So, I’ve been drinking A LOT of bone broth lately, and it’s delicious! More (or maybe equally) important, though, is the fact that bone broth is loaded with nutrients and has innumerable health benefits – from healthier, firmer skin to healthy bones (more on this later). Just to clarify, this is NOT the bone stock or broth you find in a carton on the shelves of your local grocery store. This is the broth you make yourself from grass-fed beef (or pastured chicken) bones. Those weirdly shaped, sandpapery, hard exteriors are jam-packed with essential nutrients, anti-inflammatory and gut-healing proteins, healthy essential fats, and an amazing number of minerals that sadly so often get tossed i the trash (ouch, right?). I never thought I would get so excited about bones, but apparently that day is here.
Don’t just take my word for it, though. Here’s a list of the benefits you can get out of making your own homemade, super easy bone broth:
Good for your joints:
It’s no coincidence that eating this magical bone mineral-infused liquid helps heal our bones and keep them healthy. Broth made from bones and joints contains all of the nutrients that help strengthen our own skeletal system. Let’s start by discussing the protein (which, at this point, we know is a GOOD THING). Let’s start specifically with collagen, the protein substance in bones, tendons, and ligaments that is broken down into gelatin while your broth simmers. I’ll talk more about gelatin in an upcoming post, but for now, think jello or pudding but 10000x healthier). Gelatin gives us super important proline and glycine, which provide the raw materials to rebuild connective tissue (tendons and ligaments), which, whether you do CrossFit or not, are very important for simple quality of life through the years. These proteins also help with rheumatoid arthritis and tendonitis. In fact, drinking collagen in the form of bone broth has been shown to greatly outperform any glucosamine and chondroitin supplement (it’s all about eating/drinking whole foods, people)!
Good for detox:
That glycine that I mentioned earlier is also great for detoxification (and I am not talking about some unrealistic fasting juice detox). You have your own kick ass detox system right in your own body – the liver. And glycine helps the liver in its task to remove the crap (removing the crap is just another way to say detoxify). That’s not all though! Glycine is also necessary for the synthesis of some of the body’s most important antioxidants, glutathione and uric acid, helping them to reduce oxidative stress. Plus, Glycine from broths and cartilage can help break down homocysteine without the need for B vitamins, which most people lack enough of to handle the methionine found in large quantities in muscle meat (the part we usually eat without weird looks). We should be consuming the nutrients from the bones with the rest of the animal. Wasting is not only bad for the world, but it’s potentially bad for your insides too.
Good for digestion:
It is very uncommon these days to talk to someone who has never dealt with some sort of gut irritation. With the massive amounts of toxins, crappy, overly processed foods, and stress that is abounding in our society, it is no wonder that people frequently suffer from gut issues that so many have written off as being “normal.” People wake up, eat processed sugar-os, drink crappy coffee, stress all day, eat fast-food at their desks in a job they hate, come home, stare at a screen, and then struggle to sleep. Over exaggerating? Maybe, but any variation or piece of that lifestyle leads to a pretty unhappy environment for your gut, and therefor, your whole immune system. Dealing with constant stomach pain is not normal, and it is NOT ok. Enter bone broth. The glycine found in homemade broth stimulates the production of stomach acid to aid in the digestion process without the need for (seemingly counterproductive) antacids. In helping your body to secrete more stomach acid on its own, glycine can help prevent or treat this painful and potentially dangerous problem. This makes bone broth a delicious supplemental food for anyone suffering from acid reflux, IBS, or FODMAPS intolerance. Glycine is also necessary for bile acid, aiding in fat digestion in the small intestine. Plus, it also helps maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels (which contrary to popular belief, doesn’t mean super low numbers, but more on this in a later post).
If you have been following the Paleo blogging world, you have probably heard of leaky gut at this point. Simply put, this is a condition with leaky gut where the pores in your intestine widen, causing the undigested food particles and toxins that are supposed to be blocked to make their way into the bloodstream. Because this stuff is not supposed to be in the blood, it causes the immune system to go into attack mode, leaving you open to all kinds of autoimmune issues.Glutamine, another amino acid found in bone broth, helps maintain the function of the intestinal wall, preventing this damage from occurring.
Good for giving us marrow:
We often think of marrow as a delicacy at a fancy restaurant, but the beautiful thing is that you can make it in the comfort of your own home and enjoy it all the time. The even more beautiful thing is that it is LOADED with healthy benefits. There is a reason why animals go nuts to get through the bones to the delicious, meaty treasure inside. I have spoken of organ meats before, and marrow is made up of these superfoods. Bone marrow is an essential part of the immune system and contains all kinds of cells necessary for immune function and bone growth, not to mention healthy cholesterol and Vitamin K2. It’s no coincidence that something so tasty is also so healthy. When we can ditch the cravings for addictive processed sugar, our bodies start craving nutrient-dense, flavor-filled foods like marrow.
Good for bio-available minerals:
I love this quote from The Nourished Kitchen,
“The problem with mineral supplements is that we aren’t what we eat. A more accurate statement is we are what we absorb from what we eat.”
Just because we take a pill with minerals in it, doesn’t mean we are going to absorb those minerals. Lucky for us, the healthy fats in bone broth help restore greater gut health and therefore increase the absorption rate of the minerals present in broths, and there are LOTS of minerals in homemade broth (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus t name a few). When we eat it in its WHOLE FOOD form, with all of the fats it’s designed to be consumed with, we get the full absorption of those minerals.
Good for staying forever young:
Healthy insides are great, but whether we want to admit it or not, we all want to look good too, right? Well, the amino acids in gelatin also give us great skin and hair. Skin, just like gelatin, is made of collagen. Gelatin-rich broths help build connective tissue, which makes skin smoother and healthier (think less cellulite and fewer wrinkles). Bones are good for your bones; collagen is good for your collagen (skin). As I always say, you are your own best experiment, and I can say for certain that I have seen a difference since starting up my bone broth drinking routine. What do you think? Try it out and see.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about how to make this delicious, flavor-packed, incredibly simple broth. Get ready for one of the easiest recipes I’ll post (and that’s saying a lot because I like to keep things simple).
Here you go…
Simply Delicious Bone Broth
*there are a lot of variables here. Unlike baking, the ingredients and ingredient amounts don’t have to be exact. See, I told you this was an easy one.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 4 quarts of filtered water (I just fill my crockpot until about 1-2 inches from the top)
- 1.5- 2 lb of bones from a properly raised animal of your choice (pastured chicken, grass-fed beef, etc.)**
- cloves from 1 whole head of fresh garlic, peeled & smashed
- 2 TB organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)
- 1tsp sea salt – or more/less to taste
OPTIONS: add chopped veggies or additional spices to your crockpot for the last 2 hours (I usually add carrots that have gotten a little floppy, along with oregano, thyme, and rosemary. BUT wait till the end so they don’t get bitter)
**when I make beef broth, I always like at least half my bones to be marrow bones because… marrow is amazing. For chicken, go for the bones with the most joints to get the most collagen. I stick with chicken feet and necks. It’s best when they have some meat on them too.
WHAT YOU DO:
- roast your bones at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or so (not necessary, but it adds some great flavor)
- put all ingredients in a 6-quart crockpot and set the heat to HIGH.
- bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat setting to LOW.
- cook for a at least 8 hours (I usually go for 24 hours for more flavor and more nutrients)
- check on it over time and make sure the liquid hasn’t reduced in volume as it heats and water evaporates (you may need to add water if that happens)
- strain the stock through a fine mesh metal strainer and save the marrow (I put mine on a burger)
- let your broth cool and strain off the top layer of fat that forms (you can keep this to use for cooking)
- pour the cooled stock into glass jars for storage in the fridge (for up to a few days) it is also great to freeze and pull it out as needed!
- if you nailed it, your broth will have a gelatinous consistency when it cools all the way (super gelatin-rich)
I use it in soups, chili, sauces, and to flavor any savory recipe that calls for (and in place of) water. We actually often just drink it with dinner. It’s delicious, calming, and I can just feel the nutrients doing their thing!