Health and wellness has become a passion of mine because I have a blessing and a curse called ulcerative colitis. It’s an auto-immune irritable bowel disorder that causes me to have loose bloody stools 10-30 times a day when I’m in a flare; takes months to recovery from. The last 2 years have been an extreme struggle and remission is the goal of the moment.
I had a really bad flare Oct. 2014 where I needed a blood transfusion and I hardly could move and had to crawl to the bathroom. During this time I was introduced to bone broth. It’s a health trend now, but Asians have been doing it for centuries. It’s become part of my weekly diet.
Sadly I’m in another flare that started May 2015. The emergency colonoscopy I had showed how severe the ulcers are and I’m on the wrong meds. This time, my mom came out to take care of me. It’s hard to be 37 and having your mom take care for you. There is nothing like the healing power of your mother, its pure love. The last 2 weeks have been a blessing in disguise. It’s been at least 20 years since I’ve had 2 weeks with her. We’ve laughed and cried so much.
I shared with her how I drink bone broth. In her Asian voice she tells me she will make a different broth for me that is better. Take her to the oriental market! She makes me this chicken broth, but the chicken is BLACK! On the label it said “Silkie Chicken.” I laughed and thought, Asians and their labeling. The broth was soooo good. It didn’t have the yucky bone smell and a natural sweetness to it. She told me she but acupuncture herbs in it.
I healed tremendously in a week and couldn’t get enough of it. Of course, as soon as I’m somewhat functional, I google it. These black chickens are Buddhist chickens and used for medicinal reasons. They are twice as expensive but I am telling you they are MAGIC!
If you have health issues, I highly recommend bone broth in general. If you can get your hands on silkie chickens/black chickens/Buddhist chickens it will do wonders for you. Sending you peace, strength, wisdom, and healing.
Because I’m a nerd, Below are 2 links/articles that will help you in your research if its right for you.
[Black Chicken, La Soyeuse Poulet (French), Gallus gallus domesticus]
This small Asian chicken possibly originated in China, or maybe farther south, but the first written record of them is in the journals of Marco Polo. Silkies are unlike any other chicken. They come in various colors, white and black being most common, but their feathers are like soft fur. This is because of a recessive gene – some dinosaurs had feathers of this sort. The skin under those soft feathers is blue-black, the bones are black and even the flesh is dark and bluish. They have five toes rather than four as found on all but a few other odd types of chicken.
Silkies grown in North American are bantam varieties that can grow to 2 pounds at full maturity, but they’re generally marketed at 1 to 1-1/2 pounds. In Europe, larger silkies are grown that can reach 4 pounds when fully mature. They are not particularly good egg layers because as soon as they have a few eggs they want to settle down and hatch them. Good layers are bred to not want to be bothered with hatching.
Silkies are very tame and gentle, making good pets. Hens are often assigned to hatching the eggs and tending the chicks of less attentive birds. They are, however, also widely eaten in East and Southeast Asia and are considered to have strong medicinal powers. They are now grown for the market in North America, but they’ll set you back a pretty penny – and many people here think they’re just too cute to eat.
This is what you get when you cut open the vacuum package – yup, looks a whole lot like a dead chicken. If you have a problem with that, be aware – it gets worse. Not only is the skin black, so are the bones, and the flesh is blue-gray to blue-brown. The inside cavity is coal black.These birds are most noted for use in Chinese tonic soups, combined with a number of medicinal herbs and roots. They are most often prepared for new mothers right after giving birth. Silkies are also braised and stewed in various ways. They are not used for stir fries and other briefly cooked dishes because they are tougher than regular chickens. Aside from China these chickens are eaten in Southeast Asia and to a lesser extent in Korea and Japan.Because silkies are expensive to raise, chicken breeders are attempting to develop more productive, normally feathered chickens with the black flesh gene. None are currently marketed, and it’s doubtful they will be accepted as having the same medicinal properties as the silkie.Buying: Silkies are now easy to find frozen in markets serving East or Southeast Asian communities. Typically they are sold with head and feet attached under USDA Exemption Permit 101 (Buddhist Exemption). They are expensive, typically over US $10 for a 1-1/2 pound bird even in Los Angeles. The photo specimen to the left was grown in Canada and weighed 1.47 pounds.Yield: Silkies aren’t particularly meaty but they contain almost no fat so yield is decent, about 60% edible depending on cooking method. Most of the lost weight is in the head, neck and feet.
Prep: For general preparation there is no significant difference between these and Cornish game hens – except for needing to cut off the feet and head (which are properly used in making stock).
Despite what you’re told by the US FDA, the best and safest way to thaw birds (any size) is in cold water, either in their sterile vacuum pack or with frequent changing of the water. This method is approved by the USDA for commercial and institutional establishments.
Cooking: Use recipes for which the deeper flavor of the silkie (even the breasts) will not violate the intent of the recipe and the color won’t be a problem. Keep in mind they need to be cooked long enough to be tender. They can be used in place of game birds but the flavor is closer to chicken.
In Asian cooking, most chickens are skinned before cooking, but these are done skin-on. After all, when you’re paying that much extra for the skin color you don’t want to throw it out – and unlike normal domestic chickens there is almost no fat under the skin.
Chicken soup isn’t just good for the soul: there’s a reason that it’s prescribed by doctors and mothers alike when you’re feeling under the weather. All bone broths beef, chicken, fish, lamb and more are staples in the traditional diets of every culture and the basis of all fine cuisine. That’s because bone broths are nutrient-dense, easy to digest, rich in flavor and–they boost healing.
Bone broth or stock was a way our ancestors made use of every part of an animal. Bones and marrow, skin and feet, tendons and ligaments that you can’t eat directly, can be boiled then simmered over a period of days. This simmering causes the bones and ligaments to release healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine, and glutamine that have the power to transform your health.
Nutrition researchers Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel of the Weston A. Price Foundation explain that bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others. They containchondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, the compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.1
A study of chicken soup (broth) conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Centerwondered what it was in the soup that made it so beneficial for colds and flu. They found that the amino acids that were produced when making chicken stock reduced inflammation in the respiratory system and improved digestion. Also, research is proving it can also boost the immune system and heal disorders like allergies, asthma, and arthritis.2
Sally Fallon explains that most store bought “stock and “broth” today aren’t “REAL”. Instead, they use lab-produced meat flavors in bouillon cubes, soup and sauce mixes. Also, manufacturers began using monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is recognized as a meat flavor but in reality is a neurotoxin.
If you want real bone broth you can make it yourself at home which I will explain at the end of this chapter. You will need to get grass fed bones from your local farmers market or from a online health food store like Wise Choice Market.
The Magic of Collagen and Gelatin
Real collagen is the source of stock’s immune-boosting properties. You’ve probably seen this jiggling layer atop the broth in your cooling roasting pan and discarded it but think again next time–this is the good stuff.
Collagen is the protein found in connective tissue of vertebrate animals. It’s abundant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin.
Gelatin (the breakdown of collagen) was one of the first functional foods, used as a medical treatment in ancient China.
Dr. Francis Pottenger and other world class researches have found gelatin and collagen to have the listed benefits:
Gelatin helps people with food allergies and sensitivities tolerate those foods including cows milk and gluten.
Collagen protects and soothes the lining of the digestive tract and can aid in healing IBS, crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and acid reflux.
Gelatin promotes probiotic balance and growth.
Bone broth increases collagen reducing the appearance of wrinkles and banishing cellulite.
Because gelatin helps break down proteins and soothes the gut lining, it may prove useful for leaky gut syndrome and the autoimmune disorders that accompany it.
Gelatin provides bone-building minerals in easily absorbable ways, preventing bone loss and reducing join pain.3
And here is another incredible benefit from the collagen found in bone broth, it can make your skin look amazing! According to Donna Gates, author of Body Ecology, bone broth makes your skin supple and can decrease cellulite!
She says cellulite comes from a lack of connective tissue and if someone has very smooth skin it’s because their skin is high in connective tissue. Donna explains that consuming collagen-rich bone broth can reduce cellulite and tighten your skin making you look younger.
Healing Amino Acids
Gelatin in bone broths contains “conditional” amino acids arginine, glycine, glutamine and proline. These amino acids also contribute to stock’s healing properties.
Conditional amino acids are those classified as nonessential amino acids that are essential under some conditions: you don’t produce them very well if you are ill or stressed.
Kaayla Daniel points out that unhealthy Western diets, heavy on processed carbohydrates, low in quality grass-fed animal products, and devoid of homemade soups and broths, make it likely that these amino acids are chronically essential.
What do these conditional amino acids do?
Necessary for immune system function and wound healing
Needed for the production and release of growth hormone
Helps regenerate damaged liver cells
Needed for the production of sperm
Prevents breakdown of protein tissue like muscle
Used to make bile salts and glutathione
Helps detoxify the body of chemicals and acts as antioxidant4
Is a neurotransmitter that improves sleep and improves memory and performance
Helps regenerate cartilage and heal joints
Reduces cellulite and makes skin more supple
Helps repair leaky gut
Protects gut lining
Metabolic fuel for cells in small intestine
Improves metabolism and muscle building
Talk about some incredible health benefits! For these reasons, I have most of my patients consume bone broth as a partial fast, detox, or during meals to help heal their gut and detoxify their cells, gut and liver.
How to Make Bone Broth
There are a few important basics to consider when making good stock. You can make bone broth with animal components alone but in his chicken soup study, Dr. Rennard found that the combination of animal products and vegetables seemed to have synergistic effects, working together to be more beneficial than either alone.
Sally Fallon says that it’s important to use body parts that aren’t commonly found in the meat department of your grocery store, things like chicken feet and neck.
You’ll also want to buy animal products that you know are pasture-fed and free of antibiotics and hormones.
Fallon describes the essentials as bones, fat, meat, vegetables and water. If you’re making beef broth or lamb broth, you should brown the meat before putting it into a stock pot. Fish and poultry are fine to put in a pot without browning first. Add a bit of apple cider vinegar to your pot to help draw the minerals from the bones.
Place bones into a large stock pot and cover with water.
Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to water prior to cooking. This helps to pull out important nutrients from the bones.
Fill stock pot with filtered water. Leave plenty of room for water to boil.
Heat slowly. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for at least six hours. Remove scum as it arises.
Cook slow and at low heat. Chicken bones can cook for 24 hours. Beef bones can cook for 48 hours. A low and slow cook time is necessary in order to fully extract the nutrients in and around bone.
You can also add in vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots, and celery for added nutrient value.
After cooking, the broth will cool and a layer of fat will harden on top. This layer protects the broth beneath. Discard this layer only when you are about to eat the broth.
Remember, bone broth is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline.
The collagen in bone broth will heal your gut lining and reduce intestinal inflammation. In addition, collagen will support healthy skin and can reduce the appearance of cellulite. Also, the glycine in bone broth can detoxify your cells from chemicals and improve brain function.
I recommend consuming 8oz 1-2x daily as a soup, a plain beverage, or doing a bone broth fast. I typically drink 8oz upon waking every morning.