Bone Broth Rookie

Here’s a photo of a barn at dusk on my drive home from work today.

As I write this, it is Wednesday night, Day 4 of my Bone Broth Fast.

Here’s the story: I started fasting on Sunday without knowing how long the fast would last. 5 days seemed like a solid amount of time, but it also seemed daunting, so I decided to just roll with this new brilliant idea and see how I felt along the way. On that first day, Sunday, I drank nothing but water. I didn’t even have a cup of black coffee.

If you think about it, Sunday is a good day to start a new habit, as opposed to Monday. There’s already enough going on on Monday’s, the pressure is real. You have to wake up early again, you can’t just do what you want, you have to plug in, the whole I Hate Mondays thing is still a thing according to my FB feed. Why add the extra pressure of trying to start a fast on a Monday? If you start on Sunday, then by Monday you already have a day under your belt, you’re already ahead! This is good logic. The drive for change is strong and I am ready.

After doing a bit of reading, it seemed the most important tool for my fast would be bone broth. Apparently the benefits of bone broth are many, including: it is rich in nutrients, boosts the immune system, and contains good things for the skin like collagen. It’s getting cold and dark around here in the north east, winter skin is creeping in.

I’ve never made bone broth before, but as it turns out, it’s pretty simple. I chose a recipe that is basically the same as chicken soup, but the broth is made from simmering a whole chicken, bones, giblets and all, for almost 18 hours.

To get started you need a crock pot. Then you need a whole chicken (preferably from a local farm, humanely raised, fed an organic/vegetarian diet). Think about it, you’re going to be ingesting the marrow of this animal, you want to know how it lived and what it ate. Then you need some diced celery, carrots, and onion.

On Sunday night, Day 1 of my fast, I offered a moment of thanks to my chicken and then placed him with the diced veggies and some water in the crock pot, and let it simmer on low over night for about 10 hours. The following morning, Monday, Day 2, I turned off the pot and went to work. That night I started it up again and let it cook for another 4. After 48 hours of nothing but water and a cups of black coffee, I was ready for some nourishment.

Having never made bone broth before, I might have made a rookie move in putting all the diced vegetables in the water with the whole chicken to cook. When it was ready after simmering for so long, the meat was plump and juicy and fell away from the bones but I found the task of trying to strain the broth and sift out the smaller bones while keeping the vegetables a bit of a challenge. I don’t like to waste food, so this took some time and a few extra pans and utensils.

bone-broth-in-process.jpg

Heck, I had nothing else to do. It was Day 2 of my fast and I was already bored. It’s amazing how much time we spend on food—thinking about food, planning food, shopping, preparing, eating, and then cleaning up after. I was also feeling somewhat energized after almost 48 hours of fasting and wasn’t in a hurry to go to sleep (this is unusual for me, I love to sleep) so I had time to kill. The soup smelled amazing, comforting, and toasty. But surprisingly, I wasn’t that hungry, and even though I was prepping a lot of freshly roasted solid food, I didn’t cheat on my fast.

After separating out the meat and the veggies and the broth and bones, I enjoyed a bowl of the warm broth and then went to sleep. I slept well.

So, net/net for Day 2: I drank a cup of black coffee at breakfast, water throughout the day, and a bowl of bone broth for dinner. For a majority of the day I felt energized, awake, and plugged in… like a fog had lifted. My clothes even felt looser. The lunchtime smells in the office tempted the senses only slightly, but overall my resolve was strong. I felt ready for Day 3.

P.S. Happy Birthday Mom.

 

Good morning.

So, on Sunday I woke up and decided it was time for a change. The new job is going great, the new pooch is a love-bug, and the fall weather right now is stunning. My morning commute has turned into a bit of a meditation: Blue sky, early morning fog over the valley, trees changing in the surrounding mountains, and a rising morning sun. Now is the time to start new habits. I just feel ready. So, after seeing a FB post by a CF trainer about how he and his wife are on Day 5 of a 7 Day Keto fast, and feeling energized and still working out, I thought, this is what I need. Something drastic. Not putting cream in my coffee and cutting back on bad carbs wasn’t going to cut it. So, I decided to fast on Sunday and see how I felt. I drank nothing but water and focused on chores around the house to keep me busy. That was Day 1.

On Monday, Day 2, I woke up earlier than usual. Sleep was decent, waking up a few times during the night but falling back to sleep, nothing drastic where I’m awake for hours, which over the last year had become my normal sleep pattern. At work I drank water and a cup of black coffee.

Up next, Bone Broth.

Welcome home.

I’ve been feeling like shit. Like my body is a dumping ground for pizza pie, processed cheese, hamburger greeez, beer, wine, and extra crispy French fries. About a year ago I stopped exercising — worse, I stopped caring — that’s how I reacted to a huge life shift, in career, home, community, etc. Then my coffee maker died. It felt as if every last piece of me, what I once was, was being stripped away bit by bit and left along the roadside in a wake of scattered debris. More about that some other time.

“You can have the courage to climb the mountain, swim the lakes, go on a raft to the other side of the Atlantic or Pacific. That any fool can do, but the courage to be on your own, to stand on your two solid feet, is something which cannot be given by somebody.” ― U.G. Krishnamurti, The Courage to Stand Alone

The point being, in response to all of the change, I chose to stop taking care of myself. Healthy reaction, I know. Life happens. Sometimes during a difficult time you cannot see the forest or even the damn trees. Sometimes the only thing you can focus on is the low-light under a pile of covers for days on end. And you’re completely okay with that. And that’s okay too. But at some point you must reemerge, ideally. Some call that the Hero’s Journey—some emerge on the other side, some do not. But if you do eventually come up for air, that’s when you have to ask yourself, now what?

The good news: fast forward a year and I am in a new career, one that I love, putting a hard-earned degree to work in a creative industry that speaks to my core. I can finally say at the age of 48, I love what I do for a living.

The bad news: My current habits aren’t great. Inch by inch over the last year as my eating habits have declined my lethargy has increased in direct disproportion. I’ve gained some weight. Current BMI: 25. Overweight. A BMI of 30 and above is considered obese.

The nearest CrossFit from my new home is an hour drive. CrossFit has always been my go-to in staying a healthy course. But now, I can barely remember what it is like to hit a WOD, to work my body at max output. I miss the feeling of that level of physical exertion. Pushing past a place of, “I don’t think I can,” to “I did it!” There’s nothing quite like it. I also miss the people. Sure, I have been on a couple walk/runs, scant 3 mile jaunts where I walk more than run and all I want to do is turn around and go home and give up for good.

Why bother? I’ve asked myself over and over. I’m too far gone.

Really. Seriously. Why bother?

But eventually, you do. You have to. So I’m beginning again, again, again… Since there’s no CF locally, I’m starting slow with what long ago would have been considered a warm-up. That may sound snarky, but it’s true, and it’s okay. Your level of work is directly proportional to your level of work. I have no idea what that means except everyone has a different threshold, and while I’ll most likely never revisit the PRs I once knew, I’m happy to start on a path that just gets me moving consistently again, clearing my mind and my body of bloat and fog. How will I do this? Well, here’s the plan:

  1. Embark on a 5 day Bone Broth Fast. The benefits are many. And when you’re standing on a precipice like the one I’ve been tight-rope-walking the last twelve months or so, nothing but a total and complete drastic reboot will do. It’s all or nothing at this point. No room for rationale or bargaining. What happens after the Bone Broth? TBD.
  2. Start moving. Every single day.
  3. If I can’t go to the mountain, I’m gonna’ bring the mountain to me, stone by stone… i.e. get creative. Figure out how to incorporate what has long seemed like home into my new home. (See photo.)
  4. Write. Here in this place. And other places. Just write. It’s what I love. It’s who I am. Side note: For those of you that used to read this blog many years ago, you’ll remember my best-four-legged buddy, Oliver. His photos are populated throughout this url. The outline of his profile is the inspiration for the logo. He’s since passed away, a year ago next month. While his nose prints may have all but faded from my windows, I’m not erasing his image from this blog. Rather, his presence is a trusted source of inspiration, a compatriot. I do have a new furry friend now, Maverick, and we’re getting to know one another.

And so it is with a soldered-spirit that I acknowledge what was with a commitment to what is. Like coming home. Onward.