Why people drink bone juice….
Have you noticed that bone broth is—as my kids say—a “real thing” now?
How many emails have you received in the last month (this one included) talking about the stuff? Hashtags are devoted to it. Broth tasting bars are popping up in en vogue restaurants. Blogs are dedicated to it. Books are written on it. There are even bone broth cleanses out there! (I just did one of these with five private clients and it was both wonderful and hilarious. More on this in a future newsletter.)
Bone broth is a bona fide health food fad.
This thick, rich broth is made by simmering broken meat or poultry bones in water for 8 to 48 hours. It’s the kind of broth your grandmother—and her grandmother—cooked with.
While bone broth’s exact nutritional makeup depends upon what bones you use and how long you simmer them, there are a few nutrients that all bone broths contain: collagen, proline, glycine, glutamine, monosaturated fats, omega-3-fatty-acids, conjugated linoleic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, plus chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, two compounds sold as pricey supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain.
While there hasn’t yet been a single scientific study into the benefit of bone broth, there are plenty of studies on the above nutrients and their role in everything from improving sleep toincreasing energy levels, reducing inflammation to protecting joints, inhibiting cancer growthand even reducing body mass.
It seems like everyone is jumping on the broth bandwagon.
If you’re interested in using bone broth to lose weight or heal a health condition, here are a few resources to help you:
- Books: In my world, the measure of a trend’s popularity is in the number of books I can find on the topic. There are a lot on bone broth! Some, like the gorgeous Broth and Stock from the Nourished Kitchen, are culinary based. Some, such as Dr. Kellyanne’s Bone Broth Diet, are health-oriented. Some, such as Nourishing Kitchen, are slow-food general cooking favorites. Some even make big age-reversing claims, such as the humoursly titled Bone Broth Power: Reverse Grey Hair and Bring Back Morning Wood. A few to look at include: The Bare Bones Broth Cookbook, Dr. Axe’s Bone Broth Breakthrough, Bone Deep Broth, and Bone Broth: 101 Essential Recipes. Most are similar in content. Get one or two and you should be set. Or wait until next year, when my own broth book (definitely more green than any of the above) will be out!
- Add veggies, please! Many broth-based diets and cleanses come up short in the produce department, if you know what I mean. I love the idea of using traditional broths to support health, reduce inflammation, help speed weight loss and address specific health conditions. But, but, but…. Not at the expense of fruits and vegetables. If you want to supercharge your health, you need the phytonutrients and fiber—as well as the cancer-preventing, disease-fighting benefits—contained in fruits and vegetables.
- My thoughts on dried broth powder. Many online health coaches, celebrity doctors and nutritionists sell and market freeze-dried broth. Think of this as a kind of high end “bullion cube.” But in truth, if you want to make broth a part of your daily life, it should be fresh or frozen. These are higher in nutrients.
- Bone broth supplements. Yep, almost any food trend that comes along eventually ends up in pill form. Bone broth included. If you’d like to take a bone broth supplementfor the additional collagen, chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine (very helpful for joints; grab some chia for further joint help) it may provide, then be my guest. But you can’t take a few pills and expect to “do” a bone broth diet. Just saying.
- Pre-made stock. I am always trying to get people into the kitchen. Making your own food—even trendy “health foods,”—gives you an opportunity to nourish yourself and control what you put in your body. Plus, I personally believe that the world would be a healthier place if everyone knew how to cook. That said, I’m a realist. I know that not everyone has the time or inclination to make broth. If you can’t find a local restaurant culinary student or foodie friend to make batches of broth for you, you can contact local restaurants. Or, yes, you can order it online. Dr. Kellyanne has premade “SLIM Collagen Broth,” many Paleo companies offer broth “snack packs,” or bone broth “To-Go Cups,”and some soup companies, such as Pacific Foods, offer sampler packs of different flavors.
- Make your own. Check out the beginner’s recipe below for a standard, easy-to-make, easy-to-customize, yummy broth recipe. If you would like to make your own and need help, stay tuned in the weeks to come from some serious stock-making tutorials. I am waiting for the weather to cool off a bit!
- Get a good stockpot. You can’t use your little saucepan for broth. You’ll need a large, wonderful pot to catch all the great brothy goodness. Luckily, these are not expensive and can be bought in any local store that carries kitchen supplies. Or you can order online. If you need a suggestion, this 11-quart Faberware beauty is perfect.
- A colander, a skimmer, and a kitchen spider or hand-held strainer couldn’t hurt, either, and make broth-brewing so much easier.
- Store correctly. You don’t want to go to the work of making beautiful stock and have it go bad in the fridge. Trust me. I have done this before. More than once. No longer! Now I immediately decant the broth into single-serving glass or BPA-free, freezer-safe containers and store away. I keep a few in the fridge for use within the following two or three days, but most go directly into the freezer. Broth really should be used within three or four days or it starts to spoil. You can taste this, too, which makes the entire broth diet experience a bad one. Trust me.
- Get some guidance. I am running a bone-broth cleanse in October, when the weather cools down. If you’d like guidance in doing a broth diet in a healthy, nutrient-packed way—that won’t affect your blood cholesterol levels, make your skin dull or affect your thyroid— stay tuned!
Makes about 3 quarts
This is a great beginner’s recipe, one that will create a lovely chicken broth that can be used for a cleanse or to enjoy daily. It is also wonderful for cooking with. As you get more advanced, feel free to add in bones you’ve saved from T-bones, pork shoulders, chicken wings, and so on, that you’ve saved in an air-tight container in the freezer. I always use a mix of saved bones when I make broth.
About 4 quarts water
1 (4-pound) chicken, whole; or the carcasses of two or three chickens (parts or whole, such as from a rotisserie chicken)
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2 medium carrots or parsnips or a large sweet potato, quartered,
2 stalks celery, quartered
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 to 3 tablespoons salt (start with one tablespoon and adjust with more at the end of cooking)
Optional: The green part from leeks or scallions (as many as you’d like; just make sure they are clean!)
Optional: Parsley stems, thyme sprigs left whole, fennel fronds, bay leaf
Optional: One apple, halved
- Place ingredients in a large stockpot and cover with about 4 quarts of water. (I never measure this. Instead, I just add water until all ingredients are covered by about an inch.)
- Place pot over high heat, add cover and cook until it comes to a rolling boil.
- Reduce the heat to a very low simmer and cook for four hours. If you feel ambitious and happen to be in the kitchen, feel free to skim off any fat that collects on the top during cooking. I personally leave the fat, but some people don’t like it.)
- Turn off heat and allow broth to cool in the pot for up to two hours.
- Carefully strain out the solids. You can use a spider or other type of strainer and remove solid material. (I feed the boiled chicken to our dog and cat—but you can do what you will with it. The veggies are best composted.) Or you can pour broth into a colander that has been set over a large bowl.
- Decant broth into 1-cup serving containers to use for daily drinking, in a cleanse, or to cook with. Or, if you’ll be using the broth for cooking, go ahead and pour into larger containers.
- Store any broth you need for the upcoming three days in the fridge. Everything else should be placed in the freezer.