My husband always wanted to raise grass-fed beef and, being the city-girl I was, I wasn’t sure it a good idea. But being his persistent and visionary self, we fled the upscale suburban lifestyle, bought a very run down farm from a bankruptcy, a few Belted Galloway beef cattle, some hearty chickens to pasture on grass, and began to return the land to organic with the EQIP program (Environmental Quality Improvement Program – a federal program). That is a whole story in itself, but the outcome probably saved me a fast downward spiral in my health.
I knew for generations, untold mothers and grandmothers made much out of the little they had and that bone broth was considered a life-giving staple in many cultures. Many families kept a pot of broth simmering at the hearth to provide an easy base for soups, gravies, and stews and also a way to keep the broth fresh before refrigerators. It just made total sense to use the properly-mineralized bones from our cattle and chickens to heal myself and my family, and now making bone broth is making a comeback in many real food circles.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the old adage that chicken soup will help cure a cold, and there’s scientific support for such a statement. Why we have for the most-part forgotten about one of the best, most-healing and nourishing foods known to mankind beats me!
“Good broth will resurrect the dead.” ~old South American proverb.
I have found bone broth (also known as ‘stock’) to be the #1 thing you can consume to:
- Heal leaky gut
- Overcome foods intolerances and allergies
- Improve joint health
- Reduce cellulite, wrinkles, and stretch marks with time
- Boost the immune system
- Restore glowing skin, shiny hair, and strong nails
8 age-defying, fabulous reasons to make bone broth:
1. Super Mineral Boost
Many people in the U.S. are deficient in one or more minerals due to dietary deficiencies or poor absorption (also known as leaky gut). Our soil is so depleted in minerals that getting these trace minerals through bones is extremely important. As the bones cook in water, minerals and other nutrients leach from the bones into the water. Homemade broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals.
Trace minerals from the bones that are easy to assimilate into our bodies (not like the problem with whole grains and nutrient-stealing phytic acid – see soaking beans and grains).
“Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.” ~Sally Fallon
2. Improves Bone Density
The calcium that leaches out of bones gently simmered into the stock is ready to be absorbed into your body and taken up by your bones. It is the perfect weapon against osteoporosis. (source) My bones are in better shape now than they have been for many years and my posture has improved, though I still work on standing correctly and keeping my shoulders back.
3. Gelatin for Joint Health
One of the incredible benefits of real bone broth (made from either organic chicken or beef) is that your finished stock will have a high amount of gelatin. When refrigerated, it should jiggle.
By using a the vinegar soak, you can unlock the minerals and other essential components. A vinegar pre-soak before applying heat ensures that minerals will be pulled out of the bones and into the stock. If you skip it, you must cook the stock longer before you can get the same effect. Use cold bones and soak with 2 TBSP vinegar to 1 gallon of water for chicken or 1/4 c. vinegar to one gallon for beef for an hour before you turn on the heat.
Gelatin is the cooked form of collagen, which makes up about half the protein in our bodies, so you’re truly ‘body building’ when you consume it.
The glucosamine in bone broth can actually stimulate the growth of new collagen, repair damaged joints and reduce pain and inflammation. Also, gelatin provides glycine, an amino acid that promotes healthy cartilage and ultimately aids in avoiding joint pain. Within a year, the debilitating hip problems I experienced were a thing of the past!
4. Helps Heal the Digestive Tract
Yet another benefit of bone broth, gelatin helps your system digest more efficiently. That’s likely why it’s used in GAPS and other gut-healing diets.
The intestinal lining is supposed to be permeable in order for transport of nutrients. However, this lining can become too permeable due to lifestyle factors: stress, toxins, food additives, long-term contraceptive use, as well as bacterial and fungal over-growths. Just think of poking big holes in your screens at home. Fresh air will pass through, but also the flies and mosquitoes.
Leaky gut – or gut hyper-permeability – works like this: undigested food particles slip through the gut lining and pass directly into the bloodstream. Uh oh! When this happens, the immune system overreacts and starts attacking the very foods you eat — we call these food sensitivities.
Over time, this can turn into an autoimmune issue in which your immune system thinks your own tissues look like the milk or green bean molecule it’s been fighting off for the past few years. In other words, your body starts to attack itself.
Broth contains collagen and the amino acids proline and glycine that can help heal your damaged cell walls. A bone broth fast for 3-4 days will do wonders to help repair leaky gut.
This was one of my (and my son’s) underlying problems leading to massive inflammation response, arthritic pain, gut pain, and dysfunction. When at my worst, I could not sit without flopping or stand without help, but I didn’t know why.
5. Immunity-Boosting Fat
The yellow fat from pastured chickens and grass-fed beef holds immune boosting powers that are only the tip of the iceberg in the power of a properly prepared chicken or beef stock to keep you from getting the next cold or other bug that flies through your house.
Drinking this fat in the broth will NOT make YOU fat!
6. Great Delivery System for Nourishing Sea Salt
7. Fights Infections
Bone broth provides a rich source of minerals and amino acids that supply the body with raw materials to rebuild stronger and healthier cells. Bone broth also boosts antioxidant activity in the body. In traditional Chinese medicine bone broth is used to boost the immune system and fight infections.
8. Bone Broth Dampens Stress & Promotes Sleep
Research has shown that consuming gelatin before bed helps induce sleep because of the amino acid glycine. Glycine plays an important role in the neurotransmitters within the brain. So not only will ingesting bone broth improve sleep quality, but it will also help reduce daytime sleepiness and help improve your memory and learning behavior during waking hours. The same function may even resist cancer and tumor growth.
<—Here is my recipe for nutrient-dense broth (you can use either chicken or beef bones).
And here is how Dr. Joe Mercola does it. I wish all families would make broth and save money on food and medical bills.
Note: Dr. Mercola forgets to use vinegar to help break down the bones…but YOU will remember, right?! When it comes to making broth, the vinegar helps leech all those valuable minerals from the bones into the stockpot water, which is ultimately what you’ll be eating. The goal is to extract as many minerals as possible out of the bones into the broth water. Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar is a good choice as it’s unfiltered and unpasteurized.
Go here to find clean organic meats from local farmers and growers in the US, Canada, and internationally. Talk to your supermarket manager: ask for them to consider supplying certified organic meats. As demand grows, so does supply. Also check with your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or food co-op.
“And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be satisfied.” ~ Deuteronomy 11:15
Thanks for reading!