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It’s the dead of winter right now in the northeastern U.S., and I’ve spent all week digging out from 30 inches of snow.  It was truly a snowstorm of epic proportions – blizzard and white-out conditions, schools closed down for a week, and, in an unprecedented move, our regional public transportation authority suspended operations during the storm.  And it has been so COLD.

2016 blizzard

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Scenes from a blizzard: my house

If there’s ever a time to make a hearty batch of nourishing soup, this is it.

I LOVE soup.  I could eat some form of soup every day. In the winter I make hearty beef and chicken soups and stews; in the fall I have lighter soups made with squashes and beans; in the spring I love soups with vegetables like asparagus, leeks and peas; in the summer chilled avocado soups and gazpachos are my faves.  Miso soup I eat all year.

Even though I love soup, I must confess that I’ve never made my own broths.

bouillon-1326608-1280x960I’ve long been aware that homemade broths, in addition to tasting better, are nutritional powerhouses.  I always felt intimidated at the idea of making my own broths, even though I’ve made soup “from scratch” for years.  I did use to make homemade chicken soup using a fryer chicken, but I haven’t done that in years, preferring the ease of cartoned broth and a grocery store rotisserie chicken for meat.

 

 

It’s only been recently that I discovered the benefits of homemade bone broth for improved fertility.

  • Bone broths help regulate hormones and ovulation.
  • The marrow in the bone is full of essential fats, proteins and nutrients that help maintain gut health, the epicenter of both our mental and physical health.  Gut health is essential for optimal fertility, as effectively consuming and digesting the food we eat is just as important as what we’re eating.
  • Bone broth is rich in minerals that reduce inflammation, which dramatically increases your odds of successfully conceiving in any given month.

I wish I had known this when I was trying to conceive!  I was pretty on top of nutrition and eating to improve fertility back then, but I’ll admit I was completely in the dark about the fertility benefits of bone broth.

In addition to using broths for soups, many experts recommend that you drink a cup of bone broth every day to realize these wonderful benefits.

Even though I’m no longer trying to conceive, it’s not too late to get on the homemade bone broth bandwagon.  Many of the health benefits extend beyond fertility. And it doesn’t actually seem that difficult to make.  I’ve discovered you can even make it in a crock pot – the epitome of fix-it-and-forget-it!

I found a great sounding recipe, from Sally Fallon’s book, “Nourishing Traditions.”  I’ve included the recipe below. I’m inspired to give this a try!  And I guess I’ll get back to using the fryers for my chicken soup!

If you give making your own bone broth a shot, or are already making your own bone broth, sound off in the comments and let me know what it does for you!

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Homemade Chicken Broth – from “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon
“1 whole free-range, organic chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings

gizzards from one chicken (optional)

2-4 chicken feet (optional)

4 quarts cold filtered water

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

1 bunch parsley

If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. Cut chicken parts into several pieces.  Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley.

Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove whole chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses. Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.”

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