When following a Candida diet, proper meal preparation becomes essential for maintaining a nutritious and balanced eating plan. One highly beneficial and cost-effective method of weekly meal prep is cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker. Not only does this provide you with tender, juicy shredded chicken to store in the fridge or freezer, but it also allows you to make homemade bone broth from the leftover bones.
In this blog post, we will explore the health benefits of bone broth on the Candida diet and guide you through the process of preparing shredded chicken and bone broth as part of your weekly meal prep routine.
🌱 Health Benefits of Bone Broth on the Candida Diet
Bone broth is a nutritional powerhouse, especially when it comes to supporting gut health on the Candida diet. Here are some key benefits of incorporating bone broth into your Candida meal plan:
- Gut Healing Properties: Bone broth is rich in gelatin, collagen, and amino acids that help heal and seal the gut lining. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with Candida overgrowth, as a compromised gut barrier is often associated with digestive issues and food sensitivities.
- Boosts Immunity: Bone broth contains essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support a healthy immune system. This is crucial for Candida sufferers, as a strong immune system plays a vital role in combating and preventing fungal infections.
- Supports Detoxification: The amino acids found in bone broth, such as glycine and glutamine, support liver function and aid in detoxification. This is important for individuals on the Candida diet, as the elimination of toxins is essential for overall health and the restoration of balance in the body.
- Joint and Skin Health: The collagen and gelatin in bone broth contribute to healthy joints, bones, and skin. As the Candida diet focuses on reducing inflammation, including bone broth can provide the necessary nutrients to support joint and skin health during the healing process.
🥣 How to Prepare Shredded Chicken and Bone Broth
Now that we understand the health benefits of bone broth, let's dive into the process of preparing shredded chicken and bone broth for your weekly meal prep:
Cooking the Whole Chicken
Start by selecting a high-quality organic chicken. Place the chicken in a slow cooker and top up with a little water, around 200ml, so that the base of the chicken does not stick. If you want you can also season it with Candida-friendly herbs and spices such as garlic, onion, and oregano. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours and until the chicken is tender and easily falls off the bone. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and let it cool.
Cook the whole chicken on a low heat for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours, until the chicken is tender and easily falls off the bone.
Shredding the Chicken
Using two forks, shred the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces. This shredded chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days or frozen for later use. Having pre-shredded chicken on hand allows you to easily incorporate protein into various meals throughout the week, such as salads, stir-fries, or wraps.
Making Bone Broth
Return the leftover bones and carcass to the slow cooker. Add water, chopped vegetables (such as onions and celery), and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to help extract the nutrients from the bones. Cook on low heat for 24-48 hours, topping up with water as and when required.
Even leaving the slow cooker on overnight is enough to extract some of the goodness from the bones resulting in delicious broth. I will leave mine on for as little as 12 hours if I'm short on time. I do this by leaving it on overnight and then straining the broth first thing in the morning.
Once ready, strain the liquid in a fine mesh sieve to remove any bone fragments or vegetables, and let it cool. Once cooled, portion the bone broth into containers and freeze them for future use. I like to pour mine into cupcake cases held in a muffin tin. If you pop these in the refrigerator first, they will set into a jelly which will make them less likely to spill in the freezer.
When removing the bone broth portions from the freezer, wait a couple of minutes before peeling off the paper cupcake cases. You can also use reusable silicone cases, however, I tried this myself and didn’t like the silicone after taste so went back to the paper case method!
Your bone broth portions can now be used as a flavourful base for soups, stews, sauces or even sipped on its own as a nutritious beverage.
🙏 Benefits of Meal Prepping a Whole Chicken
By utilizing the entire chicken and making bone broth, you maximize the value and nutrient density of your organic chicken. This approach not only stretches your budget but also ensures that you extract every ounce of goodness from the chicken.
Now that you have your shredded chicken and bone broth ready, let's explore some practical ways to incorporate them into your Candida diet meal plan:
🍗 Shredded Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Salad: Mix shredded chicken with fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Dress it with a Candida-friendly vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and herbs. You could also try this candida diet friendly coronation chicken salad recipe.
- Chicken Stir-Fry: Sauté shredded chicken with a variety of colourful vegetables in coconut oil or avocado oil. Season it with Candida-safe spices like turmeric, ginger, and cumin for a flavourful and healthy meal.
- Chicken Lettuce Wraps: Wrap shredded chicken in large lettuce leaves and top with sliced avocado, diced tomatoes, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs for a refreshing and low-carb lunch.
☕ Bone Broth Uses
- Soups and Stews: Use bone broth as the base for homemade soups and stews, adding in your favourite vegetables, herbs, and lean proteins for a nourishing and satisfying meal.
- Warm Beverages: Sip on a cup of warm bone broth seasoned with herbs and spices for a comforting and nutrient-packed beverage.
- Cooking Grains and Legumes: Substitute water with bone broth when cooking grains like quinoa or legumes like lentils to infuse them with added flavour and nutrients.
🌿 Flavouring Your Broth
To further enhance the flavor of your homemade bone broth, you can add additional ingredients like onion, dried herbs, and celery. These ingredients not only impart a delicious taste but also contribute to the nutritional value of the broth. As the slow cooker works its magic, these ingredients will meld together, resulting in a rich and deeply flavorful broth that can be enjoyed on its own or used as a base for other Candida-friendly recipes.
Here are some candida diet friendly flavours to try adding to your next bone broth batch:
- Garlic: Add a few cloves of peeled garlic to the broth for a robust and aromatic flavour.
- Onions: Yellow onions, red onions, or even leeks can add a rich and sweet flavour to the broth.
- Ginger: Grate or slice fresh ginger and add it to the broth to infuse it with a subtle, warming kick.
- Bay leaves: Toss in a couple of bay leaves to lend a subtle herbal note to the broth.
- Peppercorns: Whole black or mixed peppercorns can be added to enhance the overall flavour profile.
- Fresh herbs: Bundle together a handful of fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, or rosemary and let them steep in the broth during cooking for a refreshing herbal aroma.
- Lemon or lime zest: Grate the zest of an unwaxed lemon or lime into the broth to impart a bright and citrusy essence.
- Apple cider vinegar: A small amount of apple cider vinegar can help extract the minerals from the bones and add a subtle tang to the broth.
- Miso paste: Stir in a spoonful of miso paste at the end of cooking for a savoury umami flavour as well as probiotic cultures. You may not need to add extra salt to your meals in this case, however, as miso paste is already quite salty.
- Seaweed: Dried seaweed, such as kombu or kelp, can introduce a unique umami taste and impart minerals to the broth.
- Celery: Use both the stalks and leaves for added flavour. Adds a savoury and herbal note to the broth.
Remember to wash and roughly chop the vegetables before adding them to the broth.
Incorporating shredded chicken and homemade bone broth into your weekly meal prep routine is a smart and cost-effective strategy for optimizing your Candida diet. By utilizing the entire chicken, you not only stretch your budget but also extract valuable nutrients and create versatile meal options. The health benefits of bone broth on the Candida diet cannot be overstated, as it supports gut health, immunity, and detoxification.
Remember, the journey towards better health and well-being starts with small, consistent steps like this. Happy cooking and enjoy your flavourful shredded chicken and nourishing bone broth!
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