It’s Not Just Soup: Bone Broth is Medicine

bone broth

 

For most people, “broth” is just the base that you use for making soup.

But, what if I told you that the bone broth nutrition facts show us that it is one of the most nourishing and mineral-rich foods that you can eat?

In fact, bone broth reviews and studies have made it the cornerstone for many diet protocols including GAPS, SCD and candida cleanse. These dynamic protocols are designed to heal chronic digestive inflammatory illnesses and would not be as successful without a healthy dose of bone broth.

Using a whole foods bone broth to heal the lining of the digestive system helps to protect your body from colds and flus by improving digestion, reducing allergies, supporting immune health, brain function, and re-mineralizing teeth.

Additionally, the calcium in bone broth is a beautiful and bioavailable supplement for kiddos and their growing bones, women seeking to shore up their bones for menopause and everyone in between and beyond, and is a perfect first food for a baby transitioning from breast milk to other foods.

Bone Broth Nutrition Facts

Bone broth is full of proline and glycine, which are two amino acids needed for DNA and RNA synthesis and proper digestive health.

These amino acids are also essential for wound healing, detoxification in the liver (through glutathione), and regulating blood sugar.

Glycine specifically regulates creatine and Human Growth Hormone secretion (from the pituitary gland), thus pumping up the volume on muscle growth and repair.

Not to mention, the vital role that glycine plays in central nervous system function, helping to promote a sense of calm throughout the body.

Glycine is converted into serine by the brain, which is a neurotransmitter that reduces stress, improves mood and memory, and gives an overall sense of increased mental alertness.

Bone broth nutrition facts also reveal a high content of proline, which can help the body reverse the build-up of cholesterol in your veins, which can reduce the chance of a nasty little clot blocking your heart or the blood vessels around it.

PS. The bone broth skin benefits are phenomenal!

Where to buy bone broth?

So, where is the best place to buy bone broth? Nowhere. You don’t buy it … you make it! The difference between homemade bone broth nutrition facts and a box, can or cube of store-bought stuff is like night and day. That said, there are more and more reputable companies and restaurants popping up that sell high-quality broth. Look around your local farmer’s market and you might just find a great option!

Homemade broth is full of the good stuff above, plus gelatin, a serious health-booster. Store-bought broth is likely full of MSG, chemicals and whatever BPA or other junk is in the packaging itself and is not likely to have been cooked for 24 hours+.

Gelatin is released into the homemade broth solution from cooking down bones and cartilage in a moist environment over low heat, for a long while. Gelatin is a hydrophilic protein, meaning it attracts water and digestive juices to it.

Thus, having bone broth with a meal helps with digestion by bringing more digestive enzymes and fluids into the alimentary tract.

Finally, three powerhouses in arthritis treatment are glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid- all found in homemade bone broth nutrition facts.

You’re unlikely to get gelatin or any of these healing nutrients from a box of factory-made broth and are certainly not going to get it from a cube of MSG-laden broth-flavored yuck.

So How Do I Make Bone Broth?

It’s easier than it may seem. Your broth will only be as good for you as what you put in it, so always start with the best quality bones you can find: bones from grass-fed cows or bison, well-loved lamb, chickens that were pastured, or fish that was wild-caught (never farmed).

I’m all about making quality food without spending a billion bucks, so I save all of my leftover bones from roasting chickens, ducks, turkeys.

I also save every little scrap of veggies that I would otherwise throw in the compost – the tops of carrots, broccoli butts, onion skins, etc. and I throw them in the freezer.

Once I have a critical mass, I throw those bad boys right in the stockpot. Bam. Money saved.

I am also often short on TIME. My favorite broth work-around: organic rotisserie chicken. For under $10 I have meat for several meals, and a nice little bundle of bones to make soup from.

I throw the bones right in some water with apple cider vinegar and I’m on my way. Easy. Peasy.

I also buy bones from my local butcher, right from the farm or farmer’s market. There are also some online companies like US Wellness Meats or Tropical Traditions that have great stuff.

Best Bone Broth Recipe:

What you need:

  • 2-4 lbs of healthy bones: cow, chicken, deer, goat, T-Rex
    • If your goal is super gelatinous stock, throw a few chicken feet in there
    • Bits like chicken backs and necks can also be cheaper and are a great part to use in addition to the bones you’ve been saving up
    • My math is to use about 2 lbs of bones per gallon of water I’m using, but usually just make sure that the bones are covered by 3-4 inches of water at the start.
      • Most importantly: Don’t get nervous about doing it perfectly. It’s soup. It’ll be okay. There is no perfect. Just get it done.
  • 2-3 Tablespoons raw, unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar or other mild vinegar
  • 1-2 medium organic onions, including the nutrient-rich skin
  • 3-4 medium organic carrots, with the skin
  • 3-4 stalks of celery -or- 1 stalk plus all the little flowery bits from the top plus the heart bits that are all bitter and you likely wouldn’t eat anyway
  • 4 or more quarts of filtered water or spring water, again, enough to cover those gorgeous bones by a few inches
  • 1 bunch of parsley and thyme (technically optional, but they add nutrients and a rich herby taste)
  • A cookie sheet and some parchment paper that fits it if you want to roast your bones (an optional step)
  • A good-quality stainless steel stock pot. You can get one from 6-10 quarts in size. It should have a lid, which you will use for the chicken stock, but not for the beef stock.
  • A really nice knife makes life more pleasant.

The Doing:

An optional step is to roast those yummy meaty bones for about 20-30 minutes (or until brown) at 350 degrees. I use a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet for easier cleanup.

This will add a beautiful color and a meaty yumminess to the stock. It’s not a medicinal step – it’s an aesthetic one that I find worth it if I have the time.

If adding a step like this means you won’t actually make the broth, then skip it.

Again: in my world, done is way better than “perfect” if perfect means Not Done… right?!

Put all those browned bones in your stock pot, fill with water to a few inches above it.

Add apple cider vinegar and set a timer for 30 minutes (or, seriously: whatever. If you’re in a rush and this is a make it or not moment, forget the waiting, throw it all in off you go!).

The vinegar will start to draw the minerals out of the bones and into the water. Snap the chicken bones to get all delicious marrow and minerals out of them.

Do not attempt to snap T-Rex bones with your hands! You will hurt yourself. I may or may not be speaking from personal experience here.

For beef stock: ½ cup vinegar

For chicken stock: 2 tablespoons vinegar

While the bones are soaking, chop up your veggies. A coarse chop will do, and remember to leave the skin on if you’re using organic vegetables. Make sure to wash them first!

After the 30 minutes have passed, add those vegetables and the bunch of thyme (only needed for beef broth) to the water and bones that are in the stock pot.

Put the pot on the stove at the highest heat, and bring it to a big ole rolling boil, allowing it to boil vigorously for 5 minutes. If using a crockpot, set it to high and go for a walk.

If any white frothy scum floats to the top, skim it off and throw it out. It’s impurities from the bones.

Lower the heat to a low simmer, just hot enough that there is a little bit of movement in the liquid. Movement is key to drawing the minerals and gelatin out of the bones. The goal here is to condense down the liquid, allowing some liquid to boil off. Cook covered.

NOTE: I mostly use a crockpot! The broth is rarely as magically gelatinous as when it cooks on fire, but again: it gets done.

And it gets done while I’m at work. And that is Complete Magic because it means I’ll actually Do It.

Cook broth for 24-48 hours, total time.  The longer you cook it, the more medicinal it will be. Some folks chose to leave the stock boiling while they go to work or sleep, some find that too scary.

You get to decide what feels right for you. You can also do the rolling boil on the stove for a solid 5-10 minutes and then carefully pour it into a crock pot and leave that bad boy on when you go to sleep or to work or whatever you’re comfortable with.

The crockpot can help make life a lot easier for folks…

If you find that your lousy apartment range doesn’t have a flame low enough for broth making, and your broth just won’t stop boiling on the lowest setting (my life!), get one of those flame reducing thingies from the hardware or grocery store.

About 10 minutes before you’re done cooking the broth, throw that parsley in there. It adds some really valuable minerals and is great for the liver.

What now?

Pour the stock through a strainer into a glass or ceramic bowl or pot, and leave it on the counter to cool down. And there’s no reason not to eat all those yummy carrots and bits of meat that are left over.

Eat them yourself or feed them to pups, but remember to take the onions out for dogs and to be very careful to take all the tiny bits of chicken bone out before serving.

I love eating the gorgeous bone marrow you find in those big old beef bones – heaven.

You can also save the bones and reboil them with new vinegar and new veggies – a great tip when cash is tight!

Once the liquid is coolish, put it in the fridge to cool down all the way – if the broth is in jars at this stage, leave the lids off or the glass could break! Hopefully, the liquid will be gelatinous with a nice layer of fat on the top.

Pop that good fat off and save it for cooking veggies in, which is not only delicious but nutrient rich. Or leave it in the broth for a richer taste.

I freeze mine in glass mason jars, the kind with straight sides. Please make sure to get Freezer Jars! I get so sad when I get that call “Umm… Vic… All my broth jars exploded in the freezer…”

I leave a little inch or so of headroom at the top and freeze it with the lid off. Once it’s frozen, I put the lid on.

You’ve got about 6 months to eat your yummy frozen stock. It stays good in the fridge for about 5-7 days. After that time you can reboil it to buy you a few more days of goodness.

Awesome. Now, what do I do with my bone broth?

Anytime I’m cooking up beans or grains, which I always soak overnight, I cook them up in bone broth for added nutrition and to allow me to use less protein for dinner.

I use broth as the base for all kinds of yummy soups, stews and when roasting, steaming or sautéing vegetables.

A favorite trick of mine is to freeze it in tiny jars or an ice cube tray, and then I can just pop out a cube or two to throw into a pan to deglaze it or for making a sauce or gravy.

I make a habit of drinking 1-2 cups of broth a day, as a way to get minerals and all the nutrients above. If there’s a cold or flu going around I’ll drink a little extra, and I’ll squeeze some fresh garlic in as I warm the broth up, along with a little good quality sea salt.

Growing up, by dad Jorge would scramble an egg into some bone broth – heaven! With this regimen, I don’t get sick very often.

If the bugs get me, there is nothing like homemade chicken soup to set right what’s wrong, especially in the case of a stomach bug, barfing or the yucky flu.

I hope you have as much fun making homemade broth, and find as much good health from as I have found in this affordable, easy nutrient boost.

 

 

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