Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Benefits of Bone Broth

When I started writing this blog a few years ago, I wrote more about recipes and homemade helpful tips.  Throughout the years we have been so overwhelmed with recipes online, I haven't posted as many of them.  The same is true with homemade products.  I still make my own laundry detergent, deodorant, kefir, sauerkraut and many other things, but all of these recipes or a variation of them are posted daily on facebook, pinterest and other social media.  I started making my own healthy products and living this way because of my situation with uterine cancer.  This is a woman's cancer that doesn't get the media attention the pink ribbon campaign gets, but it is just as devastating for the women involved.  As with breast cancer, there are different types.  Some require very little treatment and others require a lot.  I had a very aggressive type that required surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  I was lucky and it was caught early.  This week it has been nine years since my last chemo treatment.  Doctors have told me that now I am not at any greater risk of cancer than anyone else my age.  Although that is a relief, once you've had cancer it is never far from your mind.  I try to do everything I can to improve my odds of a healthy life.  My husband taught me that there are no such words as always and never.  Instead I use often and seldom, so I admit I often slip and eat junk at times, but overall I try to eat healthy.  It is hard to do, but by making real food I know what is in my meals.  I try not to get carried away and go off the deep end with trends and off the wall ideas.  It has to make sense to me.

Recently I have seen a lot of information about the benefits of bone broth.  Bone broth is the broth that results from slowly cooking meat or poultry bones in water for an extended period of time.  The time depends on the bones.  Smaller chicken bones cook for 24 hours and dense beef bones as long as 48 hours.  This makes sense to me because ever since the discovery of fire and the cooking of meat, people have been cooking bones to get all of the nutrition from an animal and stretch their food supply.  History shows broth being made by the early civilizations.  This food is very easy to digest and is soothing to the gut.  Bone broth contains the vital amino acids of glycine and proline, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin sulphates. True bone broth is a rich source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, in easily absorbed forms. It’s also an excellent source of collagen. The gelatin in the bones supports the bones, muscles and joints.

*Update:  I wrote this blog 4 months ago and have learned a few things.  I mentioned the broth is made from slow cooking the bones for a long time which works great, but I discovered using the electric pressure cooker works even better in a lot less time.  I put about 2 pounds of bones in the cooker with organic carrots, celery, onion, a few cloves of garlic, sea salt and 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar.  I set the timer on high pressure for 99 minutes (that is as high as my cooker goes).  I do this two more times for a total of 297 minutes or almost 5 hours.  It may not take this long for chicken bones but I have very large beef bones.  The result is awesome.  All of the collagen and goodness is leached out of the bones.  Although the slow cooked broth is filled with nutrients, the look of this chilled broth is noticeably different.  It looks like thick gel.  If you don't have 48 hours to devote to cooking bones, this method is great.

Chilled bone broth from the pressure cooker.

After the chilling, the fat is very easy to remove.

I recently got an email from  They listed the following reasons to drink bone broth.  I sent this to my daughter and told her how good this stuff was especially for leaky gut.  She almost gagged at the words "leaky gut" and "bone broth".  I guess the names don't sound appealing even if it's good for you.  I will have to replace these two terms with better words like stomach and broth.

It Enhances Your Immune System
Bone broth supplies amino acids and minerals that really augment your immune system. The collagen content helps to repair the  lining of your entire digestive system, which not only makes your entire body vastly more efficient, but also more able to handle any bacteria or viruses that may try to sneak their way in.

Anti Inflammatory
Key amino acids like Glycine, Proline and Arginine help to regulate inflammation and how your body responds to damaged tissue. Inflammation is a natural and beneficial reaction in most instances, but if your body isn't in perfect balance, inflammatory responses in the body can get out of hand quickly and cause more harm than good. These amino acids are crucial to keeping inflammation in check and healing damaged tissue to avoid inflammation in the first place.

Speaking of these amino acids, Glycine has another fascinating benefit to our bodies. Glycine can actually 'clean' antioxidants. What this means is, once an antioxidant binds with a free radical, Glycine can restore the antioxidant to a pristine state so it can continue to pull other free radicals from your body. Thankfully, bone broth has large amounts of Glycine.

Rebuilds Your Body
Collagen is the main connective tissue that keeps your body together, quite literally. Every part of your body has collagen in it, and your body is 25-35% collagen. It only makes sense that adding more of this to your body makes it much easier for your body to rebuild itself. The gelatinous aspect of bone broth, what makes it congeal and jiggle, is the rich collagen in it. Consume this connective tissue to make it easier for your body to replace connective tissues wherever they are in your body (hint: they're in every part of you!).

Helps You Sleep
If you consume gelatin before bed, you will find that you sleep much more soundly and your rest is more rejuvenating. The gelatin and collagen being pulled from the bones goes right into you with each cup of bone broth, helping you to sleep better and therefore feel better each day. If you took the effort to get a good bed to sleep on, you should get a good source of gelatin, like bone broth, into your body before you sleep.

Cleanse and Detox
Bone broth helps to fortify your liver with its wonderful Glycine content. By bolstering the connective tissue and also recycling your body's antioxidants, it both strengthens your liver and also makes its job easier. The Glycine in bone broth also helps balance the amino acids in your body, which makes it far more efficient in its use of vitamins and minerals.

Specialty Minerals
We could all do to have more calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium in our bodies. These minerals work together in your body in bone and joint health, nerves and electrical impulses in the body, blood health and many more crucial functions. Bone broth can supply a healthy amount of all these minerals.

Proper Digestion
Not only is bone broth very easily digestible and hydrating, but it also gets rich collagen right to your digestive system, allowing it to repair easier than otherwise. By drinking bone broth, you help to improve and maintain digestive health. If your digestive system is fine tuned, your body absorbs nutrients easier and quarantines the rest of the body from harmful bacteria or particles that have not yet been broken down, dealt with and made safe for the rest of your body through the blood stream.

Fight Cold and Flu
From reducing inflammation to boosting your immune system, bone broth is a truly nourishing dish when trying to fight or prevent colds and flu. It eases symptoms, helps rest, thins mucous, and is a wonderfully healing food.

Don't think you can just go out and buy a box of chicken or beef broth.  Those products are not the same and don't have the same medicinal properties.  You can buy real bone broth online, but it is quite costly.

After reading all about it, I wanted to make some but I couldn't find a good source of organic bones.  I didn't want bones from an animal who was injected with all kinds of things to make it grow fast in unhealthy conditions. After all, I would be boiling these bones to leach out every speck of what was inside.  I didn't want some of that to include bad things.  That would defeat the purpose.  My grandpa Dux was way before his time.  He said that cancer means that cells reproduce themselves  and grow out of control.  He thought by adding hormones and raising an animal from a baby to the butcher shop in just a few months meant they were doing the same thing with the animal.  They were forcing the animal's cells to multiply quickly.  He did not want to eat those animals treated this way.  None of us would if we would think about it, but full disclosure about what we eat isn't always possible.

I finally settled on buying two whole organic chickens from Costco.  I roasted the two chickens and pulled off all the meat.  Then I put all the bones in the slow cooker with a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  I added filtered water, some sea salt, carrots, celery and onion.  This is like making carcass soup but you cook it on low for a full day.   After 24 or more hours, I strained the bones and vegetables out leaving only the broth.  The only problem I had was that it smelled really good cooking during the night and it disturbed my sleep.  I kept waking up smelling food cooking.

This was the best product I could find.  There is so much controversy.  I read recently that "No Antibiotics" means nothing to the consumer.  It said that all animals have to be off antibiotics for a period of time and that no antibiotics can be detected in the system before they go to market.  The article also mentioned that without antibiotics diseases would be spread.  I think the key is there should be no over use of antibiotics and there should be easy testing to find out if the laws are being followed.  Notice the label says No added Hormone...ever but it doesn't say No antibiotics..ever.  Vegetarian fed could mean a lot of things.  If the chickens are fed grains, hopefully they are GMO free to be considered organic, but I can't prove it.  At some point you just have to have blind trust.

This is my second batch of broth.  In my first batch I used unlabeled beef soup bones and it also turned out great. I have no idea where these bones came from or if they were organic but neither did the store employees. 

I have been drinking a cup of broth everyday and really look forward to it.  Even if the benefits are all hype, I like it.  If you want more information about the benefits, all you have to do is search the internet.  There is a ton of information. Here is one example:

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