This chicken bone broth recipe saved my life. Maybe not literally but figuratively it did. It nourished me when I was down, and it brought me back to life. I love this recipe, and every time I make it I say the same thing, “this is the best chicken bone broth I have ever had.” Not only nourishing but delicious too.
April 11, 2018, is a date I will well. I was preoccupied with trying to pack for a flight to New York. I had a lot going on with work and life. We were going to New York for a long weekend to ourselves, where we could be a bit carefree and running around or me dragging Lenny around New York. I was terribly excited and could not wait to getaway. When I am preoccupied I tend not to focus on one task, so I distracted myself from work and packing, grabbed my keys at 7:00 pm, and walked to the mailbox. I never take my phone when I go to the mailbox as I think of it as downtime. It was 7:11 pm when I came back home. There was a missed call from my gastro doctor. Doctors do not call after hours when it is good news, do they?
I try not to listen to voicemails or answer emails after 5 pm. Should I wait to listen to this voicemail in the morning? I was conflicted as to whether I should wait but it hit me in the gut even before listening. I am even sure tears were already welling up. I am a regular waterworks. I knew it would eat me up if I waited until the morning, so I listened to the message. Like I said no news comes after hours from your doctor. There it was the words I never wanted to hear. My tests came back from a routine colonoscopy and one of the polyps was a rare and slow-growing cancer. I immediately dialed her back as it had only been a few minutes since she left the voicemail. The other thing I was to learn is that doctors don’t leave their personal numbers even if they call you after hours.
I spent the next 24 hours doing what I knew I should not do; massive amounts of research. The next day was tormenting as I continued to call her but she was always in surgery. That is the thing about colonoscopies; they are a”pump them out” sort of business. Twenty-four hours later I finally have her on the phone. The call is brief, the polyp came back, and it was cancer, it looks to be early stages, and since I don’t have symptoms, it should work out okay. Of course, I get a rare form of cancer, so she needs to find a specialist for me to talk too. She needs me to come in for a sigmoidoscopy so she can tattoo the area where the polyp was. I said I had plans to travel, should I cancel? What should I do? She reassured me about going to New York for the weekend, have a great time, and then we would start the process.
I soon learned that once the word cancer shows up on medical files, things move along very quickly. I was back from NY prepping for the sigmoidoscopy – where they would make the area where the cancer is. The next couple of weeks after the sigmoidoscopy I spent a lot of time on the phone talking with hospitals and preparing paperwork while she looked for the specialist. Damn rare cancers! Then I got the call that she found a specialist for me to see. He was a no-bullshit kind of doctor, which I liked. He called and wanted me in his office that day. I barely had time to even blink let alone research him. We met with him, we liked him and surgery was scheduled. Two weeks later I was prepping again and then I was in the hospital. My last words to him as I was going under was to just get rid of it.
The surgery went very well and as far as I know, I am cancer-free. I am coming up on the one year anniversary which means I will begin prepping and will be back in for my new found yearly colonoscopy. I feel confident that all will be okay but I also felt confident when I went in for a routine appointment. I would be lying if I did not say I was a bit anxious this time around.
Why am I telling you this almost a year later, and over a recipe for chicken bone broth? I was not sure how to tell anyone when I found out. I thought if and when I ever got cancer I would tell everyone but I felt emotionally private about it and told very few people besides family. Not because I was hiding anything but I just did not know how to talk about it. Sometimes when you tell people, there is this pity on their faces. I didn’t want pity. Now I talk about it often, especially when women, as well as men, say they don’t need to get a routine colonoscopy because they have not “had any issues”. Well, that is bullshit, no pun intended but why would you wait for an issue to arise? I had no symptoms and didn’t want to wait for any.
I was putting it off because of the horror stories I heard about the prep. My friend Heidi had her turning fifty procedure done – her motivation really kicked me in the right direction. If it wasn’t for her, I might have put it off longer and then it could have been worse. I thank her every day.
If I can motivate at least one person to go take care of business then I feel good about sharing my story. Don’t put it off! A little discomfort for a couple of days could save your life.
Let’s talk about the coloscopy – it is not that hard LADIES and GENTLEMEN! The worse part is the prep and to be honest that was not that horrible either.
SCHEDULING YOUR APPOINTMENT
- Schedule the first appointment of the day for your procedure. My GI gave me this bit of information. The staff is happy and refreshed and you will be out on time. No delays!
- They will give you a solution to drink the day before your colonoscopy to cleanse your system. I had to prep three times and each time was given something different.
- The first time was Golytely – this is the nasty gallon bottle that you hear everyone talk about. It is nasty but it works. I didn’t have any side effects with this one but I hated the taste and I gagged while drinking it. Overall, just suck it up and deal.
- The second time they had me do laxatives and two enemas. I HATED this more than the gallon of Golytely. It dehydrated me, gave me cramps and I felt terrible. Not to mention you really need help with the enemas and no matter how intimate you are with someone, this takes it to a whole other level. Not romantic or sexy at all.
- The third time was before my surgery. I told my surgeon I did not want to go the laxative way which he thought was barbaric. I would rather do the gallon of horror. He gave me something better and said this is what he always uses – Suprep. It was a dream – tasted like grape kool-aid and was easy to use. No side effects at all. If you have a choice go this way – ask your doctor about it.
- Four days before the procedure I began a low fiber diet which meant no grains, nuts, seeds, dried or fresh fruit, or vegetables. It was at this time I realized how much of a vegetarian, rich diet we eat. I called these four days the “white food diet” as I ate chicken, eggs, this bone broth, white rice, and white bread. I gave up dairy as well during this time but was not required to.
- The day before the procedure I did not eat any solids – only clear liquids. This chicken bone broth filled me up and left me feeling strong. As well as clear juices (apple or white grape) which I diluted with water because of the high sugar content as well as black coffee and tea.
- Don’t eat or drink anything or brush your teeth two hours before your procedure. No gum or candy or anything. This is why it is best to schedule the first appointment of the day. It is better to have dirty teeth for only a few hours than the whole day.
- After the procedure – follow your doctor’s orders. I continued the white diet afterward – I ate a scrambled egg when I got home along with some of this chicken bone broth and then at dinner I had roasted chicken and potatoes. I ate this way after all three procedures. The last thing I wanted was a burger or rib-eye going through my abused GI tract.
- Take it easy – plan a rest day, don’t work, watch trashy tv, sleep or read. I felt good but was really tired. I didn’t feel guilty for laying on the couch and doing nothing after all three of the procedures I had.
Both my GI doctor and surgeon said that the cancer I had was environmental – it was not something I did. It is neuroendocrine cancer, and most endocrine tumors are caused by what is in the environment and products that we use around our homes. Since I have made a lot of changes in our house from the products we use to clean as well as eliminating plastic, to the products that we use on our skin, our biggest organ. I have become somewhat a freak about it all but I really do not want to have either of us go through this again. If I can make small changes all the way around with our lifestyle I have some peace of mind.
My doctors also said to help reduce the risk of polyps by increasing the fiber in our diets. We were already eating a fairly high fiber-rich diet, but now I make sure that most food items we eat have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. It takes a little time to read labels and may cost a bit more but for us, it is worth it. I would rather pay more for reliable food sources and products than thousands of dollars for surgery and cancer treatments. Which by the way is mind-blowing at how much each procedure costs and what insurance will actually pay for. A whole other post in its self.
My friend Bree wrote a great post on colonoscopies which help put my mind at ease when I was getting ready for everything.
Recipe: Chicken Bone Broth
I use a 5 1/4 quart dutch oven to cook the broth in – makes between 12 – 14 (1 cup) servings.
- 5 pounds free-range chicken bones – I use wings and I buy the best ones I can. I prefer Emmer & Co or Mary’s Free Range chicken.
- 20 cups of water
- 1 organic yellow onion, paper left on, cut in half. If you do not use organic remove the paper
- 3 organic cloves garlic, smashed and paper left on. If you do not use organic remove the paper.
- drizzle olive oil
- black pepper
- Place the bones into the dutch oven and cover with cold water. Place on the stove and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes. Skim off any foam and then strain in a colander. Do not pour the mixture before skimming off the foam – this is all the nasty stuff.
- Preheat oven to 275.
- Place bones into the dutch oven. Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle generously with black pepper.
- Slide into the oven and roast for 2 – 3 hours until golden brown. Every hour, I use a wooden spoon to move the bones around.
- Remove from the oven, place on the stove on medium heat, and add the water, onion, and garlic. Bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to a very low simmer and cook for 4 hours. I stir every hour. If the level of water goes down more than an inch I add more water to the pot. Once the 4 hours is up, I turn off the stove and let the mixture cool down. Then I place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning while I am making coffee, I take the pot out and let it come to room temperature. Then I skim off any fat that has solidified on top before heating the mixture up over very low heat. I continue cooking for the entire day – about 5 hours. Then I let it cool and repeat the process the next day.
- After cooking on the third day, I let the broth cool to room temperature. Then I strain it twice through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl or pot.
- Pour into freezer-proof glass jars. I like to use the 4 cups Weck Tulip jars. I only fill to the top of the Weck logo which is about 6 1/2 ladles as it will expand when frozen. You may have to play around with the amounts for the jars you have. Let cool to room temperature, then seal and place into the freezer.