Reduce Inflammation & Improve Your Digestion with Easy To Make Bone Broth


Remember how soothing chicken soup is whenever you have a cold? Well it turns out that broth, and especially bone broth (made from simmering bones and cartilage) really do have medicinal properties. I’m always on the lookout for foods that both nourish and heal your body, and while studying at the Institute of Integrative Health and Nutrition I was turned on to bone broth as a way of improving digestive symptoms such as bloating and pain.

Bone broth is experiencing a revolution right now, and for good reason. It can reduce joint pain and inflammation through chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, proline, arginine, and glycine which all have anti-inflammatory effects. It promotes strong, healthy bones through high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and additional nutrients that play an important role in healthy bone formation, and promotes healthy hair and nail growth thanks to the gelatin in the broth. It may even help you sleep better due to the calming effects of glycine. Wow. No wonder superstar Kobe Bryant is drinking it daily and it’s even gained a cult following in NYC!

Another important component of both broths are that they are rich in Humic + Fulvic minerals! What are those you ask and why should I want them?
Research is just beginning to show us the important role that fulvic minerals play and the information is amazing! These minerals like others support the body in a variety of ways including cellular health, brain health and digestion by helping the body absorb nutrients from food.
In a perfect world, our food would naturally contain high levels of minerals from the soil, but this is not usually the case with our modern food supply.

Ready to try this out? You can make bone broth at home (recipe below!) by simmering chicken, beef, or pretty much any type of bones in water for 6+ hours. At Intelligent Gourmet we use this recipe as a base in most of our stocks and it’s just plain delicious! No single theory of health is right for everyone, but we’ve seen bone broth work well for some people and not cause adverse symptoms for anyone, therefore we feel it’s safe to approve as a food that promotes digestive health.
Intelligent Gourmet’s Bone Broth Recipe

Ingredients

4-5.5 lbs. of Beef or Chicken bones (including joints, knuckles, necks etc.)
2 gallons Cold Water or enough to cover your bones (Why cold water? On a chemical level, it actually promotes the extraction of protein, helping to up the nutrient quotient of the stock.)
1 large Onion, coarsely chopped
2 Carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 stalks of Celery, coarsely chopped
4 cloves of Garlic, peeled
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tbsp of Vinegar* (such as Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar)
1 bunch of fresh Parsley
Optional: Thyme + Rosemary (I like to add thyme, bay leaf, and whole peppercorns, with maybe a sprig or two of rosemary. If you’re adding herbs and veggies to the broth, be sure to add them toward the end of cooking, especially if you’re doing a marathon stock making session.)

*A Note on Vinegar: This is not an optional ingredient. Not only is it ideal to combine fats with acids like vinegar, when it comes to making broth the goal is to extract as many minerals as possible out of the bones into the broth water and vinegar really helps to leech all those valuable minerals out of the bones. Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar is a good choice as it’s unfiltered and unpasteurized.

Preparation

In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to-low and simmer for 6 to 24 hours (the longer you simmer it, the more intense the flavor). Add water as needed to keep ingredients submerged. Strain stock into a clean pot or heatproof plastic container and discard solid ingredients. Let cool and refrigerate overnight. Leave the solidified fat on the top while storing as the fat acts as a protective layer and delays the formation of bacteria. Immediately prior to use, bring the bone broth to a gentle boil. Makes about 12 cups.

You can use this broth as a base for soups like we do at Intelligent Gourmet, or you can drink it straight as a restorative concoction.

Interested in learning more about foods that promote healthy digestion? Here are a few I can recommend:

Bananas
While all fruits and vegetables are generally good for digestion, bananas in particular are great because they don’t irritate the stomach. That’s why they’re part of the “BRAT Diet” (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, dry Toast), which has been suggested for folks suffering from vomiting or diarrhea.

Water
Water (which most people do not drink enough of) is excellent for the digestive process as it helps move things through the intestines. Drink an extra glass of water in the morning and evening, or carry a refillable water bottle that you can sip from throughout the day.

Ginger, Turmeric, Peppermint
Spices and herbs like ginger, turmeric and peppermint are great for settling an upset stomach. Try drinking ginger or peppermint tea, or sucking on a peppermint lozenge.

Yogurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Kimchi
Probiotic-containing foods like yogurt are good for the digestive system because they contain good bacteria that crowds out any bad bacteria that you may have in your gut. You want to look specifically for foods that contain live bacteria, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

Asparagus, Oats, Onions, Lentils, Whole Grains
Prebiotic foods like asparagus contain a type of fiber that probiotics feed off of to multiply, so it’s good food for your good bacteria. Prebiotics are found in foods such as asparagus, onions, lentils and whole grains.

Soup

Store-Bought Juice Labels Busted!

Fresh real juice in Tampa, Florida

Juicing at home may be fast and easy, but it does require cleanup, leading many to cut out the work by purchasing juice from the store. One of my clients found me because she had made exactly this mistake: She bought a bottle of juice, drank it happily, and then looked at the label. That bottle of green juice contained more sugar than two regular sodas! To add insult to injury, that juice was part of a line of prepackaged cleanses. Don’t make the same mistake.

Here’s what you should know about less-than-fresh juice.

  • 100% Juice doesn’t mean much. Food companies can legally print “100% Juice” on their labels while still including additives, flavorings and preservatives (not to mention a lot of added sugar and salt).
  • Key minerals, vitamins and live enzymes are destroyed by the pasteurization process most juices go through – and if that doesn’t do it, keeping juice on the shelf for days will!
  • “Not from Concentrate” juice often still uses “flavor packs” to add flavor back in after a lengthy storage process.
  • Even in juices labeled “All Natural,” synthetic ingredients may be hidden, like Fibersol-2, Fructooligosaccharides, or Inulin. Naked Juice was sued for using “All Natural” in their label while containing all of these ingredients.

It’s okay, you don’t have to clean your juicer to reap the benefits of fresh juice (even if it does just take a few seconds to rinse after use!). We have all the fresh, low-sugar, super-food-power-packed, straight-from-the-organic-farm juice you want. We carefully compose each juice recipe to maximize health benefits and flavor – and, you’re invited to check out our labels any time. We know you’ll like what you see and love what you taste!

Need an Energy Boost? Try this Chia Juice!

Chia Juice Health Benefits

Did you know that “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength”? If that doesn’t deserve its own workout drink, I don’t know what does. But don’t buy one from the store – they’re loaded with sugar! Here’s what you need to know about chia seeds, including a delicious healthy recipe for a refreshing juice!

5 Fun Facts About Chia Seeds

  1. Chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram.
  2. High fiber and protein content makes you feel full longer and slows the metabolism of sugars.
  3. Nicely balanced amino acids make the protein easy for our bodies to use.
  4. Contain 4 nutrients that work together to maintain good bone health: Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and protein.
  5. Lowers blood pressure and inflammation.

Chia seed drinks are quickly trending in high-end health food stores, but like most mass-produced bottled beverages, they’re high in sugar. I love adding chia seeds to my juices and smoothies for their healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium since the combination keeps your blood-sugar even for hours. Hello steady energy! While you can add chia seeds to anything, I love this refreshing, ultra-hydrating recipe.

Minty-Fresh Energy Boost Juice

  • ½ lemon
  • 1 cucumber
  • Handful of romaine, arugula, or watercress
  • Handful of mint
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • ½ green apple

4 Juices to Help You Touch Your Toes Without Pain

juice for flexibility and inflammation reduction

I once heard a yoga instructor say “You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” Well, that woman was a grandmother and didn’t look a day past 40! I’d say she’s onto something. While yoga and exercise, or even chasing after grandchildren, can help your muscles stay in shape, flexibility needs more than exercise: Flexibility also relies on reducing inflammation. These four juices do just that, making your daily exercise routine feel easier, and helping you to touch your toes without pain.

Beet juice is rich in nitrates, which our bodies convert to nitrites, which dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. The result: More stamina! Your muscles need less oxygen to do the same amount of work, making exercise feel less difficult. This is definitely the juice to drink before CrossFit!

Can’t Beet the Staying Power Recipe

  • 1 beet
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1/2′ ginger
  • 1 stalk kale
  • 1 green apple

Green juice, using kale, spinach, chard, broccoli and celery, improves flexibility through its high water content and ability to cleanse acids from the body. It’s the perfect breakfast for that early morning pilates class.

Hydrating Green Juice

  • 2 red chard leaves
  • 3 kale stalks
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 apple or pear

Barley grass juice or powder contains the stretchy trifecta of beta carotene, iron and calcium which work together to improve flexibility and total body health. It’s a wonderful addition to your favorite juice, but on its own, it tastes a lot like…well, grass.

Turmeric juice, or powder, as an additive to any of your favorite juices, is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories out there. Inflammation not only reduces flexibility, but has also been linked to a wide range of health problems, from arthritis to obesity. Bonus: Turmeric also acts as an anti-depressant, giving a mood boost to your day! I like to drink this for dessert to ensure sweet dreams and a good night’s rest.

Turmeric Milk Recipe

  • 2 cups almond/hemp milk
  • 2 dates pitted
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

And yes, you can combine these four ingredients together for one incredible pre-workout drink!

Drink More Green Juice, Build More Resistance Against Pollutants

Kale Juice

In 2012, Tampa’s air quality was graded “F” for ozone pollution – and “F” doesn’t stand for “Fun.” Some environmentalists say that Tampa has the worst air quality in all of Florida (don’t feel too bad – we’re still ahead of Los Angeles and Atlanta). But what can you do if the air you breathe is toxic?

A lot.

I’m excited about  a recent clinical trial that proves what I’ve been saying all along: Juice is a powerful way for your body to cure itself! In the study, 300 Chinese adults drank either broccoli sprout juice for three months, or pineapple and lime juice for three months. Researchers tested the urine of both groups for two harmful chemicals found in air pollution (China has one of the worst air pollution levels of any country in the world) and found that the broccoli-imbibing group excreted much more benzene and acrolein than their pineapple-sipping pals.

Yes, Broccoli Juice effectively detoxes your body of two of the most common air pollutants.

Although broccoli was the hero of this study, the same compounds responsible for detoxing are also found in kale and cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy). The magic ingredient is glucoraphanin, which when eaten, causes another compound, sulforaphane, to flush out pollutants from the body.

The Best Part

The longer participants drank broccoli sprout juice, the more they excreted those pollutants – the rate of excretion of benzene increased 61 percent, and acrolein excretion increased 23 percent over the 12 week study. One of the researchers, Thomas Kensler, was quoted by NPR as saying:

“We thought the pathway might respond initially, and then the [compounds] would wear out their welcome and the body would tune out, but the effect was just as vigorous at the beginning as at the end, which suggests that over one’s lifetime, you could enhance this preventative activity in the body [with food].”

It’s official: The more green juice you drink, the more effective it is. Stock up today

 

4 Worth Trying: Natural Cures for the Common Cold

Lemon water for colds

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Colds don’t just hit during the winter months – no, summer colds are equally likely. Maybe even more likely, if you sit in an air-conditioned office all day, alternating between dry cold and the humid heat of outdoors. If this summer finds you afflicted, then at the first sign of symptoms, give these natural cures for the common cold a try. They just might work to head it off, or at least encourage that virus to move along a little faster!

Juice it Out

We have a wide variety of immune system bolstering juices at Intelligent Gourmet, and not all of them include OJ. In fact, one of my favorites might surprise you: Spicy Lemonade. Your body chemistry is affected by everything you eat, and if you’ve been eating a diet a little too high in processed foods and sugar, you could create an acidic internal environment that is a breeding ground for viruses. Drinking lemon juice (minus the sugar of traditional lemonade) helps swing your chemistry back the other way, creating an alkaline environment that is not friendly to sickness. My Spicy Lemonade also has chili pepper which not only feels great on a sore throat and gets congestion moving, it also jump starts your metabolism.

Supplement Your Immune System

Vitamin C, Echinacea, and Zinc have all been lauded for their cold-soothing properties. The first two boost the immune system response, and Zinc is anti-viral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. The trick to taking Zinc is to look for supplements made with zinc acetate or zinc gluconate – studies have shown that these are more effective than zinc glycinate or zinc citrate.

Chicken Soup for the Body & Soul

Your mother brought you chicken soup when you were sick, and science backs up her home remedy. Chicken soup has cysteine, a natural amino acid released as the chicken cooks that thins out lung secretions so they don’t clog air passages, and helps you cough them up (ridding your body of infected fluid). Chicken soup also has carrots, which boost vitamin A, which helps prevent and fight infection by supporting white blood cell function. Not willing to sacrifice a chicken to the cause? Cysteine is similar to the prescription drug acetylcysteine, usually given to bronchitis patients. However, don’t just buy any chicken soup in a can – read the ingredients label! Chicken soup can be packed with too much salt, preservatives, modified starches, and even MSG. The good news is, chicken soup is easy to make at home. Cook a delicious chicken dinner the night before, and use the leftover carcass the next day to make your very own broth. You’ll need a big pot, 6-8 cups water, carrots, onions and celery, sea salt to taste, a dash of turmeric and about 3 hours minimum of boiling time. If the flavor isn’t rich enough, you can boost it with good quality organic store-bought chicken stock (but check the label!).

Good Old-Fashioned Sunshine

When you’re coming down with a cold, you’re probably tempted to curl up on your couch and marathon through the last season of Downton Abbey. But, recent studies of the effect of vitamin D on respiratory infections indicate that fresh air and sunshine are a better cure. One study reported that people with low vitamin D levels had significantly more cases of cold and flu. The most effective way to get vitamin D is to soak up the sun – without sunscreen – for about 30 minutes a day. You can’t overdose on sun, but you can on supplements.

The Health Benefits of Fresh Herb Tea

Health Benefits of Fresh Herb Tea

Summer gardens are in their full glory. The roses are blooming, the lavender is buzzing with bees, and citrus trees are bowing under the weight of their tangy fruit. And did you know you can make tea out of all of them? No drying required. The many health benefits of fresh herb tea are well worth a foraging run into your backyard garden. It’s quick, easy, and intensely satisfying.

The Health Benefits of Fresh Herb Tea

In general, the health benefits of fresh herb teas come from their higher concentration of essential oils. When you pick the plants straight from the garden, their oils are in their purest forms, giving you greater benefits than dried herb teas. And, let’s not forget about the benefits of aromatherapy (fresh herb teas smell wonderful!). Lavender and chamomile calms, orange invigorates, lemon balm helps with mood and concentration, peppermint wakes you up, etc.

The Easiest Fresh Herbs to Use in Tea

Mint – Peppermint tea relieves muscle spasms, nausea, gas and bloating.

Chamomile – Chamomile tea helps calm mind and body, perfect for a restful night’s sleep. But did you know it’s also an anti-inflammatory? You can use it to sooth sore throats and coughing too.

Lavender – Lavender promotes relaxation, reducing anxiety, stress and depression. You can also use it to sooth indigestion and nervous stomach, and prevent gastric ulcers.

Lemon Balm – Minty and lemony in flavor, Lemon Balm helps improve concentration, and some say helps lift the spirits.

Stevia – Everyone knows stevia as a natural, no-calorie sweetener, but it also has health benefits! It’s anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-microbial, anti-glycemic, and contains anti-oxidants.

Rosemary – Rich in antioxidants, rosemary also supports digestion and increases blood circulation to the brain (helping with cognitive function).

Thyme (or Lemon Thyme) – Thymol, one of the oils in thyme, is a powerful antioxidant, and studies indicate that it can increase omega-3 fatty acids in the brain, which may help curb age-related dementia.

How to Brew Fresh Herb Tea

Fresh herbs have a more gentle flavor than their dried and bagged descendants, and for two good-sized mugs (or 4 dainty teacups), you’ll want a large handful – roughly about 1 cup of loosely gathered fresh leaves. From there, the flavor profile is only limited to your supplies and imagination. I love a mint-lavender-stevia blend, or lemon balm-rosemary-stevia, or lemon balm-lavender-stevia!

  • Place rinsed, fresh herbs into your teapot or French Press.
  • Bring filtered water to a boil.
  • As soon as your kettle whistles, pull it off the heat and pour the hot water into your teapot or press.
  • Let steep for 5-8 minutes (too long and the tea can turn bitter).
  • Enjoy as is, or try this delicious recipe for Sleepy Time Herbal Honey from TheDabblist!

Want more inspiration for fresh herb teas? Check out my new Fresh Herb Tea Pinterest Board! Fresh Herb Teas

Time to Trade Gatorade for Coconut Water?

Raw coconut water

Coconut water has come a long way from being a tropical novelty enjoyed only on seaside vacations, peddled by sketchy looking vendors on the sand. It’s the newest health trend, and you’ll see it on store shelves and in your local gym. What’s the appeal? The combination of nutrients and minerals make coconut water uniquely suited to hydrate your body, better than most sports drinks (and much healthier!).

What is coconut water?
Coconut water is often confused with coconut milk. The two might come from the same place, but they are very different. If you break open a coconut (you have a machete handy, right?), coconut water is the clear liquid sloshing around on the hollow inside. Coconut milk, on the other hand, comes from the grated white meat of the coconut. Coconut water has a sweet, silky taste and is packed with natural carbohydrates, electrolytes, and minerals. Coconut water is also low in fat and calories, making it a better alternative than your sports drink. I prefer it to the artificial flavor of gatorade.

Exercise Minerals
As a health and fitness enthusiast, I know how important it is to provide your body with the right nutrients for post-workout recovery. Coconut water contains two key minerals for this, sodium and potassium, which can relieve your body after a strenuous workout. In fact, coconut water has far more potassium than a sports drink, making it ideal for long, mid-paced workouts. But, if you’re planning a vigorous exercise that makes you sweat a lot, a sports drink still might be best because of their higher levels of sodium. Sodium and potassium are both great if you’re recovering from an exhausting workout, but for a light workout, water is still your best bet to stay hydrated.
CocoBonus: Potassium and sodium in coconut is very effective at relieving hangovers too!

Better than regular water?
Better tasting for sure. Coconut water is a sweet way to stay hydrated since it’s full of minerals and natural carbs and under 40 calories for every 8 ounce serving. However, while coconut has its benefits, nothing takes the place of plain water.
CocoBonus: Coconut water is a great soft drink replacement – just put a little lime in the coconut!

Fresh or Bottled?
Breaking open a coconut is a little easier than it looks, but not much. You can use the pry-bar side of a hammer to tap a circle around the top until it cracks open. Coconuts are on the small side, and that’s a lot of work for a drink – but at least you don’t have to check the label! Bottled coconut water, on the other hand, tends to be filtered and sometimes contains added ingredients.

Sweet and Sour Super Hydrating Coconut Water

Ingredients
1 cup coconut water
¼ cup watermelon cut into cubes
¼ cup grapefruit juice
2 teaspoons honey
mint leaves for garnish

Directions
1. Mix all ingredients together and chill

Summertime Smoothies Are Here!

 

Watermellon Smoothie

Ice-cold blended smoothies made with the freshest ingredients and raw nut milk – it’s the chilly treat that our Tampa summer demands! Have you seen our debut smoothie menu?

smoothie image

While these ingredients are more than enough to make your mouth water, their health benefits go far beyond simply tasting great.

tropical island

Tropical Island: A Smoothie Stunner

Did you know that coconuts and coconut milk have fatty acids that help with weight loss? Coconut has also been linked to improving immune system function, reducing the risk of heart disease, and improving the health of skin and hair. Blackberries, of course, are packed with cancer-fighting and free-radical-quelling antioxidants; lime has vitamin C; and kefir has probiotics that aid digestion – but the real surprise in this smoothie is the pineapple. Pineapple is anti-inflammatory and is a rich source of beta-carotene (which helps keep your vision healthy).

Pink Smoothies # 1

Pink Drinks Detox: The Good Mood Smoothie

Beets are packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber, iron, beta-carotene, folic acid, and have even been called “nature’s viagra.” If that’s not enough to cheer you up, the good fats in avocado will stabilize your blood sugar and give your brain what it needs to see the world sunny-side up. And strawberries make everyone happy (well, everyone who’s not allergic!).

summerbliss

Summer Bliss Smoothie: The Hangover’s Over

You need electrolytes and potassium, stat! Hangovers are no fun, but the combo of bananas, flax and strawberries will beat back your boozy-blues with everything you need to face the day (and the light, and the noise…).

Stay tuned for more of our smoothie highlights!