The Bodaciousness of Bone Broth
Psst! I have a secret! The fountain of youth does exist. It’s actually been around forever! Okay, okay—20, 000 years isn’t forever, but it’s a long time!
From a beauty perspective, this “fountain of youth” supports good bone structure, gorgeous hair, skin, and nails. And that’s just the beginning of what this fabulous food has to offer. Let me introduce one of my oldest and dearest foodie friends: bone broth.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth been around for millennia, nourishing our early ancestors with its plethora of body building nutrients. Sadly, the last century has seen homemade bone broth pushed out of the American diet. The unfortunate consequence of busy lives is more and more people are relying on ready-made, processed products.
Considering bone broth is so easy, inexpensive, and nutritious, it’s practically a sin not to make it ourselves! Bone broth makes use of whatever bony parts are left when the muscle meats of an animal have been removed. Just put the bones (meaty bones, skin, feet, head, bones picked clean from a family dinner—it all works!) into a pot with filtered water, some vinegar (to draw out minerals), and possibly vegetable scraps and herbs. Add low simmering heat for 8-24 hours, periodically skimming the gunk that rises to the top (to remove impurities) and voila! You now have a magical substance in your pot. Let’s take a look at what makes bone broth so powerful…
Amazing Amino Acids
Gelatin, Collagen, Glycine, & Proline—Oh My!
Gelatin a “protein sparer,” (budgetary bonus to the nutritional benefits of bone broth) helps the body metabolize complete proteins we consume. It aids in digestion, produces healthy skin, hair, and nails, and supports joint health (1). Glycine and proline (components in gelatin) are necessary for “connective tissue function,” suppressing inflammation in the body, and detoxification (2). Proline, an important component in collagen (think cartilage!), combats inflammation, strengthens immune system function, and can also be useful in treating joint diseases (3).
In addition to amino acids, bone broth is rich in the minerals our bodies need for optimum health! This fantastic elixir provides:
Magnesium: Essential for cellular activity, bone formation, heart function, regulating blood sugar levels, the development of tooth enamel, and metabolizing carbohydrates and various minerals (6 , 5).
Phosphorous: Necessary for skeletal formation, cellular growth, nervous system functioning, muscle contractions, and healthy functioning kidneys (7).
Between amino acids and minerals, bone broth provides a whole lot of wonderful for our bodies!
So Why Bother Making it Ourselves?
A huge reason I make my own broth is to save money! High-quality food is a priority for me—it’s price gouging I’m not so crazy about! No one should pay $3.49 for 32 oz. of a thin liquid that lacks the wonderful nutrients and health benefits of the broth you can easily make at home for cents per ounce!
On top of its price, commercial “broth” sold at grocery stores may contain additives or natural flavorings (the neurotoxin MSG IS alive and well in packaged and restaurant foods, it just hides behind hundreds of different names!). When you buy packaged broth, you have no idea about the diet or health of the animal. The possibility of GMO feed, antibiotics, or hormones is a great personal deterrent to purchasing store-bought broth. However, if you are lucky enough to have a health food store or rancher that provides the real deal made from pastured and/or organic bones, go for it! It will cost you a pretty penny, though!
The Beauty of Bone Broth
Bone broth, for strengthening our immune systems, guts, joints, bones, teeth, nails, skin, and hair, has earned its status as a healing food. It is a vehicle for flavor and nutrients, and provides the material our bodies need to renew and regenerate our cells. Bone broth helps us develop properly, age gracefully, and live healthily. What more could you ask for? No doubt about it—bone broth is absolutely a food your body will thank you for!
Recipe: Basic Chicken Bone Broth
- 2-3lbs. *pastured chicken bones (backs, feet, dinner bone leftovers—turkey is great, too!)
- Organic vegetable scraps (as little as you’d like, or as much as will fit in your crock pot—I usually use onion, carrot, and celery)
- Raw, organic apple cider vinegar (sources)
- 2 tsp. of Himalayan or unrefined sea salt (there are people who add salt after, I add salt during cooking and after) (sources)
- cold, filtered water (this is the water filter I use)
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- Put the chickens/vegetable scraps in the crock-pot
- Cover completely with water (I usually fill up to within 2-inches of the rim)
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of raw cider vinegar
- Allow to sit for 30 minutes (the vinegar will help draw out the minerals)
- Turn the crock-pot on LOW for 24-48 hours.
- Strain and set liquid aside, remove bones
The first batch should be stored in glass containers, allowed to cool, and can then be stored in the refrigerator. After the broth is cold, it can be stored in the freezer (I’ve stored mine as long as 4 months). This stock/broth is good for soups, stews, and sauces, but can be used in anything requiring a savory liquid. I love using it for mashed potatoes and rice!
*pastured chickens are healthy chickens. They spend their days in the sun, scratching for insects/bugs. If they receive supplemental feed, make sure it’s organic—bonus if it’s soy-free! If you can’t find pastured chicken, opt for organic!