I had always been familiar with the idea that bone broth has many health benefits, but until an illness left me with gastrointestinal damage and multiple food allergies, I didn’t take time to look into it. However, once I did, I found that broth helped me heal and was easy enough to make. I also discovered that bone broth is a tasty and multipurpose component of a healthy diet that I thoroughly enjoy.
A bad infection and strong antibiotics left me with severe intestinal permeability and extensive food allergies. My gut just wasn’t right, and I suffered through daily anguish. Not to mention, I now had to make huge adjustments to a whole new set of highly restrictive dietary needs.
Did I mention I was just fresh out of college? I needed something cheap and easy. That is when I stumbled across the cookbook Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World, a spinoff of the original Nourishing Traditions cookbook written by Sally Fallon, founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
As the book’s subtitle states, bone broth is an “old-fashioned remedy for the modern world.” Weston A. Price was a famous researcher who traveled the world studying traditional societies where modern chronic illness, such heart disease, cancer, and diabetes were virtually unheard of. He concluded that refined flour, sugar, and carbohydrates were the crux of the problem that lead to dental decay and diseases of civilization.
Based on Price’s research and findings, Sally Fallon advocates for a traditional diet that includes eating whole unprocessed foods, incorporating healthy fats and oils into cooking and meals, and using lacto-fermentation to preserve and enrich food. Nourishing Broth delves into the science behind the unique combination of amino acids, minerals, and cartilage compounds in bone broth. The book explains that these important nutrients can help us overcome almost any malady and maintain optimum health.
I noticed the benefits of incorporating broth as a foundational aspect of my diet within the first month. After the first year, my intestinal lining had healed so much that I was even able to successfully reintroduce several of my allergenic foods back into my diet.
According to Nourishing Broth, some additional health benefits of bone broth include:
- Gut healing and repairing of the intestinal lining.
- Aiding in faster recovery from illness.
- Protection of joints and cartilage.
- Strengthening bones and teeth.
- Assisting in healing of infectious diseases and chronic health conditions.
- Weight loss.
- Regulating methylation for overall optimal mental health as well as cell detoxification.
Bone broth is often used by those following a ketogenic diet and is also considered a way to optimize intermittent fasting because of the essential nutrients and electrolytes it provides. The Complete Guide to Fasting claims that broth allows people to easily do extended fasting to help them lose weight, reset their metabolism, and even overcome diabetes. (See review.)
Perhaps you are thinking that this all sounds well and good, but the thought of following complicated recipes and slaving away over a boiling pot for hours feels rather daunting. I felt the same way, but, after a try or two, I realized that making this nutrient-rich and versatile food was no big thing! All you really need is a big pot, the leftover bones from last night’s chicken dinner, and a few veggie scraps.
What makes for the most nutrient-dense broth?
Over the years I have tried a few different methods, made some mistakes, and settled on my favorite way to make this delicious food.
Organ meats are superfoods, full of B vitamins and amino acids, so if possible, always be sure to put plenty of these in your recipe. I personally would shoot for 2 to 3 pounds of livers, kidneys, hearts, and whatever else I could get my hands on. Also, the necks and backs of a chicken (or turkey) are all-around the most nutritious part and full of collagen. The chicken feet are the hidden treasure of any good bone broth and are responsible for making the broth gel because of their abundant gelatinous content. Gelatin is critical in the healing and repairing of the gut lining, so be sure to get several of those in your recipe too, if possible!
In addition to your chicken pieces, you will need a combination of carrots, celery, and onions. In broth lingo, these three vegetables are referred to as the “Holy Trinity” or mirepoix according to French cuisine. That is because they work together synergistically to bring out flavor, color, and lots of important minerals. Many people do decide to leave the skins on the onions for added flavor and color, but carrots should be peeled to keep the broth from becoming too bitter.
Lastly, at the end of the simmer, you will add a bouguet garni, which is the term for sprigs of parsley and thyme, plus a bay leaf or two all tied together. You could also add in peppercorns, garlic, or spices such as turmeric to enhance the flavor and nutrient content of your broth.
How to make your own nourishing broth in a few easy steps
All you really need is a big stock pot and your ingredients as listed above. First, I put all chicken pieces in the pot and fill it with water. Before you turn on the stove, pour in a couple tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and let sit for 30-45 minutes. This will help draw extra minerals out of the bones. Turn the stove on and bring the water to a quick boil. You will want to keep it quick so you don’t destroy or boil out the gelatin, which is the best part. As soon as it starts to boil, turn the heat way back down to a simmer. Then skim any foam off the top.
Here is a fun fact about foam and the quality of your chicken: the more foam, the more toxins. As the water boils and all the impurities are drawn out, a resulting foam rises to the top. You will notice a significant difference between a factory-farmed, conventionally fed chicken and a free-range chicken eating its natural diet of green grass and plenty of bugs, under the bright, sunny skies. With a free-range chicken there will be little to no foam, while a factory farmed chicken can have an inch or more of foam on top.
Once the foam is skimmed, let the broth simmer on the stove for at least 24 hours. As long as I kept the heat low, I felt perfectly comfortable letting it simmer through the night.
Once you turn off the heat let the broth cool slightly but not all the way to room temperature. For me this is usually a couple of hours. I use a 20-quart stock pot, so if you are using a smaller pot, it may cool faster.
Then you simply strain the broth and pour it into storage containers that you can freeze. I enjoy cooking eggs in broth for breakfast, sipping it from a mug, and of course incorporating it into sauces, salad dressings, soups, and gravys. Anytime I come down with a cold or the flu, broth is a welcome remedy.
Fall is here, and the weather is getting cooler. It’s a great time to give homemade bone broth a try and fill up your freezer! With Thanksgiving approaching, consider using your freshly made broth in a homemade gravy recipe. All you will need is some white flour and the drippings from your roasted turkey. And of course, save your turkey bones and gizzards after the meal, and you’re all set for another batch of broth.
Dislcaimer: The information in this article is for educational purposes and not meant as medical advice.