Bone Broth – Getting past the Game of Thrones imagery
Happy Fiesta Friday! This may be an odd dish to bring to a party but…I’ve been working on this post for a while and I figured why not? At Fiesta Friday I know I’ll meet lots of cool people, including folks beyond my alternative eating lifestyle crowd – and I’d love to share this secret with you. You’ve got the Avon lady coming to a party near you to share cosmetics and now you’ve got DetoxMama coming to nourish you from the inside, out.
If you have a strong visceral reaction to the term “bone broth”, I get it. I refused to look this up seriously for months. It just sounded plain gross. But keep reading. This stuff is like liquid gold. Good for your digestive system, very tasty and very economical and sustainable. Not with me yet? What if I told you it’s also good for anti-aging and cellulite, skin and hair? I thought that might catch your attention…
And P.S., despite the dramatic name, it’s really just a beef and/or chicken stock. You won’t be eating any Fear Factor type ingredients. So happy Fiesta Friday! Grab a spoon!
For many months in my reading and research, bone broth has been coming up. And the more I’ve started looking at Paleo and incorporating elements into my life, of course there is bone broth popping up again and again. Recently, a friend who is also really into health and nutrition mentioned bone broth when we were talking about essential nutrients and minerals in food.
I have to admit, the name was such a turn-off. It conjured up Game of Thrones images for me – violently gnawing on turkey legs and massacring animals with no regard. Seriously. This is the flash of image I would see every time I read the term “bone broth” and so I went right passed it without a further look. Plus, I have also been making an effort to limit my meat-eating. As the year has progressed, I’ve pretty much become a vegan by day with animal protein only at dinner. And while I do see Paleo breakfasts that include bacon-wrapped meatloaf recipes (no thanks!), I have found that largely, it is misguided to think that Paleo just means eating tons of meat as I originally did. It’s eating ancestrally – and I guess there is wiggle room for how one chooses to interpret that. For me, that means lots of organic produce, a little organic grass-fed and ideally pastured meat and wildcaught seafood; no dairy, nothing processed, no refined sugars, and no grains or legumes. I am still unsure if I will keep gluten-free grains and legumes off limits forever. I don’t want to. But I must admit I feel pretty damn good when I do. But I need to better understand the mechanisms of “why” before I can come to a terminal decision on this.
So I think you know where I”m going here…I bit the bullet and made bone broth a few weeks ago. And in fact, as I write this, I’ve got another pot slowly brewing in the crock pot. It will be ready by late tonight. And I have to admit it was vanity that finally pushed me to take a closer look. I’ve written about all the positive changes I’ve seen in my health over the course of the year from my change in diet, but recently I have noticed one negative. My skin. And seriously, this is the only negative I can think of so…it’s nothing that will force me to make an about face.
Skin Support Through Nutrition
I’ve always had great skin. Always complimented on it. Even during those turbulent teen years, I had nary a pimple, much to the dismay of my suffering adolescent friends. Just lucky, I guess. And at the onset of my 30s when I suddenly began to care about looking younger instead of older, I would delight in sometimes being mistaken for as much as 10 years younger than my true age. But I suddenly noticed a change around Christmas – I’m getting wrinkles. On my forehead. Around my eyes. And close up I can see my skin just looks thinner. It’s lost elasticity. CODE RED! This is not good! After doing some reading, I can point to few omissions from my diet as the likely culprits: omitting dairy, legumes, soy, and perhaps even wheat. All contain essential amino acids important to collagen production. Lysine is something that must be gotten from food, and dairy happens to be a great source of it. Threorine is another essential amino acid that we can’t produce and is found in foods like dairy, wheat, and beans. CoQ10 is another important factor. It’s an enzyme found in a number of foods including dairy, soy and even wheat and we synthesize less of it as we age. Ubiquinol is our body’s natural conversion of COQ10 and this is essential for delivering oxygen to our cells – which helps to fight aging and retain skin elasticity; it oxygenizes cells that allows our skin to breathe, and even further, that may kill cancer cells.
So I started reading up on what I could be eating to replace this deficiency because I’ve made a conscious effort over the last couple of months to stop taking all vitamin supplements and powders; I want to get my nutrients from food sources. So what should I be eating?
Lots of vegetables, berries, grass-fed organic meat, drink lots of water. Check, check, check, and check.
Milk, legumes, soy, wheat. No, no, no and no!
What else? Ah, there it was again. Bone broth.
What’s so great about bone broth?
And now with wrinkles knocking on my door, I was willing to push past the brutish images the term conjured up and read up with an open mind. Turns out, in addition to a whole slew of health benefits, like major gut health and immune support (critical!) as it’s rich in minerals that support digestive health, it’s also good for skin, joints, tendons, and ligaments. It’s like taking glucosamine and collagen supplements for a fraction of the cost (and this is not synthetic!)! Rich in calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and other important minerals, bone broth delivers nutrients straight to the body in a language the body can understand. It is also rich in gelatin which is an added and potent protein source, good for joints, skin, and hair. It fortifies the immune system (your grandmother was right about that chicken soup!) and it is potentially good for cellulite because of that collagen connection – improving the connective tissues. That would definitely be a kick-ass bonus! I’ll be drinking this by the gallons! 😉
So the other thing about bone broth… it’s old school! This is the way broths have been made for centuries. And it’s not really a broth at all, it is a rich stock. And even just 50-60 years ago, when you had gravy or soup, or even braised vegetables, it’s very likely that bone broth was the base. It’s just the way it’s always been done but with the convenience of boxed and canned stocks (read: more processed foods), we moved away from bone broth.
Something else I REALLY like – it’s economical and sustainable. Surely a main reason it’s a part of our ancestral heritage. Nothing goes to waste. I”m not buying excess bones to make this stock (which would be increasing my consumer animal product footprint & mean spending even more on my obscene organic, grassfed grocery bill), I’m just using the bones that I would have (and always have) thrown out! I love this!
Lastly, it tastes so good! It’s rich and deep and flavorful. And it’s got no preservatives, no sodium (unless you add a dash in your soup bowl as I do), or any other of those yucky shelf-life sustaining ingredients.
So how do you make it? Get this, it is EASY. Takes seconds to prep. The time comes in with the very, very slow simmer. I’m talking at least 24 hours. But I do this in a crock pot which makes it super easy (and I’m not exactly down for leaving the actual stove top on for 24 hours as I sleep, leave the house, and go about my life).
Bone Broth Recipe
I took the carcass (I know, sounds so brutal but stay with me) of an organic roast chicken and put it right into the crock pot. So this is roast chicken I made, cleaned the meat off the bones, and then right into the pot
I throw in some organic veggies. Aromatics like some onion, garlic. Of course the usual soup suspects like celery and carrots. Don’t dice, don’t chop. Rinse, maybe break them in half and throw it in. The onion, slice in half and throw. Garlic? Smash the cloves to get the skin off and throw it in.
Don’t add salt as it produces a naturally occurring MSG. If you want salt, add some to your bowl at the table.
Next, add in some organic raw apple cider vinegar. About 2 tablespoons. The acidity will help leach all of the minerals out of those bones. There’s good stuff in them and we want it to all come out in our stock.
Next, fill the crock pot with filtered water. Enough to cover the chicken.
That’s it. Then just let it go low and slow. Place on the low setting and let it go for 24 hours.
Once it’s done, run it through a sieve or strainer and strain out all the bits of bone and veg. The bones will be soft and mashed to bits. Strain the broth and you are left with a gorgeous stock. You will not believe how rich and deep it smells. To me it reminds me of the yummiest gravy smell. Ah gravy, I don’t use flour anymore so it’s been a while, but now that I’ve got my bone broth, I”m coming for you!
Then let the stock cool to allow the fat to rise to the top and solidify which you can scrape off and get rid of (just like you’d do with a regular soup).
The broth is good for about 3 days or so in the fridge. If you won’t finish it by then, you can freeze it and will last for months. If you want to freeze, put the cold stock in ice cube trays for easy access.
And the taste – as a straight broth, or to use as a base of a soup where you add meat and veg back in, to braise veggies, or whatever else you can think of – is phenomenal!