A Recipe for Nourishing the Belly and Soul.
I am not a food scientist or nutritionist. But I am someone who cares deeply about food and listens to what my body has to say about it.
A couple of weeks ago, I started having bread and broth for breakfast. This was not something I’d planned—we were simply out of eggs, and there a was a crock pot full of chicken broth that had been simmering all night, nice and hot on the counter.
Not only did my belly feel great, but something in my soul yawned, and stretched, and woke up with me that morning.
So I tried it again the next morning. And the next. And I’m sitting here sipping that steaming hot broth again as I write this.
When I was a kid, I used to avoid breakfast. There was never anything enjoyable about it, and it didn’t really motivate me to get out of bed. When I was in high school, I thought that skimping on breakfast was a good way to save myself from too many calories and keep my weight down. Then again, when I was in high school, I was constantly stressed; didn’t sleep at night and had a perpetual stomachache.
As an adult, I learned to appreciate breakfast. It’s no great secret that breakfast is about “breaking the fast” of our nighttime sleeping hours. Whether we think of it as such or not, it is a ritual that we perform daily. It is an opportunity that we have every single day to start fresh, to shift the troubles and the stuckness of the day before.
You may not have control over whether or not your alarm went off; whether the kids woke you up, the dog needed to go out or the neighbors were testing out their new power drill right next to your window at 6:00 am.
Breakfast is a chance to be conscious, if only for a few minutes. It sets the tone for your day. Your belly is at the center of your being, and whatever you put into it goes into your body, heart, mind and soul.
Broth is warm, soothing and nourishing. When I drink it, I feel my belly melt awake like soft velvet. I imagine it coating my digestive system and my nerves, smoothing out any bumps along the way. My throat and sinuses open with the steam.
If you are one of those people who only thinks to have chicken soup when you’re sick, imagine how much good that healing broth can do for you when you’re feeling fine! Why shouldn’t we nourish our bodies with tenderness and love when we are well?
Bread—a bit of nuttiness and chewiness to go along with the broth; try it with some creamy Irish butter, olive oil and salt or a spoonful of raw honey. I am gluten free, and this doesn’t stop me. It’s alright to splurge on a gluten free loaf, or better yet, make it yourself! By not having breakfast on the go every morning, or buying expensive breakfast cereals and milk, trust me you’ll be saving money. So get yourself some bread that you can enjoy!
Make it yourself (if you can). It will feel more wholesome that way. And it will be cheaper. The best way I’ve found to make broth is in a crock pot. That way you can leave it going all day, or overnight.
Here is my recipe:
- >>1 set of chicken bones (meat removed)
- >>1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- >>2 sticks of celery
- >>2 carrots
- >>2 sprigs of rosemary
- >>2 or 3 cloves of garlic (optional)
- >>Salt to taste
- >>Water to cover
I’ve also discovered that freezing the chicken bones first makes the broth taste better, as it extracts more of the juices and flavors.
For me, this meal is not just about how good it feels in my body. There is something ancient about it. I can picture our ancestors having bread and broth for breakfast a thousand years ago.
I am feeding the parts of my being that are ancient, reaching back to times before boxed cereal, cartoned milk and, yes—times before blenders, spirulina and soy protein. Eating this meal acknowledges the past, where we’ve come from, and feeds more than our bodies. It feeds our memories of being human, and it feeds our souls. It’s simple and easy, and it helps me feel whole.
And if that’s not a balanced meal, then I don’t know what is.
Caitlin Heather Vincek is an embodied therapist, certified in Phoenix Rising yoga therapy. In her life, and in her work, Caitlin is committed to noticing what’s happening now, and to supporting others on their journey to awareness and healing. Caitlin is a dancer, a writer and an embodied spirit. She is a linguist of the body and of the mind. She is a student of women’s ceremonial arts and spirituality. She lives in Boulder, CO. For more about Caitlin’s work, visit www.radiantinside.com.
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Ed: K.Macku/Kate Bartolotta