Gut Healing Chicken Soup and Bone Broth

You know that feeling when you didn't quite get those 7-9 hours of sleep your body begged for, or your stress and anxiety level was a bit too high for a bit too long?  Then it happens, either out of no where (stomach flu) or a slow onset (scratchy throat and swollen glands), you get sick.  

Way back when I constantly abused my body through overexercising, under eating, and placing far too high of expectations on myself, I was sick often:  My poor gut was in shambles.  All the talk we hear today about gut health and the immune system is absolutely true, I am living proof.  Thankfully, I heard about Juice Plus and the research proving the power of whole food nutrition, before suffering more.  3 months into eating the fruits and veggies in capsules 7 years ago, a very bright light bulb went on in my head due to my immune system balancing, digestion improving and energy skyrocketing.  The one simple change led eventually to my passion and becoming a holistic health coach.  I traded dieting, antibiotics, steroids, inhalers and OTC meds for fruits and veggies.  No looking back!

It turns out, there is far more that goes into healing a damaged gut like I had. My training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and working alongside Naturopathic Drs. has taught me, a healthy lifestyle, along with specific whole foods that rebuild and restore, help heal what was lost and damaged. One of those foods happens to be delicious, cheap and easy to make: Chicken soup with homemade bone broth!  If you don't have 40 minutes to spare to sit down and watch my live Facebook video, pull up this recipe and give it a try before illness strikes (and yes, it works for prevention too!).

Gut Healing Chicken Soup

by Audrey Byker, Health Coach

Serves a large crowd and a sick neighbor or two

For the broth:

1 3-4lb Chicken, humanely raised**

Salt and pepper

1 splash of apple cider vinegar

1 handful of various veggies scraps and peels (optional-save from the following)

For the soup:

1-2Tbls avocado or olive oil. Cold pressed.

1 large onion, finely chopped 

4 large stalks of celery, finely chopped

3 Jumbo carrots, peeled and chopped 

A few pinches of sea salt and pepper

4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

Chicken leftover from broth or 2-3 cups cooked(boneless/skinless or rotisserie from the store)

6 cups of bone broth (or organic chicken/veggie stock)

1 1/2 cups of brown rice*

2 tsp. all purpose, salt-free seasoning (optional, my favorite is Kirkland brand)

1 day before making the soup, sprinkle salt and pepper on and roast the chicken in a large roasting pan or dutch oven, covered, at 350 for 2 hours.  Don't forget to empty the cavity!  Cool/chill then take all the meat off the bones.  Toss skin and bones/pieces and juices into a large stockpot.  Cover with water, about 6 cups.  Add the splash of apple cider vinegar and vegetable scraps and pieces.  Cover. Add pot to the stove and bring to a boil on high.  Once boiling turn to low and simmer for 2-4 hours.  Pour into a large pot through a fine mesh strainer.  Discard the chicken bones and pieces.  Reserve bone broth for soup:

Chop all veggies.  Add oil to bottom of large stockpot/saucepan and turn heat to med-high.  Add onion, celery salt, pepper and carrot.  Saute' until onion is translucent and soft.  Add garlic and saute' a bit more until fragrant, like 1-2 min.  Turn heat to med-low.  Add chicken, brown rice, seasoning, and cover well with broth.  Add lid and bring to a boil.  Turn down to simmer and continue to simmer on low, covered for 45 min. to cook the rice.  Serve immediately or leftover for a week. Freeze in wide-mouth mason jars leaving a few inches from lid to allow for expansion.  

*For a Paleo, SCD, GAPS and grain-free option, sub brown rice for peeled, chopped parsnips and cook until fork tender, around 15-20 min.

**If a conventional chicken is the only option, skim off the fat once broth cools




Cruciferous Coconut Curry

Nothing beats having a plan when it comes to eating healthy:  Fail to plan, plan to fail, yes?  If you've just begun your journey to wellness, you've probably quickly discovered, living life on auto pilot(aka, without a plan) does not lead to success the majority of the time.  If you want to lose weight, heal your body, fight illness, and prevent disease, a new approach to how daily life is lived is the only way to go!  When a strategy is not in place, the food in sight and on-hand, ready to eat, becomes the only option, which makes you a victim of your circumstance.  As your health coach, it's my mission to help you help yourself ditch that victim and take charge in creating lasting, life-long, healthy habits possible to execute in your specific life situations!! 

I love the organization part of coaching along with creating realistic recipes fit for the crazy busy person or family.  It's my mission every day to make insanely satisfying (pleasurable, sexy, lovely, delicious, scrumptious, and oh so glorious) real food, which takes only a little thought in conjunction with a stocked pantry and fridge.  This Cruciferous Coconut Curry recipe (demo'ed at Grand Rapids Veg Fest 2016) is a staple in my home.  If I were to write a cookbook this would fall under the category of "Quick Sautéed Weekly Staples".  Curry is sweet, versatile, a little savory and free of the top allergens(diary, eggs, shellfish, nuts, wheat and soy).  Green beans and cauliflower were chosen for their crowd appeal, but any veggie or animal/non-animal protein can easily be swapped or added in with the same tasty results.  After playing around with this recipe for months, I finally decided using the Thai coconut milk from the can is the only option for the stellar results VegFest attendees experienced first-hand.  

Cruciferous Coconut Curry

By Audrey Byker, Health Coach

-Vegan, gluten free, nut free, soy free and only 30 min. to prepare

-Serves 4

8 oz. brown rice or buckwheat noodles

2 Tbls. coconut oil

1 Head of cauliflower (med.-lg.), chopped

12 oz. Green beans, ends trimmed

2 Green onions, biased-sliced into 1/4in. pieces

1 14 oz. Can unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk (Thai brand)

4 tsp. Bottled curry paste

2 tsp. Coconut sugar

Sea salt and pepper to-taste

2 Tbls. Lime juice


  1. Cook noodles according to package while getting started on step 2. Set a timer! Set aside when cooked and add a little bit of prepared sauce as soon as possible to break up the noodles.

  2. Add 1 Tbls. of oil to large, 10 inch (or larger) non-stick skillet with a lid on med. heat. Add green beans. Cook for a few minutes with lid on pan while prepping cauliflower.

  3. Add the remaining oil and then cauliflower. Toss around and sauté for a few more minutes to brown, then add lid and set heat to low. Allow veggies to cook/steam for 5-10 min. depending on desired texture, then remove lid and add green onions, coconut milk, curry paste, and coconut sugar.

  4. Simmer on low for 2-5 min. depending on desired doneness. For crisp, tender results, cook for less time. Stir in lime juice just before removing from stove and serve over hot noodles.