Why You Should Make Bone Broth!

Want to avoid becoming the bionic man or woman with metal hips and knees? Maybe you should consider making this a big part of your diet…..

There’s nothing more traditional, as far as cooking goes, than bone broths. I bet this was one of the first things humans started making after discovering fire and creating some kind of fireproof vessel to cook in.  Besides being an easy food to prepare, our ancestors were frugal… out of necessity they learned to use all of the animal or fish for food, clothing or tools… nothing was wasted.

I knew that broth was the basis for soups, gravies and sauces, but I didn’t realize the tremendous health and nutritive value of bone broths before I started studying up on all of this. Why didn’t I know? Because in many ways, cooking in traditional ways has become a lost art… it’s not taught anymore. We’re into convenience foods….

A lamentable outcome of our modern meat processing techniques and our hurry up throwaway lifestyle has been a decline in the use of meat, chicken and fish stocks. In days gone by, when the butcher sold meat on the bone rather than as individual filets, and whole chickens rather than boneless breasts, our thrifty ancestors made use of every part of the animal by preparing stock, broth or bouillon from the bony portions. Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

The traditional way of growing and preparing our food is the most healthful way for us to eat, and nutritional bone broths and fermented foods are not only traditional foods, but are also very healing foods.

Perhaps many of us have heard that chicken soup is supposed to be a healing food, but did we believe it? Did we know why? Well here’s some important info that we all should know…

  • Meat and fish stocks are used almost universally in traditional cuisines– French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African, South American, Middle Eastern and Russian; but the use of homemade meat broths to produce nourishing and flavorful soups and sauces has almost completely disappeared from the American culinary tradition….
  • Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the mineral of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, in a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium, and potassium into the broth.”  Nourishing Traditions

When you make a pot of bone broth and let it simmer on the stove for 5 or 6 hours, you create a food rich in minerals and gelatin. Gelatin is pulled from the bones and skin while cooking and is an inexpensive source of protein. It shows promise in the fight against degenerative joint disease, is good for our bones and our cartilage, and supports the connective tissue in our body… (when I was young, I can remember being told to add packets of gelatin to my juice to help my fingernails and hair grow strong).

A good stock or broth will be full of gelatin and will start to thicken as it cools. It will completely gel when put in the refrigerator… like jello.

It’s likely that our ancestors always had a pot of stock or soup simmering on the stove and therefore, they had lots of gelatin in their daily diet. As for us? We don’t have gelatin in our food anymore… store bought stocks certainly don’t have it…. even the best ones are thin and watery (and relatively expensive too!).

So what could be a possible negative effect of this relatively recent dietary change? Well, for one, bone broth contains glucosamine and chondroiton (from the cartilage), both of which are thought to help mitigate the degenerative effects of arthritis and joint pain.

It seems at least possible that the disappearance of such a healing food, along with other important factors such as; a lack of adequate amounts of vitamin D, increased obesity, and increased exposure to environmental toxins might all be contributing factors to the increase of joint degeneration and arthritis.

I had someone tell me the other day that this increase in arthritis of hips and knees is because “we’re living so much longer”. I’ve got to tell you that I don’t remember 60 year olds limping around with bad hips and knees when I was growing up. And my parents and their friends were relatively old… my mom was 41 and my dad was 50 when I was born. The only people I can remember who did limp had suffered from an accident or had been injured in the war… so I’m not so sure that it should be a “natural” occurrence that our generation of 50 & 60 year olds have so much deteriorating cartilage and bone.

And there is research on this….

“Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, discovered that baby boomers have significantly higher rates of arthritis than their parents’ generation”.

So although I don’t think that eating tons of  bone broth is going to cure all of our health woes, it certainly isn’t going to hurt….and it just might help more than we know. And not just with issues relating to arthritis….

More from Nourishing Traditions

  • The public is generally unaware of the large amount of research on the beneficial effects of gelatin taken with food. Gelatin at first and foremost as an aid to digestion and has been used successfully in the treatment of many intestinal disorders, including hyperacidity, colitis and Crohn’s disease….
  • The same property by which gelatin attracts water to form desserts like Jello, allows it to attract digestive juices to the surface of cooked food particles….
  • Other important ingredients that go into broth are the components of cartilage, which recently have been used with remakable results in the treatment of cancer and bone disorders, and of collagen, used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments….
  • Fish stock, made from the carcasses and heads of fish, is especially rich in minerals including all-important iodine. Even more important, stock made from the heads,  and therefore the thyroid glands of the fish, supplies thyroid hormone and other substances that nourish the thyroid gland….
  • According to some researchers, at least 40% of all Americans suffer from a deficiency of the thyroid gland with its accompanying symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, frequent colds and flu, inability to concentrate, depression and a host of more serious complications like heart disease and cancer. We would do well to imitate Mediterranean and Asian regions by including fish broth in the diet as often as possible.

OK, so if you haven’t made broth and stock from bones before, now is the time to get your head wrapped around it. And for those of us who HAVE done this, now is the time to get our heads wrapped around the fact that chicken feet added to chicken stock and fish heads added to fish stock are particularly nourishing!

I have to admit that the thought of seeing a bunch of chicken feet sticking out of a pot reminds me of some voodoo movie I saw once…. haha… it’s kind of funny that something so natural to our ancestors is actually scary or “gross” to us…  yet ANOTHER sign of how unbelievably disconnected we are from our food!

So next up? Bone broth recipes…easy, delicious, healthy.  I’ll start out with one without the feet and heads tho…..

  • Fish broth will cure anything.” South American Proverb
  • “Good broth resurrects the dead”.  South American Proverb
  • “Indeed stock is everything in cooking…without it nothing can be done“. Auguste Escoffier (28 October 1846 – 12 February 1935)…  a legendary figure among chefs and gourmets, and one of the most important leaders in the development of modern French cuisine.
And my *personal favorite*…

The wonderful thing about fish and meat stocks is that, along with conferring many health benefits, they also add immeasurably to the flavor of our food. In European cuisines, rich stocks form the basis of those exquisite, clear, thick, smooth, satisfying and beautifully flavored sauces that seem to be produced by magic. The magic is in the stock, made from scratch with as much care and attention to detail as the final dish. Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions
……………………………………………………………..   MAGIC  !

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