Calm the Nervous System: Repose Broth Recipe

vegetable broth bowl

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. -Virginia Woolf

In these stressful times we all need a way to take care of ourselves and nourish our brain, mind and body with foods that are easy to digest and bring calm to our Nervous System. You have all read me praise the benefits of bone broths so now it’s time, as a recovering vegetarian, to return to my roots (pun intended!) and share with you the benefits of vegetable broths.

Where bone broths energize, vegetable broths help us relax.

This is one of my favorite broths and it’s easy to make. I make it weekly as a stock for soups or a broth by itself to sip, since by the end of the week I have a tubful of vegetable ends and pieces of roots I didn’t use throughout the week. I place the carrot tops, ends of onions greens and other veggies I cut off when making salad and place them in a container in the fridge until I have enough to make this soup.

You can change up the ingredients as you wish but always include celery, onions and parsley to provide plenty of alkalinizing vegetables which soothe the soul. Add a clove of garlic and some sea salt for a richer taste experience.

The parasympathetic nervous system, which governs the enzymes juices and movement of digestion, requires relaxation for best results.

The Science Behind Calm Digestion

Repose Mineral Broth increases energy, restores adrenal health and reduces fatigue, high blood pressure, and water retention. Most modern diets provide a high sodium-to-potassium ratio, whereas traditional diets like those of our ancestors have at least twice the potassium to sodium. This imbalance contributes to fatigue, stress, anxiety and high blood pressure. Under stress, we require a lot more potassium to support our adrenal glands, which in turn supports energy, good mood and sleep.

The cayenne pepper (it’s really a fruit!) will provide a little pep for your mood and is helpful for digestion and circulation. Add a little white miso when the broth is finished to provide some healthy bacteria for your gut and thereby enhance GABA, the relaxation neurotransmitter. Just make sure you don’t boil the broth after you add Miso.

Vegetables for Broth

Recipe: Repose Broth to Calm the Nervous System

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1-2 hours
Yields 2 quarts broth


2 qts. water
2 large potatoes, chopped or sliced to approx. Half-inch slices
1-2 c. carrots, and ends and carrot greens, shredded or sliced
1-2 c. celery and ends chopped or shredded, leaves and all
Handful of beet tops, turnip tops, parsley, onion, or whatever you have from the garden or left over from cooking and salads during the week.
2 cloves crushed garlic
Fresh herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 tsp. mineral-rich sea salt (supports adrenal function)
1 tsp. miso (optional at the end)


  1. Place all ingredients (except fresh herbs, cayenne, sea salt, and miso) in a large stainless steel, enamel, glass, or earthenware pot. Cover and cook slowly for about 1 hour.
  2. After the vegetables are finished cooking add fresh herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, and a pinch of cayenne pepper and sea salt.
  3. Strain the broth off, squeezing the liquid off the vegetables, then add a teaspoon of miso after the broth is finished cooking and serve warm or as a cool drink.

If not used immediately, keep in refrigerator. You can also use this as a base for any soup to enhance its value and of course freeze it in containers and add to the slow cooker when making soups.

Cooking Tip: Miso is a very versatile food made from fermented beans or grains. Start with a mild tasting miso, like white or barley miso. Never boil miso as it will kill the healthy bacteria. Always add it to soup after you have turned off the heat.

Shopping Tip: Not enough vegetables for your broth? The local food coop often has a “seconds basket” with two-day old veggies that are inexpensive and perfect for this broth.

Teaching Tip: This is a great way to teach our children about how to use almost every part of the food we eat.

Health Tip: Use this broth as a base for making a beefy bone broth to uplift mood, energy and for all addiction recovery.

To read more recipes for stress reduction and mood enhancement see my books: Eat Right, Feel Right and The Good Mood Kitchen. Professionals will be interested in my textbook: Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health.

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