and cause you to rethink/remember that you want to cut back.

These are but a few suggestions to try.  It will take time to wean ourselves away from the sugar rush cycle that our bodies have become accustomed to.  But once you have kicked the sugar cravings and reduce your sugar consumption overall you will start to notice a little sugar goes a long way.  Those donuts you once thought could use a pinch more powdered sugar may now seem too sweet to handle.

Old Basic Dinner Roll Recipe

This is a tried and tested dinner roll recipe.  Your overall time to make is multiple hours due to the time to let the dough rise.  This also involved kneading the bread, which is a great form of exercise.  This recipe uses somewhere around 8-10 cups of flour. Please enjoy!

Add together, lightly stir, and let stand:

2 packages yeast
2 teaspoons unbleached sugar
1 cup lukewarm water

Heat until warm (do not scald) and shortening is melted:
(Can do this in microwave)

1 cup milk
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening (I use butter)
1/2 cup unbleached sugar

Thoroughly beat and add to cooling milk mixture:

2 eggs

Pour milk mixture into a large mixing bowl and place in a sink of cold water.
Add the cold, beaten eggs which aid in cooling. Cool until liquid is warm, stirring frequently, then add yeast to the warm milk and egg mixture. Sift unbleached flour (or use pre-sifted flour) and add to the liquid mixture until ready (soft dough) to put on bread board (or cabinet top). Have 2 cups flour on the board. Make a well for the dough. Work (knead) in the flour as needed for 10 minutes (you may or may not use all the 2 cups flour). Raise for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or twice its size and punch down. Make into rolls, placing them into pans and letting them raise again. Bake. When done, swipe shortening or oleo over tops of rolls to keep them soft. Then turn out on wooden dough board, or racks, to keep them from sweating while they cool. If you want hot rolls, turn out tops down on plate and cover with nice towel to keep hot for your meal. These freeze well.

• Grease a 9 x 12 inch cake pan and an 8 x 8 inch pan
• Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes, until a nice brown on top.
• Coat top of warm rolls with butter (yes, I used too much in the picture below)

Finished Product

Finished Product

Turmeric chicken soup

We’ve discussed in the past the benefits of turmeric.  Here is a recipe for a Turmeric Chicken Soup to help get you through those summer time or winter time colds:

Ingredients

– 2 Tbs. butter
-1 cup diced onion
– 8 cups chicken stock
-2 large potatoes, diced (you can leave the skin on if you desire)
-3-4 carrots, sliced
-quarter of a large cabbage, sliced/diced thinly
-1/2 cup coconut cream (or a can of coconut milk)
-2-3 cup cooked shredded chicken
-1 tsp. dry ground turmeric
-1 tsp. dried parsley
-1-2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

1. Melt butter over medium heat.  Sauté the onions for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened (or browned, to your preference).

2. Add the stock, potatoes, carrots and cabbage and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients and cook until potatoes and carrots are completely soft.

Makes 6-8 servings.
Serve and Enjoy.

Supplements

Recently a celebrity doctor was called to speak in front of the U.S. Congress to talk about supplements he has endorsed in the past.  While the Congressional inquiry focused primarily on the diet supplements others in the media took it as an opportunity to tarnish all supplements as well.  Just as we cannot equally tarnish all pharmaceuticals we also cannot tarnish all supplements.  As with anything the truth lies somewhere in between.

Depending on your diet and health related needs supplements can play a part in keeping you healthy in your day to day life.  Dictionary.com defines “supplement” as “something added to complete a thing, supply a deficiency, or reinforce or extend a whole. ”  Maybe you are not deficient in a particular nutrient, that does not mean you cannot “reinforce” the whole of your body to make sure you have enough in times of stress or sickness.  Especially in times of sickness the body needs extra vitamins and minerals in order to keep your immune system running optimally.

Ensuring adequate vitamin and mineral intake can be done with food where the food has been grown in properly prepared soils.  One unfortunate aspect of mass industrial farming is the depletion of minerals from the soil, minerals which are then consumed by humans for their health.  When you can’t get enough vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, supplementation may be necessary.

As with everything in life, moderation and an individualized approach is what works best.  Different bodies have different needs due to genetics, local environmental factors, diet and more.  The key to living healthier is being fully aware of your body and environment and leveraging your knowledge to eat and live better.

 

The perils of sugar

In 1700 the average citizen of Britain ate 4 pounds of sugar a year on average.  Around the same time the average U.S. citizen ate around 2 pounds of sugar each year.  Today the average Briton eats over 100 pounds of sugar per year and the average American eats around 152 pounds of sugar each year.

33% of adults worldwide have high blood pressure today compared to only 5% in 1900.  Diabetes has almost doubled since 1980.  Obesity levels in humans have risen around the world.  All of these effects can be traced to sugar consumption.  Increased sugar consumption is also shown to cause increase in the rate of dental cavities.  Do you need more reasons to cut back on your sugar intake?

In order to take back your health not only must you reduce the known sugars you consume, but you also must watch for sugars hidden in processed foods you would not expect.  We consume foods which we know to have sugars like candy bars, donuts, cakes, sodas, pies, pastries etc.  If you think diet soda my be refuge think again, there are issues with diet sodas as well.  How about processed foods with hidden sugars?  Do you know which foods to avoid?  Foods with hidden sugars include flavored yogurts, pasta sauces, canned soups, flavored waters, and many other ready to eat foods.

It may look like a no win situation but one can cut out the known sugar foods like donuts, sodas and the like since they are empty calories.  If you need a caffeine boost look to plain coffee sweetened with some honey instead of soda.  For snacking trying a banana rather than a donut.  It may not be easy at first as sugar hits the pleasure centers in our brains like some drugs do.  Take some time out ot analyze the foods you eat for the known and hidden sugars and work to cut back on those sugars so you can live a better, healthier life in the long run.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the human body. Many living creatures are able to make their own vitamin C internally through biological processes. The one notable exception is humans, we are not able to make vitamin C internally and therefore must obtain the vitamin through our diet. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to conditions such as scurvy (malaise, skin and gum issues) and atherosclerosis (thickening of artery walls).

Vitamin C has been shown to have anti-oxidant effects, meaning it has the potential to reduce oxidants which can cause certain cancers and other ailments in the body. Vitamin C is also used by the immune system to help fight infections. Vitamin C can also reduce the histamine response in our bodies when exposed to allergens. For those of us who are allergy sufferers, extra vitamin C can help us reduce the histamines that cause our aggravating symptoms. Vitamin C has also been shown to reduce the amounts of lead found in the blood.

The suggested daily intake of vitamin C by government food agencies range from a low minimum of 40 milligrams (United Kingdom) per day to 100 milligrams (Japan). The US defines the upper tolerable limit of vitamin C at 2,000 milligrams per day. During times of stress from illness or allergies one should make sure they get more than just the minimum recommended amounts to help our body.  There is some research to indicate that getting more than the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C  is beneficial to the human body in many ways.  So do yourself a favor and make sure you are getting sufficient vitamin C.