The Beauty of Traditional Bone Broth

 

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“Good broth will resurrect the dead.” Bone broth is an incredibly healing traditional food with myriad health benefits, and it’s so soothing and calming. It’s frequently recommended in certain healing plans like the GAPS diet, leaky gut, autoimmune conditions, and nearly any GI issue. I always recommend broth to weight loss clients and to those with digestive concerns. Broth made with chicken bones blocks the migration of inflammatory white cells, making chicken broth an invaluable tool to boost immunity during cold and flu season. If you feel run down, make a batch of broth before you really start to feel crappy, and drink 8 ounces 2-3 times daily for recovery. Broth can improve digestion and metabolism too. I drink mine with plenty of sea salt and curry (for the trace minerals and anti-inflammatory turmeric), or I use it as a base for soups and stews.

Following the below recipe is important, because when I’m discussing broth, I am most certainly NOT talking about the stuff you buy in cans or in a box from the grocery store. Not only has it not been properly prepared, many brands contain additives and MSG (look for key words like ‘natural flavor’ or ‘autolyzed yeast extract’ in the list of ingredients. MSG hides under those terms).

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First, the benefits. Bone broth, when properly prepared, is very rich in the minerals we are so sorely lacking in our diets. Even if you’re eating a diet full of all kinds of veggies (half your plate should be veggies of all kinds!), modern farming practices have left the soil that even the best organic crops grow in depleted of the key minerals we need. Minerals are critical for good cardio function, stress response, and enzymatic reactions in the body. Broth is calcium-rich, and many folks (especially those of us who avoid dairy, which isn’t even the greatest source of calcium. Get calcium from your leafy greens!) are concerned with not getting enough calcium. Broth is also rich in magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, potassium sulfate, flouride, collagen, glucosamine, chondroiton, and other trace minerals.

Broth contains both collagen and gelatin, two super healing components. Collagen nourishes joints, tendons, ligaments, skin and bone, and it improves skin elasticity–drinking broth makes skin smooth and supple and may reduce cellulite. Collagen also contains arginine and glycine, two important amino acids. Arginine is said to improve metabolism, making it useful for weight loss, and glycine helps muscle recovery. Glycine may also improve digestion by increasing gastric acid secretion. Broth can be a useful tool for healing leaky gut syndrome (it also contains a bit of glutamine, which is an essential component the body uses for leaky gut repair). Read more about leaky gut here. Gelatin is quite a superfood as well. It improves skin and hair, nails, also improves joints, helps reduce cravings, making it useful for weight loss, and improves digestion and muscle tissue.

Broth can be a valuable weight loss tool–the high mineral content can help combat sugar cravings. Try sipping it in the afternoons when the 3pm sugar cravings hit. Broth is also incredibly nourishing for the digestive tract, making it invaluable for reducing intestinal inflammation from foods like gluten, sugar, and dairy, and for leaky gut healing, as mentioned earlier. I often use it with my vegetarian clients who are just starting to re-explore the world of meat. They often have fatty acid or amino acid deficiencies, so broth works well for them.

How to Make Traditional Bone Broth

So, how do you make it? Here is the easiest method, using a crock pot. The longer and lower you simmer your broth, the better, as more minerals will be extracted, and the flavor is richer.

use chicken backs, necks, heads and feet for the most collagen-rich broth!

use chicken backs, necks, heads and feet for the most collagen-rich broth!

Bone broth–easy crock pot method

  • 4 lb bones of pastured animals. I use either lamb, beef or raw beef marrow bones, or for a chicken broth, chicken bones/back/neck. Always get organic/grass fed bones. I’ll save them in a container in the freezer until I have about a pound or more. You can also save egg shells and use those. Buy chicken backs, necks, heads and feet, which are usually cheap and yield a collagen and gelatin-rich broth.
  • 2 organic celery stalks
  • 1 organic onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves organic garlic
  • filtered water
  • Sprigs of thyme/rosemary/sage as desired
  • Add sea veggies for more trace minerals–kombu and kelp are great for this
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste (I often add before drinking)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (important for the extraction of minerals)

Directions:
Put all ingredients in slow cooker, then pour enough filtered water to cover everything. Set to low and let it cook for 15 up to 24 hours. Strain broth and store in glass containers (preferably). In the fridge, you’ll notice a layer of fat form–don’t skim this. It seals the broth and keeps it fresh. Drink it between meals,  in the afternoons when sugar cravings hit, or in the evenings after dinner if you’re a night eater. Use it as a base for soups and stews. It should be super gelatinous, like meat jello. If it’s not, use more bones.

If you don’t want to use the crockpot, just put everything in a large dutch oven on the stove and let it simmer as long as possible. Same method. Read more about broth and digestive healing here.

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PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS I WOULD USE MYSELF OR THAT I RECOMMEND FOR CLIENTS IN MY PRACTICE. YOUR PURCHASE HELPS SUPPORT MY WORK IN BRINGING YOU REAL INFORMATION ABOUT NUTRITION AND HEALTH.

Comments

  1. Michele says

    Do you remove the fat layer when you take it out of the fridge, or should the fat be included when reheating the broth?

  2. admin says

    I usually skim back the fat and pour the broth into a mug, then reheat it. so no, i don’t always use the fat, but depending on one’s health concerns, you may want to use it, as certain conditions call for a greater need for fats (hormone imbalance, brain chemistry issues, etc)

  3. says

    Gelatin doesn’t work as well as broth, but it’s a good second contender. You don’t get the minerals and trace minerals in the same strength that broth offer.

  4. says

    Hi! My hubby usually makes stock/broth in a stock pot on the stove, but today he is trying the crockpot method for the first time – smells so good! :-) After straining it, we normally put it in jars, cool it, then freeze it. We normally use it for soups, stews, etc… but would like to start drinking it on a regular basis. How long would it keep in the fridge? Would love to make it on the weekend and use it during the week. Thanks for all the info!

  5. says

    Put it from crock pot/stove to jar and then refrigerate to let the fat rise to the top. the fat will “seal” in the freshness, and the broth should last 7 days in the fridge. Enjoy! I like mine with curry powder (for the benefits of turmeric) and sea salt.

  6. Candace says

    We bbq’d a whole chicken about a week or so ago. I put the remains in the freezer in hope i could use it to make broth. It still has bits of meat on it. Can I still use it to make broth? Do I pull all the meat off and break up the bones? Thank you!

  7. megan says

    Hello, Where would I buy organic bones from? Or do you just keep it from the meat you cook?

  8. Brian says

    I just made it for the first time in crock using chicken backs, necks, feet and beef marrow bone. It seems very oily…should I have removed the chicken skin beforehand? Or is all that oil normal?
    Also, can I add gelatin later in re-heat? I didn’t have any on hand.
    Thanks so much for all the good info on here!

  9. says

    once it cools, the fat will congeal on the top. Leave it to seal in freshness and flavor, (I usually make a hole in the “seal” and pour through that into a mug).

  10. Jackie says

    Hello, and thanks for this helpful Web site!! Can you recommend a vegan alternative to the bone broth?

  11. Renetta says

    Hi,
    Can you tell me how long this broth will last in the freezer? Also can I buy organic chicken broth from a whole foods store that will do the same? I’m pressed on time and would love a quick alternative.

  12. Julie says

    I know this is an older post, but am hoping you can answer. I make stocks and/or “bone broth” regularly, Once it is refrigerated, it forms a firm gel as opposed to something I could pour through the layer of fat as you described above. it still works great once I warm it, but how do you keep yours to a soft, pourable gelatin? Thanks :-)

  13. says

    You want the broth to be very gelatinous– it should be like “meat jello” when it’s cold. That means it has the proper amounts of collagen & gelatin. It will turn to liquid when heated.

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