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By Laura Stec

Journey Through Covid (with bone broth)

Uploaded: Mar 10, 2022

It was the first weekend back to some semblance of normal. “Everybody can take off their mask,” and yes indeedie – that’s exactly what happened.

Of the three socials attended Freedom Weekend, I assume it was the Sunday bar with live music that socked-it-too-me. Gosh it was great to see the blues folks again though and hear the band play. First time since Thanksgiving. The music was hot and so were the women. Ok, the men too. It was fun to dance and grove again with friends.

Thursday she started with a little “hey there,” in the back of my throat. Went to bed at 9 PM and woke up Saturday 9 AM. Oh, except for the sunbathing. One of my major symptoms was big time chills. I spent an hour sunitizing in a full length puffy. It helped a lot but I must have looked like a dweeb.

- photo by Tom Hafkenschiel

Realized I hadn’t been this sick in 23 years; don’t even think I ‘ve had a fever since then. Kinda felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Hmmm, why is that? Why does a sick body give itself aches? Had lots of time to think about that. I get it - we lose our appetite to divert digestive energy into healing. Chills are the body’s way to increase temperature (and fight bad guys) by making our muscles shake. But why body aches?

Saturday brought a miraculous recovery. “It’s just the 48-hour flu,” but got a PCR test anyways. They test now for covid and flu at the same time by the way. Didn’t quick test. Why waste it? No matter the results, I would sequester. Everyone said the home tests aren’t positive at the beginning anyways.

Went for a walk Sunday and had to sit down along the way. Felt a little dizzy; drunk even. The reality that this was just the flu quickly disappeared. Still waiting for the PCR test results, I took a quickie. Ah Covid, vaxed and boosted, for two years I have averted you. Alas, she succumbs.

- photo by LSIC

I didn’t feel all that bad for my 11-day sequestration but lacked motivation for much more than 500 pages of Midnight in America. Time went on forever – with energy levels holding at 70% - 80%, each day only seemed a touch better than the last, and none felt normal. And that made me antsy (good Wordle word). I was never really afraid about getting covid. My fear was more like “what happens if it didn’t go away?”

I wondered how this near 60 -year immune system would respond? After all, it hadn’t been tested in 20+ years – so who knows? I felt like one big science experiment. But each day brought a little progress. How wonderful to feel one’s energy coming back and watch your body jump into action with it’s 16 million-zillion chemical reactions focused on slaying the invaders. I realized how much I take it all for granted. Covid taught me how that top 10 – 15% energy level defines me - both physically and personally. It’s what makes Laura, Laura. How awful if that wouldn’t return. I gained empathy for anyone with long-covid. The body is so amazing! Observing the power within us inspired me to write, and to wonder what your experience was if you too succumbed.

I didn’t eat a lot but oranges, blueberries and green tea. Sipped on homemade bone broth too. Chicken bones and sea bones (hah -sea veggies). The science is still out on any miraculous healing properties, but I wonder if bone broth can save the planet? If we turned all the livestock into broths and brown sauces, rather than burgers and tenders, we’d maintain the flavors we love, but improve the soil, stop monocropping so much, reduce greenhouse gases dramatically, and eat far fewer animals.

Slow Cooker Bone Broth - Chicken

Bone broth is a deeply seasoned stock used as a base for soups and sauces. A new darling of the health world, it is also noted for possible benefits beyond taste, including reduced inflammation, and better digestion, weight loss, sleep, and joint health. Though science doesn’t back that up, something about a warm cup of stock is comforting, filling, and a good tool for weight reduction.

- photo by LSIC

3 pounds chicken bones (use up that leftover roasted chicken carcass and make sure to throw in some feet, backs and wing tips for best results)
3 cups vegetables or vegetable scraps (carrot, celery, fennel, onion, fresh herbs, parsley stems, garlic)
2 bay leaves
6 black peppercorns
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (vinegar helps draw out valuable nutrients)
Salt to taste
Optional: 4” piece of kombu sea veggie, 5 dried shitake mushrooms, 4 slices dried astragalus (herb)

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, and cover with 8 - 12 cups of cold water to completely submerge the bones. Cook on low 16 – 24 hours, checking every so often and add water as needed. The longer it cooks, the better flavor and results you will get. When done, remove bones and strain. For a clear stock, strain again with a fine strainer or cheese cloth. Remove fat off the top once cooled.

Want even better results?
Before adding bones to the slow cooker, roast them on a baking sheet at 425° degrees for 45 minutes – 1.25 hours. Stir throughout the roasting process. This step is highly recommended for better flavor. Look for a dark brown color. Use the remaining fat (schmaltz) to sauté with.

Tips for a Good Stock
1. Start with cold water (some proteins are soluble in cold water, others in hot)
2. Ratio: 2 - 3 pounds bones per 8 cups water
3. Don’t stir (cloudy stock), but skim off scum at top
4. Roast the bones till dark brown. Most don’t roast long or hot enough
5. Nothing goes to waste! Keep a “stock pot” or plastic bag in freezer for vegetable scraps like peels and skins. Use this instead of buying fresh veggies
6. Might add vegetables in the last 4 hours (over-cooking can create bitterness)
7. For additional umami and antioxidant power, add in a piece of kombu sea veggie, dried shitake mushrooms, or 4 slices of the dried herb astragalus.

To health!

- photo by LSIC