Nourishing Bone Broth

A few months ago I wrote about making traditional healing bone broth as a way to intake bone-building nutrients like proteoglycans and minerals. This weekend I made another batch because it is overall good for the immune system and the digestive tract.

The main difference between beef stock and traditional beef broth is the length of time that the bones simmer: regular stock takes a few hours, whereas traditional beef broth takes a few days (48-72 hours). 

I made my batch for 72 hours, although I took about half the broth out partway through and refilled the pot with additional water and vinegar. 

Here's a rough estimate of the proportions I used:

  • Book _Screen Shot 2017-02-12 At 7.47.41 PM2 lbs. organic beef bones (roasted at 350 for 30 minutes first)
  • 1 gallon filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 white onion
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Sea salt to taste

Bring everything (except the parsley, garlic, and salt) to a boil and then drop down to a simmer for 48-72 hours. Add the parsley, garlic and sea salt during the final 30 minutes of simmering.

Now that I'm writing this blog post, I looked at a book in the NUHS library called Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World by Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel. This book has numerous recipes for every type of bone. It turns out the amount of vinegar I used should have been much more (1/2 cup) to dissolve the bones further. The book also dives into the research behind using bone broth as a treatment for the following health conditions: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, psoriasis, wound healing, infectious disease, digestive disorders, and cancer.

Using whole foods to heal and support the body is the natural and traditional way humans have evolved since the beginning of time. Getting back to the way our ancestors ate takes time and persistence; implementing nourishing bone broth can be a step in your wellness journey!

Botanical Medicine

Botanical medicine is a significant aspect of our naturopathic curriculum. At NUHS, we have three botanical medicine classes that cover hundreds of herbs. I'm currently taking Advanced Naturopathic Botanical Prescribing to learn how to appropriately prescribe botanicals that are research-based for a patient's condition. Every week, we have to formulate a botanical tincture based on reading a case study, including the goals and rationale of treatment.

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Goals of treatment are related to the action the botanicals need to have. We usually will have a few actions to accomplish based on one case study. Also, each botanical carries several actions. A few of the many actions are listed below:

  • Nervine calms the nerves. This can further be broken down into relaxants, stimulants and tonics.
  • Expectorant expels mucous from the respiratory system.
  • Carminative reduces gas and intestinal cramping.
  • Galactogogue increases breast milk production in lactating women.
  • Tonic strengthens an organ or system to which it has an affinity.
  • Vermifuge expels worms/parasites from the intestines.
  • Cholagogue promotes bile flow from the gallbladder.

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Botanical medicine is one of the main distinguishing features between allopathic and naturopathic medicine. In allopathic/osteopathic medical school, students may be taught some general herbs that are common such as ginger and turmeric, but they don't have formal classes on botanical medicine. In naturopathic medical school, we have about 150 hours of class time to thoroughly learn about the actions, constituents and clinical applications of botanicals using research-based science.

Applied Kinesiology

Over the weekend, I attended a four-hour "Intro to Applied Kinesiology" seminar taught by Dr. Louis C. Boven. My friend and classmate Raheel has been learning from Dr. Boven for quite some time and got him to come to the area to hold this free seminar.

I didn't know much about Applied Kinesiology, and I went to the class to learn more. 

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Applied Kinesiology is a diagnostic system -- not treatment protocol -- that incorporates muscle testing, postural analysis, patient history, temporal-sphenoidal line palpation, and neurology to efficiently discover the cause(s) of the patient's ailments. Is the problem structural, mental or chemical? As physicians, we must accurately diagnose to be able to treat the problem appropriately.

For example, if someone has chemical imbalances, the most common being chronic inflammation, spinal manipulation from the best doctors in the world may provide temporary relief, but it won't make a sustainable change because the problem isn't structural, it's chemical (usually due to diet and gut issues).

Another example is that a structural problem like a hiatal hernia can't adequately be resolved using chemicals such as pharmaceuticals or botanicals because the structure needs to be addressed! Identifying the problem is the first step.

Whether or not I decide to enroll in the 100-hour Applied Kinesiology course to become certified in this modality, I gained knowledge that can be translated into other aspects of naturopathic medicine. I also have a better understanding of what Applied Kinesiology is and how it may help my patients in the future.

The more types of diagnosis and treatments I learn, the better off my patients will be because I recognize that I will not have all the answers for every single patient. Being able to offer alternative solutions including referrals when my resources are exhausted will lead to patient trust, satisfaction, and most importantly, health!

The Most Misunderstood Nutrient

Last trimester in my Clinical Nutrition class, we had a lecture on iodine that sparked my interest into learning more.

Over winter break, I read a book titled "Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It" by Dr. David Brownstein, MD. The book was written at a level that is easily understandable by the general public, while at the same time containing enough science to engage healthcare practitioners.

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The Institute of Medicine's recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iodine is 150 micrograms daily, an amount that's sufficient for the prevention of goiters. In reality, the level that prevents goiters completely neglects the amount required by other organs in the body to fulfill their physiological functions without disease.

As you probably know, in the US, we iodize salt. Sea vegetables and fish naturally contain iodine, and in areas that consume those regularly like Japan, the daily intake is 12.5 milligrams (over 100 times the RDA value).

Iodine supplementation may help many conditions including breast cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, detoxification, fatigue, Graves' disease, and Hashimoto's disease. The book references many research articles, which I plan to access and read in the future.

Should I start supplementing with iodine? How much iodine do I need? There is an iodine urine loading test that the book recommends in order to choose a safe supplementation amount. Also, some people need other supplements in addition to iodine to increase the transport mechanisms iodine uses to get into cells.

Therefore, as with any supplement, work with a naturopathic doctor to implement iodine supplementation safely with an amount tailored to your individual needs.

Continuing the Journey to Clinic

This trimester I'm taking a mixture of Tri 7 and 8 classes because I'm on the flex track. Every tri, the material gets more and more clinical, and I'll not only be seeing patients for hydrotherapy treatments at the clinic but also treating simulated patients in one of my classes.

The ND program eases students into patient care through several steps. A few trimesters ago, one of my classes was a clinic observation shift for 4 hours per week. By observing, we can get a feel for the flow of clinic and gain experience in charting notes. 

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A class I'm currently enrolled in, Advanced Diagnosis and Problem Solving, gives students the opportunity to work with simulated patients ­-- paid actors -- who stick to a script and learn the patient's story, prompting us to clinically think through a diagnosis and come up with an effective treatment plan. An accurate statement my professor said on the first day of class was that aside from very few students who are already nurses, none of us know what "real patients" will say, so we should never treat these patients differently. These scenarios were all created to be challenging and represent unexpected curveballs that real patients will throw at us every day.

As for the hydrotherapy rotation, I won't be responsible for making treatment plans, rather, I'll be following ND interns' treatment plans and documenting the procedures and patients' response. I'm especially excited for this new experience because the clinic has a brand-new, state-of-the-art hydrotherapy lab! I'll follow up on a separate blog post with photos about that later this trimester.