If there was one book I could recommend to you it would be Nourishing Traditions.
Known in the traditional diets community as the “food bible,” Nourishing Traditions is part cookbook, part textbook, and part politics. I always warn people that this book will challenge everything you’ve learned about nutrition, so read it with an open mind.
I find the largest takeaway from Nourishing Traditions is how to select and prepare foods to increase their nutrient density. Eating isn’t just about calories, it’s about vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and enzymes as well – and most importantly, it’s about how well we absorb and are able to utilize all the nutrients we ingest.
Nourishing Traditions explains:
- Why your body needs old-fashioned animal fats
- Why butter is a health food
- How cholesterol in your diet promotes good health
- How saturated fats protect the heart
- How sauces and dressings help you digest and assimilate your food
- Why grains and legumes need special preparation to provide optimum benefits
- About enzyme-enhanced food and beverages that can provide increased energy and vitality
- Why high-fiber, low-fat diets can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies
I use a number of the food preparation techniques taught in Nourishing Traditions in Restore, A Digestive Wellness Cleanse, and I want to share the most foundational of them with you now: chicken stock.
Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow, and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium, and potassium, into the broth. Chicken broth contains large amounts of glycine and proline, which are amino acids that are essential for stress management, digestive health, wound repair, cardiovascular health, and weight maintenance.
Chicken Stock (from Nourishing Traditions)
- 1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts
- gizzards from one chicken (optional)
- feet from one chicken (optional)
- 4 quarts cold filtered water
- 2 Tbsp. vinegar
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery sticks, 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. By all means, use chicken feet if you can find them – they are full of gelatin. Even better, use a whole chicken, with the head on. These may be found in Asian markets. Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.
Cut chicken parts into several pieces. (If you are using a whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them 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 24 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, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries. (The skin and smaller bones, which will be very soft, may be given to your dog or cat.) 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.
Drew’s Quick Tips:
- Reserve ANY bones from bone-in steaks, chicken, lamb, etc. and store them in your freezer until you have enough to make a stock.
- Add bones to any soup you make as it cooks along with 2 Tbsp. vinegar to draw the minerals from the bones. It won’t affect the flavor of your soup much, but will greatly increase its nutrient value.
- Use bone-in chicken breast or thighs in any soup recipe that calls for chicken. Add 2 Tbsp. vinegar to the soup as it’s cooking and remove the meat from the bones before serving.
- Store homemade stock in your freezer in 1 cup servings for easy future use.
- Cook rice, quinoa, or other grains in your homemade stock instead of water for increased nutrition.
If you want more nourishing recipes, join us starting September 8th for Restore, A Digestive Wellness Cleanse!