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Excerpt from "Heal Your Gut With Bone Broth"

The Key to Gut Health is Bacterial Balance

by Robin Westen

Everything feels awful and you don’t look your best when your digestive system is out of whack. On the flip side, there will be a whole new you once you get your tummy in order. Here’s why it’s such a big deal. 

The best kind of probiotics are the natural bacteria in our stomachs. In her new book Heal Your Gut with Bone Broth (Ulysses Press, 2015), Robin Westen details how bone broth, utilized for thousands of years, contributes to good digestive health . With her program, you’ll restore digestive health and eliminate the damage created by toxic foods consumed every day. Westen also includes a way to identify your own bacterial imbalance with a test that measures the possible toxicity level in the body.

The benefits of broth have been consciously used to cure the common cold, so why not the gut as well? There are almost 100 trillion bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms living inside your digestive system’s microflora. Numerous studies are now reporting that these organisms play a huge role in our mental and physical health. In fact, these intestinal bacteria are crucial to a healthy immune system and are absolutely necessary to:

• Counter inflammation and control the growth of disease causing, not-so-good-for-us, bacteria

• Produce vitamins, absorb minerals, and get rid of toxins

• Reduce the risk of allergies, including controlling asthma

• Stabilize our moods

• Keep weight down

So what is it about bone broth that makes it so quintessentially healthy? For one, it’s the abundance of minerals (such as calcium and magnesium),  and amino acids (like arginine and cysteine). Another super powerful ingredient obtained in bone broth is gelatin, which you get by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones alone in water. Finally, there’s a good dose of pure protein - something you probably know offers you the energy you need to keep truckin’ throughout your demanding day.

From nutritionists and health professionals around the world there is no doubt that the natural restorative properties of bone broth are a definite YES for every individual to incorporate in their daily routine.

Bone Broth Recipe
The following recipe makes 5 quarts of broth. It’s best to freeze all but the 1 quart of broth you will be consuming that day and defrost a quart the night before for the following day. Any leftover broth you have after the detox is completed you can save in your freezer for a later date. Broth stays fresh when it’s frozen.

Best Ever Beef Broth

5 pounds bones, preferably beef shanks, purchased from a reliable organic butcher or farmer
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
5 quarts filtered or spring water
3 medium onions chopped
Assorted vegetables
2 tablespoons of parsley
2 tablespoons of sea salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns

1. Put all 5 pounds of bones into your stock pot, pressure cooker, or crock pot. Add the apple cider vinegar. Then fill the slow cooker with spring water and let it sit for 24 hours on very low heat. During the first few hours, remove the waxy foam that floats to the top with a big spoon. Do this every 30 minutes. After the bones have been cooking for 24 hours, you can add a few veggies for flavor. Don’t bother peeling these, since you won’t be eating them. Onions are essential. 

2. Add the parsley, sea salt, and black peppercorns. 

3. Let the broth sit over low heat for another 12 hours, but you can be flexible with the timing. Just know that the longer you cook the broth on low heat, the more the bones will break down and release the healthy nutrients. Recheck after first 24 hours to be sure the marrow has come out of the bones. If they haven’t, be a bit more aggressive: Hold the bones with tongs (so you don’t burn your fingers!) and use a fork or knife to dig the marrow out of the middle of the bones. 

4. Now you’re ready to turn off the cooker and let the broth cool down. This takes around 3 hours. Remove the big veggies, put them in a bowl, and give them to a friend who appreciates them. Some dogs enjoy vegetables, especially after they’ve been soaking in a beef broth. Then drain the broth through the strainer or colander. Freeze whatever you’re not going to drink that day. 

For beginners, the 7-day Bone Broth Gut Detox will help realign any person’s digestive health. Gradually your gut will feel significantly different. With the 5-Step Prep, the road to stomach control is painless.

Step One: Minimize Your Menu
Reduce all coffee and caffeine products, sugar, dairy products, alcohol, eggs, processed foods and fried foods. By lowering the intake of these items, your diet will be healthier. Remove the junk!

Step Two: Sweat, Rub, and Release
Here’s the age-old tip: Take a trip to the sauna to sweat out the toxins we encounter every day. Outer and inner toxins truly affect your tummy. The sauna creates a “fever” reaction that kills potentially dangerous viruses and bacteria and increases the number of white blood cells.

Step Three: Clear the Decks
When participating in this 7-day Detox, it’s a good idea to clear your schedule. Rearrange your calendar and commit a week to your well being.

Step Four: Rest and Sleep
Mental health certainly affects physical health. Always, the key to good health is a good night’s sleep. Even a 10-15 minute nap can benefit your overall cognitive performance. Resting is important.

Step Five: Setting a Goal
When you make an affirmation you make a commitment to yourself that you will succeed in generating a healthy long-lasting lifestyle. Things like “I can make this work!” and “I’m capable of creating more energy and positivity in my life” are instructions that reestablish the priority of your health.

Heal Your Gut with Bone Broth ($14.95, Ulysses Press) is available wherever books are sold. 

Robin Westen received an Emmy Award for the ABC health show FYI. She is currently the medical director for Thirdage.com, the largest health site for baby boomers on the Web. She is the author of The Yoga-Body Cleanse, The Master Cleanse Made Easy,The 2-Day Superfood Cleanse, The Metabolism-Boost Cleanse, and the coauthor of V Is for Vagina. She’s written feature articles for dozens of national magazines including Glamour, Vegetarian Times, Psychology Today, SELF, Cosmopolitan, and others. Robin has been practicing yoga, meditation, and cleansing for over 15 years. She divides her time between Brooklyn and Vermont.

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