24 Hour Crockpot Bone Broth

Crockpot Bone Broth in Mason Jars

Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more clients with suspected gut hyperpermeability (aka “leaky gut”).

“Leaky gut” is a pretty trendy topic these days.

A quick google search brings up over 4 million hits on the topic!

Some people like to discount any trendy nutrition topic as a “fad”, much like they did for gluten sensitivity a few years ago. But I believe that where there’s smoke there’s fire, and searching for leaky gut IS so popular because it actually IS affecting a lot of people!

Let’s face it, our guts are a mess these days.

With the onslaught of antibiotics, low-fiber refined foods, preservatives & food additives, medications, stress, and low self-care lifestyles, we’ve got a recipe for disaster.

As we learn more and more about our microbiome (the bacteria that live in our gut), we’ve come to understand how our diet, medications, and lifestyle can affect the number and proportions of the bacteria in our gut. For a full recap of what factors affect your microbiome, and how to keep yours healthy, check out this article.

I’m not going into a full-fledged discussion of leaky gut in this article, but I’ll give you a short recap:

  • Basically, in a healthy digestive system, you chew your food & swallow it, and it enters the stomach where it is mashed into liquidy paste by your stomach muscles and hydrochloric acid.
  • Then, your stomach slowly releases small boluses of liquid food (known as chyme), into your small intestine. The small intestine is where your food is further broken down into its smallest components and then absorbed across the cells of the small intestine and into the bloodstream.
  • In a healthy small intestine, the cells that make up the lining of the intestine (called enterocytes), are tightly packed next to each other. There isn’t any room for anything to squeeze through the cracks. In order for food to be absorbed, it has to go through the enterocytes first. This allows the small intestine to control what gets absorbed, and make sure it’s mostly absorbing completely digested food particles.
  • In contrast, in a person with leaky gut, the enterocytes are NOT squeezed tightly together. Instead, they have gaps in-between them, and undigested food particles can “leak” through these cracks directly into your bloodstream.
  • When this happens, your immune system freaks out and detects the food particles as invaders. It launches a full blown attack on these “unfriendly” food particles, causing inflammatory symptoms in the body (ouch!).

Leaky gut can be caused by many things, but it’s especially common when people have SIBO- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. In SIBO, healthy gut bacteria that are normally supposed to be in your colon, have made their way backward up the digestive tract and colonized the small intestine. That’s bad news bears!

SIBO kicks off a whole host of digestive issues, especially extreme bloating after meals, and begins a cascade of inflammation that can lead to leaky gut.

Once leaky gut is in play, people feel even WORSE because their immune system then starts reacting to almost everything they eat!

For many people, eradicating the SIBO with antibiotics & then reinoculating with probiotics is the best way to “reset” the gut & start w. a clean slate. Then, once the trigger causing the leaky gut is removed, you can start healing the gut tissue.

There are lots of things you can do to “heal your gut”, including taking supplements like l-glutamine, zinc carnosine, phosphatidylcholine, and butyrate, and eating foods rich in collagen, like bone broth. 

Bone broth is basically just regular broth that is simmered for an extra long time.

Like, at least 8 hours, and ideally a full 24. The easiest way to do this, by far, is with the crockpot. Just throw everything in there, set it, and forget it. No need to worry about keeping a burner on overnight, just leave the thing plugged in and enjoy how awesome your house smells.

There are a few tricks to delicious tasting bone broth:

  • Roast those bones!! Skipping this step is a recipe for mild, “off” tasting broth. Roasting the bones brings out a delicious depth of flavor you can’t get any other way. The easiest way to do this is to just use a roasted chicken carcass. Enjoy all the meat and skin for dinner, then put the remaining skeleton into the crockpot & simmer overnight. You’ll wake up the next day with some delicious nourishing broth to sip on.
  • Add a splash of vinegar. Upping the acidity levels in the broth can help leach more of the minerals out of the bones and into the broth for your enjoyment.
  • Use aromatics. You can totally make a plain bone broth without any vegetables or herbs, but the results are a little one-note. Of course, if you are currently suffering from food sensitivities, plain might be the best way to go, but if you’re just making broth to enjoy as a warming and nutritious beverage, by all means, flavor it up! I usually use the traditional broth seasonings: onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, salt, and pepper, but you can totally get creative here.
  • Go low and slow. Simmering your broth on too high of heat can denature some of the collagen proteins and make it less likely to gel when cooled. The better philosophy is to cook it low and slow for a long time to get the highest quality broth.

The end product is a savory warming beverage you can enjoy as a coffee or tea substitute.

It’s like drinking a mug of warm chicken soup without any of the chunky pieces!

By simmering the broth for hours and hours, you basically break down the bone and cartilage so that the minerals and proteins are now in the broth. No joke, the bones should be soft enough to crumble between your fingers by the end of the cooking time.

Bone broth gives you a nice serving of all the bone minerals, like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, fluoride, sodium, and potassium, and some unique proteins from the cartilage, like chondroitin, keratin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid. While there haven’t been any actual research studies on the health benefits of bone broth, it’s such a traditionally nourishing food (we’ve been making broth/soup for thousands of years), that I don’t see anything wrong with trying it out and seeing how you feel! I personally believe it’s a delicious and nutritious beverage option that can be a great addition to your diet.

Cheers!

Warm Crockpot Bone Broth in a Mug

24 Hour Crockpot Bone Broth

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 d
Total Time1 d 5 mins
Servings: 1 crockpot full
Author: Erica Julson

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover roasted chicken carcass
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 organic yellow onion, halved, peels left on
  • 2 carrots, cut into thirds
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • Generous sprinkle of black peppercorns
  • Generous sprinkle of rock salt
  • Water to cover

Instructions

  • Place the roasted chicken carcass in the body of a large electric slow cooker. Add the apple cider vinegar, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt. Pour water over the top to cover the chicken.
  • Cover with the lid and cook on low for 24 hours, or until the bones of the chicken crumble when pressed between your fingers. When it’s done cooking, ladle the broth through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer to remove the solids. Let cool slightly, then store in lidded mason jars in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy as a warming beverage in the morning instead of coffee, or as an afternoon pick me up.
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Apple Grapefruit Ginger Juice

Apple Grapefruit Ginger Juice

Mmmm… fresh juice.

I ALMOST asked whether there was a better way to start your morning… but…. coffee.

Nuff said.

But, fresh juice takes a solid second place in my book.

Apple Grapefruit Ginger Juice

My favorite part about fresh juice is the endless flavor combinations.

Fruits, veggies, even herbs & spices. They can all take part.

Right now I’m all about the fall flavors;

  • apples
  • beets
  • carrots
  • celery
  • kale
  • pears
  • pomegranate

🙂

Love love love.

You can make some deliciously rich & earthy juices by combining these seasonal produce items.

This week, however, I happened to pick up a gigantic bag of grapefruit.

Since I’m the only one who likes grapefruit in this house… I knew I could never finish the bag before they started to go south.

Enter, juicing!

I have an amazing Champion Juicer, which I use all the time to make delicious fresh juices.

Yes, it’s an investment, but you end up saving a ton of money when you make your own fresh juice, rather than splashing out $8 a pop at fancy juice shops.

Plus, you know it’s the freshest possible, since you literally made it right before your eyes.

It’s a pretty easy process- just assemble the juicer, turn it on, and run the fruits and veggies through the funnel. Fresh juice drains out of the bottom, and the pulp is ejected out of the tube at the end.

Check out my last juice post for some creative things to do with that leftover pulp, and my opinions on juicing vs blending.

In the meantime, I highly recommend investing in a juicer and making this yummy apple grapefruit ginger juice.

It packs a nice punch with the tang from the grapefruit & zing of the ginger, but it’s mellowed nicely by the sweet apple flavor.

This is a fab breakfast juice to go with a weekend brunch, or a nice pick-me-up on the way to work.  (check out these super awesome sippable mason jar lids– they make it easy to take juice on the go!)

Um, also, if you haven’t put two & two together yet… owning a juicer = super fresh and tasty orange juice, which = amazing fresh mimosas. 😉

Apple Grapefruit Ginger Juice

 

Apple Grapefruit Ginger Juice

Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 3 red apples, cored and cut into quarters
  • 3 grapefruit, peeled & cut into pieces that will fit in your juicer
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

Instructions

  • Run the fruit through your juicer, alternating between apples and grapefruit sections. Insert the ginger roughly halfway through the juicing process. Stir the juice with a spoon & serve immediately over ice.
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How To Make Almond Milk

Squeezing Almond Milk | ericajulson.com

Almond milk.

It’s one of those items you can easily pick up at the grocery store & be on your merry way.

But, like many things, it tastes SO MUCH better when you make it at home.

I mean, fresh stuff usually tastes better than processed/preserved/shelf stable alternatives, right???

Lots of people make homemade almond milk to avoid extra food additives found in store-bought varieties.

These are usually gelling or emulsifying ingredients used to keep a smooth even texture of the almond milk (carrageenan, guar gum, gellan gum, locust bean gum, soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin, etc.)

There is a lot of fear mongering on the internet about the dangers of carrageenan in particular, but much of that is based on old science conducted with a degraded type of carrageenan (known as poligeenan), that is not used in commercial food production. Check out this article and this article for a nice review on the safety of food-grade carrageenan.

While avoiding these additives isn’t likely to play a HUGE role in improving your health (your overall diet quality matters much much more), it may be helpful for people who experience gastrointestinal distress to avoid them. (People with IBS, leaky gut, gut dysbiosis, ulcerative colitis, or excessive gas & bloating).

These gums & gelling ingredients are metabolized by some types of gut bacteria & can create excessive gas/bloating in some people (1, 2). It’s wise to listen to your body & pay attention to how your specific body reacts.

If homemade almond milk agrees with you more than store-bought, then by all means, jump on the homemade almond milk train!

You might be wondering why anyone would drink almond milk in the first place…

There are lots of reasons!

  1. People who are lactose intolerant & suffer from gas/bloating when they consume cow’s milk often enjoy almond milk as a replacement.
  2. People who are allergic or sensitive to casein (a protein in milk) often drink almond milk instead.
  3. Vegans often enjoy nut milks instead of animal products.
  4. It tastes awesome! And can be a great change-up from the monotony of traditional milk.

The process for making almond milk is relatively simple.

  1. Soak almonds.
  2. Drain almonds.
  3. Blend the soaked almonds with water + optional flavorings until smooth.
  4. Strain the mixture through a nut milk bag.
  5. Capture all the creamy milk in a bowl.
  6. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  7. Dehydrate & save the almond meal for making crackers or cookies, or compost it.

I like to drink it straight up, use it in smoothies, add a dash to my morning coffee, or occasionally enjoy it with some muesli or oatmeal. Yum!

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on making your own.

It’s a really fun activity to try with friends or family over the weekend 🙂 Little kids LOVE squeezing the nut milk bag & learning that “milk” can be made from nuts!

Once you get almond milk under you belt, you can even branch out and try making milk from other nuts, like cashews, pecans, or even hemp seeds!

Step 1: Soak 1 cup of raw almonds overnight in the fridge.

This helps soften them up & make them creamy when blended.

(And yes, it’s important to buy raw almonds, not roasted salted ones 😉 )

I just place them in a bowl & cover with water, like so:

Soaked Raw Almonds | ericajulson.com

Step 2: Drain the almonds.

The next morning, when you’re ready to make your almond milk, drain the almonds & be impressed by how plump & delicious they look.

Soaked Almonds Strained | ericajulson.com

Here’s a nice comparison of the soaked almonds on the left, and the original raw almonds on the right:

Raw vs Soaked Almonds | ericajulson.com

Step 3: Place the almonds + water + flavorings in a blender.

Okay, I don’t have a picture of this step. But it’s pretty self explanatory.

You can use anywhere from 2-4 cups of water per 1 cup almonds, depending on how rich you want your almond milk (less water = more intense almond flavor).

For flavorings: You can keep it simple & just season the milk with a dash of sea salt before blending, or you can get fancy & add vanilla bean or extract, medjool dates, honey, or agave for sweetener, or even spices like cinnamon or cardamom. Yum!

Step 4: Drain the mixture through a nut milk bag.

I highly recommend purchasing one of these:

This is the type of bag I use. It makes the whole process a billion times easier.

Simply pour the mixture in (while holding over a bowl):

Straining Almond Milk | ericajulson.com

and squeeze to release all the delicious juices:

Squeezing Almond Milk | ericajulson.com

Step 5: Bottle your awesome tasting almond milk

Bottled Almond Milk | ericajulson.com

I really like these Weck Juice Jars (used in the picture above).

They’re both stylish & functional.

Plus, seeing the almond milk in these beautiful jars makes me want to enjoy it ASAP (which is a good thing, since it only lasts 3 days in the fridge).

Step 6: Save that almond pulp!

This is technically optional, but it hurts to throw away those perfectly good almond remnants left in your nut milk bag.

What you have is essentially moist ground almond meal (since it has been blended up into a fine powder by your blender).

You can spread the pulp out onto a baking sheet and bake at your oven’s lowest temperature for a few hours until it’s dried out, or you can dehydrate it in a dehydrator, and the result is almond meal that will be shelf stable & usable to make crackers & cookies! How fab is that?

I recommend storing your almond meal in the freezer to extend the shelf life as long as possible & keep the flavor nice & fresh. There’s nothing worse than rancid fats!

In case making almond meal isn’t your jam, check out this recipe from My New Roots for raw nut pulp hummus! Such a creative way to use the leftovers!

Almond Milk Recipe

Cook Time10 mins
Servings: 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw unsalted almonds
  • 3 1/12 cups filtered water for blending + extra water for soaking
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • {optional} 1 whole vanilla bean pod for vanilla flavor
  • {optional} 2 medjool dates for sweetness

Instructions

  • Place the almonds in a bowl & fill with enough water to cover. Keep the bowl in the fridge & allow the almonds to soak overnight.
  • Remove the almonds from the fridge & drain. Place the drained almonds into a high-powered blender with 3 1/2 cups filtered water, a pinch of sea salt, & the optional vanilla bean & dates. The dates add sweetness, while the vanilla bean gives a nice hit of vanilla flavor. Mmmmm.
  • Blend on hight for a minute or two, until the almonds are completely pulverized & the milk has a smooth and even consistency.
  • Open your nut milk bag and have a friend hold it above a bowl while you pour the blended nut milk mixture into it. (If you don't have a friend to help you, simply prop the bag up on the bottom of a bowl & pour carefully!)
  • Let the smooth milk strain out through the holes of the nut milk bag & use your hands to squeeze as much liquid as possible from the almond pulp.
  • Store the nut milk in a closed container for up to 3 days in the fridge, & use the almond pulp in whatever creative way you desire!

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Homemade Almond Milk