Sneaky Broth Ideas
Broth is the backbone of the GAPS diet. If you don’t know how to make it read Bone Broth Tutorial: Why and How , and GAPS Basics: Meat Broth and GAPS Pate. Some people both adults and children adore broth from the first sip and happily sip it all day long by itself and in the form of broth based soups. It is, after all, a food that people all over the world have consumed daily for millennia and there is probably a deep part of each of us that expects and needs the nutrients it provides. Many, however, struggle with consuming the broth required by this diet. It may be because their taste and texture preferences were formed on processed foods and a low fat diet. It may be that the flora imbalance in the mouth and gut rejects this food that will help to shift the flora balance back in favor of the beneficial flora. It may be that the stomach and liver aren’t used to digesting proteins and fats and the drinking of broth brings on discomfort and therefore the drinker learns to reject it to protect herself from pain. Whatever the reason the broth still needs to go in so that the healing can happen. On GAPS broth is not optional!
Broth is a cornerstone of the GAPS diet because it is such a powerful healer of the gut, but healing isn’t always pleasant. Like when a bone needs to be reset or a wound cleaned to allow it to heal properly, gut healing can encompass periods of discomfort or even pain. Also like an unpleasant but necessary medicine, the healing foods won’t always taste good, although for most people sooner or later the healing foods will be craved and savored no matter how they are first received.
We tend to think of taste as being a set thing. What a person likes and dislikes seems fixed for life. One person adores spicy foods while another would rather starve than eat something with hot peppers. I’m always wary of serving fish to guests because people tend to have such strong feelings about it. Yet when I was pregnant I went through some peculiar cravings when foods that I had previously rejected suddenly became foods that I craved. Ordinarily I am a rejector of spicy foods and yet for one meal in the middle of my first pregnancy I craved spicy mexican food and no matter how much hot sauce I put on my meal it tasted bland and tasteless to me. I have recently been thinking back over that time and wondering what makes the same food taste so differently from one meal to the next. I have also had the experience of craving liver and continuing to think that it tastes terrible while I cooked up and ate a large serving of it to fulfill my craving. Taste is a strange thing. My older daughter drives me to distraction at times with her changing tastes. She has healed so much on GAPS (2 years on GAPS: Part 1) she still continues to have cycles of die off and temporary set backs. At those times she will suddenly reject the healing foods that she once craved. Most notably when she is doing well she will crave fat and beg for it, but when she isn’t doing well she will insist on carefully trimming any bits of fat off of her meat and will offer it to the rest of us and become very upset over it being in her meat. Then once that cycle of die off is over she will be requesting the fattiest piece once again. I just have to get sneaky with the fat when she is having die off since the more she eats the quicker she tends to get through it. Broth is another food that many find they have to sneak into their children (and theirselves) especially when first starting GAPS.
So enough reflection and philosophy. You agree that broth is good and important but you can’t get it into your kid, or you can’t stomach it yourself and you want to know what you can do. The very first thing that you need to do is to decide that it must be consumed. Think of it like a necessary medication if that helps your attitude. GAPS without broth is not GAPS. It must go in. Daily. It may help you to realize that every traditional culture of the world treats broth like a sacred food and wouldn’t dream of disposing of bones and the other scraps without first extracting the life giving nutrients from it and consuming them regularly. Disliking broth is a bit odd in the global context and a habit that is worth overcoming.
Ok, now that you have fixed your attitude one thing that you can do is to doctor it up a bit. Think about what sorts of flavors appeal to you or your children. Add lemon juice, pickle juice, sauerkraut juice, garlic, salt, herbs, spices or honey. These each offer a different flavor and can make it much easier to accept. My older daughter likes pickle juice in her broth and plenty of salt. My younger daughter prefers her broth stone cold with some stevia (not GAPS legal) mixed in. She especially likes “jello broth” that she can eat with a spoon. Both girls drink their broth with glass straws and prefer certain cups. Finding something that works for you can make a drudgery into a pleasure or at least less of a fight.
Also some do not like broth-y soups but the same soup pureed to make a thick smooth substance will do down easily. I was amazed when I first started GAPS at how a regular chicken and vegetable soup could be transformed with a blender into a creamy thick soup without the addition of anything. This was especially helpful since one of my children likes blended soups and the other one doesn’t so I just made my soup the regular way and blended up part of it once it was done cooking without having to make separate meals to accommodate their different preferences. (Am I the only person with children who seem to prefer the opposite from each other on principle?)
GAPS intro, however, has you drinking broth with every meal and between meals as well. That is a lot of broth! For some that is a lot of coaxing and revulsion to overcome, so there are other ways to get broth in. While a lot of broth is good, even a little is beneficial. Each bit that you sneak in is a step in the right direction and that much less to face head on if broth is not yet your favorite thing.
So I sneak broth into everything I can. This can be easier to do if you leave your broth unsalted until you are ready to serve it. Broth made just from meat/bones and water has a very bland flavor and can easily hide in a wide range of foods.
When I make vegetables that I boil, I boil them in broth in an open pot. The longer the vegetable needs to cook the more broth I add. This open pot allows the broth to concentrate while the vegetables cook and when once the dish is ready to serve each bite is then coated and infused with broth. Not only does this force the ingestion of broth but since it subtly changes the flavor it begins to shape your taste buds to accept broth more readily.
Speaking of concentrating broth, the more concentrated the broth is the less of it that you need to consume. You can cook a chicken in 4 qts of water or 8 qts of water. The same amount of good stuff will come out of the chicken carcass but more of it will be in a cup of broth from the 4 qt chicken than the 8 cup one. Don’t deceive yourself that adding more water makes more broth. You can thin it out later if it is too rich for you. Once you have made broth you can then put it into an open pot and simmer it to reduce it further. When most of the water has evaporated off (if you choose to go that far) it will be very thick and almost like a syrup. This is a reduction sauce and is how gravy was originally made. I have taken this thick reduced broth and dehydrated it and then powdered it in my vitamix. This resulting powder can be reconstituted into broth at the rate of 1/4 tsp per 8 oz of water! Some have put this powder into capsules and increased their broth consumption but simply swallowing a few pills. I find it easy to boost the broth content of a meal by throwing a tsp or two of this powder into a savory dish that doesn’t need any more liquid. I often add an equal amount of Bernard Jensen Gelatin to make up for the gelatin that was broken down in the long cooking process needed to get it dehydrated. Gelatin is one of the important constituents of broth for gut healing so throwing in some extra in any dish is an excellent, and pain free way to supercharge your healing. (It is tasteless).
Tomato sauces can hide a large volume of broth. The more concentrated the broth is the less obvious it will be and the less it will dilute the sauce. Especially on a Low Oxalate diet (What are oxalates?), since tomatoes are high in oxalate, broth can add a rich flavor that extends the flavor of a small amount of tomato paste in the sauce.
Gravy is a very good way to serve broth. Meat balls and roast doused with gravy can offer up a pain free serving of broth that your children may prefer to the meats plain. You can make a reduction sauce by cooking broth till it is thick. A faster method is to puree cooked vegetables into the broth to thicken it that way. Cauliflower and onion both work well for this but any vegetable can be used. This can be a sneaky way to get both vegetables and broth into a child who only wants meat.
I have a friend (not on GAPS) who uses broth as the liquid for making pancakes. She says that her family gobbles them down when they are fresh and hot but that the broth taste comes out if she tries to save them for another meal later on.
I use broth as the liquid (instead of milk) in making scrambled eggs or other egg based dishes like quiche or frittata.
I add broth (and lots of fat) to squash and fauxtatoes made from cauliflower.
Many add (unsalted) broth to smoothies or their children’s milk. This can be a good way to transition children onto GAPS. Starting small and adding more and more broth over time and reducing the other flavors can shift taste preferences gently and effectively.
Any sort of dipping sauce your children like can be spiked with broth. Ketchup, mustard, ranch dressing. Adding a little broth will probably go unnoticed and every little bit helps.
I have a friend who uses broth as a salad dressing. I can’t remember if she uses it hot or just warm enough to melt. I think she said she combines it with some warm bacon grease for a savory salad.
My goal while doing GAPS is to go through 2 qts of broth each day between drinking it and cooking with it for my family of 4. I have been slacking lately and am using the writing of this post to be an impetus to get back in the daily broth habit. I find that the easiest meal of the day to insist on a mug of broth is breakfast and after a long break I started that back up this week. We tend to accept a warm drink best at that time of day and since I insist that the children finish their broth before eating the rest of their breakfast the morning hunger is a good incentive to go ahead and get it over with. There were too many times in the past when they “forgot to drink it” and then were too full at the end of the meal to swallow another bit from their full broth mug. I don’t want to teach my children to eat when they are full so I now insist that they start with their broth and we parents do likewise in solidarity.
How about you and your family? Do you love or loathe the broth? Do you have some sneaky ideas for getting it in that I haven’t mentioned here? I would love to have you share them in the comments!