Eat your soup! Who hasn’t heard that from a grandma when you were sick? If you’ve ever sipped on a cup of soothing broth while nursing an illness, you know just what she was talking about. As I sit here breathing in the aroma of my daily steaming cup of broth, I can’t help but feel the nurturing goodness spread throughout my body.
There was a time when I wasn’t much a soup fan. My husband, a true soup lover through and through, can tell you that. He might even say those were rough times. He might be right. But, in all fairness, he grew up with gorgeous homemade soups as a part of life. I grew up with a red and white can (sorry, mom!). And, did you know, canned soups – well, they aren’t so good for your soul. Sally Fallon from the Weston A. Price foundation reports that monosodium glutamate (MSG) often replaces a properly cooked broth in commercial soups and broths. MSG enhances food flavors chemically and we even have receptors on our tongues that recognize glutamate as meat. So, it may taste good, but the important minerals, amino acids, and beyond that are in homemade broths (you know, all the stuff I’m going to talk about next) are lost when MSG is used as a convenient replacement. I must have known something back then when I didn’t want to finish my bowl of tinned soup.
A properly-made bone broth will provide your body calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, silicon, sulfur, potassium, sulfate and trace minerals. Sally Fallon also notes, “It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.” All of these are delivered in a form that your body can easily absorb. And absorption is the key to getting what your body needs the most. Amazingly, the fats in bone broth combined with the gelatin protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract which helps improve gut health (remember how important gut health is?) and in turn increase your absorption of the nutrients within the broth itself (food is medicine, people – we don’t need fancy supplements!).
If you have trouble differentiating collagen from gelatin, don’t feel alone. Dr. Josh Axe explains it in the simplest terms, “Collagen is the protein found in connective tissues of animals. It is abundant in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. The breakdown of collagen in bone broths is what produces gelatin.” Catherine Crow, a nutritional therapy practitoner says, “Gelatin has a unique and very non-inflammatory amino acid profile, primarily consisting of glycine, glutamic acid, proline & alanine (more info). Although these are non-essential amino acids (meaning your body can make them), many malnourished and over-stressed livers are not able to manufacture all the non-essential amino acids in the amounts demanded by the body. The liver needs an abundance of these proteins to keep functioning optimally, particularly to fuel phase 2 detoxification. This helps your body “take out the trash” in our toxic world, reducing inflammation!”
Bone broths provide the adrenal glands with the much needed nutritional support to help make the shift from survive to thrive. Dr. Shanahan, Author of Deep Nutrition, even suggests that the nutritional matrix in bone broths may actually help patch the holes in the kidney tissue that cause the kidneys to function less optimally.
As if it all wasn’t good enough already (you are making broth right now, aren’t you?), Donna Gates, author of Body Ecology, has even better news. She says, the collagen in bone broth, “make(s) your skin supple and radiant. This delicious, mineral-rich broth can be used to make soup to support smooth, strong skin and reduce cellulite.” Really? Smooth skin and reduce cellulite? Hard to believe. She goes on to say cellulite comes from a lack of connective tissue and if someone has very smooth skin it’s because their skin is high in connective tissue. Donna explains that consuming collagen-rich bone broth can actually reduce cellulite and tighten your skin making you look younger.
Well, there you have it. Why don’t we go ahead and get making some broth, then? I like to find the easiest way to do things without sacrificing quality. Bone broth is made slightly different ways depending on who you talk to. I like to have my slow cooker bubbling with broth for days. Here’s how I do it.
BONE BROTH RECIPE
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Put organic* pastured bones leftover from dinner into a slow cooker (or stock pot) and cover with filtered water (Add in things like chicken feet and other bits as they increase the gelatin content)
1- 2 TB Apple Cider Vinegar This helps pull all of the nutrients out of the bones.
Add supportive herbs of your choice. My favorites are codonopsis, nettle leaf, dandelion leaf, astragalus, reishi mushrooms, turmeric and on
Add sea salt and pepper
Bring to a boil, strain the top for the first two hours.
Cook slowly and for quite some time. My broths are usually cooked for an average of 48 hours.
Once it has cooked, you can drink a cup with each meal or you can transform it into a beautiful soup. One of my bone broth soup recipes is below. Enjoy all of the delicious and nutritious goodness you can get from this traditional food.
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“Good broth will resurrect the dead” -South American Proverb
“Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.” -Ludwig van Beethoven
Bone Broth Soup Recipe
*Yes, it does really matter whether your chicken is organic or not. Perhaps the most important caveat when making broth, whether you’re using chicken or beef, is to make sure they’re from organically-raised, pastured or grass-fed animals. Chickens raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) tend to produce stock that doesn’t gel. And this gelatin, if you read above, is one of the most therapeutic components of the broth. If that doesn’t convince you, CAFO animals are fed an unnatural diet that is not beneficial for their intestinal makeup, and they’re also given a variety of drugs and growth promoters which ultimately pass along to us. That doesn’t sound appetizing, now does it?
Heather Bruntil is an herbalist living in the greater Boston area. Heather is committed to empowering others to take their health into their own hands. In her own healing from chronic Lyme Disease, she learned how simple and accessible tools such as herbs, food, and lifestyle changes cultivate wellness and vitality from within. Heather is committed to helping others find their way along their own path to live their most vital and empowered life. Heather is also the founder of PlantSoak, a line of handcrafted herbal wellness bath and shower soaks. You can find these herbal soaks at www.plantsoak.com