We love a hearty bone or veggie broth for its immune boosting power—and amazing benefits for healthy skin.
The weather is starting to turn, the nights getting colder, here in the northern hemisphere. A warm Broth is the perfect food for this time of year.
Bone broth is very much a staple in our house, made every week for all its immune system boosting goodness—and its ability to help keep skin healthy, elastic and supple. We also love a good veggie broth for the same reasons. Both deliver different key nutrients to support and maintain your skin, its health and well-being.
Discover why chicken soup is good for the soul and so much more. This blog in a nutshell:
Why Your Skin Elasticity Declines in the First Place
Collagen is a crucial component in your hair, skin, teeth and nails. The tricky thing is that as you age, your body’s natural collagen production declines, further compromised by environmental factors like:
Your body knows what to do. It is already wired to make collagen from nutrients found in a healthy diet, including fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains. This is where including Broths—bone and/or veggie—in your diet can really step in to help your body stimulate collagen production.
What is Broth?
Bone broths—beef, chicken, fish, lamb and more—are staples in the traditional diets in many cultures. Back in the the ancient day, it was a way our ancestors made use of every part of an animal. Bones and marrow, skin and feet, tendons and ligaments—all the stuff they couldn’t eat—were boiled and then simmered over a period of days. Strain out the animal matter and, Voila, they got bone broth, a rich flavoured, nutrient-dense, easy to digest way to boost their immune systems and stay healthy, from the inside out. A steaming bowl of stew or curry, anyone?
Vegetable broths are equally a staple in traditional diets all over the world. It was—and still is—a great way to get plant nutrition into your body, in a warm, hearty format. Back in the ancient day, a veggie broth was made from boiling and then simmering a combination of vegetables together in water. Strain out the plant matter and, Voila, they got veggie broth, a flavourful, nutritious boost to the immune system and over all health. Miso or dal, anyone?
It would appear that meals that combine both broth types may just deliver the best of both worlds. A study of chicken soup (containing both animal and vegetable ingredients) conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center investigated what it was in the soup that made it so beneficial for colds and flu. Researchers found that some of the nutrients produced when making chicken broth reduced inflammation in the respiratory system, improved digestion and helped relieve joint pain, while nourishing and protecting organs—like your skin. Good to know that Grandma, officially and scientifically proven, knew best!
Collagen: The Building Block for Your Skin
Collagen is responsible for maintaining the elasticity of your skin. Your skin is made of collagen fibres which get damaged by those pesky environmental factors noted above. You can help your skin by consuming foods that have the nutrients your body needs to produce more collagen.
Glycine is an amino acid, a building block, that helps create proteins, in particular collagen. It is kind of a multi-tasker, too: it helps the metabolic synthesis of certain nutrients that the brain and nerves use for energy; and it is also very valuable for slowing down the loss of cartilage in joints, which happens naturally as we age. As we age, our joints and skin can't have enough Glycine. It keeps creating collagen, repairing damaged tissues within joints; and restoring the collagen in our skin that breaks down due to ongoing free radical damage. Glycine is important for digestion as well as cognitive function and—BONUS—it helps your body create enough serotonin for a good night’s sleep.
Proline is another amino acid building block your body uses for making protein. Your body can make proline on its own, and it can also get it through your diet. Proline helps skin retain moisture, adding to a supple look and feel. It also helps support collagen production to prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Several high-protein foods are believed to nurture collagen production because they contain the amino acids that make collagen—glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These include poultry, meat, eggs, cheese, legumes, beans leafy greens, dried seaweed, watercress, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, and cabbage.
Collagen production also requires nutrients like zinc that is found in shellfish, legumes, meats, nuts, seeds, and whole grains; vitamin C from bell peppers, and tomatoes; or herbs such as cilantro leaf, thyme, dill, and parsley; potassium from winter and summer squashes or potatoes; magnesium from leafy greens and legumes.
So there are a number of tasty ingredients you could put into making a nutritious bone broth base, a veggie broth base or a soup using that both broths. Either way, its a win win for your skin.
Hyaluronic Acid: Your Hydration Regulator.
Hyaluronic acid helps your skin hold onto moisture and water. It also plays a crucial role in wound healing, skin repair and tissue regeneration. High water content in skin helps it retain resilience, pliability and an overall youthful look.
Bone broth is a good whole food source of Glucosamine, which has been shown to stimulate hyaluronic acid synthesis in your body to accelerate wound healing, improve skin hydration and decrease wrinkles(3).
Other foods such as tofu and edamame, leafy greens, almonds and root veggies provide nutrients that can naturally increase hyaluronic acid synthesis in your body.
You can also add naringenin, a flavonoid that blocks the activity of hyaluronidase, an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of hyaluronic acid. Oranges don’t contain hyaluronic acid, but they do contain naringenin. So, eating foods such as citrus fruits, oranges, figs and tomatoes could help you maintain healthy levels of hyaluronic acid in your body.
Make Your Own Broth
Making your own bone broth is an art really, and an exercise in slow-boil patience. Here is a bone broth recipe from Blue Bird Provisions, maker and purveyor of Bone Broth. Founder Conner is a trail/ultra runner, dad, husband, and wolf-dog dad. In 2016, he used bone broth to heal a devastating foot injury that doctors said would never heal. He was told that he would never run again. Using bone broth, he got back to ultra running and winning 50km races. Now, I’m not a big athlete but I do swear by bone broth for my own bone and skin health, as well as Thom’s.
Conner also has a recipe that he calls Vegan Bone Broth. It’s a nutrient-rich, flavourful stock made using all plant-based ingredients. He says, “We substitute bones for dried mushrooms, adaptogens and wakame seaweed to give your an irresistibly nourishing beverage with a truly umami flavor.You can buy premade vegetable broth bases, but my advice is to avoid them as they are truly the worst and most processed food products out there.”
I’m looking forward to Fall Equinox this week, and turning inward once again. A warm Broth is the perfect food for this time of year. So happy to be broth-making and broth-drinking, for all its benefits— especially that cosy, warm, hug-from-the-inside-out feeling. Yummm!
Just as seasonal energies influence the natural world, so too are those forces at work in our lives, our spirits and our personal growth.
Human beings are also a part of nature. We are not separate from what is happening in the natural world, even though some of us pretend we have dominion over her. Just as seasonal energies influence the natural world, so too are those forces at work in our lives, our spirits and our personal growth. And Nature wants us to grow.
When our inner life is in tune with Nature and the seasons, it puts us deeply in tune with our authentic self, and Spirits purpose. So when you see abundant growth happening outside, in gardens and forests, that same growth, whether you can feel it or not, is happening right inside your own being. It’s a pan-human thing, which might be why every culture has ritual and celebration in place to honour Nature’s cycles, both outside and inside ourselves.
Tomorrow (August 1) brings Lúnasa, an ancient Celtic festival that marks the time of first harvest in the Northern Hemisphere. Falling midway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox, the festival symbolizes the vibrant Yang energy of the summer season.
Back in the day, it was a time for communities to come together and celebrate the abundance of the land by giving thanks, reaping first grain harvest, making bread and breaking it together. As such, Lúnasa was a time of both gratitude and hope, as people celebrated the fruits of their labor and looked forward to the blessings of the coming months.
On a personal level, the most powerful harvests we experience are in our own personal growth and transformation, which are often hard to see or quantify. You may not think you’ve got anything growing in your personal garden, but, honestly, simply being a human being living through uncertain times, causes us all to stretch and grow in ways we may not even realize. Take time to pause, and just recognize your work and achievements.
The hot summer sun is very yang and action oriented. It is energy that we need to complete our growth and harvest process. It does take some consistent focus and clarity. So this is also a good time to ask yourself what steps can you take on your Dreams this month, and then take action
It is a time to protect and nurture what we have planted. The seeds that we plant requires loving care in order to blossom, grow and fruit. Lúnasa reminds us to take care of what we plant in our lives, that if we tend our garden well, protect and nurture it we will experience, expansive growth and a beautiful harvest. The key is consistent effort and perseverance.
Once you’ve done your part, the next teaching from Lúnasa is trust and patience that everything we are tending will come into fruition in right timing. You can’t rush or control the process. Just know that your rich abundant harvest is on its way!
And lastly, Lúnasa teaches us to self care throughout this planting to harvesting process. Yes, we have to put in the work but we also have to be really cautious and not let the hot summer sun burn us out. All this growth requires hard work, so it’s important to rest to recharge and to keep your own personal energies balanced.
So take some time tomorrow to take stock of your accomplishments these past few months, to honour your efforts and to give thanks to Mother Nature. We wouldn't be here without her.
This Imbolc, take some time to connect with nature, let go of what no longer serves you, conserve your energy, and plant some seeds for the year to come.
The days are getting longer and on a sunny day, your heart swells inexplicably at the thought of the return of spring. That’s you tuning into the energies of Imbolc.
Imbolc kicks off the mid-season, halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox here in the Northern Hemisphere. It does not quite feel like spring, yet we see the signs of Nature awakening—a bud, a sprout, a blossom at a time. In fact, the word Imbolc means in the belly of the Mother. There is a sense of anticipation in the air, as the days get longer and the temperature gets warmer. Nature’s Magic is literally in the air, full of potential for growth and transformation.
For millennia, ancestors all over the world celebrated this time of year with feast and ritual. They observed the sun and moon cycles, believing that this was a way to harmonize human activity with the cycles of Nature to ensure fertility, abundance and fruitful harvests. I think the these rituals and celebrations helped our ancestors align their lives and heart resonance with the cycles of Mother Earth and her heart beat.
The rituals of our ancestors differed in content and performance but there are similarities across cultures. Offerings were made to goddesses responsible for home and hearth, protection and fertility. Cleansing and purging rituals were done, setting the energetic tone for a fresh start in the Spring. Often these would involve fire, symbolic of the way fire purges the land to restore the soil. They opened the door to a clean slate, and new beginnings. Still more rituals celebrated the union of sacred masculine and feminine energies and the blessings of new life, while other rituals honoured the larger cycles of creation, preservation and destruction. The rituals helped focus intentions through this pregnant pause time, while embracing possibility, new hope and new life—Nature’s and their own.
There is a special kind of magic in this transitional period when you can sense the excitement of something coming into being. Maybe it is something you dreamed already; maybe it is something completely new. With the many demands of our daily schedules in the hustle and bustle of urban/sub-urban life, we can sometimes forget to notice the beauty of Nature’s quiet, slow, often subtle movements.
So what rituals and processes can we use now, in the 21st century to help us connect with the Earths current cycle? How can we focus our intentions to set into motion, ever so slowly, the dreams we dreamed for our year during the hibernation state of Winter?
1. Spend some Time Communing with Nature
Go for a wander in the woods or thorough the nearest park. While you’re walking, listen for the birds, watch them fly around with each other. Look for squirrels and watch them play. Look for evidence of new life coming in around you—a new shoot poking its head up from the soil, a bud forming on a tree. Take the time to allow wonder to bubble up inside you, as though you are discovering all this for the very first time. Allow yourself to experience this nature walk the way your inner child would have—with awe and wonder. Take a moment to express appreciation to the Earth for the beauty of this season. Take a beat to feel the connection of your heart to hers.
2. Let Go of What no Longer Serves You
Think of this as preparing your own soil for what you want to grow in yourself this year. It is a cleansing and purging of your mind, beliefs, programmed expectations, energetic field. If you find yourself in a rut or a comfort zone, this is your time to make a shift—not a whole sale overnight change, but a shift.
We are living through times of big changes in the world. There are going to be things within us—ways of thinking, behaving, reacting, organizing, caretaking, believing—that will not support these changes with ease and grace. The Imbolc season is a time for going within and finding what those obstacles are. They will most often look like fears of some sort—loss, security, the unknown. My favourite way to get through this part is through sitting with it, looking at it from every angle and journaling my observations and epiphanies. There is always something abstract brewing within you, a feeling or a sensation. It remains abstract until we sit with it, get to know it and name it.
Once you name the obstacle, think and feel about what you would like to replace it with, something that would support your process of change. The obstacle might be a belief or a story that you have invested in for many, many years that no longer serves you. Or it might be a habit that you go to in times of stress that is not actually supporting you.
Hold a compassionate space for yourself while letting go. It can be a difficult process sometimes. The key here is to take small steps, nothing too overwhelming. You are preparing your soil and putting in the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical nutrients you need to grow this year.
3. Build Your Inner Reserves and Resilience
Being able to conserve your energy and build resilience during times of transition is a super power. It is at the foundation of self care. It is also how we prevent burnout by refusing to take on more than we can handle and taking care of ourselves—physically, emotionally or spiritually.
Physically, this could look like getting enough sleep, supporting your wellbeing with nutritious foods, herbs and aromatherapy, and getting regular exercise. Emotional health care might look like not taking on too much drama, refusing to invest in limiting beliefs or stories fuelled by fear, quitting the judgement train, talking your feelings through with people you trust, laughing for no apparent reason and journaling. A practice of being in stillness, peace and gratitude definitely helps your spiritual health. It is how you can more consciously align your heartbeat to that of the Earth’s.
These are just some suggestions. You’ll know you’ve found the right thing when you feel expansive about it—literally the feeling of your heart opening in your chest. If you feel contractive, then this is not the right thing for you.
4. Plant Some Seeds
Studies show that planting more trees and plants will help slow the effects of climate change. Plants, like us, also resonate with the Earth’s heartbeat. In fact, when they are off beat, their ability to photosynthesize is affected. Planting plants is a way to solidify our connection to the Earth and our plant relations by participating with each other’s processes.
This is also time to plant seeds for what we want to create in our lives this year. Now is the time to start taking small steps towards actualizing the dreams we dreamed during the Winter Solstice season. The goals we set are not an end; they are the lighthouse or the guidepost for the journey we will take to get there. So the plans you make right now need not be huge or detailed. Just get the journey in motion, know that you are walking towards your dream, even though you don’t have all the information about it. Feel into the direction, as you go. Your True North will be your Why. If you find yourself at crossroads, choose your path, base it on a Why that is grounded in what is most loving and for your highest good.
So this Imbolc, take some time to connect with nature, let go of what no longer serves you and plant some seeds for the year to come. Enjoy your journey, your life safari!