Monday, June 10, 2013

Recipe Day: Fish Broth (and why we use it!)

I know - Fish Broth?? Why would anyone want to make fish broth?? -  but bear with me here. We are Pesci-vegetarians, and I've begun to make fish broth from home because it provides much needed minerals that help support growing bodies and growing bones. Most notably: magnesium, iodine, calcium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and other trace minerals. But why are we making fish broth? Well, these minerals can help strengthen the bones and - more importantly - teeth in our bodies. 
The veggies in the latest batch of fish broth
I have three boys now with brittle teeth - especially those four in the front at the top. They crumble away.
With the first two, we went to the dentist, who told me that 1) it's because I breastfed my children at night, and the sugars in the breast milk caused something similar to "baby bottle mouth" that decayed their teeth, and 2) the way to treat their teeth was to temporarily shore up their teeth with fluoride to strengthen their teeth, and 3) eventually have them put under full sedation (they were each 18 months old or so) and have their teeth protected by false fronts and implants. Please understand, I LOVE that dentist and would still recommend him but feel like maybe there are other avenues that conventionally-trained dentists might want to explore further. I followed most of this advice with the first two children, and after watching the after-effects of following the advice, and doing more research, here's what I found:

Mr. Magoo's teeth last
February - it's blurry
but you can just see the
brown starting in
between the middle two
teeth :(
1) Dr. Brian Palmer published a post on his blog about dental carries and breast milk. For the full article you can click on the link, but the long and the short of it is that breast milk can actually help guard against cavities and that the sugars in breast milk are treated differently by the body than other sugars, whether natural or artificial. (I will say though that the more I look at the situation, the more convinced I am that the nutrients in breast milk can affect dental health of the baby - hence the fish broth, in part.)

2) Fluoride... yeah, there's lots of stuff out there on Fluoride - some that point to its benefits, some that don't. Here are just a few articles, but the long and the short of it is that even the CDC has begun to question how much fluoride is "safe" for people to ingest. Here are some articles to get you started, if you're inclined to read them: - talks about studies showing that the CDC and other top universities have found that fluoride can cause lowered IQ and also other health problems. 

Dr. Joseph Mercola has an article on his site that also discusses the hazards of fluoride on the body

The CDC's website includes its own article about dental fluorosis, and even states that it cannot occur in people older than 8 years old, because before 8 is when the permanent teeth are forming in the body. Here is their primary page about Fluoride as well - just for balance sake on this post of my own.

This NBC News article from 2011 talks about the changes to fluoride levels then suggested by the CDC as a result of fluorosis findings.

That should get you started on Fluoride research if you want it.

and now for treatment #3 listed above:

Mr. Magoo's teeth in June, 2013 (still blurry but you
can see enough to see the difference a few months make!)
3) false fronts and implants... I'll admit, I only have anecdotal things to say on this point, but after both of the older boys emerge from the gums in largely the same way, it would have to be some pretty special evidence to get me to see other points here, but as the new teeth have struggled to emerge, the false fronts have refused to yield in the same way that natural primary teeth would. What has happened as a result is that their permanent teeth are emerging in such a jagged, snaggle-toothed way that they will need extensive orthodontic work to correct their teeth. As a result, I am not inclined to get our youngest similar implants, and instead am letting them go what way they will. 

In the meantime, after studying Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel, and looking at the Weston A Price Foundation site,  he takes daily doses of Fermented Cod Liver Oil mixed with High Vitamin Butter Oil, as well as drinking fresh fish broth every day. At the very least, the conventional establishment didn't work very well with the first two, so now I'm looking at my own dietary choices and at what other studies out there say to try to heal the third.

As an aside, I know many who are "strict" vegetarians who would of course say that because we eat fish we are not truly vegetarians at all, and therefore cannot call ourselves that. Well, strictly speaking, we're not "vegetarians" any more, I guess, but at the same time, saying "pesci-vegetarian" gives the person I'm talking to the knowledge that the only meat we eat is fish and that we do not eat beef, chicken, etc. otherwise. 

Okay, ON WITH how to make fish broth, now that we've gotten past the whys. 

Sorry, little croakers!

  • 2-4 whole (including bones and head) non-oily fish carcasses, such as croaker, sole, turbot, snapper, or rockfish
  • 1 - 2 onions, cut up
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
  • 2 - 3 carrots, chopped up
  • assortment of other fresh vegetables, such as mushrooms and celery, chopped up
  • several sprigs of fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley, oregano, etc
  • 1 - 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth (optional)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (this is important as it helps get the minerals from the bones)
  • about 3 - 4 quarts cold water

The proper cover was on another pot
so make sure it's a tight fit, whatever
you use
  1. Sautee the onions and garlic if you're using it until nearly translucent, add in the carrots and other vegetables and sautee those briefly as well
  2. Add in all remaining ingredients except the herbs and bring to a boil. 
  3. Put the herbs in a mesh bag or tie them together before adding to the pot. As the scum and impurities rise to the top, skim those off carefully with a spoon and discard. 
  4. Cover the pot and simmer for at least 4 hours, or as long as 24 hours. 
  5. At the end of the cook time, drain the liquid through a strainer and into another pot to remove the vegetables and fish carcass. Strain the liquid again through a cheesecloth to get all of the additional particles out. Your final broth should be fairly clear and a golden-brown color. 
You can store this broth in the freezer for up to six months or the refrigerator for a week or so. Use it in anything you'd use bullion cubes in or other broth - soups, scrambled eggs, sauces, gravies, etc. or drink as a healthy broth soup. As the broth cools, it will likely have fat congeal in the top, just skim this off before using in your recipes. 

We were worried about the smell before we made it first time. As long as the cover is on, the smell is not too bad (and I say this with general family consensus - trust me when I say that if it stank they would let me know!) The final taste is really not offensive at all either, and even the baby drinks his as a warm drink every day.

Shared at:  Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways blog hop

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