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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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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
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Willa Denkins, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Mar 10, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Willa Denkins is a registered user.

Chicken soup has often been been referred to as Jewish Penicillin.

What are vegans to do as tofu does not have any bones?

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Mar 10, 2022 at 12:05 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Willa, there's a new trend to make vegetable stock with coconut water. Google it. As fat is the "culinary school bus," even the coconut water seems to bring out more flavor from the vegetables. And don't forget the kombu (sea bones!) and dried mushrooms. Anything that adds umami (glutamic acid) enhances veg stock, lost with less/no animal products.

Posted by CalAveLocal, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Mar 10, 2022 at 1:26 pm

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

And this is exactly why I intend to wear my N95 mask for a couple of months longer.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Mar 10, 2022 at 8:15 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

No kidding CalAveLocal. I am so p'***d I got Covid. I played this whole thing pretty straight, took off the mask, and got covid. I had perfect attendance all through school - 1st grade - 12th! I'm not supposed to get covid! lol

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Mar 10, 2022 at 8:43 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Laura, with all due respect, you shouldn't be surprised you got Covid. Attending three social events in one weekend -- including a bar with live music -- the weekend the masks were lifted is too much exposure in too short of time. And this is coming from someone who never feared Covid (even prior to vaccines).

Masks, vaccines, etc. won't stop you from getting Covid. The only effective measure is non-exposure to the virus. During a pandemic, that's impossible unless you never leave the house. There's inherent risk in everyday living, and we're all at risk regardless of vaccination status or mask wearing.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Mar 11, 2022 at 7:23 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Jennifer, I’m not surprised, I accepted my fate that weekend with eyes open. Actually it made the point quite effectively that it's a bit too soon for everyone to take off the mask.

What I am is disappointed. It ruined my perfect attendance award!

Posted by CalAveLocal, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Mar 12, 2022 at 1:01 pm

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

Not fearing an infectious disease that can kill you and/or cause a long term disability is not brave or interesting, its just dumb. Sorry.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Mar 12, 2022 at 2:03 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Just about anything can kill you but that doesn't mean you have to live in fear. Living in fear is defeating, and stupid. Even during the Omicron spread, only 4.1% of Americans had tested positive for Covid. Statistically, I have a higher chance of getting hit on the freeway, and I don't fear that either. If you want to live in fear, that's your choice.

Posted by CalAveLocal, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Mar 12, 2022 at 2:56 pm

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

Right. Of course. Again, this country's greatest demise is education. Statistics need to be taught as early as elementary school, and so do logic and analysis.
Making sure one takes precautions to lower the chances of certain outcomes is not living in fear.
But I am sure you are not afraid of lung cancer so you smoke ?

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Mar 12, 2022 at 6:09 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Remember the Food Party! is an insult free blog. Unlike practically everywhere, fear is not our motivator, or stupid. If you want to be low-vibe, please take grievances elsewhere. Or... stay and consider more inspiring words and visions. People need inspiration. That's the Food Party! Way.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Mar 12, 2022 at 6:11 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Let's talk about why a sick body gets aches. I think it's because your body wants you to stop moving, lay down and go to sleep. So it makes it painful for you to move.

Posted by CalAveLocal, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Mar 13, 2022 at 10:45 am

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

Laura, when the infection enters the body, body produces a large "army" of white blood cells to fight the infection off. Depending on how much it produces, it can and often does cause inflammation - which results in muscle aches and feelings of stiffness.
On an interesting side note - every now and again something goes haywire and body produces an insane number of blood cells in a very short period of time - and you can actually feel it happening, its dull throbbing aching feeling in your lower spine.
Fatigue is your body's way of telling you to seize all operations and just be still as its running out of resources...

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Mar 13, 2022 at 12:27 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Ah ha! Very good CalAveLocal. Makes sense. The body is so very amazing and wise.

Posted by Butch Logan, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Mar 14, 2022 at 9:26 am

Butch Logan is a registered user.

Is there such a thing as vegan foi gras?

I've had vegan chorizo and it tastes very similar to the traditional pork version.

Posted by Bobby Montenegro, a resident of Mountain View,
on Mar 14, 2022 at 11:32 am

Bobby Montenegro is a registered user.

Why would you want to eat plant-based substitutes as many of them are loaded with sodium and fake seasonings?

Enjoy the real deal but in moderation.

Posted by John Jeffers, a resident of Los Altos,
on Mar 14, 2022 at 4:25 pm

John Jeffers is a registered user.

I've read that those soy and grain-based Boca Burgers and Morningstar hamburger substitutes are actually more unhealthy to consume than real beef...too many additives and sodium.

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