Whole30 Preparation

I have totally been MIA over the holidays, but I’m back and ready to go!

If you haven’t heard of the Whole30 and use social media, I really don’t know what you are looking at online. Maybe I don’t want to know… I’ll summarize: The Whole30 is a total body reset. You may have heard of elimination diets, which is essentially what The Whole30 is…but also so much more. I have not always had a healthy relationship with food, and truly am still working on it.

I tried a Whole30 in 2015 and it was the worst week of my life. I had absolutely no support, and on top of that, I had a very discouraging partner. I gave up pretty quickly. It is also hard to admit that I give up really easily. I was always the kid that quit sports and instruments and have a nightstand full of unfinished self-help books. I can finish novels and Netflix series…but nothing that is hard. It is not easy to admit that to people, but the entire purpose of this blog is for someone who needs to know they are not alone in whatever feeling or experience they are unsure about or really struggling with. I am not perfect and I refuse to scold you or make you feel badly about anything. If you are doing this Whole30 thing with me, then great! If you are deciding whether or not to do it, then follow along and see.


This time, I am not going to fail. One of the Whole30 creators, Melissa Hartwig, who is the most entertaining person to follow on Instagram, I might add. Seriously, follow her. Her stories are hilarious. Her story is pretty amazing and once I heard that, I was sold. There was a line in one of her books that said “Quitting heroin is hard. Drinking your coffee black is not hard.” I didn’t think much of it then, but her interview with The Fix somehow ended up on my Instagram feed. You can read that article here. but that really resonated with me. There are people who can smoke a cigarette at a party now and then and never crave one on a random Tuesday, and people who can’t even be near the smell of smoke because they are still battling the cravings.

I bought the book Whole30 Day by Day by Melissa Hartwig and also It Starts with Food. You absolutely do not have to spend a ton of money on books to have a successful Whole30. There are so many resources out there now for Whole30 support. When you peruse the aisles at Whole Foods next time, look for the Whole30 Approved logo on certain products.

I am going to go through my Whole30 journey to show the highs and lows. I have tried dozens of times to go completely gluten free and have failed so miserably. I know that I will get through this if I try hard enough and plan better. Maybe I can be an inspiration to you, or you can laugh at my miserable failures. I am so far beyond addicted to sugar, I can’t even put it into words. I do not separate from my vices easily.

What is step 1? Well, I plan to start my real Whole30 on January 20 because my husband and I are taking a vacation mid-January. Don’t set yourself up for failure and plan your Whole30 when you know something big like a vacation or wedding is coming up. Don’t use any excuse you can to keep pushing it off, but try to use good judgment. For the next 3ish weeks, I want to start preparing. Some people “go hard” for the days leading up to their Whole30, but I don’t think that will work for me. If it is a gradual change, it will be a lot easier than a huge life change on a random Tuesday. I have 3ish weeks to get together tons of meal plans, products I need, articles, any anything else I may need to be successful. Trying things out now. Test runs. Etc. The Whole30 Day by Day book/journal starts at day 0 for a reason. Planning.

Let’s do this!

The Healthy Llama’s Holiday Gift Guide

Everyone seems to be publishing their gift guides, so why not…

When in doubt, I reach for a bottle of mild wine that wouldn’t require a very specific taste to appreciate. Don’t go for a Moscato or Malbec if you don’t know what they like. Something local is always good for conversation. In some cases, something harder is more appropriate. Just do appropriate recon and find out if alcohol is a no go. I have a friend, who is a genius, that is a member of a wine club that sends a case of wine every month so that she has some on hand for entertaining, hostess gifts, or just general enjoyment. She’s always prepared and for the longest time, I really thought she just always knew where to find the best labels I’d never heard of…

Gift cards CAN be personal. When I was in college, my grandfather always got me a gift card for about $100 for gas. It was so amazing because I obviously needed gas to get to school, as I was a commuter, and it never failed, I forgot about the gift card until I was really low on money and gas and really needed it. It was a good feeling to know that I was covered. I guarantee anyone in your family in a situation like that would WELCOME a gift card for gas, groceries, or whatever restaurant is close to school or work. Your book lover friend will prefer a B&N gift card over whatever book you THINK they will like. Your friend who is always super busy and on the go will definitely love an Amazon gift card, since most shopping does occur online now. You see where I’m going with this? Find what they really want or need…in some cases, the need creates a want.

I read something a while back about someone who didn’t give gifts, she preferred to spend time with a person. I think the post went further into how gifts were impersonal and ruining society blah, blah. I firmly believe that giving gifts is a love language. Some people (me) really love showing people how much they love them by thinking of what would make them the happiest to receive. It is not about materialism; it is about putting a lot of thought into something that will make someone happy. For some, their ideal gift isn’t something you can wrap in a box. My friend, Lauren, and I tend to do this amusing thing where we buy the other person a bottle of wine…then proceed to drink it with them. Not really a gift anymore, but the experience was! Doing a Paint Night together or wine tasting can be a gift for both of you! Thinking of things that would make the recipient happy may include you doing something with them. And as a gift recipient, do not say something similar to the initial statement about gifts ruining society. Stop and appreciate that there is a person who cares enough to think about you, deal with crowds for you, and spend money on you. Focus on that more than the gift.

Baked goods are the traditional bet. Dollar store boxes. Traditional Christmas cookies…you can’t beat it! It’s super fun for me to make things gluten free or paleo and wow them with how delicious paleo desserts can be. I also love the idea of creating a “mix” for people to make themselves. Acknowledging that we live in 2017, and we can ask if someone has allergies and avoid those allergens is actually basic manners at this point. If you completely don’t know, that’s one thing, but don’t give someone something they can’t eat. That’s humiliating for the person because they then have to tell you they can’t eat it, or lie when you ask how it was. I’ve been there…don’t do that. Also, don’t make them feel bad for having allergies. I get so sick of hearing “what DO you eat?” What was I even talking about? Oh yeah…baked goods as Christmas gifts.

It is totally ok to ask a person what they want too. My mom always asks everyone for a list so that you don’t know exactly which gift you are getting. Inevitably…she ended up buying most things on the list, but that was also part of the surprise. She even got presents for the pets. She was convinced the dogs knew it was Christmas and thought they should get a present too.

What are your go-to gifts for people? What are you asking for this year? What was the best gift you’ve ever gotten?

The Healthy Llama’s Favorite Things

*Disclaimer: none of these companies have given me anything to do this post. This is all me sharing my favorite things with you. I, personally, like getting recommendations from others.

Consumable items:

  • Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides – available at Whole Foods, vitalproteins.com, or Amazon fulfilled by Vital Proteins
  • Eatpastry Gluten Free Vegan chocolate chip cookie dough – Whole Foods IF you get there in time…it’s basically always sold out. They also have a chocolate chip that isn’t gluten free and a peanut butter chocolate chip that isn’t gluten free
  • Health-ade Kombucha – my favorite flavor is Pink Lady Apple. I basically have half of a bottle every day for immune health and it’s delicious
  • Tessamae’s Ranch dressing – available at Whole Foods or from their website
  • Brianna’s French Dressing (vinaigrette style) – I think I’ve found this at every store I usually go to
  • Eating Evolved Coconut Butter Cups – these are like the most impossible things to find. Thrive Market and Amazon are basically it.
  • Fire Cider Shire City – Apple Cider vinegar and honey tonic available at GNC and their website. It has a crazy kick…but it works wonders for immune and digestive health
  • Simple Mills Crunchy Cookies – These are SO. GOOD. I have found them at Food Lion, Whole Foods, and Thrive Market
  • Simple Mills Pancake/Waffle Mix – Whole Foods and Thrive Market
  • Vital Farms Pasture Raised Eggs – I didn’t know eggs had this much flavor! They are so worth it. I can only find them at Whole Foods. I have tried other pasture raised eggs, but Vital Farms just seems to be the one I always go back to
  • Delighted by Dessert Hummus – I’ve only gotten to try the vanilla bean and brownie batter flavors, because that is all that my local grocery store stocks, but there is also Snickerdoodle and a mint chocolate flavor. You can find it at Walmart and Harris Teeter stores.
  • doTERRA and Young Living Essential Oils – you can check out my blog tab about essential oils…technically I guess I get a commission from doTERRA sales, but that isn’t the same as them paying me to say I like it!
  • Bare Bones bone broths – specifically the Lemon Rosemary and Tomato Spice flavors
  • Epic Provisions meat strips – the Wagyu beef is my favorite, but the turkey and sage is pretty good as well. They do have other products, but these are the ones that I usually buy.
  • Evo Hemp bars – I haven’t found a flavor of these that I don’t like! I have only ever found them online and at this small, local health food store in my town
  • RX Bars – I did the research…they are basically the same price on their website once you pay for shipping as they are at Whole Foods, so whichever is more convenient

Blogs and Podcasts:

  • Food and nutrition
    • Lil Sipper by Bethany – lilsipper.com
    • The Purse Whisperer by Sarah Rentfro – pursewhisperer.com
    • Addicted to Lovely by Christina Rice – addictedtolovely.com
    • Chickpea in the City by Addie Martanovic – chickpeainthecity.org
    • Be Well by Kelly by Kelly LeVeque – bewellbykelly.com
  • Spiritual enrichment


  • Carrots for Michaelmas by Haley Stewart – carrotsformichaelmas.com
  • FemCatholic (multiple contributors) – femcatholic.com
  • Blessed is She (multiple contributors) – blessedisshe.net
  • The Evangelista by Christina Jaloway – theevangelista.com (you can also find Christina over at spokenbride.com)
  • Fountains of Home by Christy Isinger – fountainsofhome.com (Haley Stewart and Christy have an AMAZING podcast called Fountains of Carrots)


  • Jesuitical Podcast by America Media available on iTunes and Stitcher
  • The Catholic Feminist Podcast by Claire Swinarski – thecatholicfeministpodcast.com
  • The Word on Fire Show with Bishop Barron


What are your favorite products? Blogs? Podcasts? There are SO many others that I love, but these are the ones that I absolutely go for the most often.

Recipe: Super fast beef stew

I got an Instant Pot as a wedding gift. I was so excited. Then I tried to use it, and it was terrifying. I was afraid of it for weeks. Today, I decided to bust it out and make some beef stew. That was a childhood favorite, so I wanted it today after happening upon some grass-fed beef tips at Whole Foods. Whole Foods is a Sunday ritual for me, so this happens often.


  • 100% Grass-fed beef tips (a little less than a pound, just because it was expensive)
  • 2 chopped Yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 or 4 chopped celery stalks
  • Half of a diced yellow onion
  • Handful of chopped baby carrots
  • Salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic salt
  • One bag of Bare Bones Tomato and Spice Beef broth



I really improvised this. I am not going to lie. The Instant Pot cookbook had some crazy mushroom and barley beef stew. I really just needed to know how to work the darn Instant Pot.

The whole process from starting to eating was less than an hour. So here is what I did:

Step one: set up the Instant Pot and turn it on to “Sauté.” Drizzle some olive oil, avocado oil, or even ghee if you prefer. I would not think that coconut oil would be a good choice here, and I always have olive oil next to my stove. Start to brown your beef tips. Season with salt and pepper. (Obviously, I used garlic/sea salt mix as I always do in every recipe I post.)

Step two: add in the onion once you have a good brown on the beef. I added more oil at this point because I felt like it was burning and I am super talented at burning things.

Step three: once the onions become slightly translucent, add in the other veggies (feel IMG_0841[1]free to improvise and add more/less depending on what you like. Leeks would be good) and seasonings of choice, I used rosemary because I already had some.





Step four: add the bone broth. Very important Instant Pot tip, do not overfill. Use good judgment on how many veggies to add, but for what I had, the whole bag was good. (Bare Bones comes in a bag in case that was unclear.)



Step five: turn on manual mode for 25 minutes


IMG_0844[1]Step six: wait what feels like hours

Step seven: let it release naturally as long as you can stand it. After 17 minutes, I released it manually.

Step eight: enjoy!





Let me know how this works for you, or what you did to change it! Some people add wine…but I just drank it instead.


Advent and The Catholic New Year


My homemade Advent wreath is my first Advent tradition. It was only $8, but super fun to make, and really nice to have some way to honor this liturgical season and not rush through it. I went to Dollar Tree and got a glass plate, a roll of garland, 3 purple candles, a pink candle, and two bunches of silk poinsettia. The candles were unscented, but had a little decorative square thing that was pretty easy to take off. I only ended up using about 1/4 of the garland, as I discovered the potential fire hazard. I cut the gold pinecones and poinsettia blooms off the bunches and arranged them around the garland. I decided against gluing anything down so that it could be taken apart in the event of a wax disaster. 8 items. $8.


I had a diverse religious upbringing. I was baptized in a Disciples of Christ Church (Evangelical) and participated in the youth group, vacation Bible school, and anything else they could convince me to do. Something VERY few people know, but I actually wrote and delivered a few sermons of my own. We had two youth Sundays every year in which the youth do everything from serving communion, leading prayers, and delivering the sermon. In high school, I wrote and/or co-wrote all of the youth Sunday sermons.

One of the absolute highlights of my year was getting to light the Advent candles each Sunday. Advent is a totally different experience in a Protestant Church. We also decorated the Chrismon tree, but obviously we wouldn’t do that in a Catholic home. Each Sunday, a different child in the church would light the candles. I truly never saw someone have an Advent wreath in their home.

The way that RCIA tends to work is that you start in September, so when Advent comes around you are still drinking from the liturgical fire hose and really don’t get to take it in. I really didn’t understand what was happening. I didn’t have the best sponsor throughout my catechumen period, however, my confirmation sponsor is one of my favorite people in the world, so it worked out perfectly.

This November, I started seeing a lot of comments in the Catholic blogging community about liturgical purity and maintaining the spirit of the season. People go as far as to not decorate period until Christmas Eve. No Christmas music allowed. No Christmas lights. I have no idea what they do for Christmas parties their friends are hosting. I am so happy to see that people take the season of preparation so seriously, but I have learned we are all allowed to celebrate in our own way. In the Orthodox tradition, Advent, like Lent, is 40 days and typically involves some sort of abstinence. There is a fabulous group of women participating in an Advent running challenge “Catholic Women Run” (ah-hem, myself included.)

It wasn’t until I saw an Instagram post by @takeupandread that sparked a conversation. I met a fantastic lady named Heather (the social media equivalent of meeting) who told me about her family’s Advent traditions which INCLUDE decorating. She stressed to me that the most important part is to prepare your heart for Christ, however that looks to you. The amazing Bonnie Engstrom created an Instagram campaign #adventhometour to show off and discuss how we celebrate Advent in our homes. Not everyone subscribes to the exact same view. We all believe the same thing. We know that because we profess our faith every time we go to the table of Eucharist. However, at no point in the Creed do I say that I will not put up my Christmas tree until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Decorating is definitely a way of preparing. Unfortunately for me…so is cleaning and organizing…

So, please, tell me. How do you Advent?



Recipe: Maple Pumpkin Pie

*Disclaimer, I did not take a lot of photos for this, because I was experimenting and then I was in a big hurry.


This picture is super ugly. I ended up having to transport the pie from my house to my in-laws’ because I ran out of time. I put aluminum foil over it, and it ruined my beautiful smooth pie. When testing it, we stuck a knife in it that made a weird hole in it….anyways….

Almond Flour Crust:

  • 2 cups of Almond Flour – you can use blanched or natural. I used natural because I wanted texture
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (coconut sugar or regular sugar. I’m obsessed with Coconut Sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or cold butter)

Bake at 350 for 10min
Maple Pumpkin Pie filling:

  • 15 oz (1 can) of pumpkin (not pie filling, but plain pumpkin. I used the organic pumpkin from the Whole Foods house brand.)
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk (I used plain unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 2 eggs (or flax substitute – I did not try it with this, but I’m sure you could – just let me know how it goes)
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (not going to lie, I didn’t really measure….I just added how much I felt I needed. I used the Simply Organic Pumpkin Pie spice from Whole Foods)
  • Extra cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (I always use pink Himalayan sea salt)

Bake at 400 for 15min, then reduce the heat to 350 for 30 to 40min.

My family actually liked this. I was pretty surprised. Typically, people are turned off when they hear “almond flour” or “dairy-free.”

Let me know how it goes for you! Also, avoid aluminum foil for aesthetics….



The Examen Journal – Finding God Everyday

*This is NOT a sponsored post and only includes my own thoughts.


I don’t keep this a secret…I LOVE St. Ignatius of Loyola. I almost went to Loyola University. I really enjoy listening to Jesuits. One of my favorite things is the Examen prayer. I do my weekly post on consolations and desolations, which is a really simplified version of St. Ignatius’ Examen.

My cat was very interested in seeing what was going on, so she’s checking it out here. So, it got the Shadow stamp of approval.

I discovered this journal, created by Mary Williams, on Instagram (shocker…I found something to obsess over on Instagram…) a few weeks ago and decided to order one. I follow a lot of Catholic authors and creators. The fantastic ladies from Blessed is She have some great resources, the creators of the Every Sacred Sunday mass journal, and anything from Be a Heart will easily catch my attention. So, I decided to order the Examen journal from Amazon. You can find it here. There is also the more neutral color pattern for women or men available here.




This is the opening page. This is one of the most powerful statements in my mind. Find God in all things. This goes along with the idea that I hear pretty often from people who don’t attend mass, but still believe, that they don’t need to be in a church to feel God’s presence. This is true. You can feel God’s presence ANYWHERE and ANYTIME. However, that doesn’t replace your need to partake in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The idea of the Examen prayer is to determine when you encountered God or when you found it difficult to feel God’s presence throughout the day.



The Table of Contents gives you an idea of what to expect, as well as some background on St. Ignatius and the prayer.




There are 366 pages just like this one for daily reflections. I really like the author’s comment initially that life isn’t perfect, and missing a day or two (or a week, in my case) is not terrible, but life. We need to make these things work for what we need. I’d rather just not write than to say, “Well, I’m not sure where I found God today. I guess I wasn’t listening.” Let’s be 100% real here, that happens. I realized the other day that I had just stopped looking for God in everyday things because I was so absorbed in work and chores. This journal truly makes me stop and think. I find myself saying, “I want to write about this” throughout the day.


I definitely encourage you to look into the journal, because it serves as a great guide for the prayer. But if you aren’t interested in purchasing a book separate from your usual journal, I challenge you to pray the Examen daily and determine where you are finding God. If the answer is, “I don’t know,” then do not feel bad. Do not immediately say, “I’m a bad Catholic” or “I’m so self-centered.” Take it as an opportunity to grow and begin your process of searching for ways to find God and put Him first in your life.

I find that the BEST time for me to pray at all, but especially the Examen, is during my daily cardio. Cardio is my time with Jesus, but that was something that I had to work toward and train my mind for.

Where do you find yourself finding God? When is the best time for you to pray?


Recipe: egg roll in a bowl

I ended up with a cabbage somehow. I don’t even know what I was thinking, as I have never used cabbage in a recipe before. I don’t even think I’ve ever made cole slaw. I turned to other food bloggers and came up with a deconstructed egg roll as my idea to use the cabbage. I promise to stick to my previous statement about short recipe posts to prevent tons of scrolling.


I did not want to use ground pork, as I am not really keen on pork in general. I make exceptions now and then for bacon, but there are better options for me. I chose to sub for ground turkey. I failed to purchase sesame oil, so that was not included either. If you try it with sesame oil, please let me know how it goes.

I did not measure anything…I really never do.


  • Ground turkey
  • Cabbage
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Teaspoon-ish of ginger
  • Teaspoon-ish of brown sugar
  • Teaspoon-ish of minced garlic
  • About 1/4 cup of water
  • I added GF soy sauce until I felt it was sufficient
  • Salt/pepper to taste


In a skillet pan, cook the turkey through completely with the garlic. Don’t take any chances. I added a little oil to the pan, but not mandatory. Chop/shred the cabbage and add it to the pan. This is where I added the water to get some steam going. Soy sauce until I was satisfied with the coverage. A teaspoon of ginger. Pepper. Then add the carrots, I didn’t want to cook them to death, so I added them later on. That was it! Super simple.

IMG_0732This is the gluten free soy sauce that I used. I only found it at Whole Foods. There were no GF options at Trader Joe’s, and obviously not at Food Lion. One day I may get up the nerve to try coconut aminos instead to make it soy free. I just wasn’t feeling like a $7 gamble today.





If you try it, let me know what you think!



Butter coffee aka. Bulletproof aka. Rocket Fuel coffee

*This post contains links to products for your convenience only, I was NOT sponsored or given any incentive to recommend these products. I just really, really love these products and want to help you find things that I recommend easily.

I first read about bulletproof coffee when I was looking into a ketogenic diet plan. Spoiler: I suck at keto because I never think ahead and end up snacking on WHATEVER I can get my hands on at work that is healthy. I don’t discriminate if I can read the ingredients, so carbs happen… I also really don’t think sugar is evil if it isn’t artificial or crappy junk food sugar. Cane sugar = just fine in my book in proper moderation. I don’t do xylitol, erythritol, sucralose, etc. they aren’t great for digestive health. Also, anything that is “calorie free” unless it is something that burns the majority of its calories with digestion like cucumbers or mushrooms, then it is a no go for me. Just sounds unnatural.

Bulletproof coffee is actually a trademark. It is a brand that uses it’s proprietary Brain Octane Fuel, Ghee, and its own coffee which can be found here in a convenient kit. The concept has been translated into many different forms. As always, people want to find a “cheaper” and “DIY” version of things. Not that I expect that it is TRULY that much cheaper if you are buying quality ingredients.

The science behind it is that it kickstarts metabolism, helps keep your brain focused by fueling it with healthy fats instead of sugar/carbs which spike insulin levels and ultimately cause a crash. You can definitely find more information from a trained nutritionist, which I am not.

I drink bulletproof coffee (my DIY version) almost every day. I do have an unfortunate obsession with energy drinks. Hi Ball and the orange flavor of Red Bull are my favorites.

This is my process.

  1. Set coffee on a delayed brew the night before because mornings are hard.
  2. Assemble my key ingredients. (Coffee, obviously. I use Lavazza when I run out of the beans I stock up on when I’m doing site visits for work in Guatemala or Honduras. By far, my favorite coffee comes from Antigua, Guatemala.) Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. Definitely do some research on the benefits of collagen. One, obviously it is good for your hair and nails, but also joint health. I need all the help I can get in the winter. It also adds a lovely foam on top like a fancy coffee shop coffee drink. 4th and Heart Original Ghee (because Whole Foods was out of the vanilla bean flavor this week….sad face…but it is available on Thrive Market.) Organic Pumpkin Pie Spice. Why? Because you NEED some flavor, and this way I have flavor that is sugar free. Cinnamon has a lot of health benefits, such as being an anti-fungal and immune booster. (No, pumpkin spice does not taste like pumpkins. It is cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg which all have great health benefits.)
  3.  Add 1 TSP (ish) of the 4th and Heart ghee (pictured above) to a Ninja single serve blender container with 8ish ounces of coffee.IMG_0691
  4. Add 1 scoop of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides – you could also use the Beef Gelatin, but drink fast OR make coffee gummies. You can find them either at Whole Foods, the Vital Proteins website or Amazon. They have a ton of other amazing products like their beauty water, bone broth protein, AND they offer super great sample packs so you can test out what you want before you invest.IMG_0692
  5. Add whatever spices you want. I use that pumpkin spice because it was organic and on sale. You could use organic vanilla extract…whatever strikes your fancy. Even Nutpodz if you really felt like it.
  6. Blend until frothy. You NEED to blend it. If you don’t have a blender, use an immersion blender, or something. Otherwise, it does not incorporate well and has a really weird texture. It also needs to be consumed pretty quickly because it is not so tasty cold.IMG_0694

Enjoy your amazing cup of coffee! I’m super weird and put a stainless steel or glass straw in mine so that I consume it quicker and it doesn’t get cold or completely gel over.


What do you add to your bulletproof/rocket fuel coffee? Have you tried bulletproof matcha? That’s my next project. Coffee is just so much easier. Let me know in the comments!


Bone Broth: what’s the buzz about?

*This post contains links to products for your convenience only, I was NOT sponsored or given any incentive to recommend these products. I just really, really love these products and want to help you find things that I recommend easily.


A few weeks ago, someone told me that I needed to try bone broth. I was very put off by the name, but figured I’d give it a try. The first one I had was Kettle & Fire Mushroom Chicken flavor. I’m not super big on mushrooms, but it was really good. However, it is almost ALWAYS sold out at Whole Foods, so I had to explore other options.

I learned that not all bone broths are created equally, and not all broths qualify as bone broth. I tried a few brands, but haven’t really ventured beyond Kettle & Fire. It is definitely a favorite, as well as Bare Bones Broth (pictured.)

Bare Bones is available in the chicken and beef flavors at Harris Teeter (frozen section…just to save you the 20 minutes of searching that I endured) and on their website.

Now, I don’t pretend to be a nutritionist, so if you want the specifics on the nutrition of bone broth like how it is said to stabilize blood sugar and is a key aspect of the ketogenic diet, you will have to find a more knowledgeable source. What I can say is that I have struggled throughout my life with digestive issues and find it difficult to eat sometimes. Some days, no food works out well. A cup of bone broth provides about 10g of protein and a variety of vitamins, which beats the heck out of the handful of saltines that I would have eaten. I am aware that saltines aren’t good period, but again, some days you eat whatever the heck you can. I’ve even heard people say that they sub bone broth for their morning coffee. I can’t imagine that tasting right first thing in the morning. I’ll stick with my bulletproof coffee, thanks.

People have reminded me that I can make it myself but here’s the thing with that: I don’t want to. Everyone can agree that with a healthy lifestyle comes a LOT of cooking, prepping, shopping, and washing dishes. Bone broth takes a LOT of bones and a LOT of time. You can purchase soup bones from most markets, though I do recommend getting quality bones, and make it an Instant Pot or Crock Pot. It just needs to cook as long as possible to get the most nutrients out of the bones, especially the collagen. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, plenty of bones are available from turkeys, so freeze them until you can use them for a broth.

In the meantime, I have looked for nutritious broths that all I need to do is buy, heat, and eat. The plain chicken/beef flavors are not the easiest to sit and sip on, so incorporating them into soups definitely helps. The flavored ones like the Bare Bones Tomato and Spice beef bone broth and the aforementioned Mushroom Chicken flavor by Kettle & Fire are quite pleasant, and I tend to take advantage of the chance to mix in some Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. (Post about collagen coming soon!)

This week, I’m testing out a beef stew with the Bare Bones classic beef broth. If it goes well, I will definitely post about it. Not all recipes are a success…