Nourishing Benefits of Fish Broth

Fish Broth

Fish broth has been on my to-do list for months. The medicinal and nutritional properties blow all the other broths out of the water. Not only does it help build strong bones like the others, it also contains iodine, thyroid-strengthening substances and fat-soluble vitamins.

For fish broth you use the whole head and carcass of any non-oily fish. Most white fish are non-oily, like red snapper, sole, rock fish or halibut. The oil from fish like salmon or tuna are susceptible to rancidity. Omega 3 fat found at high levels in these fish are delicate and cannot be heated over a certain temperature.

I stopped by my local fish monger and bought a whole red snapper. Yes, I have a fish monger in my neighborhood. If you need an alternative source, ask any seafood counter at a grocery store to save the fish head and carcass for you. They typically throw them away so they may even give them to you for free. I’m going to try this tactic next time. I wanted to practice my fish filleting skills so I paid for the whole fish this time.

Cooking a fish head can be uncomfortable. Just think of it as similar to steaming a lobster. Keep the fish in the bag you bought it in until it’s ready to go in the pot. Then drop it in. Don’t look at it and you’ll be fine.

Sally Fallon wrote the book on traditional food preparation and the neccessity for bone broth as a daily food. Broth is a magic ingredient. In her book, Nourishing Traditions she writes, “meat-based broths, from which all the kitchen’s healing goodness flows.” In previous generations, “it’s aroma filled the house, cosseting all who inhaled it with deep well-being, as if the very air were filled with nurture…..and a far more essential nutrient: love.”

I’ll be honest, it gets quite fishy in the kitchen. Make sure to keep the lid on the pot while the broth is cooking. And it’s a good idea to keep a window open when you’re straining the broth. Our house smelled like China Town on a hot summer day. Have some vinegar ready for clean-up. You’ll need it to deodorize your entire kitchen. Pour some in the pot with warm water and allow to sit for an hour, covered. And keep the window open!

Fish broth is more nutritious and cooks in an eighth of the time of all other broths, two hours compared to 24 hours. The benefits are worth the stench.

Add the stock to Ramen, use it to cook vegetables, soak rice in it, or make a simple soup with shrimp, mushrooms, scallions and broth. When you have stock on hand, you can whip up a quick, delicious soup in 15 minutes.
Fish Broth

Fish Broth Fish Broth

Fish Broth

Nourishing Fish Broth
Nourishing fish broth to add to soups and cook with vegetables.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
  1. water to fill ¼ of large stock pot
  2. 1 lb red snapper head and carcass
  3. 2 tbsp Braggs apple cider vinegar
  1. ►Fill a large stock pot a quarter the way full with water. Bring water to simmer, add fish and apple cider vinegar then bring to boil. After boiling for three minutes remove any scum that has risen to the top of the water. I use a ladle for this.
  2. ►Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 2 hours.
  3. ►Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Strain the broth and store in glass containers (link) in the fridge or freeze. Cheese cloth is an easy way to strain. Fit a piece over a glass jar and hold in place as you pour the broth into the jar. Discard the cheesecloth.
  4. ►Freeze any broth you will not use in a week.
Adapted from Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions
Sparkle Kitchen


Broth is Beautiful,

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Milk Allergy vs Lactose Intolerance

Last week I dragged myself into the allergist doctor. I’ve been delaying this appointment for years. Unfortunately I’ve become leery of specialist doctors. There are only so many misdiagnosis a girl can take though.

It all began with the rash on my scalp. When I was 15, the thing popped up almost overnight, covering the back of my scalp and a sliver of my neck. I can’t tell you how many topical creams, shampoos and oils I tried to get rid of the thing. And here I am at 29 with the same rash except now it’s traveled down my neck, to parts of my feet, my eyelids and my chest.

It’s a form of eczema. My sister has it as well. She saw a dermatologist in Las Vegas last week for it, who prescribed a dandruff shampoo and a steroid topical cream. We’ve both tried this care method time and time again. The shampoo leaves my head itchy and dry while the steroid cream comes with a serious side effect. Prolonged use leads to adrenal gland suppression, which reduces the body’s ability to produce its own hormones. Not something I’m willing to risk.

I’m the person who thinks I can cure everything homeopathically and I only saw the doctor because I recently read a story about a women who treated a patch of dry skin with coconut oil and it turned out to be skin cancer. So I went.

The doctor entered the room and I launched into my allergy history. When I mentioned that my seasonal allergies have declined greatly since childhood, she explained that it can take up to three years for your body to adapt to new seasonal allergens after relocating to a new region. It’s very rare to grow out of seasonal allergies. Since high school, I have not lived in a specific region longer than five years. So my body just hasn’t had time to adapt. Give it time, my doctor said, those allergies will be back.

Then we got to the good stuff, food allergies. I’ve been tested for allergies and intolerances over the years but I never committed to the results. The last test I had five years ago showed I was intolerant to cow’s milk, sesame, sole fish, soy and cashews. I gave it a whirl for six months then went back to my old ways, which included a daily serving of greek yogurt. Yeah, not the best idea…

My doctor suggested the skin prick test (SPT). A SPT is used to measure the presence of IgE antibodies for a food. It’s performed by sightly scratching the skin and placing a drop of the food on that spot. After fifteen minutes, the skin will either become inflamed or remain neutral. Well I was 100% neutral except for cow’s milk, which blew up to a big, red bump.

So I am officially allergic to cow’s milk.


Milk Allergy vs. Lactose Intolerance

Allergies and intolerances are very different things. The way your body chemically reacts to the food is not the same. This was news to me. I always thought lactose intolerance and dairy allergy were somewhat interchangeable.

Food allergies cause an immune system response affecting multiple organs throughout the body. An allergy to cow’s milk is triggered by the milk proteins. When these proteins enter the body, your body goes into defense mode, fighting off the unwelcome protein. It can cause hives, diarrhoea, vomiting, eczema or even an anaphylaxis reaction, literally shocking your immune system. Which is why my doctor gave me an EpiPen.

After peanuts and tree nuts, milk is the most common allergen.

You can be allergic to one of more of the proteins in milk: albumin, casein or whey. These are found in various concentrations in different dairy products. When milk is coagulated, it separates into two forms, the curds and the whey. I always think of the nursery rhythm, Little Bo Peep lost her sheep… Anyway… The curds are the casein. Milk is composed of about 20% whey to 80% casein. You can make cheese from whey or casein and proportions vary.  Also, pasteurization breaks down whey protein so it’s possible that people with this allergy can tolerate pasteurized products.

Lactose intolerance is the decrease or lack of the lactase enzyme that is required to metabolize the milk sugar, lactose. Without this enzyme the milk sugar ferments in our guts, stirring around and causes distress. Unlike a dairy allergy,  it only affects the digestive system, leading to bloating, abdominal pain, gas and possible diarrhea and vomiting.

Those with an intolerance may be able to eat fermented dairy products, like yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk since they contain good bacteria that helps break down the lactose.

Can I still have Butter?

Butter is made of the fattiest part of dairy and contains very little milk protein. The higher the fat content of a dairy product, the lower its protein content. Clarified butter, or ghee, is butter that has had an even larger quantity of the milk protein removed. So those with a dairy intolerance can easily enjoy ghee. I can have butter or ghee occasionally without adverse symptoms.

How is Cow’s Milk Allergy linked to Skin health?

Eczema is commonly triggered by food allergies and often first occurs in infants. For years doctors thought that most babies would grow out of the allergy but a study by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found this isn’t necessarily so. Children with more severe eczema are more likely to carry their allergy into adulthood. Sometimes eczema can be resolved just by removing that food from your diet. In my case, dairy is just one of the factors triggering my eczema. I still have more testing to do until it’s fully resolved.


Diagnosis and management of food allergies: new and emerging options: a systematic review,

Food Allergy,

Milk Allergy,

Ghee and Milk Protein,

Spotlight on Dairy Free,

Natural course of cow’s milk allergy in childhood atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome,

Children with More Severe Eczema Less Likely to Outgrow Milk, Egg Allergy,,-Egg-Allergy.pdf

Roasted Peaches with Honey Meringue

Roasted Peaches with Honey Meringue

It’s September. So I’ll be eating large quantities of summer fruit until the very last day of harvest. Peaches are still available in my local market and I wanted to create a dessert that brought out their full flavor. The best way to do this is by slow roasting until the juices burst through the skin.

In my dairy-days I would have reached for plain vanilla ice cream to top off this dessert. Alas, those days are done. Dairy is my primary food intolerance. I tried convincing myself for years that one bite here and there wouldn’t hurt. I’ve learned the hard way.  Dairy and I mix as well as democrats and republicans. We make a slight attempt at reconciliation and then decide its best to be separated at all times.

Coconut is the closest way to replicate the creaminess of dairy. It’s rich, smooth and thick enough to satisfy my craving. The only problem is that my husband despising anything coconut. How do I create a creamy topping for both of us to enjoy? Then I thought of meringue. But of course!

Lactose intolerance is a real bummer. Most of the world’s population is not able to enjoy a three scoop sundae without some discomfort. This is all tied to your genes. Your ability to break down lactose is largely dependent upon where your ancestors hail. According to a UC Berkeley study, around 10% of Americans, 10% of Africa’s Tutsi tribe, 50% of Spanish and French people, and 99% of Chinese lack the enzyme lactase, which is necessary to break down lactose.

If you’re not into the whole meringue thing, these peaches would be incredible with a scoop of coconut ice cream.

Honey Meringue

Makes 2 servings.

2 egg whites
1 tbsp honey
1 large peach – cut in half, pit removed 

►Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
►Pour honey in a small saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until it turns a golden brown.
►Once the honey is done, bring it over to your mixing bowl of egg whites.
►Using either a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat eggs at medium speed in a large mixing bowl until frothy. Now with the mixer on high, very slowly stream in the honey mixture.
►Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

►Set oven to broil.
►Place peaches skin side down in a baking dish. Cook for 10 minutes.
►Top each peach half with a scoop of meringue.