Conscious Cooking: Mushroom Broth

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Sipping Broths are all the rage in the “foodie-world,” but broth – or stock – has been a big deal in the culinary world for a long time. The earliest form of stock was probably made around the same time that humans began boiling water. It’s a known fact that some of the oldest recipes are the simplest, and therefore they are most likely to be passed on throughout history. Many probably started from the same place, the same idea, the same accident. Someone, somewhere, a long time ago dropped their scraps into a pot of water because they were either curious or desperately needed to eat and tried to make the most of what they had. And that led to stock, which led to soup, which led to stew, which led to gravy, which led to sauce, which led to everything we eat today, in some way, shape or form. But the original survived as stock.

Sipping Broth: Stock That Can Stand Alone

Every good chef knows how to make a stock, whether it be beef, chicken, fish, or some variation of vegetable; but every great chef knows how to make a broth that can be eaten on its own–without anything fancy to cover it up or hide it from the world–just a spoon and maybe a piece of bread. And that’s what happened with the sipping broth trend. Some trendy restaurant decided to serve their beef broth on its own and people went crazy over it.

At first I was slightly annoyed by this trend (“Why are people drinking broth? It’s meant to be cooked with!”), but then I realized that if people were buying broth to drink, they would eventually be looking for ways to make their own. Broth is, after all, one of the simplest and quickest ways to nourish the body. Because of its long, slow, cook time, the water in stock is able to procure every possible nutrient out of every ingredient within the pot. A slower cooking time means that most of the things that get broken down during our digestion process happen in the pot instead of our bellies, this allows our bodies to better absorb the nutrients in the stock. It means healthier eating habits, and full, happy bellies. The more people who know how to make a good broth, the better.

Taking Stock of Mushrooms

So let’s talk stock. A great stock has a deep earthy quality to it, a slight oiliness, and silky flavor. The best kind of stock, in my humble opinion, is made with mushrooms–just plain, old mushrooms. Mushrooms are incredible. They have a healing power. They have intricate root systems, they are made up of beautiful bacteria, they are fungi, they pop up seemingly out of nowhere, and they can grow on anything that is fertile enough to host them. Mushrooms have a meatiness to them, and they are full of a natural umami flavor (“umami” is considered the fifth flavor profile that our palate detects, and is identified as both sweet and savory), which makes them perfectly nourishing for a delicious stock. They add depth and earthiness to beef stock, so why not take the bones out of the equation and give the humble mushroom its turn in the spotlight?

Mushroom Sipping Broth

This recipe calls for many nutrient-rich and flavorful ingredients for a reason: it is meant to be eaten, or sipped on, by itself. Though, I would not frown upon using it as a base for a soup, or stew, or even as a substitute for water when cooking rice or quinoa–by all means, cook with it!. That’s what broth is meant for, after all.

Ingredients

  • 18 oz. Button Mushrooms
  • 1 Medium White Onion
  • 1 whole bulb of Garlic
  • 3 Dried Mushrooms
  • 1 Small piece of Kombu Seaweed
  • 1 tsp crushed Red Pepper
  • 0.5 Cup of Sherry
  • 4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 5-7 Cups Water

Preparation

Chop the mushrooms into quarters. Slice the onion into strips. Peel a whole head of garlic, separating each individual clove. Crush each clove with the side of your knife. Remove and discard the paper-skin covering the flesh. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic into the pot along with all of the other ingredients, water should be added last. While adding the water, be mindful of how much broth you would like to have and add about half of a cup more than that amount.

Place the pot on the lowest heat possible and let it come to a simmer, once the water is simmering remove the Kombu from the pot. Allow the rest of the ingredients to stay at a low simmer for 1-1.5 hours, covered. Do not let the stock come to a boil as this will produce a cloudy and separated stock. The gentler the simmer, the better. Stir occasionally. When you are ready, pour the broth into a large bowl through a colander and let it cool to room temperature. Store the broth in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Mind-Tummy-Body Connection

Complement your sipping broth with a yoga practice to Detox and Renew or explore the benefits of meditation with Gaia’s 14-Day How to Meditate Guide.



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Wake Up Right: Drink Lemon Water

What if you could start every morning with a calm, centered mind and a healthy body that’s ready to embrace the day? Many people shuffle into their kitchens and pour themselves extra-large cups of coffee right after they wake up, but it turns out that lemon water might give you more energy – in addition to other impressive health benefits.

Skip the Ice

While coffee might not offer the most healthful morning beverage solution, you don’t have to sacrifice the warmth you get from a steaming cup of joe. According to a medically reviewed article by Jennifer Anderson, the human body doesn’t always get along well with ice-cold foods and beverages.

You probably don’t like to step out of bed and plant your feet on a frigid floor. Similarly, your stomach doesn’t enjoy the shock it gets when you swallow something cold. Instead of focusing on digestion, the stomach uses energy to maintain your body’s ideal core temperature. If you drink your lemon water warm (or at least lukewarm), you’ll help your digestive system function like a well-oiled machine.

Get Things Moving

Occasional constipation doesn’t necessarily indicate a serious illness, but it can make you uncomfortable and irritable. Fortunately, lemon water helps keep things moving. Whether you’re experiencing a blockage due to emotional or psychological stress or to a physical malady, warm lemon water stimulates your bowels and keeps you nice and regular.

Sometimes constipation occurs psychosomatically. Your body might be telling you to let go of things that are holding you back, whether it’s a toxic relationship or a closet full of material possessions. If you’re suffering from constipation, sip lemon water while you meditate on objects or emotions that you might want to release.

Aid Your Metabolism

Metabolism is as much spiritual and emotional as it is physical. You might feel tempted to boost your mood with high-calorie foods or caffeine-rich beverages, but lemon water stimulates your metabolism naturally. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it’s also rich in antioxidants.

While it battles free radicals, it protects your immune system so your body can fight illness on its own. A stronger immune system insulates you from pesky colds, infections and other bugs that keep you from functioning at your best.

Take Your Vitamins

Vitamins are most effective when they come from your diet. Before you fix a delicious Spanish omelette or blend a juicy smoothie, snag some vitamin C and other vitamins and nutrients from lemon water.

Lemons contain pectin fibre, citric acid, potassium, copper and flavonoids. They’re also a rich source of B-complex vitamins, which means it will help you stay energized all day. From yoga class to your big meeting with the boss, you won’t have to stifle any yawns.

Ease Heartburn

If you wake up in the morning with a mild case of heartburn, the acid in lemon water can actually dispel your discomfort. Stomach issues like heartburn can indicate a spiritual discomfort. Maybe some aspect of your life has fallen out of whack and you’re hoping to nudge things back in line.

While lemon water eases your discomfort, you can focus on getting back in tune with your true self. Listen to your intuition and allow your spirit guides to help you get back into alignment. Maybe it’s time to break a bad habit or to practice more positive self-talk.

Nourish the Skin

If you’ve noticed a few extra wrinkles around your eyes or if your skin has become dry or irritated, lemon water will help you get back that healthy glow. In addition to fighting wrinkles, lemon water also helps rid the body of the free radicals and toxins that contribute to acne.

Youth is very much a state of mind, so don’t rely exclusively on lemon water to come to grips with aging. Fine lines and wrinkles serve as signs of your experience and wisdom, so embrace them. However, lemon water can stop wrinkles from forming prematurely and support your skin’s natural balance.

Encourage Weight Loss

If you’re carrying a few extra pounds, lemon water will help you shed them without fad diets or unhealthy supplements. Although lemons contain lots of acid, they metabolize to alkalinity. An alkaline environment in your digestive system promotes weight loss and suppresses hunger.

Consider drinking your glass of lemon water about half an hour before you eat breakfast. You won’t feel tempted to overindulge because the lemon will have taken the edge off your appetite. The water itself also eases hunger pains because the liquid fills your stomach.

Battle Morning Breath

Lemon water creates a hostile environment for bacteria in your mouth. The initial hit of citric acid in your mouth can tackle the bacteria that causes bad breath, but then the water still keeps everything moist in there so that bacteria won’t come back and make your breath smell rough once again.

This is particularly welcome if you share your bed with a special someone. You’ll remove self-consciousness and feel free to get close emotionally as well as physically, even if you’ve just woken up.

Protect Your Kidneys

If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, you might want to add lemon water to your daily regimen. Lemons help dissolve kidney stones as well as other deposits that build up elsewhere in your body, such as in your pancreas and gallbladder. If you can avoid kidney stones and similar issues, you’ll definitely live a healthier, more comfortable life.

Your kidneys are responsible for cleansing your body of toxins as fluids make their way through your digestive system. If you’re holding on to spiritual or emotional toxins, now is the time to let them go. Purify your thoughts as well as your body so negativity doesn’t drag you down.

Remove Joint and Muscle Pain

Yesterday’s workout might leave you stiff and sore today, but lemon water helps. It counteracts uric acid, which means it will remove the discomfort you experience after you push yourself a little too hard at the gym. Not only does this benefit you physically, but it also helps remove any barriers the pain might create next time you work out.

If you’re sore without physical activity, you might consider other causes. For instance, joint pain might manifest if you’re too critical of yourself. Maybe you’re practicing negative self-talk or putting yourself down in front of others. To ease your emotional and physical discomfort, practice treating yourself with compassion and empathy.

Get the Most from Lemon Water

While lemons offer plenty of healthy benefits, you definitely don’t want to drink the juice without diluting it. The straight acid can dissolve the enamel on your teeth and irritate your esophagus. Instead, draw an 8-ounce glass of water. You can drink the water at room temperature or warm it slightly on the stove, depending on how you’re feeling that morning.

Squeeze juice from half a lemon (if you’re under 150 pounds) or a whole lemon and add it to the water. Mix it with a spoon, then sip it while you meditate, read, journal or simply sit in comfortable silence.

Ditch the coffee habit. Lemon water offers far more health benefits, but you’ll still feel great and enjoy tremendous energy. For more guidance on living an intentional and inspired life, take advantage of the expansive video library here on Gaia.

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