Wednesday, March 30, 2011

First Foods: Yogurt & Bone Broth

I used to think that a great first food for babies is yogurt (raw, organic, possibly from goat or sheep if cow is too harsh on the tummy) and bone stock (home made from organic sources)... But, now that I've learned that studies show that babies shouldn't be introduced to dairy until 9 months old or they will develop an intolerance to it. And that milk slows down/inhibits the body's ability to absorb/process folates correctly. Folate is a big issue in our population. So, while I did give Jett some raw milk before 12 months old, I have since cut all dairy out of his diet.

Dairy is also contributes to congestion--another big issue for our kids. 
Some parents try to combat this issue by using enzymes to help process the milk proteins. Personally, I don't think it addresses all the issues that dairy brings. So I do avoid it and recommend parents to avoid giving it to their kids. 
An alternative to dairy yogurt would be coconut water keifer since it has no dairy but has lots of benefits from the probiotics. 

I'm still a fan of bone stock! 

Essential minerals: supercharge your child's diet with homemade beef bone stock

December 11th, 2010

When it comes to maintaining or regaining health, nothing plays as important a role as proper mineral balance in the body.... 

...Among mineral-rich foods, bone broth or stock holds a position of preeminence. Not only is it a treasure trove of minerals in absorbable form, it is also a rich source of other nutrients that are essential for every aspect of health.

Stock has a long history in human nutrition and there was a time when it was prepared regularly in every family kitchen.

...Not only was it a part of everyone's diet, it was also prescribed as medicine and was researched extensively for its health enhancing benefits until the early 20th century. Then it was progressively abandoned, in part because the modern food industry discovered it could use cheap chemicals to create any flavor it wanted, and in part because medicine lost interest in anything other than drugs and surgery.

...Broth was prescribed for conditions ranging from colds and flu, to a variety of digestive disorders, and conditions affecting the joints, skin, lungs, muscles and blood. It was added to baby milk to treat colic or failure to thrive, and was prescribed for children who had trouble digesting the proteins in milk and wheat. It helped malnourished children and adults regain their strength, and was used as adjunct therapy in conditions as serious as cancer and TB. 
Ingredients for Your Broth

When it comes to making broth, the quality of the bones you use is of the essence simply because if the animals were not fed appropriately their bones are not likely to be healthy or nutrient-rich, plus hormones and antibiotics given to commercial cattle are likely to accumulate in bones or fatty tissues like marrow.

I recommend only buying bones from hormone- and antibiotic-free grass-fed animals, and organic is a plus. If you live in Texas, the best source I have found is This farm is located in the Texas Panhandle but they deliver throughout the state every two months. If you live elsewhere and similar websites are good resources.

If you'd like to get fancy and learn about all the different types of stock and how to make them I recommend you buy the excellent book
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. Otherwise here is a simple recipe that has worked very well for me.

Start out with equal amounts of marrowbones and soup (knuckle) bones. I use approximately two pounds of each, basically because that's how Paidom sells them and it works well that way.

Both types of bones are needed. Marrow is where the body stores stem cells and converts them to blood cells or releases them in circulation to repair damaged tissues. It is an area of the body where all the nutrients needed to sustain life are concentrated. Soup bones are usually knucklebones or other bones containing cartilage. Cartilage converts to gelatin. It is a rich source of amino acids, like glycine, that enhance the body's detoxification ability by stimulating production of glutathione. Cartilage is also a source of chondroitin sulfate that helps heal arthritic joints.

Both types of bones are rich sources of minerals, and I am not speaking of just calcium, but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals, all of which play essential roles in health. 
How to Make Bone Broth

Wash the bones in running water; then place the knuckle and marrow bones in a large pot with 1/2 cup vinegar and cover with clean, filtered water. The vinegar will evaporate completely and so it is safe even for small children. The vinegar creates an acidic environment that helps to draw the minerals out of the bones. Meanwhile, place the meatier bones in a roasting pan and brown at 350 degrees (about 15 minutes). Add the browned bones to the pot (along with any fat that is left in the pan) along with about 3 chopped onions, 3 chopped carrots and 3 chopped celery sticks. It is important not to overdo it on the vegetables as that can lead to a very bitter finished product! Add additional water if needed, but be sure to leave room at the top of the pot (about 1 inch) for the stock to expand.

Bring to a boil, and then remove any scum that comes to the top with a spoon.

Reduce the heat to a low simmer, add about 1 tsp ground green peppercorns and thyme (optional), cover the pot tightly, and allow it to simmer for a minimum of 24 hours (36 hours is better but not necessary). I know it's a long time but once you get it to the right heat it requires very little supervision. Just before finishing, add one bunch of parsley and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Parsley adds additional nutrients and will help to alkalize your stock. At this point you will remove all the bones and vegetables, strain, and refrigerate.

Once it is chilled you can skim off the fat, place in separate containers and refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze indefinitely. You'll lose about a quart to evaporation.

I recommend drinking a cup a day for adults or children, and proportionately less for toddlers or babies. If your child doesn't like it, try to find creative solutions to get him or her to drink it. Some parents have added it to juice or sweetened it with stevia and turned it into a sweet chilled drink!
Here is a partial listing of conditions that broth benefits:

Aging skin, allergies, anemia, anxiety, asthma, atherosclerosis, attention deficit, poor digestion, brittle nails, Celiac Disease, colic, constipation, dental degeneration, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, fatigue, food sensitivities, fractures, gastritis, heart conditions, high cholesterol, hyperactivity, high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, low immunity, inflammation, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, insomnia, reflux, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, memory loss, muscle cramps or spasms, muscle wasting, osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, seizures, weight loss due to illness, wound healing, and more!

Homemade meat or fish stock.
Meat and fish stocks provide building blocks for the rapidly growing cells of the gut lining and they have a soothing effect on any areas of inflammation in the gut. That is why they aid digestion and have been known for centuries as healing folk remedies for the digestive tract. Do not use commercially available soup stock granules or bullion cubes, they are highly processed and are full of detrimental ingredients.
Chicken stock is particularly gentle on the stomach and is very good to start from. To make good meat stock you need joints, bones, a piece of meat on the bone, a whole chicken, giblets from chicken, goose or duck, whole pigeons, pheasants or other inexpensive meats. It is essential to use bones and joints, as they provide the healing substances, not so much the muscle meats. Ask the butcher to cut in half the large tubular bones, so you can get the bone marrow out of them after cooking.
Put the bones, joints and meats into a large pan and fill it up with water, add natural unprocessed salt to your taste at the beginning of cooking and about a teaspoon of black peppercorns, roughly crushed. Bring to boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for 2,5 - 3 hours. You can make fish stock the same way using a whole fish or fish fins, bones and heads. After cooking take the bones and meats out and sieve the stock to remove small bones and pepper corns. Strip off all the soft tissues from the bones as best as you can to later add to soups or encourage your patient to eat all the soft tissues on the bones. Extract the bone marrow out of large tubular bones while they are still warm: to do that bang the bone on a thick wooden chopping board. The gelatinous soft tissues around the bones and the bone marrow provide some of the best healing remedies for the gut lining and the immune system; your patient needs to consume them with every meal. Take off all the soft tissues from fish bones and heads and reserve for adding to soups later.
The meat or fish stock will keep well in the fridge for at least 7 days or it can be frozen. Keep giving your patient warm meat stock as a drink all day with his meals and between meals.
Do not use microwaves for warming up the stock, use conventional stove (microwaves destroy food). It is very important for your patient to consume all the fat in the stock and off the bones as these fats are essential for the healing process. Add some probiotic food into every cup of stock (the details about introducing probiotic foods follow).

Where to find fresh, local raw milk:

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1 comment:

Zach's Momma said...

wow, i never knew bone broth could be this useful. i myself love having (bone broth) soup during winter. should start introduce this to my little fella as well. I normally just use pressure cooker as it cut the cooking time. probably i could transfer to slow cooker afterward?

p/s: i found your blog is really amazing! has been following you for quite sometime, but still havent got the time to finish my reading.. well, we learn new thing everyday :)