There has been a lot of talk about bone broth recently…
But what is it for and why?
Bone broth made from grass-fed beef or free range healthy chickens is one of the most healing, nutrient dense foods you can put in your body. As the stock or broth is cooked for a long time over a low heat it has time for all the vitamins and minerals to be released from the meat, bones and vegetables while cooking. Due to this long slow cooking it also makes the nutrients easy to be absorbed into the body with the least amount of effort on the digestive system. This is especially good for the sick or the elderly when you are not feeling like or able to eat much. It’s also the foundation of health for the rest of us.
It’s paleo so it must be good, right?
If you cook your beef broth for 24 hours, you will end up with a thick gelatinous jelly once cooled. This is exactly what we want! The gelatin from the bones is soothing and healing to the gut. It is a building block for your cells, and will help the body regenerate and heal. It’s a big part of a paleo diet, and the basis for the GAPS gut healing protocol. It can also help heal a leaky gut and improve the life of people with food intolerance and digestive issues.
How long does it last?
Broth lasts for 3 – 4 days in the fridge and up to a year in the freezer. I get a jar out of the freezer the night before so it can defrost, then heat it up in the morning. I fill up a thermos with the heated 375 ml jar of broth which I top up with boiling water and take to work. Make sure you reheat your broth so it’s steaming hot before drinking.
How much do I drink?
The best way is to have approx 150 ml undiluted before each meal. Bone broth’s also introduce pre and probiotic’s to the body and help to regulate the gut flora. Drink before a meal and you are setting your digestion up for success. The enzymes you need for digestion will start to be produced and the both broth will start to work its magic.
When you make a very well reduced thick broth that is very strong you can dilute this a bit with hot water. I have a cup every morning instead of coffee or tea. In fact I call it beef tea 🙂
Some people are using just a spoon or two of the beef gelatin in hot water, but if you do this you are not really getting much of the good stuff. Fine if you are generally healthy, but if you are sick, or have immune or gut issues this may not be a healing amount. If you prefer it diluted start with about 100 to 150 ml undiluted broth and then top with as much hot water as you like.
Add a few spoonfuls to any stew, curry or soup you make to up the nutrients. Freeze in ice-cube trays so you have small amounts to make gravy. Any savory recipe which calls for water, could be replaced with stock for more flavour and nutrients. Use it to cook your quinoa in!
The best ingredients
When you make your broth, look for the best quality meat and bones you can afford. Grass fed, free range, hormone, steroid and antibiotic free is best if you can find and afford it. Nb: Don’t use the chicken feet. Yes they are a great source of gelatin. But the feet get washed in a LOT of chemicals due to the amount of poop the chicken produce. Stick to necks, wings and carcasses (and gizzards if you can get them).
If you need to buy lesser quality meat and bones due to budget or availability. Cool your broth in the fridge after straining and remove the fat. Most of the “bad stuff” is present in the animal fat. e.g. Grass-fed beef has a lot of omega 3 in its fat, conventional grain fed beef has a lot of omega 6 (inflammatory).
Are you making and drinking bone broths?
My recipe for chicken broth is here, and here is the beef bone broth recipe. The recipes are simple and you can add many different vegetables, herbs and spices to add extra flavour and healing. You can find some more good detailed info on the nutrients found in broth in the Whole 9 FAQ. Weston A Price are the grandmothers of the broth movement, they have lots of wonderful detailed info on broth online and in Sally Fallon Morell’s book — nourishing traditions.