mental health

Six Weeks of Bowl Meals: Italian Broth Bowl

Um, what the heck is a broth bowl and how is it not soup? is the question I asked myself around a year ago at this time.  It seems the foodie term is trending at the moment—thanks to Panera Bread, but likely existed long ago and was derived from asian cuisine or soup containing mainly flavor-intense broth. Regardless of where it truly came from, and what sets it apart from soup, this week I chose to create my own version in hopes to improve upon the lack-luster dining experience I’ve had with it thus far. A broth bowl appears to be a balanced plate of food added to a bowl with broth ladled over top. I’ll go with it!

One of the core concepts of holistic health is the need to feed the human desire to be creatively expressive. I can’t help but applaud the individual who came up with the term “broth bowl”, which gets me thinking…As children we develop an internal belief system based on our experiences and influences in our lives. Much like many of the clients I work with, at the age of five, I can remember adding “not an artist”, “not creative” to my exponentially long and growing list of beliefs. My mom went to art school and my sister was following in her footsteps. Based on comparison, I wasn’t an artist or creative.

So what do you do when you crave creativity but believe you are not creative?

Just about a decade ago, I wrote down all the beliefs I had about myself—the limiting ones holding me back from living a joy-filled and authentic life. I burned the list then stepped into the kitchen. Yup, burned it. To hell with “I’m not creative” and the crap that followed…

It took four trials of creative expression to share this recipe today. Six if you count writing about it. It’s really good. My version of a broth bowl is not soup, but you may call it that or something different—whatever makes the most sense. My husband, Levi, has become my go-to judge for the majority of the dishes I come up with. His opinion serves to spark my creative process even when it’s what he calls “constructive criticism”. He loved the final two versions pictured, which happen to be extremely quick and simple to prepare—a balanced meal with broth ladled over top—or not if you haven’t embraced the trend quite yet.

My hope is mass amounts of people hit the kitchen to create this recipe all while burning the limiting beliefs on their list. By the time the cauliflower is done steaming, the whole process could be finished[write. burn. release. start over].

Italian Broth Bowl

By Audrey Byker Health Coach

Serves 4-6

For the veggies fat and protein

-1 pound Italian sausage(know your farmer)

-1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

-2 heads cauliflower florets, sliced

-2 cups kale leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped

-1/2 Tbls avocado oil or ghee

-Kalamata olives, sliced (optional garnish)

for the carbs and flavor

-1 tsp Italian seasoning

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-Sea salt, a few pinches

-Fresh ground black pepper to taste

-2 cups cooked rice noodles, potatoes or brown rice (optional)

-1 batch chicken bone broth or two cartons chicken broth heated

-Green onion, sliced(optional garnish)

In a large non-stick saute pan with a lid add sausage and begin to brown over med. heat. Add oil, peppers, and cauliflower after a few minutes. Stir frequently and brown over med. heat. Add the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Stir together then add lid. Turn heat to low then simmer and steam for 10-15 min.(preferred doneness). Heat chicken broth. Remove lid from large saute pan then add kale and garlic. Turn heat to med-high and stir and saute until garlic is fragrant—1-2 min. Remove from heat and dish into bowls. Pour warmed broth over each serving and garnish with olives and green onion(optional).

An Old Friend, Blame

Canva - Woman in White Crop Top Besides Man in White and Black Stripes Shirt Beside Body Of Water.jpg

At 26 years old my body was in rough shape.  After giving birth to my first baby, I left the hospital sick and spent much of the next two years battling virus after virus, allergies, asthma, GERD, eczema, and my frienemy, anxiety(with a touch of depression).  I can remember blaming someone who came to visit us in the hospital for my body's inability to fight.  

Blame is such an easy way out, isn't it?  When we blame we don't have to own our shit and can pass it on to someone else without the dreaded guilt.  "It's not my fault" is a lot easier than, "I did this to myself and am the only person who can undo it".

It took about 18 months, dozens of doctor visits, and a handful of prescription drugs to think differently, then start asking questions:

-Is this drug going to heal my condition?

-How long will I have to take this drug?

-What is wrong with me?  What is causing my immune system to fail me?

-What will my life look like 10 years from now?

It was the last question, what will my life look like 10 years from now, that ignited my strength driven by my powerful, determined, inner leader.  I left the doctors behind and took a close look at my daily life, priorities, food choices, and got brutally real with myself.  

It was time to accept it all.

It's actually NOT the daycare's fault my toddler caught every virus and lived with a constant runny nose.  It's NOT the doctor's fault I wasn't getting better on a concoction of prescription drugs.  It's most definitely NOT anyone else's fault, not even my husband's!

I can control a lot and what I cannot, will be let go.

Today, slightly shy of that 10 year mark, I am more driven than ever, still working hard to own all my own shit while guiding others to do the same.

Now, drug-free, med-free, illness-free and BLAME FREE...I look in the mirror and can hardly believe it.  If my body shouts loudly at me with a symptom, I know my lifestyle choices, priorities and thoughts need tweaking.  Of course, every body and circumstance is different, but this is my truth I claim.

When blame is replaced with acceptance, powerful healing and life-lessons are on the table, ready to be used as tools to teach and grow.  

While far from the easy way, it's the only way to live my best life.