After posting tons of plant-based recipes, now we’re going to dive into something a little more serious: bone broth.
I know that many people who follow my blog are hardcore vegetarians and vegans. Besides the consumption of bone broth, I would be, too.
I make a point to not eat animals. However, as a holistic healer, I would be a fool to ignore the benefits of bone and vegetable stock, which is full of easy-to-assimilate nutrients and minerals.
There’s a reason our ancestors prescribed chicken soup and broth when you’re feeling ill. When you simmer with vegetables the parts of an animal no one wants (such as bones, marrow, skin, feet, tendons, and ligaments), they break down and release healing compounds such as collagen, proline, glycine, and glutamine which can transform your health.
In fact, bone broth is one of the best ‘foods’ to help with the following:
- Treat Leaky Gut Syndrome (and, in effect, clear up skin conditions such as acne)
- Heal Food Intolerances and Allergies
- Improve Joint Health
- Reduce Cellulite (helps reduce it)
- Boost Immune System
As I’ve mentioned before, an underactive stomach and a leaky gut are main contributors to at least 70% of most people’s main complaints. From acne to thyroid issues (remember, 90% of the neurotransmitters are produced in your gastrointestinal tract), when foreign particulates and proteins leak through the gut wall, they cause an immune response which results in inflammation in the body.
What contributes to leaky gut in the first place?
- Antibiotics (resulting in imbalanced microflora)
- Refined Sugars
- Pasteurized Dairy
- Refined Carbohydrates
- Artificial Sweeteners, Preservatives, & Fake Food Colorings (many which are neurotoxins)
- Too many animal products, especially meat treated with hormones and antibiotics
Nutrition researchers Sally Fallon and Kaayla Daniel of the Weston A. Price Foundation explain that bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others. They contain chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, the compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.1
In addition, a study conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that bone broth is full of amino acids, therefore, helps reduce inflammation in the respiratory system and improves digestion. Other research proves that broth is good for boosting the immune system and healing disorders like allergies, asthma, and arthritis.
The issue is, most broth you purchase in the store isn’t ‘real’. Lab-produced meat flavors are used in bouillon cubes, soups, and sauce mixes, and many manufacturers add monosodium glutamate (MSG). It might taste good, but it’s a neurotoxin.
No, if you want real bone broth, you have to make it yourself at home, which I explain below. If you’re ethically on the fence about consuming broth – even if you eschew eating animals like I do, here’s’ what I have to say:
The bones are parts of the animal no one wants or uses; so, why not put an animal’s sacrifice fully to use and help heal yourself in the process. It’s not vegan, I get it. But at the same time, few things work as well as healing the gut as bone broth. In the end, it is ultimately up to you.
The Many Benefits of Collagen & Gelatin
When you make a bone broth from scratch, you’ll notice that the stock has a jiggling layer on the top once it cools. This is collagen, and it is the source of the stock’s immune-boosting properties. Don’t discard it!
As Dr. Axe relays, collagen is the protein found in connective tissue of vertebrate animals. It’s abundant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin.
Gelatin (the breakdown of collagen) was one of the first functional foods, used as a medical treatment in ancient China.
Dr. Francis Pottenger and other world class researches have found gelatin and collagen to have the listed benefits:
- Gelatin helps people with food allergies and sensitivities tolerate those foods including cows milk and gluten.
- Collagen protects and soothes the lining of the digestive tract and can aid in healing IBS, crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and acid reflux.
- Gelatin promotes probiotic balance and growth.
- Bone broth increases collagen reducing the appearance of wrinkles and banishing cellulite.
- Because gelatin helps break down proteins and soothes the gut lining, it may prove useful for leaky gut syndrome and the autoimmune disorders that accompany it.
- Gelatin provides bone-building minerals in easily absorbable ways, preventing bone loss and reducing joint pain.
My favorite benefit from bone broth is that it helps make your skin supple and soft. One of my biggest health complaints has always been my skin, as I suffered from acne since age 11. Bone broth helped fully heal my skin after giving up common allergens, such as corn, dairy, wheat, eggs, and soy.
How To Make Nourishing Bone Broth
There are a few important basics to consider when making good stock. You can make bone broth with animal components alone but in his chicken soup study, Dr. Rennard found that the combination of animal products and vegetables seemed to have synergistic effects, working together to be more beneficial than either alone.
Sally Fallon says that it’s important to use body parts that aren’t commonly found in the meat department of your grocery store, things like chicken feet and neck.
You’ll also want to buy animal products that you know are pasture-fed and free of antibiotics and hormones.
Fallon describes the essentials as bones, fat, meat, vegetables and water. If you’re making beef broth or lamb broth, you should brown the meat before putting it into a stock pot. Fish and poultry are fine to put in a pot without browning first. Add a bit of apple cider vinegar to your pot to help draw the minerals from the bones.
- Place bones into a large stock pot and cover with water.
- Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to water prior to cooking. This helps to pull out important nutrients from the bones.
- Fill stock pot with filtered water. Leave plenty of room for water to boil.
- Heat slowly. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for at least six hours. Remove scum as it arises.
- Cook slow and at low heat. Chicken bones can cook for 24 hours. Beef bones can cook for 48 hours. A low and slow cook time is necessary in order to fully extract the nutrients in and around the bone.
- You can also add in vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots, peas, zucchini, and celery for added nutrient value.
- After cooking, the broth will cool and a layer of fat will harden on top. This layer protects the broth beneath. Discard this layer only when you are about to eat the broth.
Bone Broth Benefits as Therapy
Remember, bone broth is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline.
The collagen in bone broth will heal your gut lining and reduce intestinal inflammation. In addition, collagen will support healthy skin and can reduce the appearance of cellulite. Also, the glycine in bone broth can detoxify your cells from chemicals and improve brain function.
It is recommended for you to consume 8 oz 1-2 x daily as a soup, a plain beverage, or by doing a bone broth fast.
Have you ever had bone broth? Do you think you might give it a try?
Kaayla T. Daniel, “Why Broth is Beautiful: Essential Roles for Proline, Glycine and Gelatin,” Weston A. Price Foundation. http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/why-broth-is-beautiful (accessed 18 June 2013).
University of Nebraska Medical Center. “Chicken Soup for a Cold” http://www.unmc.edu/publicrelations/chickensoup_newsrelease.htm (accessed 21 October 2011).
Kaayla T. Daniel, “Taking Stock: Soup for Healing Body, Mind, Mood, and Soul,” Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/naughty-nutrition/201202/taking-stock-soup-healing-body-mind-mood-and-soul (accessed 20 February 2012).
Gersten D, The 20 Amino Acids: What They Are and How They Keep You Alive and Vibrant. http://www.imagerynet.com/amino/20_amino.html (accessed 28 June 2013).