Immune-boosting Bone Broth

Fall is here! Winter is coming... #GOT anyone? 

Here in the Seattle area it's starting to cool off. Mornings are colder and you can feel the season turning. In our house, this means bone broth is being brewed on the regular. One of my favorite things about getting up in the morning is grabbing a cup of warm broth from the slow-cooker. That warm, soothing broth just feels SO nourishing! 

In a previous post for my Gut-Healing Golden Milk, I wrote about the gut-healing benefits of gelatin. Gelatin is extracted from the cartilage/collagen of animal bones in the broth-making process. The best way to know if you've made a gelatin-rich broth is to put it in the refrigerator and if it gelatinizes, it's gold.

This is what I mean by gold

This is what I mean by gold

A slow-brewed bone broth can be so nutrient-dense because you can put anything and everything in it! Save all of your kitchen scraps because you will get some great use out of them in this broth. When I say kitchen scraps that can be any of the following: kale/chard/collard stems, mushroom stems, carrot tops or peels, onion ends, celery ends, lemon peels, broccoli/cauliflower cores, etc. Get creative! Keep a bag of veggie scraps in the freezer and after using the rest of the vegetable, just throw your scraps in the bag. This is a great way to utilize the nutrients from foods you're already purchasing for further benefit.  

Adding eggshells and bones to your broth provides an amazing source of calcium and other bone-building minerals. Using apple cider vinegar is essential to create an acidic environment for those minerals to seep out of those foods and into the broth. This is important for those who avoid dairy products since it's a bit trickier to get enough calcium (though, not impossible!).  

To my broth, I add some other unique ingredients not found in "typical" broths and are great for immune and thyroid support.  

  • Seaweed (usually kombu or hijiki)
  • Astragalus 
  • Reishi mushroom
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Parsley

Let's review some of the primary body systems this broth can benefit:

  • Gelatin: GI tract, skin, hair, and nails, sleep
  • Egg shells and bones: bone health (you are what you eat!)
  • Veggie scraps: heart, brain, eyes, immune, detoxification, blood pressure
  • Mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and astragalus: immune
  • Seaweed: thyroid 
  • Parsley: detoxification, blood pressure
  • Kale: blood, bones, detoxification, heart, brain

So there you have it. A broth that supports almost all the systems! Please share this with your friends and followers if you think they'd like to give this a try.


Immune-Boosting Bone Broth

Yield: About 4 quarts

Preparation time: 5 minutes + 24-36 hours brew time

Equipment: Crockpot or large stockpot


  • 1-2 pounds of chicken, lamb, or beef bones (pastured or grass-fed preferred)
  • 1 onion, casually chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 leaves kale, chopped
  • 1 cup seaweed (Kombu or hijiki)
  • 5 "tongue depressors" of astragalus
  • 1 inch knob fresh ginger
  • 5 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch parsley (including the ends)
  • 2 handfuls of vegetable scraps
  • Crushed eggshells (whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 quarts water (or fill up your pot)


  1. Add all the ingredients to your slow-cooker or stockpot. 
  2. Heat on low for 24 hours and keep warm. 
  3. Strain to drink or use.
  4. You have a few options once it is ready:
  • You may choose to "keep warm" until you are finished consuming it.
  • Use it as a base for soups and stews.
  • Store in jars and refrigerate.
  • Freeze as ice blocks to use later.

Original recipe by Anisa Woodall

Probiotic Indian-Spiced Sauerkraut

Some cabbages from a friend's garden

Some cabbages from a friend's garden

Sauerkraut is one of the best and easiest ways to increase probiotics in your food. We've all heard about probiotics: beneficial bacteria for your gut. Let's explore where they come from and why you should be striving to include them in your everyday meals. 

Where do these probiotics come from?

There are a variety of bacteria present on the surface of all vegetables (actually, on most things). The process of lacto-fermentation creates an environment where the beneficial bacteria, Lactobacilli, can feed off of the carbohydrates in the vegetables to preserve and proliferate causing the "harmful" bacteria to die off because the lactic acid environment that's created is a poor environment for their survival. For lacto-fermentation, you can use salt or whey (the liquid from active yoghurt). In this recipe we will use salt, so be sure not to omit it!

Why are probiotics important?

With the many modern lifestyle factors present today, there are a lot of reasons why many of us struggle with maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Some of the many factors include antibiotic use, toxic exposures (like heavy metals or pesticides), SAD (Standard American Diet), C-section births and a lack of breastfeeding. All of these can kill off bacteria found in our GI tracts, good and bad, often leading to symptoms or conditions like diarrhea, constipation, dysbiosis, IBS, and GAPS. This is why it is so important to replenish our gut microbiome with beneficial bacteria to help balance our flora and improve our bowel movements (don't be embarrassed, I'm a nutritionist; I can talk about poop all day). 

Need a kickstart to your fermentation endeavors? You can schedule a cooking demonstration with me by email if you live on the Eastside of King County, WA. 


Probiotic Indian-Spiced Sauerkraut

I've made this recipe once before and it is by far my husband's favorite. We eat this as a side or condiment to complement a main dish, on top of a salad, or just by itself as a snack. The variety of spices provide some added vitality and bioactive compounds where you may not find a place in your diet to squeeze them in elsewhere. This recipe can be made as a simple sauerkraut by omitting the spices, onion and garlic.

Yield: 3 quarts

Preparation time: 30 minutes +1-2 weeks of fermentation

Equipment needed: Knife, Mandolin (optional, but makes slicing much easier), 3 quart sized mason jars or a fermentation crock, Large bowl



  1. Cut each head of cabbage in half and remove the core with your knife. Save some outer leaves to cover your sauerkraut in the end.
  2. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the head of cabbage into thin pieces. The thinner they are, the faster they will ferment.
  3. As you add the cabbage to the bowl, sprinkle a little salt and massage to coat the cabbage.
  4. Once all the cabbage is in the bowl, sprinkle the rest of the salt and massage until the juices are released.* This may take 5-10 minutes.
  5. Add the onion, garlic, and spices and massage for 30 seconds or until fully coated.
  6. Stuff the mixture into your mason jars and fill 3/4 of the way. Cover with the cabbage leaf you set aside. Pack it down until the juices rise above the mixture.
  7. Cover tightly with a lid and store for at least 1 week, checking about every two days to make sure the sauerkraut is still underneath the brine since fermentation causes it to expand. The longer it ferments, the more probiotic and less crunchy it will be. After 2 weeks, move it to the refrigerator to prevent further fermentation.**
  8. Once the sauerkraut has reached a desirable consistency, enjoy! Be sure to keep it away from heat as the probiotics will no longer be available. 

*Note: If you have an older head of cabbage, you may need to add some salt water to have enough brine. Mix 1 warm cup of water with 1/2 tablespoon salt and dissolve.

**Note: In colder months, it will take longer to ferment since cold temperatures slow the proliferation of bacteria.

For more detailed information on how to further improve your health with food, give my office a call to schedule a visit with me. 

Recipe inspired by: Ashley Thomas's Indian Sauerkraut from the My Heart Beets blog