gut health

Medicinal Bitters

bitters

Medicinal bitters have been around for centuries, they can be traced back as far as ancient Egyptian times. Bitters have complex flavors of sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. They function as an astringent, a tonic, a relaxant, and an internal cleanser. Taking them before meals helps to stimulate our digestive systems by producing gastric juices, saliva, and bile to help break down our food. Easing that break down of food helps us to cleanse the body and build strength.

One of my favorite reasons for taking bitters is that it helps to train our digestive systems to produce gastric juices, stomach acid, and digestive enzymes on its own, without having to rely on digestive enzyme or hydrochloric acid (HCL) supplements. 

What else do bitters help with?

  • They rouse the production of digestive enzymes, bile and stomach acid
  • Soothe gas and bloat
  • Ease constipation and help with regularity
  • Curb sugar cravings
  • Relieve heartburn
  • Increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Balance appetite
  • Liver support


There are different types of herbs ranging from seriously bitter like gentian root to mildly bitter like dandelion root, even chamomile. Feel free to explore herbs on your own or try out my recipe down below. These herbs called out to me when I  went to my local herb shop, the end result was quite delightful --stimulating, warming, and a little spicy.  

bitters


Love Thy Gut Bitters
½ cup (4 oz.) dried orange peel
¼ cup (2 oz). gentian root
¼ cup (2 oz). raw cacao
¼ cup (2 oz). cinnamon bark
¼ cup (2 oz). ginger root
Brandy
 
You can also do it in parts. For example: 2 parts orange peel, 1 part gentian root, 1 part raw cacao, 1 part cinnamon root, 1 part ginger root
 
Method:
Fill a quart jar with 1/3 of the dried herbs. Fill up the jar to the top with 100 proof vodka or a spirit of your choice. Make sure your herbs are completely covered. It’s important to label your jar with the herbs you used and their parts, the date, and the alcohol strength, (otherwise you might forget what's in there). Allow them to extract for 6-8 weeks or a full moon cycle. Shake the jar everyday.
 
After 6-8 weeks or a full moon cycle, strain the herbs with a cheesecloth and squeeze any remaining liquid back into the extract. It’s convenient to have a small funnel hand so that you can bottle the extract into small amber dropper bottles. Make sure you label these too.

 

References: http://blog.radiantlifecatalog.com/, www.westonaprice.org

Bone Broth

Homemade bone broth from organic pasture raised animals contains all nutrients and minerals found in bones and tendons. Slow cooking preserves the nutrients and is extremely beneficial for healing, preventing, and aiding in wellness.

The gelatin in bone broth protects and heals:

  • Leaky gut
  • Fights infections such as colds and flu
  • Reduces joint pain and inflammation
  • Produces gorgeous skin, hair and nails
  • Helps with bone formation, growth, and repair
  • Fights inflammation through its anti-inflammatory amino acids
  • Promotes sleep and calms the mind

Best of all its cheap to make and much healthier than store bought kinds, which have added sodium and other junk. You can use any organic grass fed or pasture raised animal - beef, chicken, turkey, bison, pork, and veal and you can use any of the bones. The bigger the bones the better as they contain more collagen and therefore make more gelatin. So, bones like the knuckles, feet, oxtail or marrow.  

Here's what you do:

  • Place bones (carcass and/or chicken feet ) in a crockpot or soup pot
  • Add organic vegetable scraps as they are available.*        
  • Cover bones and scraps with water. Set water about one-inch above the bones.
  • Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, this helps to leach out the nutrients.          
  • Cover the pot and set on low (crock pot) or simmer (stove pot). Keep the lid slightly ajar to prevent boiling if using a stove pot.                           
  • Strain the broth 24 hours later. 
  • optional- a strip of kombu seaweed (very high in minerals especially iodine and vitamins C and E.    

Note* I like to add garlic (leaving the skin on is ok), chunks of yellow onion, the stems of hearty greens and Himalayan sea salt for a rich and savory taste.                                       

Use the fresh broth for soups, making grains and legumes, in your sauté, or to simply sip and nourish yourself. You can add water to the bones again and make a second batch of broth if you like. You can keep doing this until you are tired of it or your bones have disintegrated. I like to use them once, cooking them slowly for a very long time so that I get broth that turns into gelatin once I've refrigerated it. 

                            Heal Yourself.