Good broth resurrects the dead. -South American Proverb
I pretty much believe that. Making broth is something I never did until I learned about truly nourishing food. Why bother when they have handy little cubes, that mimic the taste, right? Just kidding. Those little cubes are full of MSG, corn solids, sugar,and inflammatory GMO ingredients. I would personally avoid like the plague. Bone broth has all that taste and it’s nothing but goodness. I make a batch once a week and it takes very little effort. Before I start begging you to make it for health and happiness’ sake, I’m going to explain why you would want to in the first place. My love for broth is apparent and not with out good reason. In the book Nourishing Broth, I was inspired by story after story of the healing power of broth. Not to mention the science behind it all. A whole book dedicated to revealing all the ancient traditional secrets of one of the most revered foods in folk wisdom. Second to none, perhaps equal to organ meats. (More about that another time.) And now I shall share my broth-ery love! Heh heh.
In folk wisdom, rich chicken broth- the famous Jewish penicillin – is a valued remedy for the flu. Modern research has confirmed that broth helps prevent and mitigate infectious diseases. The wise food provider, who uses gelatin-rich broth on a daily or frequent basis, provides continuous protection for many health problems. (1)
Many I’ve talked to about eating real and nourishing food will say they want to, but they can’t afford it. However, some of the most nutrient dense foods(broth, eggs, and organ meats) can be obtained from good sources for pretty fair prices, and sometimes for a straight up steal, depending on where you live. No matter where we have lived (we’ve moved three times in the last 5 years) one of the first things I do is source out local farmers for grassfed milk, pastured eggs, and leftover bones for broth. If I have quality sources of those three things, I can get everything else I need from the grocery store, or online ordering if need be. Even small town stores are starting to offer better selections of organic goods though. (That’s the power of voting with your dollar! Keep it up!) Good gelatin rich broth is something even those of us with the smallest budget can start adding to our daily diet for amazing health benefits. Especially this time of year when cold and flu are rampant.
Folk Wisdom throughout the world values broth for its healing powers, and we have found confirmation of these traditional beliefs in hundreds of nineteenth and early twentieth century studies on gelatin, and in thousands of modern investigations into glycine, cartilage, glucosamine, and other components found abundantly in broth. Even so, most people think of chicken soup as nothing more than a warm and fuzzy, soul-soothing comfort food and home remedy. Our ancestors may have sworn by it, but modern science tends to dismiss the healing stories as anecdotal evidence or old wives tales.
Science and tradition tell us that bone broth is nourishing. Very nourishing. How nourishing will vary from batch to batch depending on the diet and lifestyle of the animal, bird, or fish, it’s age and overall health, how it’s processed, your cooking methods, and your choice of other vegetables, herbs and other ingredients.
According to the principal of “like feeds like,” broth can give our bones strength and flexibility, our joints cushion and resilience, and our skin a youthful plumpness. What’s more, the abundance of collagen in all types of bone broth supports heart health through strong and supple arteries, our vision with healthy corneas, digestion through gut healing, and overall disease prevention via immune system modulation. Broth even contributes to emotional stability and a positive mental attitude.
Mainstream science holds that breakdown is inevitable with age. The usual recommendation is to take NSAIDs and other nonsteroidal anti-inflamatory drugs to block pain. This approach is self-defeating, however. Inflammation is a painful but needed first stage in the body’s healing process, one that sends nutrients to the site, leads to granular tissue formation, and ultimately the formation of collagen.
The traditional way to accomplish this is by eating gelatin-rich foods such as chicken feet and pigs’ hooves. Sadly, such foods have largely disappeared from the modern dinner table, partly for reasons of convenience and partly because so many “health experts” warn against the fat and cholesterol found in these animal products. The result is that most first world people today subsist on collagen-poor diets, suffer chronic ill effects throughout the body, and embrace pharmaceutical or nutraceutical solutions
When consumed as part of a rich and varied traditional diet, broth improves overall protein digestion and assimilation. It helps the body build collagen and cartilage, needed for the health of skin, joints, and bones And it also serves as a “protein sparer,” which means w can cut back on complete proteins we would otherwise need to eat. Despite it’s strengths, broth is often dismissed as a “poor protein” because it’s not a complete protein. That’s true, and that is the reason we should not attempt to survive on broth alone.
We need high-quality protein in our diets for growth, repair, immune function, hormone formation, and all metabolic processes. Traditionally animal products such as eggs, milk, fish, poultry, and meat have served as valued sources of the best proteins. These nutrient-dense foods contain a complete set of essential amino acids in desirable proportions.
Consumed alone, gelatin is obviously an incomplete protein. Adding broth to the menu, however, can improve the health of people on lean protein plans that promote the consumption of skinless, boneless chicken breasts, lean burgers, and chops, and steaks trimmed of fat, skin, cartilage, and bones. Recommendations to eat only lean meat go against the ancestral wisdom of eating all parts of the animal, not just the muscle meat.
What’s wrong with muscle meat alone? Muscle meats are high in methionine, an essential amino acid that can contribute to excessive methylation in the body. Methylation refers to a complicated biochemical process involving transfers of methyl groups. It goes on in every cell of the body and when over done can contribute to premature aging and other health problems. (2)
When it comes to meat consumption, balance is key! Avoiding muscle meats is not ideal, and consuming only muscle meat for protein is also not ideal. A documentary that is dangerously misleading, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, is a great visual of this. The man that went on that juicing cleanse/diet was a perfect example of the health problems associated with over consumption of muscle meat, to say nothing of his packaged and fast food habits. Of course he felt better. An organic vegetable/fruit juicing cleanse is great and something I would condone for anyone on a SAD(standard American diet) diet, or even something to be done once or twice a year, as juicing helps us detox. A juicing diet alone though, will not be able to nourish and sustain the ideal and optimal health of anybody, and is especially lacking for growing children and pregnant/nursing mothers. I saw once someone made a parody poster that said something like, Skinny, Sick, and nearly Malnourished, though I haven’t been able to find it since, you catch my drift. The documentary leaves out key points, a few of which I quoted above.
Broth is also the main food you eat for the GAPS diet which is used to help heal autoimmune diseases. If you have leaky gut, auto immune diseases or food sensitivities, the GAPS diet is a very nourishing diet that definitely merits a mention.
I could write for days and days on broth, and need I say I highly recommend the book, Nourishing Broth? Nourishing broth talks about the details and inner workings of the science and wisdom behind broth in terms that even I can understand! So many “ah ha” moments happened with that book.
To sum up, broth
- strengthens bones
- supports heart health
- improves hair, skin and nail health
- supports good vision
- aids digestion and nutrient assimilation
- aids in emotional stability and a positive mental attitude
- aids in building collagen and cartilage for healthy mobile joints
- is a protein sparer, allowing you to eat less muscle meat, which cuts costs while still maintaining a healthy diet in good protein.
Homemade bone broth has immense health benefits, from speeding healing and recuperation from illness to improving athletic performance. For best results, you really need to make up a fresh batch from scratch. -Dr. Mercola
While I usually don’t follow a recipe, here is an approximation of my broth recipe. Don’t like celery? Leave it out. Add in your own favorites. Just be sure to add the vinegar as that helps extract the minerals from the bones and vegetables! Otherwise happy broth making! Have you ever made broth? Have any tips? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Simple, nourishing chicken broth
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 bunch celery
- 2-5 carrots peeled
- 2 TBS peppercorn
- 2-6 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 2-4 chicken feet optional
- 1-2 whole chickens
Add chicken bones and feet to large stock pot and cover with filtered water. Add in roughly chopped vegetables and spices. Bring to a boil, skim off top and reduce to a low simmer. Cook on low for 12-24 hours. Strain out bones, add sea salt to taste and store in mason jars in your fridge for up to a week. You can also store it in the freezer to keep from spoiling.
(1) Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
(2) Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon Morrell