For most of us the the thought of throwing in a heap of bones into a slow cooker, leaving it simmer for 24 hours, and then drinking it, sounds a little gross. Well at least it did for me. But then I opened my mind and experienced the benefits and never looked back!
What is bone broth? It’s a traditional process that places on emphasis on preparing and eating from nose to tail, the whole animal. Broths, stocks and bone broths have been used around the globe throughout history for babies and young children, in Asian households using fish bones and broth and in Europe broth is used in soups, stews and preparing sauces.
“Bone” is alive, it is a living tissue. We often think of bone as a hard, strong, calcium filled structure and somewhat dead! But this is not the case! Bone is in fact rigid but at the same time slightly elastic due to collagen and it is an organ making it very much alive and up there with the other organ super foods like liver, heart, brain, kidney and sweetbreads. “Broth” is the liquid or in this case gel-like liquid that occurs as a result of simmering bones in water.
Bone broths are typically simmered on low for a long period (greater than 20 hours) which encourages extraction of minerals, nutrients and other important components of the bone and joint structure. The end product should be a nutrient dense gel-like liquid and bones that crumble when pressed lightly between your fingers.
Why should you consume it regularly?
“Modern nutritional research continues to prove what traditional cultures learned through observation over time, when we eat a specific part of an animal, it nourishes that same part of our body”. For example the highest source of Vitamin A is not broccoli or carrot but rather the tissue in the back of an eyeball. Vitamin A is specifically known to be crucial to support eyesight, amongst many other roles. Keep this concept in mind when considering the below points.
Bone marrow is where the body manufactures red and white blood cells. It’s the fatty, slimy part that contains protein and loads of minerals. Bone marrow plays a crucial role in the immune system and in bone health.
Collagen and gelatin:
Collagen is the protein matrix in bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, arteries, hair and just about everywhere and is broken down by cooking into another protein called gelatin. Gelatin as the name suggests gives the jelly like appearance. These proteins provide your body with the raw material to help support and rebuild your connective tissue. The health of your joints depends on the health of the collagen in your ligaments, tendons and on the ends of your bones. It pays to start looking after your joints early as the number of people who undergo preventable knee, hip replacements is astonishing. Skin, hair and nails, just like gelatin, is made of collagen. Gelatin-rich broths help build connective tissue, which makes skin smoother (less cellulite, fewer wrinkles) and healthier. Gelatin may also have benefits for healing and supporting the gut lining.
Glycine (non-essential amino acids):
Stimulates the production on stomach acid which is very important as the stomach works optimally at an acidic PH. It also aids fat digestion in the small intestine. It plays an important role in liver detoxification and is important at balancing out the effects of excess methionine (present in muscle meats and eggs). Glycine is also precursor to the bodies own natural antioxidant, glutathione (we want plenty of this guy)!
Think Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Hyaluronic acid. Very special molecules found in bone and cartilage that help keep our joints healthy. Great for post injury, osteoarthritis or other causes on joint pain. And important for growing and supporting healthy joints. Broth is superior at delivering these components over supplemental tablets mainly because broth gives you the entire complex of cartilage components which affects absorption and utilisation in the body. Also the methods of extraction are far gentler than the destructive heat and pressure involved in the production of glucosamine tablets.
Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Sulphur, Potassium, Sodium, Iodine (fish bones)
Overall, the proteins found in bone broth exhibit overall anti-inflammatory action. This is why it has benefits in improving and treating osteoarthritis, leaky gut, joint pain and fatty liver. The strong anti-inflammatory effects of the proteins in broth is another reason why it can be used to aid recovery from injury and illness.
Personally I have seen the following improvements:
- stronger hair and nails
- reduced cellulite
- improvement in the appearance of my skin
- increased immunity
- improved digestion
- quicker recovery from training
It is my go to food when:
- I feel I am getting a virus
- One time when I got diarrhoea from something I had eaten
- When I am stressed and my digestion plays havoc
- To aid healing (cuts, grazes, when I slammed my finger in the door)
- When Jan feels a cold sore starting
- To reduce sunburn (although interesting fact is that since eating a anti-inflammatory diet I don’t get sunburnt very much and if I do my recovery is so much quicker)
And its a staple in our diet to balance out the effects of eating lean muscle meats along with eating more nose to tail.
– I have read and know stories of people who have healed broken bones remarkable quickly through consuming broth daily.
Based on using a 6.5L slow cooker
2kg Bones (Marrow, chicken backs, beef knuckles, chicken feet, lamb necks, hooves)
Note: It will come back to quality! Use only bones that come from well-raised, well-fed animals. We use marrow bones from grass fed cows from Master butchers.
1/2 cup of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar (aids in the extraction of minerals)
1/4 cup of sea powder (source of sea minerals, namely iodine)
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 tsp tumeric, or 2cm of fresh, minced
3cm ginger, minced
fresh herbs of choice
salt and pepper
1. Add bones to slow cooker.
2. Add apple cider vinegar and allow to sit for 20 mins with the lid on.
3. Through all other ingredients in.
4. Add filtered water, enough to cover the bones but about 1-2 cm below the top of the slow cooker to avoid spillage.
5. Allow to simmer for 20 hours.
Once you have switched the broth off. You will need to remove the bones from the broth with a pair of tongs and place into the bin.
Then use a ladle and strainer to strain the liquid from the vegetables and other parts into a glass container. You can eat the vegetables or use them for making something else however in my experience they are tasteless as they have leached most of there nutrients into the broth so I don’t enjoy them. ( I am happy to hear suggestions).
Place lid on glass container and place into the fridge for 8 hours.
A solid layer of tallow will form on the top. This can be removed and thrown out or used like butter for cooking.
You should be left with a gelatinous broth to consume as stock, to add to cooking dishes, to add to smoothies, or to heat up on the stove top (NOT microwave) and enjoy as a hot drink.
How to strain bone broth below!
I like to drink my broth straight as a snack or as a add on to my meal. I particularly like it for breakfast with an egg and veggie scramble mix.
I hope this article will encourage you to drink bone broth regularly.