It was nearly seven years ago on a Palm Sunday weekend that The Professor found himself headed to the ER in an ambulance and me frantically calling my father-in-law for a ride to the hospital. It was terrifying not knowing exactly what was happening – especially when doctors used the words ‘possible heart attack.’ It wasn’t a heart attack – but it was a wake-up call for us to change the way we ate.
The Professor had been plagued with hypoglycemia for many years, blood pressure nudging its way towards the higher end of normal and, as it turns out, his adrenal glands were stressed. After blood work, a stress-test and an EKG determined he was healthy, we began the process of educating ourselves about the food we were putting in our mouths and moving our bodies more than we were. We thought we ate well – and we did; but once we made the connection of what was happening with The Professor to additives such as high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats and the like, we opened our cupboard doors and with garbage bag in hand, emptied the contents. That was the beginning of what Winnie Abramson calls, ‘One Simple Change.’
One Simple Change is a guidebook focused on achieving 50 healthy lifestyle changes and tackling them one at a time each week for a year; it’s also a book I wish we’d had instead of our trial and error method. But we know this for sure – focusing our energy on one change at a time worked.
Some of Winnie’s tips are suggestions you may have heard before but are worthy of repeating – getting enough sleep, move more and eat breakfast; other tips might be new – finding your own carb balance, adding cultured/fermented foods to your diet and learning to be in the moment. The chapters are short and include bullet points at the end of each. This isn’t a recipe book although there are a handful of recipes included: Walnut Milk, Silky Carrot Soup, DIY Creme Fraiche and even a recipe for Chocolate Mint Sugar Scrub. One Simple Change is easy to read, easy to understand with a common sense approach. If you’re someone who has made a resolution to make healthy changes in 2014, this is the book for you.
Winnie’s book came at the right time as I’ve wanted to write about our experience for a while; the lifestyle changes we made are still in place – we’re both happy and healthy, there have been no additional trips to the ER in the back of an ambulance, The Professor’s hypoglycemia is completely gone and adrenal glands are healthy again. I call that a success!
You’ve probably noticed by now that there are no photos in the post – I’m assuming you all know what chicken broth looks like so I’m not going to bore you with photos of beautiful amber-colored liquid poured into a measuring cup; however, making your own broth to use in soups, stews or simply for enjoying all by itself is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to start feeding yourself and/or your family.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of One Simple Change free of charge and Winnie is a personal friend; however, all opinions expressed are strictly my own.
NOTE: Winnie saves up two or three chicken carcasses in her freezer before making stock; I generally have a roasted chicken once a week, pull of any leftover meat and toss the bones in my slow cooker on low overnight and 8-10 hours later, broth. And while I use leftover chicken carcasses, you can usually find chicken ‘frames’ at Farmer’s Markets: wings, backs, etc. There is still quite a bit of meat for flavor but the real nutritional value is in the bones. Additionally, I have a large slow cooker so I can process 2 carcasses easily. I do not add salt as the salt concentrates when it cooks down.
SLOW-COOKER CHICKEN BROTH
Makes 8 cups
- 1 chicken carcass* (see note above)
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 peppercorns
- 1 large yellow onion, cut in half – no need to peel as it all gets tossed once the broth is finished
- 3 garlic cloves
- 8 cups water (or enough water to just cover the bones)
- OPTIONAL ADD-INS: carrots, celery, rosemary, thyme, Parmesan cheese rinds
- Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cover with water; set on high for 2-3 hours, reduce to low and allow to cook another 8 hours or overnight
- Strain through a fine-mesh strainer; toss all the bones, vegetables, etc
- Allow to cool completely
- Because recipes usually call for 4-cups of broth, I measure out 4-cup portions and freeze; Winnie freezes hers in jars, I use zipped freezer bags which will lay flat