Bone broth is a super-food for so many reasons. And we (the Balanced Bites Team) aren't the only ones who think so. Chris Kresser, the Weston A. Price Foundation's Sally Fallon, Drs Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet (co-authors of “The Perfect Health Diet“), and Dr. Cate Shanahan (author of “Deep Nutrition“) are just a few of the professionals we respect who recommend bone broth as a traditional “super-food.” We recommend it at every Balanced Bites Workshop.
Many are concerned about how to get calcium when avoiding modern dairy-based foods like skim milk and low-fat yogurt. Though whole, full-fat raw milk or kefir may be fine for some folks, many others find all forms of dairy problematic or digestively irritating. Fortunately, it's actually quite simple to get adequate calcium even while eliminating dairy. Leafy greens (chard, collards, kale and spinach) are rich in minerals like calcium, but – deliciously and easily enough – we can also find minerals AND other health-promoting constituents in traditionally-made BROTH!
Bone broth provides our bodies with bio-available (very easy to consume, digest and absorb) forms of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and other trace minerals that are so lacking in our diets today. (source: wapf.org) While we can also use vegetable-only broths to obtain certain minerals, without bones in the mix, we won't get some of the other fantastic benefits from the gelatin and collagen they provide.
Your grandmother was right – soup will heal what ails you. But we're not talking about the stuff from a can or even the stock-in-a-box. Soup or broth/stock in a can or box is NOT a whole, real, healthy food. Period. There are ALWAYS additives, fillers or so-called “natural flavors” in those packages – none of which are health-promoting. In fact, it may as well be artificially flavored water. It's not the same as traditional broth or stock, which – in addition to minerals – also contains natural gelatin, another healing substance:
Gelatin was found to be useful in the treatment of a long list of diseases including peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases, jaundice and cancer. Babies had fewer digestive problems when gelatin was added to their milk. The American researcher Francis Pottenger pointed out that as gelatin is a hydrophilic colloid, which means that it attracts and holds liquids, it facilitates digestion by attracting digestive juices to food in the gut.
We often discuss ways to heal a leaky gut on the Balanced Bites Podcast; and broth is a great, simple recipe to add to your arsenal to help do just that! You can also order pre-made traditional broth from US Wellness Meats – it's 100% Balanced Bites Approved, and completely different from anything you'd find at the store. It's made in the traditional manner, just like the recipe in this post!
But fighting a cold, combatting disease and healing a leaky gut aren't all broth can help to do: Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, explains in her interview with Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness that the collagen found in home-made bone broth is a “super-food” when it comes to cellular integrity and in reducing the appearance of cellulite. Yes! There is a way to naturally, and legitimately, reduce cellulite – and it's as simple as incorporating bone broth into your regular diet. Dr. Shanahan says that “cellulite is fat that lacks collagen support” and that “people who have more collagen in their diet… are less likely to have cellulite in their fat.” It's not about just losing the fat – it's about getting back to a diet that will support the structure of your cells.
Now THAT is some DEEP NUTRITION! Ready to make your own? It's simple!
Mineral-Rich Bone Broth (Beef & Garlic)
Click here for estimated nutrition facts.
- 4 quarts of filtered water
- 1.5- 2 lbs of beef knuckle bones or marrow bones (or any other kinds of bones – especially oxtail, which lends added gelatin and a delicious flavor). Chicken necks are inexpensive and also work great.
- the cloves from 1 whole head of fresh garlic peeled & smashed
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar organic, unfiltered (I like Bragg's brand)
- 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt – or more/less to taste (I like Real Salt)
If you choose, you may brown or roast the bones/meaty bones first in a separate pan/pot if using a crockpot, but this isn't a necessary step. I don't normally do it because I don't find it enhances the flavor – and it saves dishes. You can choose to brown them in bacon fat or coconut oil before putting them into the water in the next step.
Place all ingredients in a 6 quart crockpot and set the heat to HIGH.
Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat setting to LOW.
Allow the stock to cook for a minimim of 8 hours and up to 24 hours. The longer it cooks, the better!
Turn off the crockpot and allow the stock to cool.
Strain the stock through a fine mesh metal strainer and throw away what you skim off.
Place the cooled stock into glass jars for storage in the fridge (for up to a few days) or pour into freezer-safe containers for later use. (You can freeze it in ice cube trays and defrost a few at a time!)
When the broth is fully cooled, look for a gelatinous consistency. That means your broth is gelatin-rich! At times, a longer or very hot simmer may break down the gelatin and your broth won't appear gelatinous. That's OK! The minerals are still there.
If you like, you can skim off any fat that has risen to the top and solidified – consider this “tallow” – and feel free to cook with it!
You can drink stock any time of day, before or after meals, or use it as the base for soups and stews! Perfect in any recipe that calls for broth.
Use any other kind of animal bones you like – chicken, in fact, will take less time due to the smaller pieces.
Add chopped veggies like carrots, celery and onions for more flavor or variety.
A crockpot makes this recipe super-simple, but you can also use a large stock pot (hence the name) or an enameled cast-iron dutch oven.