Bone broth is the latest addition to my healing diet so pardon me if I am a bit too infatuated still.
There are several reasons why I enjoy the idea of bone broth. I used to be vegetarian but it didn’t work too well for me healthwise. Since I started eating more animal protein again, I do feel much better and almost all of my health problems have dissappeared (read my story about fighting endometriosis with diet and life style changes).
But in my heart, I would like to be vegetarian. There is no denying the fact that animals are being bred, kept and farmed with one reason only – to be slaughtered and eaten. We don’t see the real animals behind those neatly packaged chicken breast or ribeye steaks, we don’t see their cute eyes and noses, we don’t hear their screams of fear at the slaughterhouse – but they are there, or they were there.
For me the question is how to make eating animals as ethical as possible. Other animals eat animals and once we die worms will eat us. Eating other living creatures is part of the food chain and of the recycling of organic matter that is called the cycle of life.
In today’s packaged supermarket culture most people eat what is easy and quick to cook – muscle meat. There is not that much demand for those less fancy parts of animals bodies such as bones and organ meats (I will have a look at those next time), even though they are a valuable source of nutritious compounds. As a result you can get them very cheap, which certainly is an advantage. If it’s cheap, you are more likely to be able to afford organic. And there have been studies proving that the meat of organically farmed animals is more nutritious than that of the factory farmed animals.
In the case of bones, you may be able to get them totally for free from a local butcher. You see? No one wants them. They may as well get thrown away. Which is not ethical with respect to those animals that have lost their lives. Making and eating bone broth is satisfying for me since I get my dose of animal protein while eating something that would otherwise go to waste.
The health in bone broth.
But that’s not the only reason. Eating bone broth is beneficial regardless of your consideration for animal welfare of food waste.
There are some really valuable nutrients in there, which are otherwise hard to come by, such as collagen and glucosamine, both crucial for the repair of joints and cartilages (I have written about the importance of collagen for joint care in this article). Your body’s ability to produce collagen decreases with age and you may want to boost your intake through dietary sources, if you want to keep your joints flexible and your skin young and glowing.
Bone broth also contains glutamine, an amino acid that helps calm down digestive issues and helps muscle building and repair (a nice warm bowl of broth after a solid workout, yay).
Glutamine is a so-called non-essential amino-acid, which means the body is generally able to produce it to some extent. But if you are under stress, ill or exhausted, your body would probably focus on dealing with other things than producing glutamine, which means a supply from outside can only help (this is a good article on the matter.)
According to nutrition.data.self.com, 320g of bone broth, which would translate into one large cup, covers 20 per cent of the daily need for protein. That’s not bad considering the fact that from one chicken skeleton, you can make enough broth to last for three to four days of eating two cups a day.
The content of nutrients obviously depends on what you put in (how many bones and other stuff) and how long do you cook it.
How to make it
Making broth is super simple. If you buy chicken meat, buy it with bones and keep those bones in the freezer until you have enough of them. Ask your butcher for bones. They may have some skeletons or chicken necks and wings, which you could use. Once you have enough of it, put the raw bones and necks into the oven for a while and then chuck it into a large pot together with some onion and whatever other vegetables you like. There are plenty of recipes out there. Here is one from the PaleoMum. Cover it all with water, add some apple cider vinegar to help dissolve the bones and extract nutrients and put it on the cooker.
The general rule is that the longer you boil your broth the more nutrients you extract. There are some people who boil the broth for up to 72 hours. You can leave it to simmer gently and just check every now and then, stir and add some water.
I usually boil my broth for between 12 and 14 hours. I put it on first thing in the morning and remove it before I go to sleep. Already after those 12 hours the bones get so soft that you can eat parts of them. Some people strain the ingredients after the broth is cooked but I don’t. I simply leave them there and eat them. I keep the broth in the fridge and consume within three days. I usually eat two large bowls a day. Consuming broth and bones gives me strange satisfaction. I am covering quite a bit of my animal protein needs using something that most people throw away.